2019 Hugo Awards: My Final Ballot

The Hugo Awards Ceremony will take place on August 18th at 8 pm IST (UTC +1) in Dublin, Ireland.  Live video streaming will be available on Vimeo.  Live text coverage will be provided at the Hugo Awards website.  (I believe both will still be available after the live event as well.)  I may continue to blog about the individual categories, but I’ll post my full ballot now to keep myself honest!

Best Novel

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

Best Novella

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

Best Novelette

  1. “When We Were Starless,” by Simone Heller (Clarkesworld 145, October 2018)
  2. The Only Harmless Great Thing, by Brooke Bolander (Tor.com Publishing)
  3. “The Thing About Ghost Stories,” by Naomi Kritzer (Uncanny Magazine 25, November-December 2018)
  4. “If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again,” by Zen Cho (B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog, 29 November 2018)
  5. “Nine Last Days on Planet Earth,” by Daryl Gregory (Tor.com, 19 September 2018)
  6. “The Last Banquet of Temporal Confections,” by Tina Connolly (Tor.com, 11 July 2018)

Best Short Story

  1. “A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies,” by Alix E. Harrow (Apex Magazine, February 2018)
  2. “The Tale of the Three Beautiful Raptor Sisters, and the Prince Who Was Made of Meat,” by Brooke Bolander (Uncanny Magazine 23, July-August 2018)
  3. “The Rose MacGregor Drinking and Admiration Society,” by T. Kingfisher (Uncanny Magazine 25, November-December 2018)
  4. “The Court Magician,” by Sarah Pinsker (Lightspeed, January 2018)
  5. “The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington,” by P. Djèlí Clark (Fireside Magazine, February 2018)
  6. “STET,” by Sarah Gailey (Fireside Magazine, October 2018)

Best Series

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

Best Related Work

  1. An Informal History of the Hugos: A Personal Look Back at the Hugo Awards, 1953-2000, by Jo Walton (Tor)
  2. 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)
  3. Ursula K. Le Guin: Conversations on Writing, by Ursula K. Le Guin with David Naimon (Tin House Books)
  4. The Hobbit Duology (documentary in three parts), written and edited by Lindsay Ellis and Angelina Meehan (YouTube)
  5. The Mexicanx Initiative Experience at Worldcon 76 (Julia Rios, Libia Brenda, Pablo Defendini, John Picacio)
  6. Archive of Our Own, a project of the Organization for Transformative Works

Best Graphic Story

  1. Monstress, Volume 3: Haven, written by Marjorie Liu, art by Sana Takeda (Image Comics)
  2. Saga, Volume 9, written by Brian K. Vaughan, art by Fiona Staples (Image Comics)
  3. Paper Girls, Volume 4, written by Brian K. Vaughan, art by Cliff Chiang, colours by Matt Wilson, letters by Jared K. Fletcher (Image Comics)
  4. On a Sunbeam, by Tillie Walden (First Second)
  5. Abbott, written by Saladin Ahmed, art by Sami Kivelä, colours by Jason Wordie, letters by Jim Campbell (BOOM! Studios)
  6. 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)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

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

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

  1. 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)
  2. Dirty Computer, written by Janelle Monáe and Chuck Lightning, directed by Andrew Donoho and Chuck Lightning (Wondaland Arts Society / Bad Boy Records / Atlantic Records)
  3. The Good Place: “Janet(s),” written by Josh Siegal & Dylan Morgan, directed by Morgan Sackett (NBC)
  4. Doctor Who: “Demons of the Punjab,” written by Vinay Patel, directed by Jamie Childs (BBC)
  5. Doctor Who: “Rosa,” written by Malorie Blackman and Chris Chibnall, directed by Mark Tonderai (BBC)
  6. The Good Place: “Jeremy Bearimy,” written by Megan Amram, directed by Trent O’Donnell (NBC)

Best Professional Editor, Short Form

  1. Lee Harris
  2. Gardner Dozois
  3. Julia Rios
  4. E. Catherine Tobler
  5. Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas
  6. Neil Clarke

Best Professional Editor, Long Form

  1. Anne Lesley Groell
  2. Diana Pho
  3. Navah Wolfe
  4. Gillian Redfearn
  5. Sheila E. Gilbert
  6. Beth Meacham

Best Professional Artist

  1. Charles Vess
  2. Jaime Jones
  3. Galen Dara
  4. Victo Ngai
  5. Yuko Shimizu
  6. John Picacio

Best Semiprozine

  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. Shimmer, publisher Beth Wodzinski, senior editor E. Catherine Tobler
  4. 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
  5. Beneath Ceaseless Skies, editor-in-chief and publisher Scott H. Andrews
  6. Strange Horizons, edited by Jane Crowley, Kate Dollarhyde, Vanessa Rose Phin, Vajra Chandrasekera, Romie Stott, Maureen Kincaid Speller, and the Strange Horizons Staff

Best Fanzine

  1. nerds of a feather, flock together, editors Joe Sherry, Vance Kotrla and The G
  2. Rocket Stack Rank, editors Greg Hullender and Eric Wong
  3. Quick Sip Reviews, editor Charles Payseur
  4. Lady Business, editors Ira, Jodie, KJ, Renay & Susan
  5. Journey Planet, edited by Team Journey Planet
  6. Galactic Journey, founder Gideon Marcus, editor Janice Marcus

Best Fancast

  1. Be the Serpent, presented by Alexandra Rowland, Freya Marske and Jennifer Mace
  2. Our Opinions Are Correct, hosted by Annalee Newitz and Charlie Jane Anders
  3. Galactic Suburbia, hosted by Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce, and Tansy Rayner Roberts, produced by Andrew Finch
  4. Fangirl Happy Hour, hosted by Ana Grilo and Renay Williams
  5. The Coode Street Podcast, presented by Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe
  6. The Skiffy and Fanty Show</em>, produced by Jen Zink and Shaun Duke; hosted by Jen Zink, Shaun Duke, Paul Weimer, Alex Acks, Elizabeth Fitzgerald, Trish Matson, and team

Best Fan Writer

  1. Foz Meadows
  2. Charles Payseur
  3. James Davis Nicoll
  4. Bogi Takács
  5. Elsa Sjunneson-Henry
  6. Alasdair Stuart

Best Fan Artist

  1. Grace P. Fong
  2. Likhain (Mia Sereno)
  3. Ariela Housman
  4. Spring Schoenhuth
  5. Sara Felix
  6. Meg Frank

Best Art Book

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

John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer

  1. Katherine Arden (2nd year of eligibility)
  2. Jeannette Ng (2nd year of eligibility)
  3. R.F. Kuang (1st year of eligibility)
  4. Rivers Solomon (2nd year of eligibility)
  5. S.A. Chakraborty (2nd year of eligibility)
  6. Vina Jie-Min Prasad (2nd year of eligibility)

Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book

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

There were so many good finalists this year that it was difficult yet pleasant task to rank them.  I was often surprised by which ones ended up in the bottom ranks.  I kept reminding myself that they’re still above all those nominated but not on the ballot and all those eligible but overlooked.  In many cases, I’ll be happy to see any one of them win.  Which finalists are you rooting for?

2019 Hugo Finalists: Best Short Story

In Best Short Story, we have two past Hugo winners, two authors with two Hugo nominations apiece this year, and two stories which have been fellow finalists for four awards.

“The Court Magician” by Sarah Pinsker is also a finalist for the World Fantasy Award and was a finalist for the Nebula and Locus awards.  This is Pinsker’s third Hugo nomination; she now has one for each short fiction category.  She has previously won the Nebula and Theodore Sturgeon Memorial awards.

“The Rose MacGregor Drinking and Admiration Society” by T. Kingfisher is Ursula Vernon’s first Hugo nomination under this pseudonym and her fourth overall.  She’s received both Hugo and Nebula awards for her short fiction and another Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story.  She’s been a finalist for the World Fantasy and Locus awards as well as the WSFS (now Lodestar) Award for Best Young Adult Book.

“The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington” by P. Djèlí Clark has already won the Nebula and Locus awards and was a finalist for the Sturgeon Award.  His novella, The Black God’s Drums, is also a finalist for the Hugo and World Fantasy awards and was a finalist for the Nebula and Locus awards.

“STET” by Sarah Gailey was also a finalist for the Locus Award.  Gailey has previous Hugo nominations for Best Novella and Best Related Work and won a Hugo for Best Fan Writer.  They have been nominated for the Nebula as well and were a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 2017.

“The Tale of the Three Beautiful Raptor Sisters, and the Prince Who Was Made of Meat” by Brooke Bolander is one of two Hugo nominations for the author this year.  Her novelette, The Only Harmless Great Thing, has already won the Nebula and Locus awards, was a finalist for the Shirley Jackson and Theodore Sturgeon awards, and is also currently a finalist for the Hugo, World Fantasy and British Fantasy awards.  She has two previous Hugo nominations for short fiction.

“A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies” by Alix E. Harrow is also a finalist for the World Fantasy Award and was a finalist for the Nebula and Locus Awards.  This is Harrow’s first Hugo nomination.

The only story I hadn’t read before the finalists were announced was “STET” by Sarah Gailey.  Both it and “The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington” by P. Djèlí Clark were more intriguing for the way their stories were told than the stories themselves.  Alix E. Harrow’s heartwarming “A Witch’s Guide to Escape” was the one I nominated myself.  Sarah Pinsker told a thought-provoking coming-of-age tale in “The Court Magician.”  “The Rose MacGregor Drinking and Admiration Society” by T. Kingfisher and “The Tale of the Three Beautiful Raptor Sisters” by Brooke Bolander were both really fun stories with a feminist twist.

Here’s the order I put them on my final ballot:

  1. “A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies” by Alix E. Harrow
  2. “The Tale of the Three Beautiful Raptor Sisters, and the Prince Who Was Made of Meat” by Brooke Bolander
  3. “The Rose MacGregor Drinking and Admiration Society” by T. Kingfisher
  4. “The Court Magician” by Sarah Pinsker
  5. “The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington” by P. Djèlí Clark
  6. “STET” by Sarah Gailey

Will it be a story with an extremely long title, one with a super short title, or something in between?  What do you think?

2019 Hugo Finalists: Best Novelette

In Best Novelette, there are four first-time Hugo finalists, one four-time Hugo finalist, and a previous Hugo winner.

“If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again” by Zen Cho is her first Hugo nomination.  Cho’s debut novel, Sorcerer to the Crown, was a finalist for the British Fantasy Award for Best Fantasy Novel and the Locus Award for Best First Novel.  It also earned her the British Fantasy Award for Best Newcomer.  She was a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 2013.

“The Last Banquet of Temporal Confections” by Tina Connolly was also a finalist for the Nebula and Locus awards.  It is Connolly’s first Hugo nomination.  She has been a finalist for the World Fantasy and Andre Norton awards as well.

“Nine Last Days on Planet Earth” by Daryl Gregory was also a finalist for the Locus and Theodore Sturgeon Memorial awards.  It is Gregory’s first Hugo nomination.  He has previously received the World Fantasy and Shirley Jackson awards.  His other nominations include the Nebula, John W. Campbell Memorial, and Philip K. Dick awards.

The Only Harmless Great Thing by Brooke Bolander has already won the Nebula and Locus awards, was a finalist for the Shirley Jackson and Theodore Sturgeon awards, and is also currently a finalist for the World Fantasy and British Fantasy awards.  Bolander’s short story “The Tale of the Three Beautiful Raptor Sisters, and the Prince Who Was Made of Meat” is a Hugo finalist this year as well.  She has two previous Hugo nominations for short fiction.

“The Thing About Ghost Stories” by Naomi Kritzer is her second Hugo appearance.  In 2016, Kritzer’s short story “Cat Pictures Please” won the Hugo and Locus awards and was a finalist for the Nebula Award.

“When We Were Starless” by Simone Heller was also a finalist for the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award.  It is Heller’s first Hugo nomination.

“When We Were Starless” was my own nominee, and the world-building impressed me enough to nominate Simone Heller herself for the Campbell Award for Best New Writer.  Since this was her final year of eligibility for that and she didn’t make the ballot there, I was very pleased to see her story here.  I didn’t manage to read Brooke Bolander’s The Only Harmless Great Thing until after Hugo nominations closed.  But I would definitely have nominated it if I had.  Although I had read the others and found them memorable and touching, they weren’t ones I chose for my nomination ballot.

Here’s how I voted on the final ballot:

  1. “When We Were Starless” by Simone Heller
  2. The Only Harmless Great Thing by Brooke Bolander
  3. “The Thing About Ghost Stories” by Naomi Kritzer
  4. “If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again” by Zen Cho
  5. “Nine Last Days on Planet Earth” by Daryl Gregory
  6. “The Last Banquet of Temporal Confections” by Tina Connolly

Will Bolander’s novelette complete a Triple Crown of SFF awards?  Will one of its fellow finalists from other awards come out ahead here instead?  Or will the winner be one of those that the other awards missed?  Any thoughts?

2019 Hugo Finalists: Best Novella

The Best Novella ballot looks somewhat familiar as four out of six finalists are sequels to  finalists from previous years.

Artificial Condition by Martha Wells has already won the Locus Award and was a finalist for the Nebula.  It’s a sequel to last year’s winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards and Philip K. Dick Award finalist, All Systems Red.  The two subsequent novellas from the Murderbot Diaries series were also award finalists: Rogue Protocol for the Locus Award and Exit Strategy for the BSFA Award.  Last year Wells was a Hugo finalist in Best Series for The Books of the Raksura as well.  Her previous nominations for the Nebula and Locus awards were back in the 1990’s.

Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire is also a finalist for the World Fantasy Award.  It’s a sequel to 2017’s winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards, Every Heart a Doorway, and last year’s finalist for the Hugo and Locus awards, Down Among the Sticks and Bones.  McGuire’s October Daye series, which was a Hugo finalist for Best Series in 2017, makes a return appearance this year.  Her InCryptid series was one of the finalists last year.  She also has two Hugo nominations for Best Novelette and one for Best Related Work.  Under her Mira Grant pseudonym, she has four Hugo nominations for Best Novel and two more for Best Novella.  She’s won two Hugos for Best Fancast as a co-host of SF Squeecast and received the Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 2010.

Binti: The Night Masquerade by Nnedi Okorafor is also a finalist for the British Fantasy Award.  It’s a sequel to 2016’s winner of the Hugo and Nebula awards, Binti, and last year’s finalist for the Hugo and Locus awards, Binti: Home.  As a writer for the graphic novel Black Panther: Long Live the King, Okorafor is a finalist in Best Graphic Story this year as well.  Last year the second novel in her Akata Witch series, Akata Warrior, was the winner of both the Locus and WSFS (now Lodestar) awards for Best Young Adult Book.  She has also won the World Fantasy Award, and her other nominations include the Andre Norton, Clarke, British Fantasy, BSFA, Tiptree, Campbell Memorial, and Sturgeon awards.

The Black God’s Drums by P. Djèlí Clark is also a finalist for the World Fantasy Award and was a finalist for the Nebula and Locus awards.  His short story, “The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington,” is a Hugo finalist, has already won the Nebula and Locus awards, and was a finalist for the Sturgeon Award.

Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach by Kelly Robson was also a finalist for the Nebula, Locus, and Sturgeon awards.  Robson was previously nominated for the World Fantasy Award and was a finalist for the Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 2017.

The Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette de Bodard is also currently a finalist for the World Fantasy and British Fantasy awards, has already won the Nebula Award, and was a finalist for the Locus Award.  It is part of the Universe of Xuya series which is a Hugo finalist for Best Series as well.  She has one additional Hugo nomination for Best Novella, three for Best Novelette, and one for Best Short Story.  She has received one other Nebula Award, four BSFA Awards, and a Locus Award.  Her other nominations include the Tiptree and Sturgeon awards.  She was a finalist for the Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 2009.

Three of the finalists were my own nominees.  Beneath the Sugar Skies was another delightful entry in Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children series, and Cora might be my favorite wayward child yet.  Kelly Robson’s Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach enthralled me enough with its world building and characterization that I forgave its abrupt ending.  Aliette de Bodard did an excellent job combining Holmesian mystery with the space opera of her Xuya Universe in The Tea Master and the Detective.

I had already read two of the remaining three finalists before nominations closed.  Since Nnedi Okorafor’s Binti: The Night Masquerade picks up mid-story where Binti: Home left off, I didn’t feel that it stood on its own well enough to consider as a separate novella.  The Black God’s Drums very nearly made my ballot, and I hope we see more of the alternate history setting P. Djèlí Clark gave us a glimpse of here.  If I had managed to get to Artificial Condition before the deadline, it definitely would have been on my ballot.  But I’m not surprised that at least one of Martha Wells’ Murderbot Diaries made it without needing any help from me.

Here’s how I decided to rank them on my final ballot:

  1. Artificial Condition by Martha Wells
  2. Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire
  3. Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach by Kelly Robson
  4. The Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette de Bodard
  5. The Black God’s Drums by P. Djèlí Clark
  6. Binti: The Night Masquerade by Nnedi Okorafor

Will Binti, Murderbot, or the Wayward Children take home another Hugo?  Will the Xuya Universe add a rocket to its award collection?  Or will one of the first-time Hugo finalists win instead?  What would you like to see?

2019 Hugo Finalists: Best Novel

Hugo voting closed on Aug 1st, and we’ll find out the winners at the Hugo Award Ceremony on August 18th.  Let’s take a look at the contenders for Best Novel.

The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal has already won the Nebula and the Locus Award for Best SF Novel and was also a finalist for the John W. Campbell Memorial Award.  “Lady Astronaut of Mars,” a novelette in the same setting, won a Hugo in 2014.  Kowal has three additional Hugo nominations for short fiction with one more win.  In Best Related Work, she’s been a three-time finalist with one win as a co-host of the Writing Excuses podcast.  She was the winner of the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 2008.

Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers is the third novel in the Wayfarers series, which is also a finalist this year.  The first book, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, was a finalist for the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the British Fantasy Society’s Sydney J. Bounds Award for Best Newcomer.  The second, A Closed and Common Orbit, was a finalist for the Hugo, British Science Fiction Association, and Clarke awards.  This one was a finalist for the Locus Award for Best SF Novel as well.

Revenant Gun by Yoon Ha Lee is the third novel in the Machineries of Empire series.  The previous two novels were also Hugo finalists, and the series itself is a finalist this year as well.  The first book, Ninefox Gambit, won the Locus Award for Best First Novel and was a finalist for the Nebula and Clarke awards.  The second, Raven Stratagem, was a finalist for the Locus Award for Best SF Novel.  This one was also a finalist for the Locus, BSFA, and Clarke awards.  Lee has had short fiction nominated for the Hugo, World Fantasy, Locus, and Theodore Sturgeon Memorial awards as well.

Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente was also a finalist for the Locus and the Campbell Memorial awards.  Valente has four previous Hugo nominations in the fiction categories, one nomination for Best Semiprozine as editor of Apex Magazine, and two wins in Best Fancast as a co-host of SF Squeecast.  She’s previously won five Locus Awards as well as the Andre Norton, James Tiptree, and Theodore Sturgeon awards.  Her other nominations include the Nebula, World Fantasy, and British Fantasy awards.

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik has already won the Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel and the Mythopoeic Award.  It was also a finalist for the Nebula Award.  Novik has two previous Hugo nominations for Best Novel and one for Best Series.  She’s also received two additional Locus Awards, won the Nebula and British Fantasy awards, and been nominated for the World Fantasy Award.  She was the winner of the Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 2007.

Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse has already won the Locus Award for Best First Novel, was a finalist for the Nebula Award, and is also currently a finalist for the World Fantasy Award.  Last year her short story, “Welcome to Your Authentic Indian ExperienceTM,” won the Hugo and Nebula awards and was nominated for the World Fantasy, Locus, and Sturgeon awards.  She was also the winner of the Campbell Award for Best New Writer.

Four out of the six were my own nominees.  Spinning Silver improved on everything I loved about Naomi Novik’s Uprooted.  Revenant Gun brought Yoon Ha Lee’s trilogy to a very satisfying conclusion.  The Calculating Stars was the first novel-length work I had read by Mary Robinette Kowal.  I was impressed by the characterization and surprised by how well she made a 1950’s setting seem current and relevant.  Rebecca Roanhorse delivered on the promise of her Best New Writer Campbell win with the fascinating and original world building in Trail of Lightning.

The remaining two were both books I had wanted to read but simply hadn’t gotten to yet.  I liked Record of a Spaceborn Few slightly less than Becky Chamber’s first two Wayfarer books, but it was still very good.  Space Opera was entertaining, but Catherynne M. Valente’s dense writing style made it a slower read than expected.  I adore her short fiction, but at novel-length it became overwhelming.

Here’s how it shook out on my final ballot:

  1. Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik
  2. The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal
  3. Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers
  4. Revenant Gun by Yoon Ha Lee
  5. Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse
  6. Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente

Will Kowal complete the Triple Crown of science fiction awards?  Will the Big One go to one of the previous Best Novel finalists instead?  Or does the debut novelist take home her second rocket?  What do you think?