In my previous post looking at the 2018 Hugo eligible novels, I mentioned that the only change I could see for this category was a slightly higher word count requirement. However, looking over the minutes from the 2017 Business Meeting reminded me there was actually a proposal to split the category into Best Science Fiction Novel and Best Fantasy Novel. It was referred to a committee which will be considering all the categories and making suggestions at this year’s Business Meeting during Worldcon 76.
I’m so not a fan of this. First, I just don’t want the “Big One” becoming the “Big Two.” Second, I’ve never liked rigidly defining stories as one or the other. In fact, I often enjoy works that are best described as science fantasy. Where would you put All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders? It’s specifically both. N. K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy is marketed as fantasy, but it deals with geology and advanced technology. Borne by Jeff VanderMeer is labelled science fiction, but it has a giant flying bear and a character called the Magician. Finally, with the additions of Best Series and Best Young Adult Book, we’ve got more than enough novel length fiction to read already. I really hope that other refinements and adjustments to the categories take priority.