2020 Hugos: Other Individual Works

CoNZealand, the 78th World Science Fiction Convention, has announced the finalists for the 2020 Hugo Awards, the Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book, and the Astounding Award for Best New Writer.  You can watch a video of the announcement on CoNZealand’s YouTube channel or view the complete list on the Hugo Awards website.  JJ at File 770 has put together a post on Where To Find The 2020 Hugo Award Finalists For Free Online.

This is the second of four posts with my initial thoughts.  I’m dividing the nineteen award categories into written fiction works (novel, novella, novelette, short story, young adult book), other individual works (related work, graphic story, long form dramatic presentation, short form dramatic presentation), people categories (short form editor, long form editor, professional artist, fan writer, fan artist, new writer), and serial categories (series, semiprozine, fanzine, fancast).

Best Related Work

  • Becoming Superman: My Journey from Poverty to Hollywood, by J. Michael Straczynski (Harper Voyager US)
  • Joanna Russ, by Gwyneth Jones (University of Illinois Press (Modern Masters of Science Fiction))
  • The Lady from the Black Lagoon: Hollywood Monsters and the Lost Legacy of Milicent Patrick, by Mallory O’Meara (Hanover Square)
  • The Pleasant Profession of Robert A. Heinlein, by Farah Mendlesohn (Unbound)
  • “2019 John W. Campbell Award Acceptance Speech”, by Jeannette Ng
  • Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin, produced and directed by Arwen Curry

I nominated the Heinlein book and the Le Guin documentary.  I watched Jeannette Ng’s speech during the livestream of last year’s Hugo Awards Ceremony.  While I appreciate the changes it helped catalyze, I don’t think compares to the other finalists.

I’ll be able to access the other three books through three different digital resources from my library.  Becoming Superman is available through Hoopla, but I’ve also put a hold on the physical copy as well.  While Hoopla’s interface works well for comics, it’s not so great for ebooks.  Plus, I’d like to save my Hoopla checkouts for the next category.  If my library doesn’t reopen in time or if the book isn’t provided in the Hugo Voters Packet, the Hoopla version will do.  Joanna Russ is available through the EBSCOhost ebook collection as a PDF file.  I’m not crazy about reading PDF files, but it isn’t bad on a tablet.  Finally, The Lady from the Black Lagoon is available through OverDrive which works seamlessly with my ereader.

Best Graphic Story or Comic

  • Die, Volume 1: Fantasy Heartbreaker, by Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans, letters by Clayton Cowles (Image)
  • LaGuardia, written by Nnedi Okorafor, art by Tana Ford, colours by James Devlin (Berger Books; Dark Horse)
  • Monstress, Volume 4: The Chosen, written by Marjorie Liu, art by Sana Takeda (Image)
  • Mooncakes, by Wendy Xu and Suzanne Walker, letters by Joamette Gil (Oni Press; Lion Forge)
  • Paper Girls, Volume 6, written by Brian K. Vaughan, drawn by Cliff Chiang, colours by Matt Wilson, letters by Jared K. Fletcher (Image)
  • The Wicked + The Divine, Volume 9: “Okay”, by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie, colours by Matt Wilson, letters by Clayton Cowles (Image)

LaGuardia was the only one here which I nominated.  I decided I would wait to read the latest entries in the Monstress and Paper Girls series.  I figured they were likely to make the ballot without me and looked at other things for my nominations.

I don’t remember hearing about Die or Mooncakes before now.  I see that Mooncakes is a redone and revised print version of an ongoing webcomic.  It doesn’t currently seem to be available digitally at all.  Pre-release reviewers mention receiving an eARC through NetGalley so perhaps the publisher will do that for the Hugo Packet as well.

I’ve been meaning to read The Wicked + The Divine series since it first began, but haven’t gotten to it.  Luckily the entire thing is available at Hoopla both as nine volumes and in the four omnibus editions.  So I’ll be able to save some checkouts for the other finalists I need to read.  All of them are at Hoopla except Mooncakes.  I’ve put a hold on my library’s print copy in hopes they reopen in time for me to read it before voting ends.

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

  • Avengers: Endgame, screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo (Marvel Studios)
  • Captain Marvel, screenplay by Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck and Geneva Robertson-Dworet, directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (Walt Disney Pictures/Marvel Studios/Animal Logic (Australia))
  • Good Omens, written by Neil Gaiman, directed by Douglas Mackinnon (Amazon Studios/BBC Studios/Narrativia/The Blank Corporation)
  • Russian Doll (Season One), created by Natasha Lyonne, Leslye Headland and Amy Poehler, directed by Leslye Headland, Jamie Babbit and Natasha Lyonne (3 Arts Entertainment/Jax Media/Netflix/Paper Kite Productions/Universal Television)
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, screenplay by Chris Terrio and J.J. Abrams, directed by J.J. Abrams (Walt Disney Pictures/Lucasfilm/Bad Robot)
  • Us, written and directed by Jordan Peele (Monkeypaw Productions/Universal Pictures)

I nominated Good Omens, but I still need to watch everything else here.  I don’t usually see superhero movies until they become Hugo finalists.  Horror isn’t my thing, but I was pleasantly surprised by Jordan Peele’s previous Hugo finalist Get Out.  I just didn’t have any desire to see the latest Star Wars in the theater.  And I haven’t really heard enough about Russian Doll to compel me to check it out until now.

I’ve signed up for Disney+ to watch the Marvel movies and The Mandalorian episode which was nominated in short form.  Apparently The Rise of Skywalker isn’t there yet so I’ve put the DVD on hold at the library (position 33 once they reopen!).  Good Omens I saw via Amazon Prime, Russian Doll is from Netfix, and Us is currently on HBO.  Stream all the things!

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

  • The Good Place: “The Answer”, written by Daniel Schofield, directed by Valeria Migliassi Collins (Fremulon/3 Arts Entertainment/Universal Television)
  • The Expanse: “Cibola Burn”, written by Daniel Abraham & Ty Franck and Naren Shankar, directed by Breck Eisner (Amazon Prime Video)
  • Watchmen: “A God Walks into Abar”, written by Jeff Jensen and Damon Lindelof, directed by Nicole Kassell (HBO)
  • The Mandalorian: “Redemption”, written by Jon Favreau, directed by Taika Waititi (Disney+)
  • Doctor Who: “Resolution”, written by Chris Chibnall, directed by Wayne Yip (BBC)
  • Watchmen: “This Extraordinary Being”, written by Damon Lindelof and Cord Jefferson, directed by Stephen Williams (HBO)

My only nominee here is the episode of The Expanse.  I didn’t start catching up with my recorded episodes of The Good Place or Doctor Who until after nominations closed.  I haven’t reached this episode of The Good Place, although I have since watched the Doctor Who New Year’s Special.  I didn’t think it was particularly special, but I guess we’re required to have a Doctor Who episode on the ballot even when only one aired in the qualifying year.

I’ve started watching The Mandalorian, and I finally get the appeal of Baby Yoda.  He’s cuter in action.  I’ll be going into Watchmen having never seen any other incarnation.

Tell me what you’ve read or watched here.  Is there anything else you were hoping to see on the ballot?

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