Saturday, July 15, 2017

2017 Hugo Ballot, Part Two

Hugo ballots are due TODAY (Sat. July 15, 2017).  See my previous post for part one of my ballot as well as my three principles of Hugo voting.  That post includes my votes for the main written fiction categories: novel, novella, novelette, and short story.  Here's what I think about the other categories!

Best Related Work

I wasn't sure I was going to vote in this category, but I started reading Carrie Fisher's The Princess Diarist and I ended up reading the whole 50 page excerpt in the Hugo packet.  Sure, she's Princess Leia and we're all still in mourning given her recent untimely death, but she was also a talented - and humorous! - memoirist.  I laughed out loud a lot in the relatively short excerpt, which also touches on Star Wars from her unique perspective on that paradigm shift in fandom.  She even talks about how Harrison Ford was a philosophy major, which prompted her to seek advice from philosophy professors to catch up.  Ursula Le Guin is one of my favorite authors and a national – nay, international, nay, intergalactic – treasure.  Words are My Matter includes a lot of great stuff, including her now-famous speech for the National Book Awards about "realists of a larger reality."  I've been meaning to read Hurley's The Geek Feminist Revolution for a long time.  I read a few essays and look forward to reading the whole book later.  Neil Gaiman is awesome as always.  The book on Robert Silverberg consists of interviews with an important figure in science fiction history, although the interview I read was a bit meandering.  The Women of Harry Potter looked like fun, even if not particularly ground breaking.

1- The Princess Diarist, by Carrie Fisher (Blue Rider Press)

2- Words Are My Matter: Writings About Life and Books, 2000-2016, by Ursula K. Le Guin (Small Beer)

3- The Geek Feminist Revolution, by Kameron Hurley (Tor Books)

4- The View From the Cheap Seats, by Neil Gaiman (William Morrow / Harper Collins)

5- Traveler of Worlds: Conversations with Robert Silverberg, by Robert Silverberg and Alvaro Zinos-Amaro (Fairwood)

6-The Women of Harry Potter posts, by Sarah Gailey (

Best Graphic Story

One of my many failings as a nerd/geek is that I've never been much into comics or graphic novels.  Maybe it's because I've never been much into superheroes.  Oh well.  Here's my attempt to make sense of this category from my relatively uneducated point of view.  I found the artwork of Monstress most intriguing (i.e., less of a "typical comic style"), but it's great to see the diversity of people, locations, and stories in works like Black Panther and Ms. Marvel (not to mention seeing a superstar like Ta-Nehisi Coates involved in fandom).  I didn't really have time to look much at the others.  Since I'm at best half educated about graphic novels, I figured I should only vote for half the finalists.

1- Monstress, Volume 1: Awakening, written by Marjorie Liu, illustrated by Sana Takeda (Image)

2- Black Panther, Volume 1: A Nation Under Our Feet, written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, illustrated by Brian Stelfreeze (Marvel)

3- Ms. Marvel, Volume 5: Super Famous, written by G. Willow Wilson, illustrated by Takeshi Miyazawa (Marvel)

Leaving off my ballot

Paper Girls, Volume 1, written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Cliff Chiang, colored by Matthew Wilson, lettered by Jared Fletcher (Image)

Saga, Volume 6, illustrated by Fiona Staples, written by Brian K. Vaughan, lettered by Fonografiks (Image)

The Vision, Volume 1: Little Worse Than A Man, written by Tom King, illustrated by Gabriel Hernandez Walta (Marvel)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

I tend to see a lot of movies, especially of the science fictional variety.  This is the only category that didn't involve any extra work for me, since I've seen everything already.  There's a lot of great stuff in this category this year.  I either loved or at least really liked everything here.  Arrival was hands down my favorite movie of 2016 and hits especially my first and second Hugo voting principles (not to mention that awesome score), so that has to be #1 for me (see my review).  I was somewhat miffed to see Stranger Things in this category as opposed to the Short Form category, because it forces me to put it up against Arrival (see my take on Stranger Things and 80's nostalgia).  I also loved Rogue One as a kind of Star Wars fan fiction (but good) - see my review.  The Ghostbusters reboot and Deadpool were both a lot of fun and bring up some interesting gender issues (the fact that the Rabid Puppies had Deadpool on their slate isn't fooling anyone).  Hidden Figures is a great movie that everyone should see, but I admit I'm puzzled why it's eligible for an award for science fiction as it's a movie based on an important story of science fact.  I'm not sure what to do with it (Do I vote for it as if it were an SF movie? Is it offensive for it to be considered an SF movie?), so I'm leaving it off my ballot.

1- Arrival, screenplay by Eric Heisserer based on a short story by Ted Chiang, directed by Denis Villeneuve (21 Laps Entertainment/FilmNation Entertainment/Lava Bear Films)

2- Stranger Things, Season One, created by the Duffer Brothers (21 Laps Entertainment/Monkey Massacre)

3- Rogue One, screenplay by Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy, directed by Gareth Edwards (Lucasfilm/Allison Shearmur Productions/Black Hangar Studios/Stereo D/Walt Disney Pictures)

4- Ghostbusters, screenplay by Katie Dippold & Paul Feig, directed by Paul Feig (Columbia Pictures/LStar Capital/Village Roadshow Pictures/Pascal Pictures/Feigco Entertainment/Ghostcorps/The Montecito Picture Company)

5- Deadpool, screenplay by Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick, directed by Tim Miller (Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation/Marvel Entertainment/Kinberg Genre/The Donners’ Company/TSG Entertainment)

(Leaving off my ballot)  Hidden Figures, screenplay by Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi, directed by Theodore Melfi (Fox 2000 Pictures/Chernin Entertainment/Levantine Films/TSG Entertainment)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

For whatever reason I tend not to consume as much TV as other media.  Part of it is that I share a TV with a TV enthusiast of different tastes, but part of it is that TV requires a big time commitment and I have too much to read.  That said, I love The Exapanse.  I've only read the first two novels in the series it's based on, but from what I've seen the show is capturing the feel of the novels in a most expansive way (although, predictably, the actors are all prettier than the characters seem in the books).  Much can be said for Game of Thrones with regard to its source material.  Sadly I haven't kept up with Black Mirror (although I loved the first two seasons) or Doctor Who (I'm more of a classic Doctor Who fan).  I had no idea what Splendor & Misery was until I sat down to make my Hugo ballot.  Apparently it's a hip hop album, which you can find here.   It's kind of cool and it's fun to see a hip hop album on the list, so I'll give it the #4 spot.  Maybe the Hugos need a musical category?

1- The Expanse: “Leviathan Wakes”, written by Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby, directed by Terry McDonough (SyFy)

2- Game of Thrones: “The Door”, written by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, directed by Jack Bender (HBO)

3- Game of Thrones: “Battle of the Bastards”, written by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, directed by Miguel Sapochnik (HBO)

4- Splendor & Misery [album], by Clipping (Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, Jonathan Snipes)

Leaving off my ballot:

Black Mirror: “San Junipero”, written by Charlie Brooker, directed by Owen Harris (House of Tomorrow)

Doctor Who: “The Return of Doctor Mysterio”, written by Steven Moffat, directed by Ed Bazalgette (BBC Cymru Wales)

Best Editor, Short Form

I'm not really plugged into the business side of SF/F enough to have much of a basis for judgment here, although I can to some extent work from the results.  I've been doing some editing myself lately, so maybe I can partly relate (although my editing is academic rather than popular).  Lightspeed has been doing a lot of cool stuff lately (including a neat podcast), so I'm giving John Joseph Adams the #1 spot.  The same can be said for Clarkesworld (Neil Clarke).  Strahan edited my #1 pick for Best Novella.  Really all the editors in this category seem to be doing great work worthy of recognition, something I suspect editors don't get enough of.

1- John Joseph Adams

2- Neil Clarke

3- Jonathan Strahan

4- Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas

5- Ellen Datlow

6- Sheila Williams

Best Editor, Long Form

Again I'm not fully competent to judge this one except by the results.  Devi Pillai edited Jemisin's The Obelisk Gate (my #2 pick for Best Novel).  Liz Gorinsky has edited some of Ken Liu's translations of Cixin Liu, and editing translated work brings an extra layer of challenges.  Although I personally didn't think All the Birds in the Sky lived up to the hype, it looks like Miriam Weinberg did a great job (she also did Ian McDonald's Luna: New Moon, which has been on my to-read list for awhile).  And everyone on the list gets a million points for not being Vox Day, the Rabidest of the Rabid Puppies.  I don't like to wish people ill will, so instead I hope Vox Day soon finds a peaceful (white dudes only) cabin somewhere without internet access.

1- Devi Pillai

2- Liz Gorinsky

3- Miriam Weinberg

4- Sheila E. Gilbert

5- Navah Wolfe

6- No Award

7-Vox Day

Best Professional Artist

I'm neither an artist nor particularly competent to judge art, but here's what I thought based on the samples in the Hugo packet.  Everyone on the list is obviously super talented.  Sana Takeda did the amazing art for Monstress (my #1 pick for Best Graphic Story), so I have to put her first.  Victo Ngai did the art for The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe (my #1 pick for Best Novella).  The other ratings are based on purely subjective criteria I probably couldn't explain if I wanted to.

1- Sana Takeda

2- Victo Ngai

3- Julie Dillon

4- Chris McGrath 

5- Galen Dara

6- John Picacio

Best Semiprozine

"Semiprozine" has a complex definition on the Hugo Awards site, but basically I guess they're journals that don't pay very much.  Uncanny seems to be doing the coolest stuff, followed by Strange Horizons and Beneath Ceaseless Skies.  The Book Smugglers has a lot of good reviews, and I like the idea of GigaNotoSaurus of publishing just one longer story per month. Cirsova is giving me mixed feelings.  On the one hand, it looks like a decent journal for what it is ("Heroic Fantasy and Science Fiction").  Not my thing, but whatever.  On the other hand, the editor is explicitly tied to Vox Day and the Rabid Puppies (I checked).  I won't discount something just because it's on the Rabid Puppies slate (see Deadpool and Neil Gaiman), but if something is publicly aligned with the Rabids, I just can't do it.

1- Uncanny Magazine, edited by Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas, Michi Trota, Julia Rios, and podcast produced by Erika Ensign & Steven Schapansky 

2- Strange Horizons, edited by Niall Harrison, Catherine Krahe, Vajra Chandrasekera, Vanessa Rose Phin, Li Chua, Aishwarya Subramanian, Tim Moore, Anaea Lay, and the Strange Horizons staff

3- Beneath Ceaseless Skies, editor-in-chief and publisher Scott H. Andrews

4- The Book Smugglers, edited by Ana Grilo and Thea James

5- GigaNotoSaurus, edited by Rashida J. Smith

6- No Award

7- Cirsova Heroic Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine, edited by P. Alexander

Best Fanzine

By fans, for fans!  I admit I was only familiar with two of these before (oddly enough the two most diametrically opposed: Lady Business and the Rabid Puppy kennel of Castalia House). I'll be checking some of these out regularly in the future.  Thanks, Hugos, for expanding my horizons!

1- nerds of a feather, flock together, edited by The G, Vance Kotrla, and Joe Sherry

2- Lady Business, edited by Clare, Ira, Jodie, KJ, Renay, and Susan

3- SF Bluestocking, edited by Bridget McKinney

4- Rocket Stack Rank, edited by Greg Hullender and Eric Wong

5- Journey Planet, edited by James Bacon, Chris Garcia, Esther MacCallum-Stewart, Helena Nash, Errick Nunnally, Pádraig Ó Méalóid, Chuck Serface, and Erin Underwood

6- No Award

7- Castalia House Blog, edited by Jeffro Johnson

Best Fancast

Although I've been getting into podcasts lately, I haven't had a chance to check any of these out, so unfortunately I won't be voting in this category.  Maybe next year.

Leaving off my ballot:

The Coode Street Podcast, presented by Gary K. Wolfe and Jonathan Strahan
Ditch Diggers, presented by Mur Lafferty and Matt Wallace
Fangirl Happy Hour, presented by Ana Grilo and Renay Williams
Galactic Suburbia, presented by Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce and Tansy Rayner Roberts, produced by Andrew Finch
The Rageaholic, presented by RazörFist

Tea and Jeopardy, presented by Emma Newman with Peter Newman

Best Fan Writer

Mike Glyer at File770 is still doing a great job (evidenced by occasionally linking to this blog!), so I'll vote for him again this year.  Chuck Tingle's trolling of the Puppies and continued all-around utter bizarreness gives him the second spot (whoever or whatever he is).  Jeffro Johnson is a prominent Rabid Puppy.  Enough said.  I was unfamiliar with the others, but I was particularly impressed with Abigail Nussbaum's deep, thoughtful reviews.  I'll definitely be following her blog, Asking the Wrong Questions.

1- Mike Glyer

2- Chuck Tingle

3- Abigail Nussbaum

4- Foz Meadows

5- Natalie Luhrs

6- No Award

7- Jeffro Johnson

Best Fan Artist

Again, I'm not sure I'm the greatest judge of art, but there's some cool stuff in this category.  Here it goes.

1-Elizabeth Leggett

2-Likhain (M. Sereno)

3-Vesa Lehtimäki

4-Steve Stiles

5-Spring Schoenhuth

6-Ninni Aalto

Best Series

A new category this year!  I've only read two of the series on this list, and I haven't finished either one.  I loved The Expanse books I have read, but c'mon, The Vorkosigan Saga is a vast, spectacular achievement that I think deserves the first Hugo for this category (the gist of what I told the author when I had an awkward conversation with her at a signing last week).

1- The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold (Baen)

2- The Expanse, by James S.A. Corey (Orbit US / Orbit UK)

Leaving off my ballot:

The Craft Sequence, by Max Gladstone (Tor Books)

The October Daye Books, by Seanan McGuire (DAW / Corsair)

The Peter Grant / Rivers of London series, by Ben Aaronovitch (Gollancz / Del Rey / DAW / Subterranean)

The Temeraire series, by Naomi Novik (Del Rey / Harper Voyager UK)

The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer

Technically not a Hugo Award.  I admit I'm only really familiar with Ada Palmer, but I really, really like her. I suppose I could become familiar with the others, although ballots are due in a few hours.  So, here I stand.  I can do no other.

1- Ada Palmer (1st year of eligibility)

Leaving off my ballot:

Sarah Gailey (1st year of eligibility)
J. Mulrooney (1st year of eligibility)
Malka Older (2nd year of eligibility)
Laurie Penny (2nd year of eligibility)

Kelly Robson (2nd year of eligibility)


  1. Any award that has as an option "No Award" is not a legitimate award. Sad that the SJWs have completely destroyed what used to be the premier award in SF/F.

    1. I'll give the benefit of the doubt and assume this isn't just trolling. A few things:
      1. The Hugo have had a "No Award" option since at least 1959 when there was no award for Best Dramatic Presentation.
      2. I have never understood why "SJW" is supposed to be an insulting pejorative. Are people who use "SJW" saying that social justice is a bad thing? This is an honest question.
      3. The Hugos are and always have been voted on by fans who register for Worldcon, which is and always has been a self-selected group of fans whose tastes have changed over time. Stuff wins today that would never have won 50 years ago and vice versa. The vast majority of those fans have found the Puppies' efforts to game the system to undermine the spirit of the awards. There is absolutely no evidence that the awards are somehow secretly controlled by some sinister cabal of "SJWs" or "SMOFs" or whatever acronym is popular this week. Is it possible that many fans just actually like the stuff that's winning these days more than whatever Vox Day and his ilk are producing? Does the whole "SJWs are ruining the Hugos" narrative imply that people like N. K. Jemisin or John Scalzi aren't authors that many fans love? If so, what's the evidence for that? Again, these are serious questions.
      4. Lots of stuff wins Hugos that I personally don't like and I feel free to complain about it. Everyone is free to do so. But where the Puppies went too far in my opinion is exploiting a weakness in the system specifically just to annoy everybody who doesn't agree with their personal tastes. In doing so, they did exactly what they falsely accused some mystical non-existent cabal of "SJWs" of doing. In high school, I once helped my friends stuff ballot box to win homecoming king and queen. I felt bad about it at the time and soon regretted it, because this is not the behavior of a reasonable adult (or soon to be adult in my case at the time). Are the Puppies' actions really those of reasonable adults? I realize this sounds condescending (maybe it is), but it is nonetheless an honest question.