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?