2014 Hugo Awards Nomination Thoughts

hugo_rocketSo the Hugo nominations were announced last night and to say they were surprising is an understatement. While I’m glad that in the fan Hugo’s most of my nominees actually made the voting ballot, I’m really sad that in the fiction and professional Hugo’s almost none of my nominees made it. Reactions so far have been mixed and mostly less-than-enthused. Stefan over at Far Beyond Reality has a great round-up of posts if you want to read more reactions. Below you’ll find the nominations and my reaction to the various categories.

BEST NOVEL (1595 ballots)

  • Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie (Orbit US / Orbit UK)
  • Neptune’s Brood by Charles Stross (Ace / Orbit UK)
  • Parasite by Mira Grant (Orbit US / Orbit UK)
  • Warbound, Book III of the Grimnoir Chronicles by Larry Correia (Baen Books)
  • The Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (Tor Books)

So NONE of the novels I nominated actually made the ballot. And I know that some of my nominations were a bit out of left field perhaps, but still… I am glad to see Ancillary Justice on there, if only because now I’ll actually get to read it (provided it is in the voter packet). Less sure about the Wheel of Time nomination, as I rather gave up on that around book nine. I’ve never read anything by Larry Correia, so can’t judge the merit of his work, even if I don’t exactly like his online persona. I haven’t read Seanan McGuire’s Mira Grant books either, as zombies are definitely not my thing. I love Stross’ Laundry Files books, so I’m curious to see how I enjoy this one.

BEST NOVELLA (847 ballots)

  • The Butcher of Khardov by Dan Wells (Privateer Press)
  • “The Chaplain’s Legacy” by Brad Torgersen (Analog, Jul-Aug 2013)
  • “Equoid” by Charles Stross (Tor.com, 09-2013)
  • Six-Gun Snow White by Catherynne M. Valente (Subterranean Press)
  • “Wakulla Springs” by Andy Duncan and Ellen Klages (Tor.com, 10-2013)

This was a category where I didn’t nominate as I hadn’t read any eligible works. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Wakulla Springs and I love Catherynne M. Valente’s writing, so look forward to that as well. I haven’t heard of the first two stories and not much about Stross’ Equoid either. So this category is wide open and new for me.

BEST NOVELETTE (728 ballots)

  • “The Exchange Officers” by Brad Torgersen (Analog, Jan-Feb 2013)
  • “The Lady Astronaut of Mars” by Mary Robinette Kowal (maryrobinettekowal.com / Tor.com, 09-2013)
  • “Opera Vita Aeterna” by Vox Day (The Last Witchking, Marcher Lord Hinterlands)
  • “The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling” by Ted Chiang (Subterranean, Fall 2013)
  • “The Waiting Stars” by Aliette de Bodard (The Other Half of the Sky, Candlemark & Gleam)

Here at least one of my two nominees made it, the Ted Chiang story of course. Both Kowal and De Bodard are authors whose work I admire, so I’m curious to see whether they will edge out Chiang or whether he’ll remain my top pick. Torgerson seems to be quite conservative and if this is reflected in his writing, I’ll probably won’t get on with his story that well and if Day’s writing even reflects a tenth of his normal screed then I won’t get on with it at all. However, I’ll be taking a leaf out of John Scalzi’s book and at least read the works before judging.

BEST SHORT STORY (865 ballots)

  • “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love” by Rachel Swirsky (Apex Magazine, Mar-2013)
  • “The Ink Readers of Doi Saket” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Tor.com, 04-2013)
  • “Selkie Stories Are for Losers” by Sofia Samatar (Strange Horizons, Jan-2013)
  • “The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere” by John Chu (Tor.com, 02-2013)

Note: category has 4 nominees due to a 5% requirement under Section 3.8.5 of the WSFS constitution.

Again, none of the stories I nominated made it, though it would be interesting to see how close they got. I did read and enjoy both the Thomas Olde Heuvelt and the Samatar stories. Also a fellow Dutchie on the ballot for the second year running is pretty cool! I usually like Swirsky’s writing and I haven’t read Chu before as far as I can remember, so this will be another interesting category come voting time.

BEST RELATED WORK (752 ballots)

  • Queers Dig Time Lords: A Celebration of Doctor Who by the LGBTQ Fans Who Love It Edited by Sigrid Ellis & Michael Damian Thomas (Mad Norwegian Press)
  • Speculative Fiction 2012: The Best Online Reviews, Essays and Commentary by Justin Landon & Jared Shurin (Jurassic London)
  • “We Have Always Fought: Challenging the Women, Cattle and Slaves Narrative” by Kameron Hurley (A Dribble of Ink)
  • Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction by Jeff VanderMeer, with Jeremy Zerfoss (Abrams Image)
  • Writing Excuses Season 8 by Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Mary Robinette Kowal, Howard Tayler, and Jordan Sanderson

Woot, both my nominees made it! The other nominees are interesting as well. I’m not a Dr. Who fan – something that’ll come up again later – so that’ll be unfamiliar territory. Wonderbook sounds good, but since I’m not a creative fiction writer, it hasn’t been on my radar. And Writing Excuses is one podcast I’ve never listened to for similar reasons.

BEST GRAPHIC STORY (552 ballots)

  • Girl Genius, Volume 13: Agatha Heterodyne & The Sleeping City written by Phil and Kaja Foglio; art by Phil Foglio; colors by Cheyenne Wright (Airship Entertainment)
  • “The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who” written by Paul Cornell, illustrated by Jimmy Broxton (Doctor Who Special 2013, IDW)
  • The Meathouse Man adapted from the story by George R.R. Martin and illustrated by Raya Golden (Jet City Comics)
  • Saga, Volume 2 written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples (Image Comics )
  • “Time” by Randall Munroe (XKCD)

This is another category where I didn’t nominate, so I’ll be going in with an open mind.


  • Frozen screenplay by Jennifer Lee, directed by Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee (Walt Disney Studios)
  • Gravity written by Alfonso Cuarón & Jonás Cuarón, directed by Alfonso Cuarón (Esperanto Filmoj; Heyday Films; Warner Bros.)
  • The Hunger Games: Catching Fire screenplay by Simon Beaufoy & Michael Arndt, directed by Francis Lawrence (Color Force; Lionsgate)
  • Iron Man 3 screenplay by Drew Pearce & Shane Black, directed by Shane Black (Marvel Studios; DMG Entertainment; Paramount Pictures)
  • Pacific Rim screenplay by Travis Beacham & Guillermo del Toro, directed by Guillermo del Toro (Legendary Pictures, Warner Bros., Disney Double Dare You)

I haven’t seen any of these and since I don’t expect them to be in the voter packet, I don’t expect I’ll be voting in this award anyway.


  • An Adventure in Space and Time written by Mark Gatiss, directed by Terry McDonough (BBC Television)
  • Doctor Who: “The Day of the Doctor” written by Steven Moffat, directed by Nick Hurran (BBC Television)
  • Doctor Who: “The Name of the Doctor” written by Steven Moffat, directed by Saul Metzstein (BBC Televison)
  • The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot written & directed by Peter Davison (BBC Television)
  • Game of Thrones: “The Rains of Castamere” written by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, directed by David Nutter (HBO Entertainment in association with Bighead, Littlehead; Television 360; Startling Television and Generator Productions)
  • Orphan Black: “Variations under Domestication” written by Will Pascoe, directed by John Fawcett (Temple Street Productions; Space / BBC America)

Note: category has 6 nominees due to a tie for 5th place.

My nominee didn’t make it. And since I don’t watch Dr. Who, haven’t caught up to Game of Thrones and haven’t seen Orphan Black as it hasn’t aired in the Netherlands as far as I’m aware, this’ll be another no award vote for me.

BEST EDITOR – SHORT FORM (656 ballots)

  • John Joseph Adams
  • Neil Clarke
  • Ellen Datlow
  • Jonathan Strahan
  • Sheila Williams

Again, only one of my nominees made it. I’ll have to do some more research on the various nominees to figure out what they’ve edited and what I thought of it before I vote.

BEST EDITOR – LONG FORM (632 ballots)

  • Ginjer Buchanan
  • Sheila Gilbert
  • Liz Gorinsky
  • Lee Harris
  • Toni Weisskopf

I’m really disappointed that there aren’t any more British-based editors on the list, something that goes for the short fiction ballot as well. I’d hoped that with Worldcon in London this year, we’d finally see some more Brits on the list. However, I’m really pleased that Lee Harris made it. And like in the previous category I’ll have to do some research on the rest.


  • Galen Dara
  • Julie Dillon
  • Daniel Dos Santos
  • John Harris
  • John Picacio
  • Fiona Staples

Note: category has 6 nominees due to a tie for 5th place.

YAY! Julie Dillon made it! Hugely disappointed that Joey HiFi didn’t though, as I think his work is exceptional. I really like the fact that there are three women on here as well. This will be a fun category to research come voting time.

BEST SEMIPROZINE (411 ballots)

  • Apex Magazine edited by Lynne M. Thomas, Jason Sizemore, and Michael Damian Thomas
  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies edited by Scott H. Andrews
  • Interzone edited by Andy Cox
  • Lightspeed Magazine edited by John Joseph Adams, Rich Horton, and Stefan Rudnicki
  • Strange Horizons edited by Niall Harrison, Brit Mandelo, An Owomoyela, Julia Rios, Sonya Taaffe, Abigail Nussbaum, Rebecca Cross, Anaea Lay, and Shane Gavin

I didn’t nominate in this category, as I can never figure out which magazines are eligible or not. This is one where I’ll have to read what’s provided in the voter packet and judge based on that.

BEST FANZINE (478 ballots)

  • The Book Smugglers edited by Ana Grilo and Thea James
  • A Dribble of Ink edited by Aidan Moher
  • Elitist Book Reviews edited by Steven Diamond
  • Journey Planet edited by James Bacon, Christopher J. Garcia, Lynda E. Rucker, Pete Young, Colin Harris, and Helen J. Montgomery
  • Pornokitsch edited by Anne C. Perry and Jared Shurin

PORNOKITSCH! THE BOOK SMUGGLERS! A DRIBBLE OF INK! YAY! They all made it. Journey Planet is the most traditional in the category as it’s a traditional fanzine and I’m unfamiliar with them. Elitist Book Reviews is a book review blog mainly, and one I gave up on reading some time ago as their reviews just frustrated me every single time they reviewed a book I might have been interested in, something that became rarer and rarer too.

BEST FANCAST (396 ballots)

  • The Coode Street Podcast Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe
  • Galactic Suburbia Podcast Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts (Presenters) and Andrew Finch (Producer)
  • SF Signal Podcast Patrick Hester
  • The Skiffy and Fanty Show Shaun Duke, Jen Zink, Julia Rios, Paul Weimer, David Annandale, Mike Underwood, and Stina Leicht
  • Tea and Jeopardy Emma Newman
  • Verity! Deborah Stanish, Erika Ensign, Katrina Griffiths, L.M. Myles, Lynne M. Thomas, and Tansy Rayner Roberts
  • The Writer and the Critic Kirstyn McDermott and Ian Mond

Note: category has 7 nominees due to a tie for 5th place.

All but one of my nominees made it in this category and I have to say this is going to be a tough one to vote on as ALL of my favourites are here.

BEST FAN WRITER (521 ballots)

  • Liz Bourke
  • Kameron Hurley
  • Foz Meadows
  • Abigail Nussbaum
  • Mark Oshiro

Foz made it! Hurrah :) And of course, Liz Bourke and Kameron Hurley. The other two writers I’m not (as) familiar with, but this is a strong and interesting category and it’ll be really exciting to see who takes it home this year.

BEST FAN ARTIST (316 ballots)

  • Brad W. Foster
  • Mandie Manzano
  • Spring Schoenhuth
  • Steve Stiles
  • Sarah Webb

No nominations for me, so I’ll have to go and investigate before voting, which in the case of art isn’t ever a punishment.


Award for the best new professional science fiction or fantasy writer of 2012 or 2013, sponsored by Dell Magazines (not a Hugo Award).

  • Wesley Chu
  • Max Gladstone *
  • Ramez Naam *
  • Sofia Samatar *
  • Benjanun Sriduangkaew

*Finalists in their 2nd year of eligibility.

Ah, the Not-A-Hugo-Award. I’m really stoked to see Wes here, but sad my other nominees didn’t make it. I’ve read several pieces by Benjanun Sriduangkaew I’ve been very impressed by as well, so very glad to see her on here as well. Having read works by Naam and Samatar and non-fiction pieces by Gladstone, my estimation is that this is another strong category.

Overall Thoughts

So after that breakdown, what was my general reaction on first seeing the short lists this morning? It was this:

And that was largely due to the fact that there are several names on the ballot who were either at the heart of SFF’s largest controversies in the past twelve months or very vocal at their edges, people whose views are considered moderately to extremely offensive by many and not just those who are considered leftist or Social Justice Warriors. For the record, I consider myself to be pretty much to the left of even the most liberal of US Democrats as even the moderately conservative parties in my country are left of the Democrats. So as a declaration of bias: I very much sided on the side of what has been termed the Special Snowflake crowd. Still as stated before, I’ll read the works of these people and try and give them a ‘fair shake’ as Scalzi put it.

The fact that there were 4 (count them FOUR!!) Dr. Who episodes nominated in the Dramatic Presentation, Short Form and so few British editors in either editor category just made me shake my head.

Plus there are several books that in my opinion should have been on the short list that aren’t and I wish they’d get the recognition they deserve, such as Helene Wecker’s The Golem and the Djinni and Al Ewing’s The Fictional Man.

Anyway, those were my thoughts. I’ll be looking forward to receiving my Voter Packet and investigating some of the nominees before casting my vote.


11 thoughts on “2014 Hugo Awards Nomination Thoughts”

  1. I just keep getting weirded out whenever I see “Wheel of Time” on there as a best novel. It’s a freaking series! Multiple novels! Of varying quality as the series goes on, with a switch from author to another! It seems like the equivalent of someone nominating an entire multi-season run of a TV show when the award is for a single episode.

    1. Yeah, that! And I know it’s influential in the sense that it was a gateway book for many people, but come on… the middle books are not Hugo-worthy surely!?

      1. Given that the series stopped holding enough interest for me as of Book 8, I can’t speak for all of them, but yeah, I largely agree. They’re hugely influential, they were among some of the earliest fantasy novels I read, and they have a place on the shelves of just about every fantasy reader I’ve ever met, but some people treat them like they’re the greatest thing since sliced bread. Maybe they’ve gotten better since I stopped reading them, but even retrospectively they had a lot of issues, and I’m saying that when even I used to think they were the definitive fantasy series.

  2. I was very, very surprised by the final ballot. Some of my noms made the ballot, in categories of short story, editor, artist, semipro Mag, but nothing else.

    I’m a little weirded out by the entire Wheel of Time being on there too. I can completely understand the final novel making the ballot, but the whole thing? just crazy.

    my continual frustration with the Dramatic Short Form is that if you don’t live in the UK or the US (and pay for premium cable channels), you are probably not going to be able to see any of these shows. I can afford an $8 movie ticket (Gravity was AWESOME), but all of those shows played on BBCAmerica or HBO. arrrggg. frustrating.

    1. Yeah, the fact that Short form is so very heavily skewed towards UK/US shows is annoying.

      Here’s another thing I found surprising: No Ken Liu story O.O ;-)

  3. I think you will be pleasantly surprised by “Warbound” it is one of the most racially and culturally diverse casts you will encounter on this years lists of Hugos.

  4. Hey, Love your commentary on all the categories. Mind if I quote you in the upcoming Handicapping the Hugos issue of The Drink Tank?

    Also, as one of the editors of Journey Planet, I hope you might be interested in takin’ a look at what we do. http://journeyplanet.weeby.com, issue’s 15-18 are all 2013.

    Thanks! Great stuff.

    1. Hi Chris and thank you! And no I don’t mind at all, go ahead. I’ll certainly be checking out the Journey Planet issues for 2013 :)

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