2020 Hugos: Serial 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 fourth and final post of 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 Series

  • The Expanse, by James S. A. Corey (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
  • InCryptid, by Seanan McGuire (DAW)
  • Luna, by Ian McDonald (Tor; Gollancz)
  • Planetfall series, by Emma Newman (Ace; Gollancz)
  • Winternight Trilogy, by Katherine Arden (Del Rey; Del Rey UK)
  • The Wormwood Trilogy, by Tade Thompson (Orbit US; Orbit UK)

I’ve read at least one book and have been meaning to continue The ExpanseInCryptid, and Winternight.  I have at least the first book and have been meaning to start the other three series.  I was a little disappointed that The Expanse got nominated just before its conclusion, but there’s no guarantee that it would have made the ballot next year.  Now I’ll have extra motivation to get caught up by the time the last book comes out.

Best Semiprozine

  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies, editor Scott H. Andrews
  • Escape Pod, editors Mur Lafferty and S.B. Divya, assistant editor Benjamin C. Kinney, audio producers Adam Pracht and Summer Brooks, hosts Tina Connolly and Alasdair Stuart
  • Fireside Magazine, editor Julia Rios, managing editor Elsa Sjunneson, copyeditor Chelle Parker, social coordinator Meg Frank, publisher & art director Pablo Defendini, founding editor Brian White
  • FIYAH Magazine of Black Speculative Fiction, executive editor Troy L. Wiggins, editors Eboni Dunbar, Brent Lambert, L.D. Lewis, Danny Lore, Brandon O’Brien and Kaleb Russell
  • Strange Horizons, Vanessa Rose Phin, Catherine Krahe, AJ Odasso, Dan Hartland, Joyce Chng, Dante Luiz and the Strange Horizons staff
  • Uncanny Magazine, editors-in-chief Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas, nonfiction/managing editor Michi Trota, managing editor Chimedum Ohaegbu, podcast producers Erika Ensign and Steven Schapansky

Beneath Ceaseless SkiesStrange Horizons, and Uncanny were my nominees.  The other three are also returning finalists.

Best Fanzine

  • The Book Smugglers, editors Ana Grilo and Thea James
  • Galactic Journey, founder Gideon Marcus, editor Janice Marcus, senior writers Rosemary Benton, Lorelei Marcus and Victoria Silverwolf
  • Journey Planet, editors James Bacon, Christopher J Garcia, Alissa McKersie, Ann Gry, Chuck Serface, John Coxon and Steven H Silver
  • nerds of a feather, flock together, editors Adri Joy, Joe Sherry, Vance Kotrla, and The G
  • Quick Sip Reviews, editor Charles Payseur
  • The Rec Center, editors Elizabeth Minkel and Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

The only newcomer here is The Rec Center which I’ve noticed on the longlist for the past two years.  The Book Smugglers was first nominated as a fanzine, then a couple times as a semiprozine, and now it’s back in fanzine.  My own nominees were nerds of a feather and Quick Sip Reviews.

Best Fancast

  • Be The Serpent, presented by Alexandra Rowland, Freya Marske and Jennifer Mace
  • Claire Rousseau’s YouTube channel, produced & presented by Claire Rousseau
  • The Coode Street Podcast, presented by Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe
  • Galactic Suburbia, presented by Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce and Tansy Rayner Roberts, producer Andrew Finch
  • Our Opinions Are Correct, presented by Annalee Newitz and Charlie Jane Anders
  • The Skiffy and Fanty Show, presented by Jen Zink and Shaun Duke

I’m very excited to see a BookTube channel on the final ballot.  There have been a couple on the longlist, but Claire Rousseau is the first finalist from the community.  The others are all returning podcast finalists.

What have you read, listened to, or watched from these categories?

2018 Hugo Awards: Best Semiprozine

The Hugo Award for Best Semiprozine was split off from Fanzine in 1984 in order to limit that category to true fan publications.  (The former Professional Magazine category had been replaced by Best Editor in 1973.)

Best Semiprozine:

Any generally available non-professional periodical publication devoted to science fiction, fantasy, or related subjects which by the close of 2017 has published four (4) or more issues (or the equivalent in other media), at least one (1) of which appeared in 2017, which does not qualify as a fancast, and which in 2017 has met at least one (1) of the following criteria:

  1. paid its contributors and/or staff in other than copies of the publication,
  2. was generally available only for paid purchase.

In 2008 a motion to eliminate the category was passed on for ratification at the next Business Meeting.  However, the proposal was not ratified in 2009 so the category was kept.  At the 2012 Business Meeting, additional changes were ratified to better differentiate between professional publication, Semiprozine, Fanzine, and the newly created Fancast category.  The distinctions are still not necessarily clear to the average nominator, but a directory of eligible candidates is maintained at Semiprozine.org.

Out of the magazines that I regularly read, I nominated the four that qualify as semiprozines:


I would like to see this category opened up to include professional magazines as well. Eliminating the division between semi-pro and pro, but still leaving fanzines separate.  As a reader, there’s no obvious difference, and I believe they could absolutely compete with one another.  Of course, that would have a lot of knock-on effects.

There’s already a fair amount of overlap between this category and Best Editor, Short Form.  Including pro mags would almost complete the redundancy and make it entirely too likely for someone to win two Hugos for the same thing.  But eliminating Short Form Editor would leave short fiction editors who don’t have magazines out in the cold.  And it would be odd to have a Long Form Editor category without the Short Form.  You would also need to reword the Fan Writer and Fan Artist categories as they both include “semiprozine” in their descriptions.

Kevin Standlee blogged about this a few years ago and suggested adding Best Publisher and Best Anthology or Collection in place of the editor categories.  It would be strange to award their employer rather than the editors themselves, but a heck of a lot easier to determine who’s eligible and what they’ve done.  And I would definitely need to up my anthology and collection reading if I wanted to nominate in that category.  I do hope something along these lines gets proposed because I would really like to see what people think and how it might be hashed out.  Terrible idea or one whose time has come?