Saturday, August 20, 2011

Hugo Winners and Thoughts

  • BEST NOVEL: Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis (Ballantine Spectra)

  • BEST NOVELLA: The Lifecycle of Software Objects by Ted Chiang (Subterranean)

  • BEST NOVELETTE: "The Emperor of Mars" by Allen M. Steele (Asimov's, June 2010; also in audio)

  • BEST SHORT STORY: "For Want of a Nail" by Mary Robinette Kowal (Asimov's, September 2010)

  • BEST RELATED WORK: Chicks Dig Time Lords: A Celebration of Doctor Who by the Women Who Love It, edited by Lynne M. Thomas and Tara O'Shea (Mad Norwegian)

  • BEST GRAPHIC STORY: Girl Genius, Volume 10: Agatha Heterodyne and the Guardian Muse, written by Phil and Kaja Foglio; art by Phil Foglio; colors by Cheyenne Wright (Airship Entertainment)

  • BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION, LONG FORM: Inception, written and directed by Christopher Nolan (Warner)

  • BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION, SHORT FORM: Doctor Who: "The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang," written by Steven Moffat; directed by Toby Haynes (BBC Wales)
  • BEST EDITOR, SHORT FORM: Sheila Williams
  • BEST SEMIPROZINE: Clarkesworld, edited by Neil Clarke, Cheryl Morgan, Sean Wallace; podcast directed by Kate Baker
  • BEST FANZINE: The Drink Tank, edited by Christopher J Garcia and James Bacon
  • BEST FAN WRITER: Claire Brialey
  • BEST FAN ARTIST: Brad W. Foster
I didn't cover it, but the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer did go to a novelist that I've reviewed before: Lev Grossman. I'm not really clear how he qualifies, since he had a widely-distributed novel published in 2004, and, apparently, another years before that...oh well. I'm looking forward to reading the just-published The Magician King, and if it's as good as people are saying it is, I hope it gets some consideration in the novel category next year.

Graphic Fiction - I said the Foglios were hard to criticize because they're super-nice and hardcore supporters of sf fandom, and they proved this yet again by withdrawing themselves from contention in this category next year. And yet...I don't have much confidence in the category getting better without them. I won't be covering it anymore unless there are some really interesting nominees, and, speaking as a fan of the medium, I kind of hope it just goes away.

Dramatic Presentation, Short Form - I voted for a different Who episode, but at the last moment, I started rooting for "The Lost Thing," just to have something different... But, Who wins anyway, and the more predictable episode at that. I can't complain though; it was a very strong season of what's been a great show.

Long Form - Yep.

Short Story - I'm shocked that "The Things" didn't win, but also very happy that "For Want of a Nail" did. Maybe I have more in common with the majority of Hugo voters than I thought...or maybe the Watts story is just much more polarizing than Kowal's, and she won on alternate votes.

Novelette - Another pleasant surprise. I figured "That Leviathan" was too polarizing, but "Plus or Minus" was also a great story. I bet the voting was really interesting in this category.

Novella - Ugh. Damn you, Hugo voters! "Lifecycle" was a fine story, and my second choice, but it was nowhere near Swirsky's story, which was my favorite Hugo nominee of the year (except possibly Inception).

Novel - I take back what I said three categories ago about being on the same wavelength as most Hugo voters. Well, it's a relief that the female winner drought has ended, though it'd still be great to see a new female winner. I liked Blackout/All Clear better than a lot of the reviewers I read, but it's flaws are glaring. I can't help but feel that both Willis's and Chiang's wins are more about their legacy than an honest evaluation of quality. But, then again, maybe that's just nerd blogger sour grapes. You can't win them all, and there wasn't a stand out novel among the nominees anyway this year, so cheers to Willis and the rest of the winners.

Swirsky not winning really burns me though...

My scorecard:
6 of my first place votes won
1 of my second place votes won
2 of my third place votes won (an art category, and novel)
1 of my fourth place votes won (a Dr Who episode that I certainly didn't dislike)
1 winner that I preferred "no award" over
And I skipped the other 5 categories, due mainly to unfamiliarity

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