2019 Hugo Award Finalists

The finalists for the 2019 Hugo Awards, the Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book, and the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer were announced last week.  The winners will be presented on August 18th at Dublin 2019: An Irish Worldcon.

Best Novel

  • The Calculating Stars, by Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor)
  • Record of a Spaceborn Few, by Becky Chambers (Hodder & Stoughton / Harper Voyager)
  • Revenant Gun, by Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris)
  • Space Opera, by Catherynne M. Valente (Saga)
  • Spinning Silver, by Naomi Novik (Del Rey / Macmillan)
  • Trail of Lightning, by Rebecca Roanhorse (Saga)

Four of the novels are my own nominees, and I had already planned to read the books by Becky Chambers and Catherynne M. Valente.  The Calculating Stars and Trail of Lightning are first in series.  Valente recently revealed that there will be a sequel to Space Opera called Space Oddity.  Spinning Silver is in a similar vein to Naomi Novik’s previous novel Uprooted, but it isn’t actually connected in any way.

Record of a Spaceborn Few and Revenant Gun are both the third books in their respective series.  I’ve heard that all three of Chambers’ Wayfarers books can be read independently.  I know I read the second on its own without feeling lost.  Revenant Gun, on the other hand, definitely depends on reading the first two.  Although since they were previous finalists, those who have been voting in the Hugos for the past couple years have likely read them already.

Best Novella

  • Artificial Condition, by Martha Wells (Tor.com Publishing)
  • Beneath the Sugar Sky, by Seanan McGuire (Tor.com Publishing)
  • Binti: The Night Masquerade, by Nnedi Okorafor (Tor.com Publishing)
  • The Black God’s Drums, by P. Djèlí Clark (Tor.com Publishing)
  • Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach, by Kelly Robson (Tor.com Publishing)
  • The Tea Master and the Detective, by Aliette de Bodard (Subterranean Press / JABberwocky Literary Agency)

My nominees included the novellas by Seanan McGuire, Kelly Robson, and Aliette de Bodard.  I only just read Artificial Condition after nominations closed.  If I had read it beforehand, I probably would have nominated it.  I definitely considered nominating The Black God’s Drums.  For now, I believe it’s the only one here that isn’t part of a series, though I wouldn’t mind reading more about this world.

All three Binti novellas have now been finalists with the first one winning the trophy.  That one stood alone, but neither Binti: Home nor this one can be read on its own.  They now seem more like a three-part serialized novel.  Artificial ConditionBeneath the Sugar Sky, and The Tea Master and the Detective are all also part of series.  I feel they could each be read on their own, but you’ll get more out of them if you’re already familiar with their settings.  Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach is set in the same universe as some of Robson’s other stories but introduces us to previously unseen characters and places.  However, the abrupt ending certainly makes me hope it’s the start of a longer story.

Best Novelette

Out of these, Simone Heller’s novelette was my nominee.  As with Artificial Condition in novella, I didn’t read The Only Harmless Great Thing until after nominations closed, or I probably would have nominated it too.  Any of the rest would have been good choices as well.

Best Short Story

Here I nominated Alix E. Harrow’s story, and the only one I haven’t read yet is “STET” by Sarah Gailey.  The stories by T. Kingfisher and Brooke Bolander are both extremely fun, and the remaining two are also really good.

Best Series

  • The Centenal Cycle, by Malka Older (Tor.com Publishing)
  • The Laundry Files, by Charles Stross (most recently Tor.com Publishing and Tor/Orbit)
  • Machineries of Empire, by Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris)
  • The October Daye Series, by Seanan McGuire (most recently DAW)
  • The Universe of Xuya, by Aliette de Bodard (most recently Subterranean Press)
  • Wayfarers, by Becky Chambers (Hodder & Stoughton / Harper Voyager)

My own nominees included Machineries of Empire and The Universe of Xuya.  I’ve read at least one work from each of the others and have been meaning to continue with them.  I haven’t actually read everything from Aliette de Bodard’s series either. With nothing longer than a novella so far, I believe the Xuya stories can be read independently and in any order.  Published in quite a few different magazines and anthologies over the years, it would be difficult to find all of them at this point.  I look forward to seeing if any of those I’ve missed might be included in the voters packet.

Best Related Work

  • Archive of Our Own, a project of the Organization for Transformative Works
  • Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction, by Alec Nevala-Lee (Dey Street Books)
  • The Hobbit Duology (documentary in three parts), written and edited by Lindsay Ellis and Angelina Meehan (YouTube: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3)
  • An Informal History of the Hugos: A Personal Look Back at the Hugo Awards, 1953-2000, by Jo Walton (Tor)
  • www.mexicanxinitiative.com: The Mexicanx Initiative Experience at Worldcon 76 (Julia Rios, Libia Brenda, Pablo Defendini, John Picacio)
  • Ursula K. Le Guin: Conversations on Writing, by Ursula K. Le Guin with David Naimon (Tin House Books)

Here my nominees included Astounding and An Informal History of the Hugos.  I haven’t read the Ursula K. Le Guin book yet, and I hadn’t heard of the The Hobbit Duology before now.  I knew about The Mexicanx Initiative, but I’m not sure how to evaluate the whole campaign as a related work.  I was also aware that people have been trying to get the Archive of Our Own project nominated for a while now.  However, I don’t really understand how to look at the current 2019 website, the culmination of a decade of development, and consider it as a 2018 work.  Hopefully what they put together for the voters packet will help clarify things for me.

Best Graphic Story

  • Abbott, written by Saladin Ahmed, art by Sami Kivelä, colours by Jason Wordie, letters by Jim Campbell (BOOM! Studios)
  • Black Panther: Long Live the King, written by Nnedi Okorafor and Aaron Covington, art by André Lima Araújo, Mario Del Pennino and Tana Ford (Marvel)
  • Monstress, Volume 3: Haven, written by Marjorie Liu, art by Sana Takeda (Image Comics)
  • On a Sunbeam, by Tillie Walden (First Second)
  • Paper Girls, Volume 4, written by Brian K. Vaughan, art by Cliff Chiang, colours by Matt Wilson, letters by Jared K. Fletcher (Image Comics)
  • Saga, Volume 9, written by Brian K. Vaughan, art by Fiona Staples (Image Comics)

AbbottMonstressPaper Girls, and Saga were my own nominees.  I have the remaining two on hold from the library.

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

  • Annihilation, directed and written for the screen by Alex Garland, based on the novel by Jeff VanderMeer (Paramount Pictures / Skydance)
  • Avengers: Infinity War, screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo (Marvel Studios)
  • Black Panther, written by Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole, directed by Ryan Coogler (Marvel Studios)
  • A Quiet Place, screenplay by Scott Beck, John Krasinski and Bryan Woods, directed by John Krasinski (Platinum Dunes / Sunday Night)
  • Sorry to Bother You, written and directed by Boots Riley (Annapurna Pictures)
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, screenplay by Phil Lord and Rodney Rothman, directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman (Sony)

Here’s where my streak of having at least one of my own nominees in each category is broken.  In fact, I haven’t even seen any of these yet!

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

  • The Expanse: “Abaddon’s Gate,” written by Daniel Abraham, Ty Franck and Naren Shankar, directed by Simon Cellan Jones (Penguin in a Parka / Alcon Entertainment)
  • Doctor Who: “Demons of the Punjab,” written by Vinay Patel, directed by Jamie Childs (BBC)
  • Dirty Computer, written by Janelle Monáe and Chuck Lightning, directed by Andrew Donoho and Chuck Lightning (Wondaland Arts Society / Bad Boy Records / Atlantic Records)
  • The Good Place: “Janet(s),” written by Josh Siegal & Dylan Morgan, directed by Morgan Sackett (NBC)
  • The Good Place: “Jeremy Bearimy,” written by Megan Amram, directed by Trent O’Donnell (NBC)
  • Doctor Who: “Rosa,” written by Malorie Blackman and Chris Chibnall, directed by Mark Tonderai (BBC)

In contrast to DP Long Form, I’ve seen all of these.  The Expanse episode, Dirty Computer, and “Janets(s)” from The Good Place were my own nominees.  I nominated the Thirteenth Doctor’s first episode, “The Woman Who Fell to Earth,” rather than one of these two.

Best Professional Editor, Short Form

  • Neil Clarke
  • Gardner Dozois
  • Lee Harris
  • Julia Rios
  • Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas
  • E. Catherine Tobler

Here my nominees included Neil Clarke and Gardner Dozois.  Julia Rios, editor of Fireside, E. Catherine Tobler, editor of Shimmer, and the Thomases, editors of Uncanny, are all also finalists for semiprozine.

Best Professional Editor, Long Form

  • Sheila E. Gilbert
  • Anne Lesley Groell
  • Beth Meacham
  • Diana Pho
  • Gillian Redfearn
  • Navah Wolfe

I usually nominate the editors of my best novel picks here.  This year I added the additional caveat of confirming that they had at least the requisite four novel-length works.  Out of all the editors of my novel and YA Book nominees, Anne Lesley Groell was the only one that I could definitely determine had cleared that bar.  She was my sole nominee in this category.

Best Professional Artist

  • Galen Dara
  • Jaime Jones
  • Victo Ngai
  • John Picacio
  • Yuko Shimizu
  • Charles Vess

For this category, I’m pleased to see first-time finalists Jaime Jones, Yuko Shimizu, and Charles Vess.  I’m especially thrilled about Charles Vess.  He was my own nominee, and he’s long overdue for Hugo recognition.

Best Semiprozine

  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies, editor-in-chief and publisher Scott H. Andrews
  • Fireside Magazine, edited by Julia Rios, managing editor Elsa Sjunneson-Henry, copyeditor Chelle Parker; social coordinator Meg Frank, special features editor Tanya DePass, founding editor Brian White, publisher and art director Pablo Defendini
  • FIYAH Magazine of Black Speculative Fiction, executive editors Troy L. Wiggins and DaVaun Sanders, editors L.D. Lewis, Brandon O’Brien, Kaleb Russell, Danny Lore, and Brent Lambert
  • Shimmer, publisher Beth Wodzinski, senior editor E. Catherine Tobler
  • Strange Horizons, edited by Jane Crowley, Kate Dollarhyde, Vanessa Rose Phin, Vajra Chandrasekera, Romie Stott, Maureen Kincaid Speller, and the Strange Horizons Staff
  • Uncanny Magazine, publishers/editors-in-chief Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas, managing editor Michi Trota, podcast producers Erika Ensign and Steven Schapansky, Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction Special Issue editors-in-chief Elsa Sjunneson-Henry and Dominik Parisien

Here I nominated the three semiprozines that I subscribe to and read regularly:  Beneath Ceaseless SkiesStrange Horizons, and Uncanny Magazine.

Best Fanzine

Three of my nominees made the ballot here:  nerds of a featherQuick Sip Reviews, and Rocket Stack Rank.  For this category, Quick Sip Reviews is the only newcomer.

Best Fancast

I don’t usually listen to podcasts, and none of my BookTube nominees made the ballot.  Last year one of them did make the longlist.  Hopefully they’ll break through to the shortlist in the next year or two.

Best Fan Writer

  • Foz Meadows
  • James Davis Nicoll
  • Charles Payseur
  • Elsa Sjunneson-Henry
  • Alasdair Stuart
  • Bogi Takács

My nominees for this category included Charles Payseur.  Elsa Sjunneson-Henry and Alasdair Stuart are names we haven’t seen on the ballot before.

Best Fan Artist

  • Sara Felix
  • Grace P. Fong
  • Meg Frank
  • Ariela Housman
  • Likhain (Mia Sereno)
  • Spring Schoenhuth

Sara Felix, Meg Frank, and my own nominee, Ariela Housman, are all first-time finalists.

Best Art Book

  • The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition, illustrated by Charles Vess, written by Ursula K. Le Guin (Saga Press /Gollancz)
  • Daydreamer’s Journey: The Art of Julie Dillon, by Julie Dillon (self-published)
  • Dungeons & Dragons Art & Arcana: A Visual History, by Michael Witwer, Kyle Newman, Jon Peterson, Sam Witwer (Ten Speed Press)
  • Spectrum 25: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art, ed. John Fleskes (Flesk Publications)
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – The Art of the Movie, by Ramin Zahed (Titan Books)
  • Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth, ed. Catherine McIlwaine (Bodleian Library)

Each Worldcon is allowed to create a special Hugo category in addition to the regular ongoing categories.  This is what Dublin 2019 has chosen to do.  My nominees included The Books of Earthsea and Spectrum 25.

The following awards are determined by the same process and are presented along with the Hugos, but their winners received something other than a shiny rocket.

John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer

  • Katherine Arden
  • S.A. Chakraborty
  • R.F. Kuang
  • Jeannette Ng
  • Vina Jie-Min Prasad
  • Rivers Solomon

All but S.A. Chakraborty and R.F Kuang are returning finalists from last year, and only R.F. Kuang is in her first year of eligibility for this award.  I nominated Katherine Arden.

Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book

  • The Belles, by Dhonielle Clayton (Freeform / Gollancz)
  • Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi Adeyemi (Henry Holt / Macmillan Children’s Books)
  • The Cruel Prince, by Holly Black (Little, Brown / Hot Key Books)
  • Dread Nation, by Justina Ireland (Balzer + Bray)
  • The Invasion, by Peadar O’Guilin (David Fickling Books / Scholastic)
  • Tess of the Road, by Rachel Hartman (Random House / Penguin Teen)

The first four are the first book in a series.  The Invasion is the second book in a duology, the sequel to The Call.  Tess of the Road is set in the same world as Rachel Hartman’s previous books Seraphina and Shadow Scale, but I’ve heard that you can start with this one.  I nominated The BellesChildren of Blood and Bone, and Dread Nation.


With at least one of my nominees in all but two categories, I’m pretty happy with the outcome of the nomination phase.  What are your thoughts on the finalists?  Did your favorites make the list?

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