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?

The Expanse by James S.A. Corey

The Expanse by James S.A. Corey is one of the 2020 Hugo Award finalists for Best Series.  It was previously a finalist in 2017, and an episode of the TV show won that year for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form.  The first book in the series was a Best Novel finalist in 2012.  Daniel Abraham, who along with Ty Franck is behind the James S.A. Corey pseudonym, was a Best Novelette finalist in 2008.


  1. Leviathan Wakes (2011)
  2. Caliban’s War (2012)
  3. Abaddon’s Gate (2013)
  4. Cibola Burn (2014)
  5. Nemesis Games (2015)
  6. Babylon’s Ashes (2016)
  7. Persepolis Rising (2017)
  8. Tiamat’s Wrath (2019)

Short Fiction:

  • The Butcher of Anderson Station (2011)
  • Gods of Risk (2012)
  • “Drive”, originally published in the anthology Edge of Infinity, edited by Jonathan Strahan (Solaris, 2012)
  • The Churn (2014)
  • The Vital Abyss (2015)
  • Strange Dogs (2017)
  • “The Last Flight of the Cassandra”, published in The Expanse Roleplaying Game (Green Ronin, 2019)
  • Auberon (2019)

All of the above were published by Orbit except where indicated.  A ninth and final novel in the series is expected to be released later this year.  Unfortunately that means the series won’t be eligible next year after its completion.  (A previous Best Series finalist must have at least two additional works comprising at least 240,000 words since their last appearance.  Previous winners are permanently ineligible in future years.)

In addition to the TV series, I discovered there is a comic adaptation called The Expanse: Origins which delves into the backstories of the main characters.  Both a board game and a roleplaying game were created in collaboration with the authors as well.

I read the first three books and the first two short fiction pieces not long after release.  I have all the novels and at least one more of the short fiction ebooks.  I just haven’t gotten to them.  My partner has read all the books, and we’ve watched the TV show.  (I know I’ve spoiled myself for book 4.)  I was hoping to catch up when the series got nominated last time, but I got wrapped up with other series I hadn’t read at all.  Hopefully this is the year!

Have you read these?  Watch the show?  Played the games?  What did you think?

The Universe of Xuya

The Universe of Xuya by Aliette de Bodard is one of the Best Series finalists for the 2019 Hugo Awards.  As this point, there are 28 pieces of short fiction (3 novellas, 11 novelettes, and 14 short stories).  Since the main connection between them is the setting, they can be read independently and in any order.  Take a look at the author’s webpage about the series for suggestions on where to start and background information.  Here is everything so far (in the order listed on her site) with links to online stories, publication info, and award recognition received:

  • “The Jaguar House, in Shadow”, novelette, originally published in Asimov’s, Jul 2010; podcast available at StarShipSofa, No. 200 (audio only); finalist for the Hugo and Nebula awards
  • “Fleeing Tezcatlipoca”, novelette, Space and Time, issue 111 (Summer 2010)
  • “The Lost Xuya Bride”, novelette, originally published in Interzone, issue 213 (Nov/Dec 2007); available online at the author’s website
  • “Butterfly, Falling at Dawn”, novelette, Interzone, issue 219 (Nov/Dec 2008)
  • “Starsong”, short story, Asimov’s, Aug 2012
  • “Shipbirth”, short story, Asimov’s, Feb 2011; Nebula Award finalist
  • “The Shipmaker”, short story, originally published in Interzone, issue 231 (Nov/Dec 2010); reprinted in Clarkesworld, issue 124 (Jan 2017); BSFA Award winner
  • “Ship’s Brother”, short story, originally published in Interzone, issue 241 (Jul/Aug 2012); reprinted in Clarkesworld, issue 88 (Jan 2014)
  • “Two Sisters in Exile”, short story, Solaris Rising 1.5, ed. Ian Whates (Solaris 2012); reprinted in Clarkesworld, issue 153 (Jun 2019)
  • “Three Cups of Grief, by Starlight”, short story, Clarkesworld, issue 100 (Jan 2015); BSFA Award winner, Locus Award finalist
  • “In Blue Lily’s Wake”, novelette, originally published in Meeting Infinity, ed. Jonathan Strahan (Solaris 2015); reprinted in Uncanny, issue 22 (May/Jun 2018)
  • “Crossing the Midday Gate”, novelette, originally published in To Shape the Dark, ed. Athena Andreadis (Candlemark & Gleam 2016); reprinted in Lightspeed, issue 89 (Oct 2017)
  • “A Salvaging of Ghosts”, short story, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, issue 195 (Mar 17, 2016); Locus Award finalist
  • “Pearl”, novelette, The Starlit Wood, eds. Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe (Saga 2016); Locus Award finalist
  • “The Dragon That Flew Out of the Sun”, short story, originally published in Cosmic Powers, ed. John Joseph Adams (Saga 2017); reprinted in Uncanny, issue 27 (Mar/Apr 2019)
  • The Citadel of Weeping Pearls, novella, originally published in Asimov’s, Oct/Nov 2015; reprinted as a standalone book (JABberwocky Literary Agency 2017); Locus Award finalist
  • “Scattered Along the River of Heaven”, short story, Clarkesworld, issue 64 (Jan 2012); Sturgeon Award finalist
  • “Immersion”, short story, Clarkesworld, issue 69 (Jun 2012); winner of the Nebula and Locus awards; finalist for the BSFA, Hugo, and Sturgeon awards
  • On a Red Station, Drifting, novella, originally published as a limited edition hardcover (Immersion Press 2012), now available in ebook and paperback (self-published); finalist for the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards
  • “The Days of the War, as Red as Blood, as Dark as Bile”, short story, Subterranean Press Magazine, Spring 2014
  • “The Weight of a Blessing”, short story, Clarkesworld, issue 78 (Mar 2013)
  • “Memorials”, novelette, originally published in Asimov’s, Jan 2014; reprinted in Apex, issue 85 (Jun 2016); Locus Award finalist
  • “The Waiting Stars”, novelette, originally published in The Other Half of the Sky, eds. Athena Andreadis and Kay Holt (Candlemark & Gleam 2013); available online at the author’s website; Nebula Award winner, finalist for the Hugo and Locus awards
  • “A Slow Unfurling of Truth”, novelette, Carbide Tipped Pens, eds. Ben Bova and Eric Choi (Tor 2014)
  • “The Frost on Jade Buds”, novelette, Solaris Rising 3, ed. Ian Whates (Solaris 2014)
  • “A Hundred and Seventy Storms”, short story, Uncanny, issue 11 (Jul/Aug 2016)
  • The Tea Master and the Detective, novella, originally published as a limited edition hardcover (Subterranean Press 2018), now available in ebook (Subterranean Press / JABberwocky Literary Agency 2018) and paperback (JABberwocky Literary Agency 2019); finalist for the Nebula and Hugo awards
  • “The Breath of War”, short story, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, issue 142 (Mar 6, 2014); Nebula Award finalist

With a little over half of the stories online, there’s a lot of available reading even without anything that might be included in the voters packet.  What have you read?  Any that you would recommend?

2018 Hugo Awards: Best Series

Appearing this year for the first time as an official category, we have Best Series:

A multi-installment science fiction or fantasy story, unified by elements such as plot, characters, setting, and presentation, appearing in at least three (3) installments consisting in total of at least 240,000 words by the close of 2017, at least one (1) installment of which was published in 2017.

Last year, Worldcon 75 had a special Best Series category to give it a test run before it was ratified as one of the ongoing categories.  Back in 1966, a Best All-Time Series Hugo was awarded to the Foundation series by Isaac Asimov.

This category has a couple of additional caveats.  A previous winner may not be a finalist in this category again.  Any other finalists must have at least two additional installments (with at least one published during the qualifying year) totalling at least 240,000 words since their last appearance in order to be eligible again.  I think it’s best to assume that last year’s Best Series winner and finalists are therefore ineligible even though that was technically a different one-off special category.  Of course, that will be up to the Hugo committee should any of them get enough nominations.


I’m woefully behind in reading series, and there’s no time to catch up or start something new now.  After looking through the massive list of possibilities compiled by the folks at File770, I found only seven series that I know I’ve read any part of (disregarding last year’s finalists).  And for various reasons, I don’t think I’ll be nominating any of them.

Broken Earth by N. K. Jemisin, The Stone Sky
Jemisin herself has said that she’d rather this wasn’t nominated.  And yeah…a trilogy which has already received two Best Novel Hugos (and may well be a finalist again) doesn’t really need to be acknowledged as a series as well.  I see this category as intended more for honoring situations where the installments are good, but the overall series is where it really becomes Hugo-worthy.  Not that I’d want those that had won other Hugos to be explicitly excluded.  It would save me some reading this summer if it were a finalist.  Although she might decline the nomination anyway.

Imperial Radch by Ann Leckie, Provenance
I’m almost finished reading Provenance.  While there’s no question that this occurs in the same universe and shortly after her previous trilogy, it’s really only very tangentially related.

Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson, Oathbringer
I enjoyed the first two, but I haven’t started the latest tome yet.  And since this is projected to be a ten book series, I think nominating it now is a little premature.

A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin, “The Sons of the Dragon”
Um, yeah…no.  And also, Martin himself has requested it not be nominated.  I’ve loved this series for 20 years, but it’s a mass of cliffhangers right now.  I think anything nominated for series needs to have reached some conclusion, if not the overall ending.

Wild Cards by George R. R. Martin (and many others), Mississippi Roll
While I don’t feel it necessary to have read all of this series to nominate it, I’ve probably only read a handful of the stories and none of the actual collections or mosaic novels.

World of the Five Gods by Lois McMaster Bujold, Prisoner of Limnos
I’ve only read the first two novellas in the Penric and Desdemona sub-series and none of the main series.  Going by the word counts given over at Rocket Stack Rank, the sub-series of novellas hasn’t quite reached the 240,000 word requirement to be nominated on its own.

Xuya Universe by Aliette de Bodard, “First Presentation”
This is a series of 24 short fiction works, and the author has confirmed that it meets the word requirement. But I’ve probably read less than a handful.


All of that to say, I’ve got nothing here!  Which series do you plan to nominate?