2018 Hugo Finalists: Best Fancast

Today I’m looking at the six finalists for Best Fancast in the 2018 Hugo Awards.  Below I’ve linked the podcast’s website (noting which episodes aired in 2017), the hosts’ websites, and the episodes which were featured in their Hugo Voter Packet submissions.

 

The Coode Street Podcast (episodes 295-319) is hosted by Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe.  They are five-time finalists in this category.

  • Episode #305: Kim Stanley Robinson and the Drowning of New York
  • Episode #308: Paul Kincaid, Ken Macleod, and the works of Iain (M) Banks
  • Episode #316: Nnedi Okorafor, Akata Warrior, Binti, and Beyond

 

Ditch Diggers (episodes 35-51) is hosted by Mur Lafferty and Matt Wallace.  They are two-time finalists in this category.

  • Episode #36: Cassandra Khaw and Lack of Self Preservation
  • Episode #38: Tobias Buckell and The Power of No
  • Episode #39: Lexi Alexander and Punching Hollywood. Metaphorically.

 

Fangirl Happy Hour (episodes 68-105) is hosted by Ana Grilo and Renay Williams.  They are two-time finalists in this category.

 

Galactic Suburbia (episodes 159-179) is hosted by Alisa KrasnosteinAlexandra Pierce, and Tansy Rayner Roberts (who is a co-host for fellow finalist Verity! as well).  They are six-time finalists in this category (which has only been around for seven years), and they won in 2015.

  • Episode #167: In which we launch new projects and Discover a new/old love for Star Trek.
  • Episode #168: In which we Continuum all the Continuum!

 

Sword and Laser (episodes 277-313) is hosted by Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt.  They are first-time finalists in this category.

 

Verity! (episodes 127-154, plus frequent Extra! mini-episodes) is hosted by Deborah StanishErika Ensign, Katrina Griffiths, L.M. Myles, Lynne M. Thomas, and Tansy Rayner Roberts (who is also a co-host for fellow finalist Galactic Suburbia).  They are two-time finalists in this category.

 

We have five returning finalists with four repeats from last year and one first-time finalist.  Fangirl Happy Hour was my favorite last year.  (I love that they have transcripts because I have a hard time keeping focused when listening to audio only.)  I enjoyed Galactic Suburbia and Coode Street too.  Ditch Diggers is funny, but I find it a little too writer-centric for me.  I haven’t listened to either Sword and Laser or Verity! before.  Since I’m not normally a podcast listener (my three nominees were all YouTube channels) and I still need to listen to some of this year’s eligible content, I haven’t made any final ballot decisions here yet.  What are your thoughts on these finalists?

2018 Hugo Finalists: Best Professional Artist

Today I’m looking at the six finalists for Best Professional Artist in the 2018 Hugo Awards.  I’ve linked their websites and some examples of their work.

 

Galen Dara has been a finalist in this category three times.  She was also the winner of Best Fan Artist in 2013.  I nominated Dara in this category last year, but this year the work I liked best from her appeared in semiprozines which is actually considered fan art under Hugo rules.

 

Bastien Lecouffe Deharme undoubtedly came to many people’s attention due to some controversial remarks made by Terry Goodkind.  This is his first time as a Hugo Finalist.

 

Kathleen Jennings has won several Ditmar Awards, but this is her first time as a Hugo Finalist.  She often does cut-paper silhouettes as well as pen and ink drawings.

 

Victo Ngai was my only nominee who made the final ballot in this category.  This is her second time as a Hugo Finalist.

 

John Picacio has twelve nominations and two previous wins in this category.   He was also a finalist for Best Related Book in 2007.  He is the Artist Guest of Honor at Worldcon 76 and will host the 2018 Hugo Awards Ceremony.

 

Sana Takeda is the artist for last year’s Hugo Award winning Monstress comic.  The second volume is a finalist for Best Graphic Story this year.  This is her second time as a finalist in this category as well.  I nominated her for pro artist last year, but this year I stuck with just nominating Monstress.

 

We have four repeat artists from last year and two first-time finalists.  Ranking them is extremely difficult due to their wonderfully unique styles.  My favorites are the ones I’ve nominated previously.  Followed by Kathleen Jennings whose classic work I find fascinating.  Bastien Lecouffe Deharme’s pieces are stunning, but they’re not really my taste.  Finally, as impressive as John Picacio’s art always is, I feel like he’s had enough Hugo recognition already.  So here’s how my ballot looks:

  1. Sana Takeda
  2. Victo Ngai
  3. Galen Dara
  4. Kathleen Jennings
  5. Bastien Lecouffe Deharme
  6. John Picacio

What are your thoughts on the pro artist finalists?

2018 Hugo Finalists: Best Editor, Long Form

Here is a guide to some of the work from this year’s six Hugo Finalists for Best Editor, Long Form.  Generally speaking, it is not easy to figure out who has done what in this category.  For each of the following editors, I’ve done my best to determine the novel-length works they edited which appeared during 2017 with links to excerpts where available.  Please leave any corrections or additions in the comments.

Update June 8, 2018:  Now that the Hugo Voter Packet is available, I’ve revised the following lists to reflect the information provided by the finalists themselves.

 

Sheila E. Gilbert is with DAW Books and has won one out of six nominations in this category.  As Seanan McGuire’s editor, she worked on Magic for Nothing, book six of the InCrypted series (one of this year’s Best Series finalists), and The Brightest Fell, book eleven of the October Daye series (one of last year’s Best Series finalists).  For those of us not caught up on series, here are the stand-alone or first-in-series books that Gilbert published in 2017:

 

Joe Monti is with Saga Press, and this is his first Hugo nomination.  Here are the 2017 novels which Monti edited:

 

Diana M. Pho is with Tor Books, and this is her first Hugo nomination.  I know exactly what 2017 books she edited because she did an eligibility post!  Here are the stand-alone or first-in-series books mentioned:

 

Devi Pillai moved from Orbit Books to Tor Books in 2016, and this is her second nomination in this category.  Here are the 2017 books which Pillai edited:

 

Miriam Weinberg is with Tor Books, and this is her second nomination in this category.  Among the 2017 books that she edited was Within the Sanctuary of Wings by Marie Brennan, the fifth and final book in one of this year’s Best Series Finalists, The Memoirs of Lady Trent.  With the exception of The Tiger’s Daughter by K Arsenault Rivera, the remaining books edited by Weinberg are also later books in series:

 

Navah Wolfe is with Saga Press, and this is her second nomination in this category.  Here are the 2017 stand-alone or first-in-series books Wolfe edited:

 

Four out of six here are repeat finalists from last year along with two first-time finalists.  Devi Pillai was my one nominee who made the final ballot in this category.  (Although now I’m questioning whether she actually has the requisite four novels published during 2017.)  I will definitely need to find out more and at least read some excerpts before making any decisions here.  What are your thoughts on these finalists?

2018 Hugo Finalists: Best Editor, Short Form

Here is a guide to the work of this year’s six Hugo Finalists for Best Editor, Short Form.  Wherever possible, I’ve added links to full text, excerpts, or more details on the short fiction they edited during 2017.  Please let me know if you have any additional information or corrections.

 

John Joseph Adams has been a finalist in this category seven times.  As editor of Lightspeed Magazine, he has won two out of five nominations for Best Semiprozine.  (Lightspeed is now a professional magazine and no longer qualifies as a semiprozine.)  Adams edited the following magazines and anthologies last year:

 

Neil Clarke has been a finalist in this category six times.  As editor of Clarkesworld Magazine, he has won three out of four nominations for Best Semiprozine.  (Clarkesworld has also graduated from semi-pro to pro and no longer qualifies in that category.)  Two novelettes from Clarkesworld“The Secret Life of Bots” by Suzanne Palmer and “A Series of Steaks” by Vina Jie-Min Prasad, are Hugo finalists this year.  Clarke edited the following magazines and anthologies last year:

 

Lee Harris was a 2014 finalist for Best Editor, Long Form.  This is his first time as finalist in this category.  He edited three of the Best Novella finalists:  All Systems Red by Martha Wells (Murderbot Diaries #1), Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor (Binti #2), and Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire (Wayward Children #2).  Harris also edited the following short fiction from Tor.com last year:

 

Jonathan Strahan has been a finalist in this category nine times.  As co-host of The Coode Street Podcast, he has also been nominated five times for Best Fancast.  One of the novelettes he edited for Tor.com, “Extracurricular Activities” by Yoon Ha Lee (The Machineries of Empire), is a Hugo finalist this year.  Strahan also edited the following anthologies from Solaris and short fiction from Tor.com last year:

 

Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas are two-time finalists in this category.  As co-editors of Uncanny Magazine, they are also finalists for Best Semiprozine this year and the winners of that category for the previous two years.  As former editors of Apex Magazine, Lynne has three additional nominations for Best Semiprozine, and Michael has two.  Lynne has also won one of two nominations for co-editing Best Related Work finalists, won twice in Best Fancast as a moderator of SF Squeecast, and additionally been a finalist in Best Fancast both this year and in 2014 as a contributor to the Verity! Podcast.  Michael was also a co-editor of another Best Related Work finalist.  The following six stories from Uncanny Magazine are Hugo finalists this year:

 

Sheila Williams became the editor of Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine in 2004 and has won two of eleven nominations in this category.  She was also a one-time finalist for Best Professional Editor just before the category was split into Long Form and Short Form.  One of Asimov’s novelettes, “Wind Will Rove” by Sarah Pinsker, is a Hugo Finalist this year.  Some of Asimov’s other notable stories from last year are currently available at the following links:

 

I imagine I will probably rank Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas first since they were my only nominees which made the finalist list in this category.  I’m a regular reader of both Lightspeed and Clarkesworld so John Joseph Adams and Neil Clark will probably be second and third.  I nominated stories edited by Lee Harris and Sheila Williams and enjoyed most of the online Tor.com stories edited by Jonathan Strahan, but I really need to read more before making my final decisions.  What are your thoughts on these finalists?

2018 Hugo Awards: Not a Hugos

There are two other non-Hugo awards included on the Hugo Ballot.  They are nominated and voted on by the same people, they are awarded at the Hugo Ceremony, but the recipients don’t take home a shiny rocket trophy.

 

Appearing for the first time this year is the Award for Best Young Adult Book:

A book published for young adult readers in the field of science fiction or fantasy appearing for the first time during 2017.

Attempts to create a Young Adult Hugo were unsuccessful for many years because it really wasn’t compatible with the other word-count based fiction categories.  Finally, they decided to create a seperate award administered with the Hugos, but not a Hugo itself.  Therefore, becoming a finalist for this award does not prevent a work from being eligible for the Hugo category its word-count would qualify it for.

The name Lodestar is up for ratification at this year’s Business Meeting.  If approved, it would go into effect for 2019.  However, a proposal to name it after Ursula K. Le Guin instead is also going to be brought up at that time.  Online reaction doesn’t look good for this.  But if those in attendance at the Business Meeting do decide to change the name to this or something else altogether, it would undoubtedly cause the award to remain nameless for another year until the new one is ratified.

While I can appreciate the desire to honor Le Guin, I think an award for women writers and/or feminist writing would be more applicable to her legacy.  Also, I feel it is disrespectful to everyone involved in the long and careful process that went into selecting the Lodestar name to suggest a change at this late date.  At the same time, this seems like a rush to name something after her now that she’s no longer with us.

I had several things lined up to read for this category, but just didn’t get to them in time to nominate anything.  I look forward to seeing what does make the finalist list.

 

The other non-Hugo category is the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer:

A writer whose first work of science fiction or fantasy appeared in a professional publication during 2016 or 2017.

This award is sponsored by Dell Magazines, publisher of Analog, and named in memory of the magazine’s long-time, influential editor.  Originally presented in 1973, one of the finalists who lost to Jerry Pournelle that first year was a young George R. R. Martin.

Again I didn’t get to everything I had planned to look at for this, but I was able to find new writers to nominate from works I’d already read.  There is a page at the Writertopia.org site which maintains a list of eligible writers.  And Rocket Stack Rank also makes note of eligible short fiction writers.  Here are the authors I nominated with at least one of the works which I read by them:

 


Today’s the day we find out who this year’s finalists are!  Live announcements are taking place at 3 pm EDT (UTC−04:00), and a video announcement will be posted at Worldcon76.org approximately one hour later.

2018 Hugo Awards: Fan Categories

The Hugo Award for Best Fanzine was first awarded in 1955, making it the oldest of the current fan categories, and given every year since with the mysterious exception of 1958 (categories were more or less in flux in those early years).

Best Fanzine:

Any generally available non-professional periodical publication devoted to science fiction, fantasy, or related subjects that by the close of 2017 has published four (4) or more issues (or the equivalent in other media), at least one (1) of which appeared in 2017, that does not qualify as a semiprozine or a fancast, and that in 2017 met neither of the following criteria:

  1. paid its contributors and/or staff in other than copies of the publication,
  2. was generally available only for paid purchase.

In spite of some resistance, in recent years many nominators include regularly updated websites or blogs, rather than just traditional zines or e-zines, in their interpretation of this category.  Of course, blogs are now getting supplanted by social media so who knows where this category will go in the future.  I nominated my five favorite go-to online resources:

 

In 2011, a podcast won Best Fanzine, and a proposal to create a new category for audio or video fan productions was approved.  Best Fancast was first presented in 2012 and ratified to continue for at least four more years.  In 2016, it was re-ratified to become an ongoing category.

Best Fancast:

Any generally available non-professional audio or video periodical devoted to science fiction, fantasy, or related subjects that by the close of 2017 has released four (4) or more episodes, at least one (1) of which appeared in 2017, and that does not qualify as a dramatic presentation.

While I enjoy listening to the occasional episode, I haven’t managed to become a regular follower of any podcasts.  However, a few years ago I discovered Booktube, a community of YouTube channels which are primarily devoted to reading-related videos.  I nominated my three favorite that focus on SFF:

 

In 1967 two more fan categories were added for writers and artists (see my previous post on the artist categories).

Best Fan Writer:

Any person whose writing has appeared in semiprozines, fanzines, or in generally available electronic media during 2017.

Here’s who I nominated with links to their blogs (a couple repeats from fanzine above):

I would have included last year’s winner Abigail Nussbaum, but she stated that she didn’t want to accept a repeat finalist spot this year.  I’m not sure who I would have left off in her place though.

 

What do you think about the fan categories?  Who and what are you a fan of?

2018 Hugo Awards: Best Semiprozine

The Hugo Award for Best Semiprozine was split off from Fanzine in 1984 in order to limit that category to true fan publications.  (The former Professional Magazine category had been replaced by Best Editor in 1973.)

Best Semiprozine:

Any generally available non-professional periodical publication devoted to science fiction, fantasy, or related subjects which by the close of 2017 has published four (4) or more issues (or the equivalent in other media), at least one (1) of which appeared in 2017, which does not qualify as a fancast, and which in 2017 has met at least one (1) of the following criteria:

  1. paid its contributors and/or staff in other than copies of the publication,
  2. was generally available only for paid purchase.

In 2008 a motion to eliminate the category was passed on for ratification at the next Business Meeting.  However, the proposal was not ratified in 2009 so the category was kept.  At the 2012 Business Meeting, additional changes were ratified to better differentiate between professional publication, Semiprozine, Fanzine, and the newly created Fancast category.  The distinctions are still not necessarily clear to the average nominator, but a directory of eligible candidates is maintained at Semiprozine.org.

Out of the magazines that I regularly read, I nominated the four that qualify as semiprozines:

 

I would like to see this category opened up to include professional magazines as well. Eliminating the division between semi-pro and pro, but still leaving fanzines separate.  As a reader, there’s no obvious difference, and I believe they could absolutely compete with one another.  Of course, that would have a lot of knock-on effects.

There’s already a fair amount of overlap between this category and Best Editor, Short Form.  Including pro mags would almost complete the redundancy and make it entirely too likely for someone to win two Hugos for the same thing.  But eliminating Short Form Editor would leave short fiction editors who don’t have magazines out in the cold.  And it would be odd to have a Long Form Editor category without the Short Form.  You would also need to reword the Fan Writer and Fan Artist categories as they both include “semiprozine” in their descriptions.

Kevin Standlee blogged about this a few years ago and suggested adding Best Publisher and Best Anthology or Collection in place of the editor categories.  It would be strange to award their employer rather than the editors themselves, but a heck of a lot easier to determine who’s eligible and what they’ve done.  And I would definitely need to up my anthology and collection reading if I wanted to nominate in that category.  I do hope something along these lines gets proposed because I would really like to see what people think and how it might be hashed out.  Terrible idea or one whose time has come?

2018 Hugo Awards: Artist Categories

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  Hugo nominations closed yesterday, but I’ll continue with my thoughts on the remaining categories.


There has been some sort of Best Artist category since the beginning of the Hugos.  Although in the initial year of 1953,  both Interior Illustrator and Cover Artist awards were given.  During the 1990’s, awards were also given for Best Original Artwork.

 

Best Professional Artist:

An illustrator whose work has appeared in a professional publication in the field of science fiction or fantasy during 2017.

I try to keep track of impressive artwork I come across in my reading during the year, but Rocket Stack Rank’s page for 2018 Professional Artists was a big help in jogging my memory.  Here are my choices with links to their websites and the example I included on my ballot:

Here are some other artists from my long list with examples from 2017:

 

Since 1967, there has also been an award for Best Fan Artist:

An artist or cartoonist whose work has appeared through publication in fanzines, semiprozines, or through any other public non-professional display (including at conventions) during 2017.

For this category, I already had one artist in mind, I found two more at the Hugo Award Eligible Art(ists) tumblr, and another two at the Hugo Nominees 2018 Wiki.  Here are my picks with some of my favorite examples of their work:

There were a few artists whose work I liked from 2017 technically puts them in this category because it was published in semiprozines.  But for the most part, I decided to relegate this less “fannish” work to my long list:

 

The Hugo Awards Study Committee formed at last year’s Business Meeting was actually expanded from an initial resolution for a committee to look at the artist categories.  The Hugo Administrator Decisions Report, available as a PDF from the 2017 Hugo Awards page, clearly shows that voters are struggling with the definitions of these awards.  Four artists (two in each category) who qualified for the final ballot were ruled ineligible.  Two artists (one in each category) who made the final ballot nearly qualified as finalists in the other category.

One issue is that the pro category specifies illustrator, thereby excluding the sculptor who would otherwise have made the ballot last year.  Whereas, the fan category allows other types of artists.  Indeed, five-time finalist Spring Schoenhuth creates SFF-related jewelry.  I think we need to be consistent in the type of art allowed across both categories.

However, another problem is defining what is considered professional versus fan art.  I think work for semiprozines is for all intents and purposes professional.  In fact, I’d like to get rid of the weird semiprozine beast altogether and open that category to any magazine that’s not a fanzine.

Another way to go would be honoring specific individual works instead of the artists themselves.  Although I believe that the former Best Original Artwork category was discontinued for lack of voter participation.

[3/23/2018 ETA:  In a comment over at File 770, someone mentioned that they consider cover art (and interior illustration) for the pro artist category and all other sff-related art for the fan artist category regardless of the artists’ pro or fan status.  And someone else responded that they felt that was the actual intention for the categories.  That works for me, but they’d need to adjust the titles and definitions to make it clear.]

 

Who are your favorite artists?  And how do you think these categories should be defined?

2018 Hugo Awards: Best Editor

The Hugo Award for Best Professional Editor was first award in 1973 when it replaced the Best Professional Magazine category.  In 2007 it was split into Short Form (editors of short fiction) and Long Form (editors of novels).

 

Best Editor, Short Form:

The editor of at least four (4) anthologies, collections, or magazine issues (or their equivalent in other media) primarily devoted to science fiction and/or fantasy, at least one of which was published in 2017.

I did some number crunching on the editors from the magazines I read last year to find out which had the highest percentage of stories I liked and the lowest percentage I disliked.

 

Best Editor, Long Form:

The editor of at least four (4) novel-length works primarily devoted to science fiction and/or fantasy, published in 2017 that do not qualify as works under Best Editor, Short Form.

For this category, I simply figured out the editors of my Best Novel choices and nominated them.

  • Jennifer Hershey
  • Will Hinton
  • Brit Hvide
  • Sean McDonald
  • Devi Pellai

 

A few years back, Kevin Standlee blogged about an idea for removing the editor categories and semiprozine and proposing three related but easier to vote on categories of publisher, anthology/collection, and professional magazine (including both pro and semi-pro, not fanzine).  However, the timing hasn’t been right to actually bring this to the Business Meeting since then.  Perhaps this will be the year since Kevin is one of the members of the Hugo Award Study Committee which will be offering suggestions.

I think I could get behind those changes.  It’s much simpler to find out who published what books as opposed to who edited them.  [ETA:  I see they very briefly had a Best SF Book Publisher category in 1964 and 1965.]  I don’t read too many anthologies or collections currently, but professional magazine would essentially be the same for me as short form editor.  What are your thoughts?

2018 Hugo Awards: Best Dramatic Presentation

The Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation was first presented in 1958.  Beginning in 2003, it was split into Long Form (more than 90 minutes) and Short Form (90 minutes or less).

At last year’s Business Meeting, there was a proposal to split these categories into four categories:  Long Form, Episodic Form, Short Form, and Series.  (See section D.8 of the meeting minutes archived at WSFS.org for details.)  It was referred to a committee which will be looking over all the Hugo categories.  As with similar proposals for Best Novel and Best Related Work, I’d like to see categories clarified and changed rather than adding more.

 

The first of the two existing categories is Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form:

Any theatrical feature or other production, with a complete running time of more than 90 minutes, in any medium of dramatized science fiction, fantasy, or related subjects that has been publicly presented for the first time in its present dramatic form during 2017.

 

So far I have the following two movies on my ballot:

  • Blade Runner 2049
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi

 

I’m hoping to look at a few more things before the ballots are due:

  • Get Out, Logan, and Wonder Woman, three of the finalists for The Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation (presented at the Nebula Awards), are all available on HBO right now.  [Update 3/12/18: added Wonder Woman to my ballot.]
  • Beauty and the Beast and Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 are both available on Netflix.  [Update 3/10/18: added Beauty and the Beast to my ballot.]
  • A 2016 Japanese anime called your name. (Kimi no Na wa.) was not generally released for U.S. or English-language viewing until after last year’s nominations were closed.   Therefore, the 2017 Business Meeting accepted a proposal to extend its eligibility for this year.  It’s now available to rent for online streaming.
  • Coco, Oscar winner for Animated Feature Film, is also available to rent for online streaming.
  • The Shape of Water, Oscar winner for Best Picture and Ray Bradbury Award finalist, will be available for rent on March 13.  [Updated 3/13/18: added to my ballot.]

Any other must-sees that I should squeeze in?

 

The other current category is Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form:

Any television program or other production, with a complete running time of 90 minutes or less, in any medium of dramatized science fiction, fantasy, or related subjects that has been publicly presented for the first time in its present dramatic form during 2017.

 

My dance card is almost full for this category:

  • Doctor Who, “Twice Upon a Time” (2017 Christmas Special)
  • Game of Thrones, “The Dragon and the Wolf” (Season 7, Episode 7)
  • The Magicians, “Lesser Evils” (Season 2, Episode 9)
  • Orphan Black, “To Right the Wrongs of Many” (Season 5, Episode 10)

Right now I have two more episodes of The Expanse to watch, and I’m pretty certain one of the season’s episodes will capture that last slot.  [Update 3/8/18: Added The Expanse, “Caliban’s War” (Season 2, Episode 13) to my ballot.]

 

There are so many other shows I’d like to eventually check out or catch up on:

  • American Gods (Starz)
  • Black Mirror (Netflix)
  • The Good Place (NBC)
  • The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)
  • Outlander (Starz)
  • Stranger Things (Netflix)

Anything else I’m forgetting?  Maybe I’ll get to it before next year!