The Hugo Nominees Have Landed!

There’s a lot to be excited about this April, my recent wedding, my honeymoon, my first short story being published, the fact that we got a new couch (seriously, I am so happy about this new couch. I might even make a post about how happy this couch makes me feel), etc. But another thing that has me excited this month is the fact that the Hugo Nominees have been announced! The reason? 2014 will be the first year that I’m voting!

As a result, I thought I’d post my initial thoughts on the nominees. Of course, I do plan on reading as many of them as possible, so I’ll be making more posts as I make my way through them all. I also won’t be talking about all of the nominees, so if you’re looking for a full list, then I’d suggest going To the Hugo Award Website.

Best Novel
-Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie (Orbit US/Orbit UK)
-Neptune’s Brood, Charles Stross (Ace / Orbit UK)
-Parasite, Mira Grant (Orbit US/Orbit UK)
-Warbound, Book III of the Grimnoir Chronicles, Larry Correia (Baen Books)
– The Wheel of Time, Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (Tor Books / Orbit UK)

Color me shocked not to see Neil Gaiman’s Ocean at the End of the Lane up here. I’ve heard some rumors that he’s asked not to be nominated this year. Is there any truth behind that? Anyway, this leave the number of nominees that I’ve read at a whopping ONE (Ancillary Justice, which I liked and admire for its daring, even if I didn’t fall in love with it as easily as some other readers). Interesting, I suspect that one is going to be the only book that might pose a threat to the behemoth that is Wheel of Time. I will make an honest effort to read the nominees (although the Correia and Stross ones might be tricky, as I haven’t read the previous books in the respective series), but I don’t think that I’m going to get to Wheel of Time. Thirteen books in four months is pretty steep for anyone, and those are FAT books. Very nice to see Parasite up here. I’ve been meaning to read that one, and now I have the perfect excuse.

Best Novella
-The Butcher of Khardov, Dan Wells (Privateer Press)
-“The Chaplain’s Legacy”, Brad Torgersen (Analog, Jul-Aug 2013)
-“Equoid”, Charles Stross (Tor.com, 09-2013)
-Six-Gun Snow White, Catherynne M. Valente (Subterranean Press)
-“Wakulla Springs”, Andy Duncan and Ellen Klages (Tor.com, 10-2013)

Speaking of finally having excuses to read certain books I’ve had Six-Gun Snow White in my wish list for ages. Valente writes such beautiful things, and I feel she really excels in the novella format. This is a category where I haven’t read any of the nominees, but I’m excited about getting into them. I also noticed that this is two of tor.com’s many nominations this year. Apparently, they pick some really good stuff.

Best Novelette
-“Opera Vita Aeterna”, Vox Day (The Last Witchking, Marcher Lord Hinterlands)
-“The Exchange Officers”, Brad Torgersen (Analog, Jan-Feb 2013)
-“The Lady Astronaut of Mars”, Mary Robinette Kowal (maryrobinettekowal.com/Tor.com, 09-2013)
-“The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling”, Ted Chiang (Subterranean, Fall 2013)
-“The Waiting Stars”, Aliette de Bodard (The Other Half of the Sky, Candlemark & Gleam)

And now we get to the big controversy of the awards, Vox Day’s nomination! I will do my best to read it, and judge it based on it’s merit’s alone, but that’s going to be really tricky for me, given that he’s said some mean things about writers I very much admire. Still, very happy to dig into Mary Robinette Kowal’s story.

Best Graphic Story (552 nominating ballots)
-Girl Genius, Volume 13: Agatha Heterodyne & The Sleeping City, written by Phil and Kaja Foglio; art by Phil Foglio; colors by Cheyenne Wright (Airship Entertainment)
-“The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who”, written by Paul Cornell, illustrated by Jimmy Broxton (Doctor Who Special 2013, IDW)
-The Meathouse Man, adapted from the story by George R.R. Martin and illustrated by Raya Golden (Jet City Comics)
-Saga, Volume 2, written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples (Image Comics )
-“Time”, Randall Munroe (XKCD)

This one had me scratching my head a bit. Really, where is Greg Rucka’s Lazarus? And does the Hugos have something against superheroes? Not even a critically acclaimed hit like Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye? I’m also a bit puzzled at how few nominating ballots show up here (552). That’s like a third of the ones for best novel. It makes me wonder, how many Hugo voters are regular comic book readers? Or do they only read works connected to existing writers or fandoms they’re interested in already (hence the Martin, and Doctor Who nominees)? Anyway, it gives me a lot to think about when I read the nominees. It will be nice to finally get to read Girl Genius, and Saga is always fabulous.

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form 
-Frozen, screenplay by Jennifer Lee, directed by Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee (Walt Disney Studios)
-Gravity, written by Alfonso Cuarón & Jonás Cuarón, directed by Alfonso Cuarón (Esperanto Filmoj; Heyday Films; Warner Bros.)
-The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, screenplay by Simon Beaufoy & Michael Arndt, directed by Francis Lawrence (Color Force; Lionsgate)
-Iron Man 3, screenplay by Drew Pearce & Shane Black, directed by Shane Black (Marvel Studios; DMG Entertainment; Paramount Pictures)
-Pacific Rim, screenplay by Travis Beacham & Guillermo del Toro, directed by Guillermo del Toro (Legendary Pictures, Warner Bros., Disney Double Dare You)

Hey! I’ve seen all of these! I’ll make a bigger post about it later but given that so many of these categories leave me feeling woefully unprepared, it’s nice to see one where I’m completely on the ball. Oh, and I liked all of these movies but Iron Man 3. But that one made shit tons to money, so it’s not that surprising to see it here. Clearly, a lot of other people liked it.

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form
-An Adventure in Space and Time, written by Mark Gatiss, directed by Terry McDonough (BBC Television)
-Doctor Who: “The Day of the Doctor”, written by Steven Moffat, directed by Nick Hurran (BBC Television)
-Doctor Who: “The Name of the Doctor”, written by Steven Moffat, directed by Saul Metzstein (BBC Televison)
-The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot, written & directed by Peter Davison (BBC Television)
-Game of Thrones: “The Rains of Castamere”, written by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, directed by David Nutter (HBO Entertainment in association with Bighead, Littlehead; Television 360; Startling Television and Generator Productions)
-Orphan Black: “Variations under Domestication” written by Will Pascoe, directed by John Fawcett (Temple Street Productions; Space/BBC America)

And welcome to the Doctor Who category! Don’t get me wrong, I really like Doctor Who, but I always feel that it crowds out other great TV shows and other short form video. Part of me feels that they should limit the category to one episode per show, but the other part of me feels like that would pretty much guarantee that Doctor Who would win every year. This way at least splits the votes a bit, allowing shows like Game of Thrones to snag a win (speaking of which, I need to watch Season 3!).

So there are some of my thoughts on some of the categories. Looking over them again makes me realize how much reading I need to do! I need to get started soon.

So when do we get our packets?

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21 thoughts on “The Hugo Nominees Have Landed!

  1. Actually, vote-splitting doesn’t affect the awards that much. If we used “first-past-the-post” voting (put an X by each candidate, and whoever has more Xs than anyone else wins), you’d be right, but with Instant Runoff Voting (mark preference 1, 2, 3,…), assuming (not always true) that (say) all DW fans vote the four DW-related nominees some combination of 1-2-3-4, their votes will always converge on one of the four candidates.

      • 1. The reason it’s not limited to one finalist per series is because that’s how the rule was drafted by the people who proposed it and how the members of Worldcon voted to make it. Any members of Worldcon can propose changes to the rules, but it requires persuading the other members who show up at the Business Meeting — open to all attending members — at two consecutive Worldcons to vote for it.

        2. Furthermore, look at this year’s slate of nominees. Even if you had a restriction of “one episode per series,” you’d still have three of the nominees being DW related. Two of the nominees are standalone works that are related to DW: a dramatization of the founding of the series and a humor story featuring former Doctors, neither of which are actually episodes of the series. It would be very difficult to write iron-clad technical rules that didn’t require the Awards Administrator to make subjective judgement calls about “how much like the others” a given nominee might be. (Having been a Hugo Administrator three times — not this year! — I can assure you that we _hate_ making anything other than technical decisions like “how long is it” or “was it published in the eligibility year?”)

        3. Finally, the subjective part: I expect that the main argument against limiting the category to “one episode per series” would be “There aren’t enough series out there to provide a sufficient field of nominees. Have a look at last year’s Hugo Award statistics, particularly page 22, where the top fifteen nominees for BDP Short are listed. DW episodes not only were nominated 2nd, 4th, and 5th, but also 10th, 11th, and 14th. In the entire field, there were only 8 “series” (including stand-alone works not part of a series), and by the principle of “it should be an honor just to be nominated,” eight isn’t enough. A category that is all-but “best Television Series” had better have at least twenty or more award-caliber series out there from which to draw.

        I hope you understand that I’m not dismissing your opinions. They’re well-stated, and those of us who have been involved with Worldcon, WSFS, and the Hugo Awards have been discussing them for (literally) decades. I was on the committee that helped craft the compromise proposal that split Dramatic Presentation into two categories, without which we wouldn’t even be having this discussion because 19 out of 20 winners would be theatrical motion pictures and television-based works, let alone works in other media, wouldn’t even be in the conversation.

      • LoL. I’m guessing this is not the first time you’ve posted this (either that, or you’re a crazy fast typer!).

        But no, I don’t feel like you’re dismissing my opinions. It’s just hard not to look at the nominees, year after year, see a pretty diverse spread in each category, and then not pause after seeing the Short Form so dominated by one show. Thank you for giving me the background info. It will certainty give me something to think over.

      • I’m guessing this is not the first time you’ve posted this (either that, or you’re a crazy fast typer!).

        Both, actually. 🙂

  2. Packets…. it takes a while. Also, the past two years, I found out the packets were available via other blogs, not because the Convention sent me an email notice. Kind of annoying.

    Read the stuff that’s free now, is my suggestion. (The Kowal is on Tor.com, btw). You’ll be glad you did once you get the packet and see how much you’ve got to get through. Also, you may want to prepare yourself for certain categories: my first year I wanted to review every fiction category, so the others got the shaft. So set expectations now so that you’re not overwhelmed when the packet does arrive.

    Also, be prepared for some of the fiction nominees to NOT be compatible for your electronic reading device: last year, the nominees for Best Novel that I had to read were the ones that ended up not in the packet at all except for PDF, which doesn’t work on my Kindle. Well, PDFs can be READ on a Kindle, but it’s really super-awkward for me, so I ended up buying those books anyway.

    But yeah, I won’t be able to read the Jordan series. And I’m not interested in the Correia, which was the weird nomination for me, but who knows? Sometimes, the hallmark of a great book is whether new readers can come to it and still see it as a great book without the background, you know? I don’t think Stross will be an issue, based on what I know of that series. I think it’s meant to be a contained story, though I don’t know that for sure.

    And I don’t think limiting the Best Dramatic Presentation: Short Form category to one nomination per show would guarantee DOCTOR WHO a win: I think it would force the fans to consider that one DOCTOR WHO episode over something like the GAME OF THRONES and really decide which is better. But who knows…. I wish it was Best Television Show, period. 🙂

    • Thank you, thank you for the info! Looks like I’m going to hit the library for the novels (bet I can get the Game of Thrones and Orphan Black box sets from there too. The question is, will it be in time?), and start reading the short works that are already free. It sounds like the packets are kind of iffy, so I’ll try not to depend on them too much.

      As far as the best novels go, I actually hear that the Correia books are pretty entertaining, even if the author is kinda… yeah… Glad to head that Stross won’t be an issue. I’ve been meaning to read him for a while (looks like I’ll get a chance this year, with the two nominees).

      As for the Short Form Category, I’m kind of glad that it’s open to different types of media. I would have loved to see The Clockwork Heart by The World of Steam crew get a nomination. Yes, it’s just a youtube video, but I fond it really moving. (Here it is, if you’re intrested- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08–Ju_JI0Y)

      • If you have Amazon Prime, the entire season of Orphan Black is available streaming for “free.” I haven’t checked Hulu, Netflix, etc. yet.

        Thanks – I am finding SO much good information here!

        Hope you have fun with your first voting year! This is only my second. 🙂 I wasn’t able to get through all of the voter’s packet last year, and that was only ONE year’s worth of materials!

      • Thanks for the info, but I’m actually next in line to get Orphan Black at the library, so that shouldn’t be an issue. Go libraries!

        And you’re welcome! Good luck with your second year voting 🙂

      • ORPHAN BLACK has an Amazon Streaming exclusive, so you can’t stream it via Netflix or Hulu (sadly). My husband and I bought the first season on iTunes. It was super-cheap, and I’m loving it so far.

      • Good to hear! I’m next on the list for the library, so I think I’ll just wait on it.

        So not a fan of streaming exclusives. Guess there’s not much you can do about it though…

  3. Pingback: 2014 Hugo Nominations – the reactions | Far Beyond Reality

  4. I’ll be voting for the Hugos again too.

    I’ve read Ancillary Justice and Parasite and plan to read Neptune’s Brood. What I’ve heard about Neptune’s Brood is that it is set several centuries after the first book, so there are no characters in common. I think it should be OK to read on its own. I’m debating about the Correia book. It is book three in a series and I may read the first book and see what I think. I am definitely not going to read Wheel of Time. I read the first couple books close to 20 years ago, but never had enough interest in them to continue reading.

    I’ve read three of the novellas, the two contained in The Best of Tor.com, 2013 and Six-Gun Snow White. I just bought The Butcher of Khardov. I’ll have to wait for the voter’s packet to read the Chaplain’s Legacy or wait for Analog to make it available.

    I have not read any of the novelettes. I’m particulalry looking forward to the Aliette de Bodard one. I plan to read the Vox Day one, but only through a free venue of some sort, likely my Voter’s Packet, since I don’t intend to give him any money.

    I am very pleased with the short story category. I had read two of them previously from The Best of Tor.com, 2013, and read the other two this weekend when the list came out. The only one that does not strike me as really amazing is the “Ink Readers of Doi Saket,” and that was still an excellent story. I am going to have a rough time ranking the other three.

    For the Campbell Award, I read Max Gladstone’s first book last year and liked it a lot. I have also read Stranger in Olondria by Sofia Samatar, which was excellent. I want to read stuff by the other three, but will have to look into what they have out. That may need to wait on the voter’s packet.

    I will read Best Graphic Story and Best Related Work as time allows. I don’t habitually read graphic novels, but try to get some of the Hugo reading done every year.

    I’m excited by the Best Fan Writer category. I know and like everyone who was nominated.

    I have not seen any of the nominees for dramatic presentation, either long or short form, which is sort of appalling. I probably won’t be voting in that category.

    I don’t plan to vore on the retro Hugos either.

    If you’re looking for links to free copies of the fiction, I would recommend SF Signal. Link here: http://www.sfsignal.com/archives/2014/04/finalists-2014-hugo-award-1939-retro-hugos-with-free-fiction-links/#more-92718

    • Wow! You seem to be quite ahead of me when it comes to the readings. You’re the second person that told me that the Stross book can probably stand alone, which makes me more comfortable over diving in.

      I feel the same about the Vox Day novelette. He’s on the list, so I’m planning on reading him and giving his work a fair shot, but I’m just not comfortable giving him any money.

      As for the Campbell, I feel a little awkward because I think I might be the only person that didn’t like Max Gladstone’s first book (it might have been the fact that the narrator for the audiobook had a somewhat stilted way of reading, which certainly impacted my enjoyment). Still, I’ve heard some great stuff about the other nominees (especially Wesley Chu) so I’m quite excited about diving into that.

      From the low number of ballots on Best Graphic Work, I don’t think you’re the only Hugo voter that doesn’t regularly reads graphic novels. I read a fair amount of comics (both floppies and book-length graphic novels), and it just blows my mind that I’m clearly in the minority here. (And seriously, no love for Lazarus? Hope it will pick up an Eisner at least)

      As for Best Dramatic presentation, I’ve watched all of the long form and some of the short form. For long form, with the exception of Iron Man 3, I think that all of the nominees have their merits, but I’d like to see the actual award go to either Gravity or Catching Fire, as those were my two favorite movies from 2013.

      I don’t think I’ll be able to vote on the retros either. I have too much to read as is.

      Thanks for the links! I’ve found a bunch on my own but this is very helpful!

      • LAZARUS, which I did nominate, was tricky: the first volume of the graphic novel came out at the VERY END of the year, so unless you were reading the comic as it was released, you’re likely not going to be very well aware of it in terms of its eligibility for the Hugos. Tricky business, but yes, the graphic novel category made me raise my eyebrows.

        Oh, the Retros…. that’s so not going to happen.

      • I didn’t think about the time frame for Lazarus. I guess I just saw so many positive feels springing up around it from the comic community, that I assumed that it would get a Hugo nom alongside the Eisner nom.

        The fact that only collected editions typically get recognized for the hugos (unless they’re one shots) makes things tricky.

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