UPDATE: I dashed this off as quickly as possible, and forgot a few things. I’ve added another section to the end.
The Hugo Awards finalists have been announced. You can find the full list here. Looking over this…yeah, I’m not going to pay for the privilege of voting this year. There just isn’t enough here I’m interested enough in reading to justify paying $40 (and the voting itself certainly isn’t worth much). A few highlights:
I am very gratified to see Cixin Liu back where he belongs with Death’s End a finalist for Best Novel. I loved it, as you can probably tell by my overenthusiastic review. I thought The Dark Forest was robbed, and I voted for The Three-Body Problem as the Best Novel two years ago. I would have loved to have seen the entire series go up for an award, but oh well. It perhaps says something about the incestual nature of the Hugo voting that the two books in the series translated by the popular Ken Liu were finalists, and the one that wasn’t didn’t even finish in the top 15 nominations.
I have no real desire to read the rest of the Best Novel finalists. I did very much like The Fifth Season, but it nonetheless left me unmotivated to continue the series. That one, at least, I imagine I will get to eventually.
For the shorter fiction, the only work I have any real interest in reading is The Ballad of Black Tom, although I may check out some of the other Tor.com works if I can do so for free. I enjoyed the early volumes of Ms. Marvel and Saga, but they’ve run their course for me, I think. As it stands, I wasn’t planning on picking up the next volume of either. I read Volume 5 of Ms. Marvel and thought it was very good, unlike the highly disappointing Volume 6. Volumes 4 and 5 did it for me for Saga.
I was gratified to see both of my nominees for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form made the final ballot: Rogue One and Stranger Things. I didn’t put Deadpool on my ballot, but I very much enjoyed it, so no complaints from me there. I’m looking forward to watching Arrival and Hidden Figures. Of course, Hidden Figures isn’t speculative fiction, but its nomination is in keeping with tradition: The Right Stuff and Apollo 13 were also finalists. I have a pretty good idea what I will think of Ghostbusters, but I will reserve judgment until I finally see it.
I’m very happy to see my favorite artist, John Picacio, on the list for Best Professional Artist.
I nominated Malka Older for the Campbell Award on the strength of her debut novel, Infomocracy, and I haven’t read any of Sarah Gailey’s work yet, but I have an advanced copy of River of Teeth (Hippos…in LOUISANAAAAAA) and am really excited to pick it up.
Jeffro is a finalist for Best Fan Writer. Again. Of course. What I’m really excited about is that Cirsova Heroic Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine is a finalist for Best Semiprozine! I really feel like I ought to get some credit there, what with my blurb on the jacket for Volume 3 and all. But Alex deserves the real credit for conjuring kick-ass Vancian yarns out of thin air.
UPDATE: It is perhaps a rather egregious oversight that I neglected to mention that the Castalia House Blog was nominated for Best Fanzine. Especially considering I contribute an every-other-week column over there. I can’t call myself a Hugo-nominated writer quite yet though—I didn’t start writing posts for CH until 2017. Well deserved though. CH has passed Tor.com as my go-to speculative fiction blog.
I doubt I will get to A Closed and Common Orbit, but I do have a review copy of The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet . I look forward to reading it, and hopefully I will get to it this summer.
The Rageaholic was a finalist last year, but I only saw my first few videos within the last month or so. And for the most part, I have no interest in watching his videos on video games or movies or politics. If only for the main reason I don’t watch many YouTube videos or listen to many podcasts. I ain’t got time for that stuff. But Razorfist has an encyclopedic knowledge of comics and Elric of Melnibone. And he’s got a great shtick. Usually in black-and-white, decked out in mirrored sunglasses and a leather jacket, long hair, wall covered in posters behind him. Complete with some metal thrown-in to start and finish things off, and a rapid-fire, eloquent, profane delivery.
I haven’t read most of the Best Series nominees. And the basic problem with that category is that the number of finalists is already too much reading. Which is one of the reasons the awards can’t be wrested away by an insular group of insiders. As to what I have read, I enjoyed the first Craft Sequence book but haven’t picked up any others yet. It’s the sort of thing I ought to like more than I did. I came away pretty meh about the first three Temeraire books, but they got better as they went on and I loved Uprooted , so I will have to pick the series back up eventually. But I’m not going to knock out the last six books in a series over the summer.