The 2018 Hugo Finalists
March 31, 2018 1:20 PM   Subscribe

The 2018 Hugo Award Finalists, via mefi's own John Scalzi who is nominated for The Collapsing Empire.

Seemingly relatively drama free year. Nominated stories available to read online include:

Best Novella
And Then There Were (N-One) by Sarah Pinsker (Mefi thread)

Best Novelette
Children of Thorns, Children of Water by Aliette de Bodard
Extracurricular Activities by Yoon Ha Lee
The Secret Life of Bots by Suzanne Palmer
A Series of Steaks by Vina Jie-Min Prasad
Small Changes Over Long Periods of Time by K.M. Szpara
Wind Will Rove (PDF) by Sarah Pinsker

Best Short Story
Carnival Nine by Caroline M. Yoachim
Clearly Lettered in a Mostly Steady Hand by Fran Wilde
Fandom for Robots by Vina Jie-Min Prasad (Mefi thread)
The Martian Obelisk by Linda Nagata
Sun, Moon, Dust by Ursula Vernon (Mefi thread)
Welcome to your Authentic Indian Experience™ by Rebecca Roanhorse
posted by Artw (58 comments total) 72 users marked this as a favorite
 
Personal gripe: The non-inclusion of 177776 - too unconventional? Or nobody could figure out which category to put it in?
posted by Artw at 1:22 PM on March 31 [32 favorites]


The File770 thread should be a rich source of commentary.
posted by Artw at 1:24 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


Is it normal for two episodes of a TV show to be nominated, regardless of whether that show is the best thing on TV?
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:50 PM on March 31


Artw: I was also disappointed to see 17776 miss out. The author suggested "novella" category, so that's what our household nominated it in.

I didn't realize Clipping (Daveed Digg's new gig) had more work that qualified for the Hugo - they were nominated last year as well. Also, this is the first year for the YA category (not a Hugo, it's the "WSFS Award"), I believe, and includes Nnedi Okorafor and Ursula Vernon (writing as T. Kingfisher). The long form has an impressively strong slate this year - "Get Out", "Shape of Water", "Star Wars: The Last Jedi", "Thor: Ragnarok", "Wonder Woman", "Blade Runner 2049".

I'm not familiar with a bunch of the work but nothing jumps out to me as explicitly being part of a *-Puppy slate, which is refreshing.
posted by rmd1023 at 1:51 PM on March 31 [5 favorites]


I'm so pleased Martha Wells got nominated. All Systems Red is lovely, and the Raksura novels are great. Even if she doesn't win, it's a nice bump for her public profile.
posted by suelac at 1:52 PM on March 31 [10 favorites]


Congratulations jsclazi (autocorrects to jacuzzi!) I enjoyed The Collapsing Empire and am looking forward to the follow-up.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 1:52 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


Is it normal for two episodes of a TV show to be nominated, regardless of whether that show is the best thing on TV?

Multiple episodes of Doctor Who or Game of Thrones have been pretty common in the past.

Side note: The Good Place IS the best thing on TV, team Trolley Problem here.
posted by Artw at 1:53 PM on March 31 [16 favorites]


Oh no, I’m tied on whether to root for “The Trolley Problem” or “The Deep.”
posted by a hat out of hell at 1:54 PM on March 31


Here's the Retro Hugo ballot too (Mefi thread).
posted by Wobbuffet at 1:54 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]


Ooh some great Heinlein shorts on the Retro Ballot there.

Yeah, I’ve got your “Heinlein couldn’t win a Hugo today” right here.
posted by Artw at 1:58 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]


Ooh, that novella slate is gangbusters.
posted by quaking fajita at 2:12 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


I am fine with the nominees in fiction but damn, no episodes of The Expanse? What the Fuck, Hugo!
posted by Ber at 2:16 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


This year's novel slate is sorta middle of the road in my opinion. Not terrible, not stellar. But that's a reflection on last year more than the voters. When will we have another slate like 2000 when Deepness, Cryptonomicon, and A Civil Campaign were all nominated? You kids get off my lawn! The novella slate looks strong. I haven't read enough of the Novelletes to know about those.

The Dramatic Presentation (Long Form) slate is very strong in exactly the way the Best Novel slate is not. And I will be very happy if The Trolley Problem wins Dramatic Presentation (short form) but I agree with Ber that the Expanse deserves to be on the shortlist.

I have no opinion on Best Series save that it should never have been made a category.
posted by Justinian at 2:46 PM on March 31


I don't follow the politics of the Hugos as much as I used to. Can someone who does let me know if the Puppy assholes gave up? Is that a sign that the anti-slate-stacking rules have been effective so we won't see a repeat of that bullshit?
posted by Justinian at 2:50 PM on March 31


Gotta admit The Collapsing Empire got me a lot more interested than I expected. I am a jscalzi fan and have never regretted reading any of his stuff, but some have grabbed me on various levels. Empire was more intriguing than I anticipated.
posted by Samizdata at 2:54 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]


My Favorite Thing is Monsters is one of my favorite works on this list, but I wouldn't describe it as sff.
posted by tofu_crouton at 2:59 PM on March 31


Allowable by dint of having monsters, I guess.
posted by Artw at 3:24 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


Not many of the things I nominated ended up on this list, but there's also not much I'd really quibble with, either.
posted by dinty_moore at 3:24 PM on March 31


Always interested in the Moist Novelette category!
posted by thelonius at 3:33 PM on March 31 [5 favorites]


I don't follow the politics of the Hugos as much as I used to. Can someone who does let me know if the Puppy assholes gave up? Is that a sign that the anti-slate-stacking rules have been effective so we won't see a repeat of that bullshit?

I think it's more that they gave up rigging the Hugos and decided to rig the country instead.
posted by corb at 3:33 PM on March 31 [49 favorites]


When the history of whatever the fuck happened the uptick in culture war nonsense around 2014 is really going to need a hard looking at, I'm sure. I think the Hugos returning to normal may be more of a combination of the Puppies running out of steam (and not really having gotten anything they wanted) and the countermeasures making the effort required to have an impact much greater.

Oh and they have the Dragon awards now or whatever.
posted by Artw at 3:51 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]


I just realized how dominant women authors are in the nominees this year! 19/24 or so for the Novel/Novella/Novellete/SS categories? That's amazing.
posted by Justinian at 4:22 PM on March 31 [5 favorites]


Also last night, the Philip K. Dick Award for distinguished science fiction published in paperback form was awarded to Carrie Vaughn’s "Bannerless" with a special citation (runner-up prize?) to Deji Bryce Olukotun for "After the Flare". No overlap with the Hugo novels (is that intentional or naturally occurring because of the "paperback form" thing?), and white male authors were shut out there ('we' had 2 of the 7 nominees)

The Dramatic Presentation (Long AND Short Form) categories had more stuff everyone has heard of (in addition to the considered-automatic Star Wars, Star Trek and Doctor Who... and I think we can add Black Mirror to that category). In fact two Oscar nominees (with one winner) is probably unprecedented. And interesting that the Graphic Story category has no superheroes (after Marvel got 3 noms last year) but there are two in the Dramatic Long Form.

I'm still sorry that webcomics have disappeared from the Graphic Story category ("Girl Genius" owned the category its first couple years and "Digger" was Ursula Vernon's first Hugo). But the competition is fierce and the category crowded, so I'll have to just give my own mental awards to Minna Sunberg's "Stand Still Stay Silent", Vitaly Alexius's "Romantically Apocalyptic", Blue Delliquanti's "O Human Star", Ashley Cope's "Unsounded", Eldon Cowgur's "Astray3" (which is getting an awesome reboot), Maritza Campos & Bachan's "Power Nap", Mike Walton's "False Positive" (the Black Mirror of webcomics), Gisele Weaver's "Star Trip" and, what the heck, Mary Cagle's "Kiwi Blitz" and Dave Kellett's "Drive" ... there's enough for their own category.

The Puppy assholes gave up... rigging the Hugos and decided to rig the country instead.
The semi-smart ones realized FoxNews pays better than VoxDay.
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:54 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


There’s some new dumb thing going on called ComicsGate if you’re really missing the antics of puppy style assholes.
posted by Artw at 4:56 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


Ok, holy shit, I had not heard word one about 17776 before this thread, I give just the thinnest sliver of a rat's ass about football*, and I'm only about a third of the way through, but goddamn, that thing is astonishing. It's like Ben Marcus, M. John Harrison, and John Varley decided to form a psychogeography club with Nate Silver. I swear to god, I am going to *buy* a used Hugo off somebody and then award it to the creator of 17776 myself.


* I am a Winnipeg Blue Bombers fan by marriage. It's often pretty grim, but my Chihuahua does look dashing in her navy-and-white jersey.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 5:10 PM on March 31 [19 favorites]


Also, GO CARRIE VAUGHN!!!!
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 5:11 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


Good list of finalists this year. (Although of course I've got favorites I'm rooting for.) Particularly nice to see such a strong crop of novellas -- there's a form that's had a resurgence lately which I attribute almost entirely to ebooks. And, well, a big boost from Tor.com's novella line, which is pretty evident from the list. It's kind of interesting to see where certain publishers are dominating this year:

Orbit (novels)
Tor.com (novellas)
Uncanny (short fiction, although to a much lesser extent)
Image Comics (graphic story)
posted by kyrademon at 5:11 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


I just realized how dominant women authors are in the nominees this year! 19/24 or so for the Novel/Novella/Novellete/SS categories? That's amazing.

It’s a shame Ursula Le Guin didn’t live to see that, but it’s a fitting memorial to her work.
posted by msalt at 5:22 PM on March 31 [7 favorites]


congrats to jscalzi and big props for making adoptive identity central to the ongoing arc of the protagonist. represent, my MeFite.
posted by mwhybark at 6:14 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]


Okay, if you haven’t read Sarah Kuhn, you should. Now.
posted by teleri025 at 6:14 PM on March 31 [1 favorite]


who, me?
posted by mwhybark at 6:34 PM on March 31


Thanks, everyone! I'm happy to be nominated this year. It's a very good year all around.

17776: I suspect this was just off the radar of most of the nominators. Every year there is nomination-worthy stuff that doesn't make the final ballot.

Puppies: A combination of changes in how the nominations are tallied and the principals losing interest (in part because the rule changes made it impossible for them to game the nominations) means the Hugos are unmolested by nonsense this year.
posted by jscalzi at 7:41 PM on March 31 [18 favorites]


I just finished New York 2140 and holy hell what a great novel.
posted by Annika Cicada at 8:08 PM on March 31 [5 favorites]


and @jscalzi next up for me is the collapsing empire. I’m looking forward to reading it!
posted by Annika Cicada at 8:10 PM on March 31


there's a form that's had a resurgence lately which I attribute almost entirely to ebooks

I hadn't thought of that but it's possible. I've always felt that Science Fiction lends itself to the shorter lengths in ways that many genres do not and there's always been a lot of great work at novella length. I love a good 800 page monster as much as the next guy (probably more) but there's nothing like a novella to really punch you in the gut.
posted by Justinian at 8:16 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]


Never heard of 17776 and the conversation here encouraged me to look it up. I read it. Amazing.
posted by Emily's Fist at 8:28 PM on March 31 [5 favorites]


Samizdata: "Gotta admit The Collapsing Empire got me a lot more interested than I expected. I am a jscalzi fan and have never regretted reading any of his stuff, but some have grabbed me on various levels. Empire was more intriguing than I anticipated."

I was disappointed in it, myself. It's a fun idea, but I felt like it suffered greatly from Scalzi's usual problems with characterization.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:50 PM on March 31


I think I've read three nominees across all the categories this year, although I've seen most of the film/television nominees. (That's not surprising; unless I'm being paid to review it, I read hardly anything in the year it's actually released.)

@Pope Guilty: Yeah, I find that the TV episodes that get nominated are usually not particularly good and tend to be heavily fan-service-y, although there are exceptions (The Good Place!).

17776 strikes me as the sort of thing that should be nominated somewhere, but absolutely would not have been even if it had been on anyone's radar. It was too genuinely experimental.
posted by Fish Sauce at 9:18 PM on March 31 [2 favorites]


I was in the room with a bunch of the finalists. They'd been sitting on the news for a week, so they were all happy to share their good news with everyone.

Also, hurray for a nazi-free slate.

Also also while I'm sad "Dance Dance Resolution" didn't make the ballot, I'm happy to have to choose between two episodes of "The Good Place."
posted by RakDaddy at 9:58 PM on March 31 [3 favorites]


annika cicada, the audiobook of 2142 was read by a big cast, and is great!
posted by wenestvedt at 4:22 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]


I read all the novel nominees except 2142.
(I recognize the merit in KSR's books, but I dislike his characterization and mostly stopped reading his books long ago.)

All the other five, I found very engrossing and enjoyable. They each seem quite distinct from each other, though The Collapsing Empire and The Raven Strategem are both epic space operas. Of the two, I enjoyed the latter more, but I'm basically all-in on these Yoon Ha Lee books -- it's military SF done really, really well, without the regressive politics that is far too common in this subgenre.

Provenance is pretty much what I want and expect from Leckie.

Probably Six Wakes was the most engrossing for me -- the plotting was intricate and the characterization robust. It's an SF mystery/thriller and fully succeeds in both genres.

Jemisin's The Stone Sky is a solid finale of her Broken Earth trilogy. In several respects I think it is by far the best book of the five I read and would get my vote -- but I found all the others more purely enjoyable, with either Raven or Wakes on top, but Scalzi's Empire not too far behind.

All in all, the group seems a bit lightweight -- only The Stone Sky seems to me to be truly Hugo-worthy, and it not especially so. On the other hand, and given that I did enjoy Jemison's quite a bit, they're all books I would recommend and, as diverting reading, are of a greater caliber that I'd like to see more of. It seems like when I was younger there were many more such books each year, but maybe I'm just more fussy now.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:28 AM on April 1


Gosh, Carnival Nine made me cry. What a great story.
posted by low_horrible_immoral at 7:41 AM on April 1


I nominated 17776 for both novella and Graphic Story -- sad to see it didn't make either. I've read most of the novels and novellas and it's solid but not exceptional year as a lot of others have said. My votes for on the final ballot will be pretty hard for novel, but easy for novella.

This is also the second year of Best Series (or the first official year -- depending on how you feel about rules) and it's a decent list:

The Books of the Raksura, by Martha Wells (Night Shade)
The Divine Cities, by Robert Jackson Bennett (Broadway)
InCryptid, by Seanan McGuire (DAW)
The Memoirs of Lady Trent, by Marie Brennan (Tor US / Titan UK)
The Stormlight Archive, by Brandon Sanderson (Tor US / Gollancz UK)
World of the Five Gods, by Lois McMaster Bujold (Harper Voyager / Spectrum Literary Agency)

I feel like Robert Jackson Bennett has been robbed by not being on the the Best Novel short list for any of the Divine Cities novels so it's good to see him here. He'll probably get my #1 vote too, to support the idea that Best Series should be awarded to a series that is "done" in the year the last novel came out.
posted by 3j0hn at 9:13 AM on April 1


> "Best Series should be awarded to a series that is 'done' in the year the last novel came out."

I don't mind this idea for a series which are a single plot or story told across multiple novels, with a set 'done' point where that particular story is over. For 'ongoing' series which are a set of linked plots with no obvious end point, I don't see why they can't be voted on whenevs.
posted by kyrademon at 9:51 AM on April 1


> or 'ongoing' series which are a set of linked plots with no obvious end point, I don't see why they can't be voted on whenevs.

That is a good point, but since a done series is not going to be eligible again (in theory), I still think I'd favor them over ongoing series.
posted by 3j0hn at 11:44 AM on April 1


"Done" is a very fungible thing when it comes to book series.
posted by jscalzi at 1:38 PM on April 1 [3 favorites]


Done: The Finalling -Completion Saga vol III
posted by Artw at 1:50 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]


Ada Palmer's Terra Ignota series got some good recognition last year, with the best novel nomination and winning the Campbell award. They're not for everyone but those books are instant all-time favorites for me personally, so I'm a little sad to see neither Seven Surrenders or The Will to Battle on the list. I wonder if it hurt to have two novels from the same series published in the same year?
posted by vibratory manner of working at 1:56 PM on April 1


I wonder if it hurt to have two novels from the same series published in the same year?

Yeah I wondered how that was going to shake out. I suspect she split her own vote.

I'm also surprised Walkaway isn't on here, just given Doctorow's fanbase. Did he do one of those Gaiman "I've retired from nominations" things?
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 2:51 PM on April 1


Maybe people realized Doctorow isn't actually a very good writer of fiction?
posted by Justinian at 2:56 PM on April 1 [8 favorites]


are there publications i should subscribe to or publishers i should follow to have an informed opinion on the year's output ahead of the 2019 nominations? my year's reading is generally based on the Hugos, would love to have an informed opinion on the 2019 crop before they're nominated
posted by choom at 7:46 PM on April 1 [1 favorite]


Slightly more comprehensive than my efforts, includes excerpts and free chapters: Where To Find The 2018 Hugo Finalists For Free Online
posted by Artw at 8:02 PM on April 1 [3 favorites]


are there publications i should subscribe to or publishers i should follow to have an informed opinion on the year's output ahead of the 2019 nominations?

Sure, Locus covers this year-round. They offer a sample issue so you can see what it's really like to subscribe.
posted by Wobbuffet at 10:57 PM on April 1


Seconding Locus, choom. They put out a "recommended reading" list every year for SF, fantasy, and (I think) first novels? Most folks will not be able to read everything on their lists but doing so would keep you very current on the state of the genre.

There's a reason Locus won the Best Locus semiprozine Hugo so many years in a row until they changed the criteria to give others a shot.
posted by Justinian at 2:35 AM on April 2


Yeah, I liked The Collapsing Empire, but it really felt like a prelude to a better, longer book. Like I sorta hope 10 years from now it gets rereleased ala the Merchant Princes as an omnibus edition at 800 pages.
posted by Kyol at 2:47 PM on April 2 [2 favorites]


Don't forget that, in addition to the pro nominations, there are lots of fan categories and those are often available online:

Best Fanzine Best Fancast Best Fan Writer Best Fan Artist For fan creators, being recognized by the Hugos is often the only recognition they get beyond their existing audience. It's an honour even to be shortlisted, and it's worth checking out these creators' works.
posted by ChrisR at 3:02 PM on April 2 [3 favorites]




This thread is the first time I've heard of 17776. Having watched (some of) it, it definitely goes on for too long, but it definitely makes me stand back and shout "what the fuck is this?", which means it probably deserves a Hugo nod.

I think the "best fancast" battle has been relitigated a thousand times, but I wish it weren't a category. I think there are a bunch of podcasts that could give most of the fanzines a run for their money, and there's a lot of other podcasts that would make more sense going elsewhere. I still have no idea where to place the Star Wars Minute podcast (or any of the other minute-by-minute commentaries), for example, and I hope that one reason Limetown didn't get as much recognition as it deserves is because no one knew exactly where to put it.
posted by steady-state strawberry at 7:56 AM on April 7


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