The Hugo Awards finalists have been announced. You can find the full list, as well as the 1941 Retro finalists, here.
I questioned in my post on the number of nomination ballots that there was a question who was making all those extra nominations–Sad Puppies, Rabid Puppies, or Noah Warders? It’s obvious that the new participants were Puppies of one demeanor or another. By my count, 41 picks from the Sad Puppies list and 64 picks from the Rabid Puppies list are finalists. The Rabid Puppies again swept several categories.
As usual, a lot of what I nominated didn’t make the cut, there are some works on there I loved, and there is a lot of stuff I look forward to reading (or watching, or whatever). The usual ritual rending of garments is underway on Twitter, but I can’t blast the finalists just yet.
The only known mediocrities I see are The Divine (my review here) and Avengers: Age of Ultron (if we’re going to have a mediocre blockbuster, I would have preferred Jurassic World). From my own ballot, off the top of my head, I see Uprooted, The Builders (review here), Safe Space as Rape Room, Appendix N, Ex Machina, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, Star Wars: The Force Awakens (review here and essay here), and Jeffro Johnson. I’m very excited to see Uprooted, Ex Machina, and Mad Max: Fury Road, which were bloody brilliant. Seveneves just missed the cut for my ballot, but I very much enjoyed it and really look forward to talking about it (if you don’t believe I read Uprooted and Seveneves, check my nightstand in the picture above). I already own a copy of The Aeronaut’s Windlass. I’m excited to read The Fifth Season, Binti, Nethereal, Knight’s Shadow, and The Martian (Brian Niemeier, Sebastian de Castell, and Andy Weir are all up for a Campbell, the Hugo-that-isn’t-a-Hugo). I loved Ancillary Justice (review here) but Ancillary Sword (review here) was mediocre. I remain intrigued to see how the series ends. Castalia House has one of the best SF blogs on the net since Jeffro took over, and I’ve very much enjoyed Superversive SF in the short time I’ve been reading it. John Picacio’s omission is a travesty, as is that of The Dark Forest (how does Ancillary Sword ride its predecessor’s Hugo to a nomination while The Dark Forest gets ignored?).
Is it a perfect list? No. But what would a perfect list look like? It would look a lot like my nominating ballot. Or at least that’s what my perfect list would look like. It turns out other people have different tastes. Go figure. Just because they do doesn’t mean I won’t discover something amazing I hadn’t read–like Warbound two years ago or The Three-Body Problem (review here) last year. I’m not exactly happy with the list (or I don’t think I’m happy, having not consumed most of it), but let’s be honest: the Hugo finalists haven’t represented the best of speculative fiction for a while. Is this a step forward? I hope so. It bodes well that Sad Puppies 4 was more mainstream and inclusive without being co-opted or buried. Rabid Puppies continues to look like it is less about books than politics, and the other, morally equivalent, side will be happy to respond in kind (not that I’m disinterested in politics at any level, but I have my priorities).