2020 Hugos: People Categories

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 third 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 Editor, Short Form

  • Neil Clarke
  • Ellen Datlow
  • C.C. Finlay
  • Jonathan Strahan
  • Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas
  • Sheila Williams

The first three were my own nominees.  I nominated Uncanny in Best Semiprozine rather than nominating the Thomases in this category.  I’m particularly pleased for C.C. Finlay’s first-time appearance here.  I became a regular reader of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction around the time that he took over as editor in 2015, and I’ve been subscribing ever since.

Best Editor, Long Form

  • Sheila E. Gilbert
  • Brit Hvide
  • Diana M. Pho
  • Devi Pillai
  • Miriam Weinberg
  • Navah Wolfe

Devi Pillai was my nominee in this category, but I’m glad to see Brit Hvide make her first appearance here.  (I actually nominated her for the Astounding Award this year.)  She is now the editor for many of the authors who previously worked with Devi Pillai after Pillai moved from Orbit to Tor.

Best Professional Artist

  • Tommy Arnold
  • Rovina Cai
  • Galen Dara
  • John Picacio
  • Yuko Shimizu
  • Alyssa Winans

I nominated Alyssa Winans, but I’m also happy for the other two newcomers.  Tommy Arnold has been right on the cusp of making the final ballot a couple times in the past few years.  Rovina Cai was on the longlist last year too.

Best Fan Writer

  • Cora Buhlert
  • James Davis Nicoll
  • Alasdair Stuart
  • Bogi Takács
  • Paul Weimer
  • Adam Whitehead

We also have three new names in this category.  I’m especially thrilled for my own nominee Adam Whitehead.  His blog was one of the first I started following way back when blogs were the cool, new thing.  Although this is both of their first appearances here, Cora Buhlert and Paul Weimer are familiar names I’m pleased to see as well.

Best Fan Artist

  • Iain Clark
  • Sara Felix
  • Grace P. Fong
  • Meg Frank
  • Ariela Housman
  • Elise Matthesen

My nominees were newcomer Iain Clark and returning finalist Ariela Housman.  Jewelry artist Elise Matthesen is the other first-time finalist here while the remaining three are also previous finalists.

Astounding Award for Best New Writer

  • Sam Hawke (2nd year of eligibility)
  • R.F. Kuang (2nd year of eligibility)
  • Jenn Lyons (1st year of eligibility)
  • Nibedita Sen (2nd year of eligibility)
  • Tasha Suri (2nd year of eligibility)
  • Emily Tesh (1st year of eligibility)

R.F. Kuang was my own nominee.  Nibedita Sen is also a finalist for Best Short Story.  The other four authors are on my TBR list.

Who are you excited to see here?  And who are you looking forward to learning more about?

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?