The winners of the 2022 Hugo Awards, Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book, and Astounding Award for Best New Writer were announced on Sunday, September 4 at Chicon 8. (Detailed statistics for the nominating and final ballots are available in this PDF.)
The winners are:
- A Desolation Called Peace, by Arkady Martine (Tor)
- A Psalm for the Wild-Built, by Becky Chambers (Tordotcom)
- “Bots of the Lost Ark”, by Suzanne Palmer (Clarkesworld, Jun 2021)
BEST SHORT STORY
- “Where Oaken Hearts Do Gather”, by Sarah Pinsker (Uncanny Magazine, Mar/Apr 2021)
- Wayward Children, by Seanan McGuire (Tordotcom)
BEST GRAPHIC STORY OR COMIC
- Far Sector, written by N.K. Jemisin, art by Jamal Campbell (DC)
BEST RELATED WORK
- Never Say You Can’t Survive, by Charlie Jane Anders (Tordotcom)
BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION, LONG FORM
- Dune, screenplay by Jon Spaihts, Denis Villeneuve, and Eric Roth; directed by Denis Villeneuve; based on the novel Dune by Frank Herbert (Warner Bros / Legendary Entertainment)
BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION, SHORT FORM
- The Expanse: Nemesis Games, written by Daniel Abraham, Ty Franck, and Naren Shankar; directed by Breck Eisner (Amazon Studios)
- Neil Clarke
BEST EDITOR, LONG FORM
- Ruoxi Chen
BEST PROFESSIONAL ARTIST
- Rovina Cai
- Uncanny Magazine, publishers and editors-in-chief Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas; managing/poetry editor Chimedum Ohaegbu; nonfiction editor Elsa Sjunneson; podcast producers Erika Ensign & Steven Schapansky
- Small Gods, Lee Moyer (Icon) and Seanan McGuire (Story)
- Our Opinions Are Correct, presented by Annalee Newitz and Charlie Jane Anders, produced by Veronica Simonetti
BEST FAN WRITER
- Cora Buhlert
BEST FAN ARTIST
LODESTAR AWARD FOR BEST YOUNG ADULT BOOK
- The Last Graduate, by Naomi Novik (Del Rey Books)
ASTOUNDING AWARD FOR BEST NEW WRITER
- Shelley Parker-Chan
VOTING STATISTICS. There were 2235 valid final ballots (2230 electronic and 5 paper) received and counted from the members of Chicon 8. More information about the 2022 Hugo Awards, including detailed voting statistics is available on the Chicon website here.
ABOUT THE HUGO AWARDS. The Hugo Awards are the premier award in the science fiction genre, honoring science fiction literature and media as well as the genre’s fans. The Hugo Awards were first presented at the 1953 World Science Fiction Convention in Philadelphia (Philcon II), and they have continued to honor science fiction and fantasy notables for nearly 70 years.
The physical Hugo Award consists of a rocket mounted on a base that is designed specifically for that year’s awards. The base for the 2022 Hugo Award trophy was designed and created by Brian Keith Ellison, while the 2022 Lodestar Award was designed and created by Sara Felix. More information on this year’s designs can be found here.
A full list of past finalists and winners can be found on the official Hugo Awards website here.
[Based on a press release.]
What else has changed in the last 50 years? Maybe that’s a big part of whatever it is you’re trying not to say.
@Michael J Kerpan: Perhaps it’s worth noting that the Lodestar is for a YA work, not for a work liked by young adults (whatever age range that is).
@Kendall The Scholomance in Novik’s books is only very loosely based on the Romanian folklore. (It isn’t even old enough to count Dracula as an alumnus). It’s a dangerous magical school for wizards and that’s about it.
@Steve Mollmann: that’s very interesting that most YA readers are adults. Makes me feel much more comfortable about voting in this category. Thanks!
I asked about it on the r/YAlit subreddit. (There are some great discussions all around there.) I’ve seen different views about the book there, just like here. Some think it qualifies as YA because of the ages, others don’t. Others think it is YA but shouldn’t have qualified because of the publisher.
I missed the grumbling last year. I guess I was too busy following all the other controversies.
Whoops. I usually notice the comments here. I probably had relatives visiting when I was trying to read the comments…
@Everyone Else I Guess?
What is YA can be confusing anyway. It’s a category (or demographic) and not a genre, so it’s hard to define. Officially, the age range of readers is 12 to 18, but while that looks like a short range, that covers a wide range of ages. Throw in the adult readership, and you have chaos.
Some see an issue because some believe that the adult readership has influenced the books that are getting published as YA, particularly in YA SFF. So actual teens might be getting fewer YA books that cater to them — for example, shorter books where the characters behave like actual teens. (There was a great thread about this on Twitter months ago, but it has been lost in my mountain of Twitter bookmarks.)
In many cases, the confusion about what is YA might occur when a book is published by an adult imprint — but also marketed to the YA readership. But there is always a big price difference in the books. Adult hardcovers tend to be close to $30 in the U.S., while most YA hardcovers are under $20. (That’s how I determine if something is a YA book. Is the hardback $18, or is it $29?)
Sidebar: In some circles, there is a growing controversy because many of the readers are adult women who want to read romantic YA (especially fantasy). So some younger readers are pushing back against that with horror and disgust, calling the adult readers “perverts” and worse. (It is probably just a vocal minority, though some are saying it might be a Generation Z thing to react like that.)
@Bonnie – Not my intention to tell you what to like or not like or why you are liking it. My goal was to point out the lack of gender diversity in winners over the past 6 years. I have no knowledge of your personal ballot but I would assume it does not exactly match the results over the past 6 years. I apologize if my comments came across as such.
@Mike – My example with Clark was just trying to take a statistic over the past 6 years and bring it into a tangible example. I agree that any individual contest can be explained by a preference of the voters and that second is pretty good. My main point was that it happened 3 times over 3 different years where the SFWA members and Locus Readers thought his work was award worthy and the Worldcon members didn’t.
@PJ – I am wondering what could have caused this change. Is it possible that there is a change in the voter demographics? Was it 50/50 women/men or after the puppy issue and with that group leaving the draw of Dragoncon on the same weekend, has the demographic changed to 70/30 women/men? It would be interesting to see if Worldcon would try to figure this out.
@Jesse–What, in your mind, explains the decades of male dominance including years of no women at all over much of Hugo history?
Or does that, in your mind, not need and explanation?
And no, “the categories weren’t always the same” isn’t an explanation.
The Sad and Rabid Puppies pissed people off and encouraged people to look around a bit more. It’s possible voter demographics have also changed.
See, kicking over a hornets’ nest tends to get a reaction. The Puppies forced badly-written, sexist, racist garbage onto the Hugo ballot. That angered people, enough that many who had just waited for the winners to be announced in the past decided they had to get involved.
And this happened at a point when a lot of interesting new writers who happened to not be cis-het white males were emerging, and a lot of people who had rarely or never seen themselves relected in sf before, suddenly did.
Those writers also created new and interesting worlds for their stories because they themselves came from different backgrounds.
Now, tell us why this needs an explanation but decades of male dominance of the Hugos didn’t.
We’re all waiting.
For decades, the majority (sometimes, the vast majority) of voting members of the WSFS were male.
For decades, the majority (sometimes, the vast majority) of eligible works were written by males.
There’s your explanation. SF was a mostly male group for most of its formative years.
@Lis – The decades of dominance by men was caused by sexism in both the publishing industry and in fandom. Gatekeeper editors/publishers kept women/PoC from getting published as frequently and women had issues at fan events getting sexually assaulted and being treated as inferiors.
Even with that sexism, you didn’t get clean sweeps like this for 6 straight years by men. You need to go back to 1962-1967 to find a 6-year period where men won all the professional literary fiction awards and in many of those years it was just Novel and Short Story that was awarded.
In regards to your question “Now, tell us why this needs an explanation but decades of male dominance of the Hugos didn’t.”, I would frankly say the issue of sexism in fandom has been well discussed and explored over the years. I am not sure what new there is to discuss. This 6-year run of dominance is new and that is old.
So, your point is what, exactly? That women should be poorer writers to make you happy? (This horse has been dead for decades.)
@Jesse: Instead of discussing it in vague terms and arbitrary dates, please give us specifics. Which works in the last six years do you feel were unworthy of the Hugo and what would you replace them with?
OK, here’s my controversial pet peeve. Professional writers and artists who win in fan categories. Yes, I know many pros have nonpaying blogs and such (although, very often as marketing tools [either explicitly or implicitly] for their professional material), so are well within the rules to be nominated. But as pros they’ve presumably built up fan bases who will vote for them regardless of category, plus as pros they have honed their skills such that they are presumably better at it than amateurs. I know it’s largely up to the voters to determine who’s eligible (there definitely should not be any gatekeeping by the admins), and clearly a majority don’t feel the way I do. I just wanted to rant a little.
The Hugo voting system is designed to nominate a wide range of highly-regarded works (EPH and 5 of 6 both tending to un-reward the nominations of a group who all like exactly the same works) and to pick a winner that is at least satisfactory to a majority of the voters. At this moment that happens to be selecting works by non-male creators, but there doesn’t seem to be any “there there” as far as a cause as far as I can tell. Maybe next year there will be works by male writers that get the kind of support needed to be nominated and to win (I’ve got a little list of works that I plan to nominate next year, and some of them are by men). If there’s a particular work that anyone feels needs some extra attention then a productive thing to do is to talk about it, here and elsewhere, so that nominators give it a try.
@Jesse H: “. . . where the SFWA members and Locus Readers thought his work was award worthy and the Worldcon members didn’t.”
Ah, this old chestnut. “Why did X win award A and B, but not C?” Different demographics in the nominators/voters, and different voting systems.
In the aggregate under the nominating & voting systems the Hugos use, Hugo voters (not all Worldcon members vote) found him award worthy — he’s a five-time Hugo finalist! But the voters and voting system found someone else slightly more award worthy.
ETA: I shouldn’t even write it like that, sorry. We’re not truly coming up with “Y is more worthy than X.” They’re all finalists and the winner is the most broadly-liked work.
There are a lot of works and people vying for six (previously five) Hugo finalist slots, and only one can win. It is never weird that X hasn’t won a Hugo yet.
It is not actually true that the overwhelming majority of SFF in the 1950s and 1960s was written by male authors. There were a lot of women writing SFF in those years, some of them very good indeed. In 1956, the first year for which we have a list of finalists rather than just winners, there were two woman finalists in the fiction categories, Leigh Brackett and C.L. Moore. Several other women have been nominated since and yet it took until 1968 for a woman, Anne McCaffrey, to win a Hugo Award in a fiction category and until 1970 for a woman, Ursula K. Le Guin, to win the Hugo Award for Best Novel.
Furthermore, we have had several male writers make the ballot in the fiction categories throughout the past six years and we had one male writer, Max Gladstone, co-winning novella and two male authors, Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck a.k.a. James S.A. Corey, winning Best Series. So yes, male writers can still get nominated and even win Hugos. They just don’t dominate like they used to.
I have no idea why P. Djèlí Clark hasn’t won a Hugo yet, because I like his work and usually rank it quite highly, whenever he’s on the ballot. However, Clark also made the ballot in very strong years. And Yoon Ha Lee has the misfortune of being up against N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy.
@Paul King: Thanks for the additional info!
@Anne Marble: Good grief, some think it shouldn’t qualify due to the publisher?! Wacky!
This year, there were three different categories in which I was cranky because I could only pick one as number one.
And then only pick one as number two.
And didn’t think any of the finalists wasn’t worthy
And Clark and Ekpeki were among those I wanted to include in my too many #1s.
When it was only being argued that there were good women sff authors in the early days, you could prove that to be true.
I don’t think the evidence is there to claim most published sf authors in the early days weren’t men. For example, let’s look at the collection most likely to recognize the accomplishments of women authors in those days, the series edited by Judith Merril.
The Year’s Best SF #1 — for 1955 stories. 19 authors. 4 women.
The Year’s Best SF #2 — for 1956 stories. 17 authors. 1 woman.
The Year’s Best SF #3 — for 1957 stories. 12 authors (of stories). 2 women.
While I’ve been happy to see the increasing relevance of women winning (especially in the novel category, as that’s where I focus), I do think Hugo voters are, by and large, too self congratulatory and dismissive of folks who seem unsettled about recent trends being just seen as wholesale progress, no questions asked.
There’s still only be one black woman to win the Hugo for novel, and not a single black man. By and large, white women seem to dominate the progress made in moving away from past paradigms in demographic trends. Yes, people of color are being nominated and winning more, but why does this tend to happen among the award categories generally seen as less prestigious?
The Hugo awards just tend to remind me these days of my professional experiences in libraries and the private sector in terms of demographics: yes, it’s been great seeing more women succeed in them, and moving into upper echelons that used to be more reserved for men. But I am incredibly uncomfortable when gender progress ignores the intersectionality of race and ethnicity, and when it so often elevates white women above black men, and other men of color, again and again and again.
Of course, there may be some subjective argument over the definition how large a majority is “overwhelming” (but it is commonly said that 30 % of women is the threshold for any system to start changing, and clearly that wasn’t the case back then).
Mike, it might also be argued that any anthologist is under pressure to include “Big Names”:to sell the book on the cover (or perhaps also in subconscious awe of them), and those were males then pretty by definition. So going through the “first level” of, say, F&SF, Galaxy or Amazing would be more representative.
Of course, it would be also harder to count. I’ve long thought (James Davis Nicoll does similar counts on the Dozois anthologies and generalises them in a way that seems not fully substantiated to me) this would be a great topic for a few SQL queries on the ISFDB… except that it doesn’t seem to have a gender field, and adding it to a downloaded copy would be about as time-consuming for me as going through a bibliography with a pencil and paper.
Anthologies do tend to be biased by editorial preferences, though. Not necessairly an explicit bias against women writers, but simply a bias against or unfamiliarity with certain magazines, where many women published. For example, part of the reason why there are comparatively few women writers in the year by year golden age anthologies edited by Isaac Asimov is that Asimov had a strong bias towards Astounding, which published comparatively few women, and disliked Weird Tales, which was the most woman-friendly magazine of the 1930s and 1940s. As Farah Mendlesohn put it on the 1946 panel I moderated at Chicon, particularly the early anthologies were often editors publishing their mates.
Eric Leif Davin calculated that there were at least 203 identifiable female authors publishing in the SFF magazines between 1926 and 1965. And he only looked at the SFF magazines, not at children’s and YA books, gothic romances, ghost stories, SFF published in general interest magazines, etc… where you also find quite a few women writing SFF. For the two Rediscovery anthologies, we also had a lengthy spreadsheet of stories by women published in the relevant period, many of which had never been reprinted.
Men were the majority of SFF authors well into the 1970s or maybe even 1980s. But there were a lot more women writing SFF than many people realise and some of them were very good indeed.
I’ve said something partly similar (and partly begging to differ) half an hour ago, but it’s stuck in moderation limbo.
Still, that spreadsheet would help to realise the situation better; is there any reason you can’t share it?
FWIW, a couple of years ago, I did an analysis of English language adult SF&F&H novels (so a different dataset and metric from authors of short fiction) since 1900, based on ISFDB data, and using various automated methods to try to work out the author’s gender.
The chart(s) can be seen here:
but a rough summary is:
Prior to the early 30s, about 15-20% of novels were written by women
Over a period roughly around 1933-1940, the proportion of novels written by women drops to around 5-10%. The actual number of novels written by women doesn’t really change, but there is a marked increase in novels written by men, which I assume is due to pulps
The proportion of novels by women recovers post-war, but doesn’t reach 25% until the early 80s
M/F gender parity doesn’t seem to happen until some time in the 2000s – hard to know exactly when due to an increased amount of authors for whom it wasn’t possible to make a reasonably confident automated answer about their gender
NB: I definitely wouldn’t claim that either the data I’m using, or the methodology used to analyse it are complete/flawless/etc, and it surely has a nigh-on-zero relationship to the quality or award-worthiness of work produced by men or women.
Not so much the publisher or imprint but the target age group. After all, I wouldn’t want someone to nominate a book like “Belinda” because one of the main characters is 16 years old. Or to nominate a non-YA grimdark fantasy like “Prince of Thorns” by Mark Lawrence just because the protagonist is in his early teens. It should be an award for YA, not just an award for a book with a young protagonist.
In those cases, the publisher or imprint can be an issue if there are issues with the age group. With children’s books and YA books, the imprint can indicate who the book was published for. OTOH there are a lot of books that could be considered “YA-adjacent” — not to mention middle grade books that could be considered “YA” instead of MG.
Also, not everyone thinks it was truly a YA novel, even though the characters were in the right age group.
The anger directed toward the writer by some had me rolling my eyes. Maybe she thought of her book as YA. Who knows?
This is full of gray areas, but I can see why organizations want to make sure everything is on the up and up.
We’ve all seen some messes (and outright fiascos) occur because somebody bent the rules. I remember when a certain SF author (you can probably guess) urged his numerous fans to vote for his thriller with S&M elements in the “Romance” category of an ebook award. And because his fans generated so many votes, it won. I don’t know why that didn’t generate much controversy at the time — probably because people thought it was funny and they didn’t care about the romance authors who lost out. 😛
Concerning the gender statistics of Hugo fiction wins:
My novel and novella reading (this is a total wild-ass guess) tends to be around 45% men, 49% women, and 6% non-binary. Yet my nomination slate tends to be around 90% women/non-binary.
Why is this? My guess is that it’s because I’m finding the perspectives of women and non-binary authors more interesting and innovative. I grew up having to identify with male protagonists because very few SFF had female protagonists (and when they did, they were often not the sort whith whom I wanted to identify).
Every year, there are far more Hugo-worthy works than there are Hugo slots (and this goes for Editors, too). It’s very difficult for me to take complaints about the choices of Hugo voters seriously; everyone nominates what they love, and votes according to their own tastes. Neil Clarke was a finalist 9 times without winning… so what??? Hugo winners aren’t decided by statistical probabilities, they are decided based on voters’ preferences.
Clarke has frequently been on my nomination ballot and I usually rank him fairly high on my voting ballot. But if I vote for another editor ahead of him, I’m not saying he isn’t award-worthy, I’m just saying I thought the other editor’s work for the year was a little more worthy. And when he won this year, I was happy, because there’s no question he’s deserving.
This is one of the Puppy arguments that really aggravated me: no author or editor deserves a Hugo award based on how much work they’ve published, or how good some random person thought the work they published was — or how many other awards they’ve won. Statistics and individual opinions are irrelevant in the final results; all that is relevant is what Hugo nominators and voters as a group think.
I will not listen to anyone who tells me I should be nominating and voting based on their judgment.
And I will not take seriously anyone who says that a creator who is made a Hugo finalist by the nominators but does not win has been screwed.
It is indeed a huge honor just to be nominated, when there are far more Hugo-worthy works and creators than there are spots on the ballot.
It’s not mine to share.
With regard to the question of what qualifies as a YA work:
When I nominate and vote, what qualifies as a YA work is what I say is YA.
The publisher is irrelevant. The marketing category is irrelevant. What the author says it is, is irrelevant.
Authors are absolutely entitled to have their intentions for their own work. But they are not entitled to tell me what my perceptions of their work should or will be.
A couple of years ago, there was an author who was demanding that people nominate their work in Novel rather than Lodestar, because they did not write their work to be YA. That made me laugh really hard. Sorry, no. No author gets to dictate to me how I classify their work. And the funniest part of it is that I did feel that their novel was in the top 5 of YA works I had read, but if they really wanted me to consider their work non-YA — well, it wasn’t even on my Novel longlist, because there were too many works ahead of it. #choosingbeggars
There were a lot of people who worked very hard to get a YA Novel category in the Hugo Awards. Congratulations, you got what you wanted. But now you don’t get to complain if Hugo voters aren’t nominating the works you think they should nominate. If you want the choices to change, then recruit more young adults to be Worldcon members. Or start your own YA award in which the people you think should be allowed to nominate are the only ones who get to nominate.
The Scholomance books are so full of angsty teenaged angst that I will laugh at anyone who tells me they are not YA. The main reason I read and enjoyed those books was for the interesting creaky old machine of the school itself. Take out the teenaged angst, and I’d have still read them. Leave in the teenaged angst and take out the innovative structure of the school, and I’d have noped right out of that series.
Incidentally, the American Library Association gives a set of ALA Youth Media Awards every year. These are chosen by librarians, and may better satisfy the people who are dissatisfied by Hugo voters’ choices. Their Alex Awards in particular have a lot of crossover with works that appear on the Hugo and Lodestar ballot.
“My main point was that it happened 3 times over 3 different years where the SFWA members and Locus Readers thought his work was award worthy and the Worldcon members didn’t.”
If all awards gave the same results, what would be the point of having multiple awards?
John S: Thanks, interesting (though admittedly imperfect). I suppose you could run the same code on (some subset of) stories without much trouble, couldn’t you?
JVjr: Possibly? The code was originally designed to work against award finalists, but was hacked up to produce the charts I linked above. In theory, it should be possible to feed in a different set of books, but I haven’t looked at the code in question for a couple of years, so I don’t recall the details/limitations off the top of my head.
Ping me an email on @ ersatzcultureDOTcom and I’ll see what I can do.
@Cora I did enjoy your piece in The Gatekeeper. I hope you enjoyed mine 🙂
This whole discussion, I’ve had the old saw about “What counts as SF for the purposes of the Hugo, is that which WSFS members point to and say, ‘This is SF'” running around in my head, because a similar logic seems apply to the question of whether a work is YA enough to qualify for the Lodestar ballot.
Whether a work is YA enough to be considered for the Lodestar isn’t an objective question which the award administrators can decide (unless, of course, some amendment should pass the Business Meeting making it something they decide; and good luck with that, because it seems unlikely to pass). It’s not like word count or year of publication.
As with the question of whether a work “counts” as genre, whether a work “counts” as YA is pretty much up to the membership to decide. If enough people nominate it to get it on the short list, and then enough people vote for it to receive the Lodestar, then, by the logic of “that which we point to,” it qualifies as YA.
Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little: Besides the fact that I agree with your “what we point to” functional definition, when the YA award category was being proposed people knew that it’s as much a marketing concept as anything else. And we’re not going to create an eligibility definition based on what shelf booksellers put inventory on. And there is a strong tradition within the Hugos of letting the nominators’ input define whether things belong in a category — God knows that happens in Best Fanzine almost every year.
Yes, I enjoyed your piece a lot.
I didn’t expect my piece in The Gatekeeper would be so timely, but turns out it is.
I’d like to salute Sarah Pinsker, who brought with her an autograph book that her father took to Chicon III where he got signatures of all the pros. I enjoyed her acceptance speech.