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Hugo Nominations and Awards - Now onto 2021 Nominations

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I did not read all novels this year because I abandoned books by some of the nominated authors before. I did not rank those novels at all. I try to read everything in the shorter categories though. 

I voted for the only fan writer I follow this year.

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18 hours ago, felice said:

The latest Expanse novel was closer to the shortlist than Tchaikovsky, and there was also a Max Gladstone novel on the longlist. It only took 54 nominations to get on the Best Novel longlist, so if there were many standout works by men released last year, the question is why aren't people nominating them? There's no feminist conspiracy preventing them from getting on the ballot. Is it just a lack of consensus on which books were great?

You're right, I should have gone back again to check the list first.

I do get the impression overall (although it might be biased to what I've read) that there were plenty of good books being published but perhaps a lack of books that really felt like they stood out and could be future classics of the genre. I think A Memory Called Empire did stand out.

Looking at other awards like the Nebula, Locus and Arthur C. Clarke awards they do mostly seem to be nominating different things this year so maybe there isn't much consensus. The City in the Middle of the Night and A Memory Called Empire seem to be the most common nominations for them so there's not really a single glaring omission from the Hugo list compared to the other awards.

19 hours ago, IlyaP said:

Enjoy the convention without the stress? 

So...if he'd kept the nomination that...would have been more stressful? 

Because he might have had to present/speak in front of an audience? (I ask aloud, having not been to a convention since I was 13, which is a distant, foggy memory at this point.)

Based on Gaiman's comments I think it was the stress over whether or not he was going to win that was the main consideration for Pratchett, not the public speaking (I imagine he's done plenty of that).

8 hours ago, Luzifer's right hand said:

I enjoy the works of Peter F. Hamilton but I could never nominate or vote for him because his books contain sex scenes that are so bad that I have to skip them. 

It has gotten better though. I tried to reread The Reality Dysfunktion as an adult and gave up because of the sex scenes.

If there was a Hugo for the worst sex scene then I think Hamilton could have picked up a few over the years, although it might be quite a hotly contested category.

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2 minutes ago, williamjm said:

If there was a Hugo for the worst sex scene then I think Hamilton could have picked up a few over the years, although it might be quite a hotly contested category.

We talking about the years Joe Abercrombie didn't release a book? 

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1 hour ago, williamjm said:

 

If there was a Hugo for the worst sex scene then I think Hamilton could have picked up a few over the years, although it might be quite a hotly contested category.

We must campaign for such an award.

The Fat Pink Mast Award: Not a Hugo 

I don't plan to attend the next 2 worldcons maybe Pod can bring it up at the relevant meeting? 

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28 minutes ago, Luzifer's right hand said:

We must campaign for such an award.

The Fat Pink Mast Award: Not a Hugo

I did think that George would definitely have won that year.

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On 8/1/2020 at 1:22 PM, polishgenius said:

 it felt to a lot of those people who had felt more included that powerful people in the genre are still trying to slam the door in the face. 

 

 

disregard

 

fandoms of any kind are blights...

Edited by Infidel
not worth it?

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Thinking more about the Retro Hugos for editor, I was thinking a bit about the argument made that some of the nominees were "more consistent" in quality (as revealed through their publications).  Here are the placements:

Quote

Best Editor, Short Form

John W. Campbell, Jr. (Astounding)
Dorothy McIlwraith (Weird Tales)
Mary Gnaedinger (Famous Fantastic Mysteries)
Raymond A. Palmer (Amazing Stories)
Oscar J. Friend (Thrilling Wonder Stories)
W. Scott Peacock (Planet Stories)

I think one issue that those talking about consistency are glossing over is the schedules and page counts of the respective magazines. Weird Tales was bimonthly and averaged 105 pages an issue (632 in total, to be exact). Famous Fantastic Mysteries was quarterly and 132 pages an issue (528 pages in total; it was also entirely reprinted works, not new works, drawing from the pool of genre fiction that the magazine's owner had published through various imprints over a decade). Amazing Stories published five issues that year, failing to keep up a bimonthly schedule, and was 212 pages an issue (1060 pages in total). Thrilling Wonder Stories was another quarterly, 116 pages an issue (464 pages in total). Planet Stories, another quarterly, 128 pages an issue (512 pages in total).

Dropping Famous Fantastic Mysteries -- a 100% reprint magazine doesn't require the same talents as the others where new works are commissioned and bought, and presumably required less time on the editorial side -- McIlwraith, Palmer, Friend, and Peacock between them edited ~2,700 pages.

Now turn to Astounding, the only monthly magazine of the lot, and at 180 pages an issue it amounts to Campbell and his team (aka Kay Tarrant, a woman) editing 80% of the new fiction that the other did -- 2,160 pages in total. And, again, monthly! It is not such a great surprise that the quality was more variable -- the other editors had fewer pages to fill, and more time to fill them. 

I'd have to get into some more complicated history to explain why Astounding was able to maintain a monthly schedule, involving wartime paper rations and Unknown magazine and so on, but end of the day, I think that Astounding was sufficiently successful in that year when other magazines were folding, cutting their issue counts, or outright missing issue, that it had an impact on the level of consistency that could be maintained when so many pages had to be filled by a single venue. The "consistency" argument is weighting the deck against the magazine. I dare say that if one could cut the issue count in half or even 75% and just pick the best stories across the issues to fill them, Astounding would easily be as consistent as Weird Tales, while also having higher highs. 

Another thought: there has been a lot of talk of gatekeeping from Campbell as a reason to not vote for him. If we look at only the work product for the 1945 Retro Hugo (i.e. works published in 1944), though, I have a hard time seeing that any of the other editors were any less gatekeepers. No black writers, no Asian writers, no Hispanic writers. It seems that if we're putting the onus on one editor to have been more open to diverse writers, it should be put on all of them, and they were all wanting. This may be a reason to vote No Award and leave everything off the ballot, but it's not by itself a reason to put No Award above Campbell.

And in a similar vein: much is also made of later behavior and attitudes. Campbell's racism that became explicit, his turn to pseudo-science an crankery, and so on. All of this is documented from his correspondence and that of his acquintances, and their accounts. But the lack of the information about the other editors nominated, people who hardly get any attention, makes me wonder what views they harbored that we do not know about now. To be frank, it's unlikely in that era that Campbell was the only one who had racist attitudes, or conservative ones, and if we're going on about ESP and so on, Palmer pushed the absurd Shaver Mystery (filled with sadomasochism and misogyny, btw) and published spiritualist nonsense, and the like. 

It feels like Campbell's stature in the early era has made him a target to be pulled down, prefering to replace him with shadowy figures who most people will only ever know through the magazines they published, because no one really bothered to save their letters or discuss their views or anything. I'm not sure that a shadowy, obscure past is better than one where we can see the past under a bright light, and can see the feets of clay, the warts, and all.

Edited by Ran

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19 hours ago, Ran said:

It's self-reductive because it's a two minute speech at the award show which, however impactful, makes people who work months or years on scholarly, cinematic, or deeply personal work lose a chance to get whatever recognition value there is in being able to slap 'Hugo Winner' on their work. Ng's award was the award being renamed the Astounding, and gilding the lily is an example of fannish mastubatory self-praise.

...

But that's my view of it. As someone who reads and enjoys works that study the genre, I seem to be out of step, if one looks at how things have shifted away increasingly from such works to more self-congratulatory fare.

My interpretation is that (especially in recent years) 'Best related work' focusses on rewarding efforts that improve the current community, rather than celebrating and exploring the past. Jeanette Ng, AO3, 2x Ursula LeGuin (of course as the 'token woman' a signal for current people as much as a hero of the past), 2x No Award, Kameron Hurley, Writing excuses, Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, Chicks Dig Time Lords and that takes us back a decade already.

But even before that the focus on world-con fandom seems a bit stronger. And (self-)retrospectives, autobiographies and general reference works dominating the more detailed niche works.

 

Edited by Seli

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On 8/4/2020 at 11:27 AM, Seli said:

My interpretation is that (especially in recent years) 'Best related work' focusses on rewarding efforts that improve the current community, rather than celebrating and exploring the past. Jeanette Ng, AO3, 2x Ursula LeGuin (of course as the 'token woman' a signal for current people as much as a hero of the past), 2x No Award, Kameron Hurley, Writing excuses, Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, Chicks Dig Time Lords and that takes us back a decade already.

But even before that the focus on world-con fandom seems a bit stronger. And (self-)retrospectives, autobiographies and general reference works dominating the more detailed niche works.

There's definitely been some relevance-control going on. Even in pure SFF book fandom, WorldCon and the Hugos' relevance was in massive decline in the 2000s and early 2010s. You look at how many people are talking about SFF books on Goodreads and Reddit, and the numbers so utterly dwarf WorldCon's reach that it was pretty ridiculous. For the last 4-5 years the Hugos seem to have reconnected with wider reader trends whilst still retaining their unofficial policy of not rewarding already mega-selling books and they've definitely become a lot more widely discussed and taken on board as worthwhile things in those digital forums. Oddly, the controversies of last year and this seem to be helping with that visibility. They've still got some way to go though (the Lodestar seems to have been pretty much roundly ignored by the wider SFF YA field so far, for example).

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On 8/3/2020 at 3:22 PM, Luzifer's right hand said:

We must campaign for such an award.

The Fat Pink Mast Award: Not a Hugo 

I don't plan to attend the next 2 worldcons maybe Pod can bring it up at the relevant meeting? 

 

I loved this. I literally laughed.  Thanks for bringing some humor to this thread

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So with less than 3 weeks of nominating left is anyone here nominating anything.

 

I think I will nominate A Deadly education by Naomi Novik. I know I read a short by Elizabeth Bear I liked so will have to look that up . I think Ursula Vernon / T kingfisher might have something nominatable. Otherwise I’m not sure I read that much new this year. 

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42 minutes ago, Deedles said:

So with less than 3 weeks of nominating left is anyone here nominating anything.

I haven't really thought about it much but I guess I might include these:

Novels:

Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

The Trouble With Peace by Joe Abercombie

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir (I do have somewhat mixed feelings about this book, but I do have to admire its ambition)

Novellas:

The Physicians of Vilnoc by Lois McMaster Bujold

Masquerade in Lodi by Bujold (although the other novella is definitely the better of the two)

Dramatic Presentation (long)

The Vast of Night

His Dark Materials Season 2

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23 minutes ago, williamjm said:

The Vast of Night

Nice! I didn't realize they extended its eligibility. Just watched it today. Definitely worthy.

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I thought A Desolation Called Peace was a great follow up by Arkady Martine, it didn't feature the city almost as a character like A Memory Called Empire did which I think left the plot and characters needing to stand on their own more and it pulled it off. Will be interested to see how it goes, or was it released too late for this years nominating?

Definitely loved Harrow the Ninth as well, I think I enjoyed Gideon more but I feel Harrow left more impact on me and felt the better book. But it is one that definitely won't work for everyone.

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A Desolation Called Peace was literally released last week - it's for next year, not this.

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I'm not eligible to nominate anything myself this year (if I were I'd definitely vote for Kate Elliott's Unconquerable Sun, though I don't think I've read enough 2020 releases to know what else I'd go for).  But my predictions for the Best Novel finalists are:

  • The City We Became (N. K. Jemisin)
  • Harrow the Ninth (Tamsyn Muir)
  • Network Effect (Martha Wells)
  • Black Sun (Rebecca Roanhorse)
  • The Once & Future Witches (Alix E. Harrow)
  • Piranesi (Susanna Clarke)

Harrow's book is the only one of these I've actually read yet (though I've read something by all the authors except for Muir, and I expect I'll read both The City We Became and Black Sun at some point this year).

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Piranesi was a beautifully written book with a fairly weak story in my view the setting was incredibly evocative but it didn’t go anywhere...

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Posted (edited)

Not eligible to vote this year (although I am again eligible to be nominated; not expecting it this year though), but I would certainly nominate Of Honey and Wildfires by Sarah Chorn in best novel. I think she might also be just eligible for the Astounding Award as well (her first novel was published in 2019, so I believe that makes her eligible in 2020 and 2021).

Otherwise I didn't read a ton of 2020 releases. I'm tending to react now to the lists by reading the books after the fact rather than getting ahead of them. I am reading Unconquerable Sun by Kate Elliott and this is feeling like a possible contender as well.

Edited by Werthead

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What are the rules for the The Expanse? The show not the books. Half the season was in 2020, the other half this year.

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2 hours ago, Corvinus85 said:

What are the rules for the The Expanse? The show not the books. Half the season was in 2020, the other half this year.

Any episodes released in 2020 are eligible for this year in short form, anything released this year (or if you want to nominate the whole season in long form) would have to wait for next year’s awards.

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