I finally got all of my books off the floor and (mostly) onto shelves!
Normally, most people vote for Worldcon site selection on site. Normally, people have the opportunity to hear from the site selection bids in person. But we do not live in normal times, and with all site selection moving to remote this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic CoNZealand arranged a special early question-and-answer panel for the 2022 Worldcon bids about a month before the convention. What follows is a summary of the bid presentations, questions, and answers—while I have tried to stay true to what was said, I do not promise transcription-level accuracy.
Information about both 2022 bids, including both bid questionnaires, and how to vote in Site Selection can be found on the CoNZealand site.
Chicago in 2022
(Helen Montgomery, Dave McCarty; questionnaire)
Bidding for September 1–5, 2022 (Labor Day Weekend). Membership rates are to be determined, and they are planning to have installment plans be available right away, as well as a family membership plan of some sort.
The convention would be hosted by the Hyatt Regency Chicago:
- Home to 4 prior Worldcons, more than any other venue
- The entire convention would be held under one roof
- It’s located in downtown Chicago
- Changes to dining/drink options: the lobby has been redesigned since Chicon 7 (2012)
- BIG Bar is still there
- There’s a new bar called the Living Room
- There are 2,032 sleeping rooms, including 123 suites and 98 ADA-accessible rooms. There are also numerous hotels nearby that can be used for overflow. Rooms are $160/night + tax. There are no additional fees; breakfast is not included but Internet is.
- There is 240,000 square feet of conference space
- The Riverside Exhibit Hall is 70,000 square feet.
- The Grand Ballroom, which would be used to host large events, is 25,282 square feet.
- Evening socializing will be in suites, not function space, with a corkage/forkage waiver.
- Getting there is convenient via public transit.
- There have been lots kudos for the city from various sources.
- There are 77 unique, diverse neighborhoods with 2.6 million residents.
- “Urbs in horto” (city in a garden): lots of parks and beaches. Highlights:
- 1.25 mile Riverwalk (including a highly recommended tour)
- 606/Bloomingdale Trail (2.7 miles elevated park)
- Lots and lots of food options.
- Parades, festivals (JazzFest would be during the Worldcon), theaters, sports (it’s baseball/soccer season)
- 67 museums. Especially recommended: the Museum of Science and Industry and the Adler Planetarium.
Want to make sure that all aspects of Chicago’s fannish community are included, with reference to Capricon, Windycon, anime, furries, Doctor Who, gaming, comics, and WakandaCon.
This would be the eighth Chicago Worldcon. Would be chaired by Helen Montgomery, everything else is in progress. (Here there was a large list of prospective committee members in various divisions that was too long for me to write down.)
Thanks to the bid committee, CoNZealand, Choose Chicago, Hyatt Regency Chicago, OffWorld Designs, and Eek! Designs.
(Yasser Bahjatt, Mohammed Albakri; questionnaire)
Except for 2007, Worldcon has always been held in the West: why not introduce it to a new culture?
Why Arabia? Lots of fantastic history: 1001 Nights, scholars and scientists side-by-side with wizards and alchemists, melting pot of cultures between east and west.
Why Saudi? You probably haven’t visited, except maybe for for business or religious reasons, but it’s opening up and becoming more welcoming to outsiders and changing lots of regulations. It’s the heart of Arabia; it has a lot of history and is moving forward rapidly.
Why Jeddah? The gateway to Mecca, Jeddah is a melting pot. The name refers to the biblical Eve, who is buried here. It’s surprisingly diverse and was the launching point of a big SF movement a few years ago. Other things to enjoy: art museum, world’s highest fountain, shopping in the souqs, brand new cinemas.
Venue: King Faisla Conference Center in the King Abdulaziz University Campus. The large auditorium can seat more than 2,000 people. The art show and dealer’s room would be in the SF-looking sports tent across the street.
Vision: Put the emphasis on the “World” in Worldcon by balancing cultural representation, having talks in both Arabic and English with live interpretation, and multiple guests of honor in every category to honor cultures from around the world.
Setup: Planning on having live feeds for all programming sessions and hopefully record all of them, with multilingual audio tracks.
The bid is working with the Ministries of Culture and Tourism to develop special tours for attendees to historical/cultural sites in Saudi Arabia before and after the con.
Jeddi High Council has experience in managing events of all sizes, but hasn’t been involved in any Worldcons apart from attending.
Dates: May 4–8, 2022.
Questions and Answers
Q: Will female members of the convention be treated differently than male members? Will particular members have to be clothed differently?
Chicago: There really shouldn’t be anything except that it’s a hotel in the middle of summer.
Jeddah: There isn’t really any difference but the Saudi Public Decency Law has a dress code requirement.
Q: Why May 4?
Jeddah: The Star Wars reference is the cherry on top, but (1) September will be too hot and (2) it’s during Eid al-Fitr, so it’s an official regional vacation: more people can come, and we will have better use of facilities that would otherwise be occupied
[I was a bit disappointed that my question regarding how a May convention date would impact the Hugo nominating and voting period was not asked.]
Q: How will JeddiCon impact SF/F in the area?
Jeddah: SF/F in the region kind of died off in the mid-80s, but the new generation has new movement to export culture through SF/F. Having a Worldcon in the region would bring more attention to the genre. There have been some movies shot in the region, but the first Arabic SF TV show was just released this year.
Q: How have issues with the Chicago Hyatt staff at Chicon 7 been resolved?
Chicago: We’ve had talks with the hotel about what worked and what didn’t work, and the hotel took ownership of what went wrong and explained it to our satisfaction (had poor relationship with our convention service manager). The new CSM (Matthew) is great and we’re excited to be working with him.
Q: Chicon 7 had numerous access issues. How have you fixed them?
Chicago: The hotel took the non-ADA accessible areas out of circulation and put new, accessible function rooms in. The big accessibility chokepoint is getting into the exhibit hall, and we’ll have to work this out. But everything else should be ADA-compliant. Also at least with the Hyatt we know what the likely problem points are and can plan for them. If you had specific pain points at Chicon 7, let us know.
Q: What is the availability of assistance for mobility access, including renting mobies?
Jeddah: A lot of the rooms have workarounds but they’re not officially recognized are fully accessible (about 10% are officially recognized as such). Already working with a few companies for chairs on-site but not sure if they’ll be available to be taken offsite.
Chicago: Will have rental options for mobies, wheelchairs, etc. Guessing that there will be a pre-rental period and then we’ll have extras on site.
Q: What online virtual content do you intend to include?
Chicago: Haven’t totally decided yet, but we expect to have a pretty strong virtual component. In 2012 we had coprogramming with Dragon*Con, so we’re used to doing that kind of virtual thing. So it’s on our radar but we don’t have specifics yet.
Jeddah: Want to broadcast everything live for all the members, with at least audio streaming and hopefully video streaming. Our platform for live interpretation incorporates a live feed for sessions in both languages. Everything will be recorded for all members and stay up for as long as the server does. We also plan on having live feeds for all public spaces (e.g. the art show and dealer’s room) so online attendees can interact with in-person attendees.
Q: Does either convention believe there will be any difficulty for any member to attend based on nationality, race, sexual preference, sexuality, or current relationship status?
Chicago: There shouldn’t be, but the results of the November election will have a big impact, as well as the pandemic.
Jeddah: The Public Decency Law requires a minimum dress code, but we don’t anticipate issues if compliant. Said law also limits public displays of affection. Saudi Arabia has opened up but certain modesty levels are still expected.
Q: I have a friend who’s a trans man and is dating a woman. Are they going to have a problem attending your Worldcon?
Jeddah: Nothing happens unless you “go out of your way to make a scene”. Hotels don’t ask about relationships between people staying in the same room.
Chicago: We’ve got everybody in Chicago, not an issue.
Q: If someone’s doing cosplay and wants to head into the city to get dinner, is that likely to be a problem?
Jeddah: As long as you’re adhering to the Public Decency Law, nobody will bother you if you’re dressed up funny.
Q: What happens if your own country bans you from entering Saudi Arabia?
Jeddah: We’re going to be broadcasting everything online so if you can’t go or can’t get a visa (see, e.g., people that couldn’t get a visa to Dublin last year) you can still participate virtually at a different membership level.
Jeddah (in response to a follow-up about cosplay): People in Saudi Arabia are getting used to the concept — we had Comic-Con in Jeddah about three years ago. But again, it’s an Islamic country and we have the Public Decency Law.
Q: How safe is it for single female-presenting people to enter restaurants and public places solo?
Chicago: I [Helen] go to restaurants routinely by myself.
Jeddah: Jeddah is a very safe place. Saudi Arabia crime rates are very low.
Q: What about mixed groups of people?
Jeddah: There used to be restrictions where there’d be one section that was the “family section” (women, or men accompanied by women) and then the “singles section” (only men), but those laws have been lifted. However some restaurants are still structured that way.
Q: Public transit?
Chicago: It’s super easy to get around. There’s lots of info on our FAQ.
Jeddah: There is little public transit. The main public transport is the Mecca-Medina train, which can be used to get from the airport to our venue. We would also have shuttles from hotels to the convention center, and are looking at special rates via apps (Uber, etc.).
Q: What issues around freedom of expression for LGBTQ+ attendees could people run into, and how can you assure people they won’t have to worry?
Chicago: There are no legal issues. Part of our Code of Conduct is about anti-harassment, including deliberate misgendering, and there will be a reporting process for anything that happens at the convention. We have a thriving LGBT community in Chicago. If you have a specific question, ping me.
Jeddah: Nobody is going to ask about whether people staying in the same room are in a relationship. Unless there is some kind of “actual fuss that happens” this should not be an issue. Regarding freedom of expression, LGBTQ are not recognized in Saudi Arabia, so we’d say “don’t show, don’t tell.” If you’re abiding by the Public Decency Law there should not be any issue.
Q: Will you be posting the public decency laws on your website?
Jeddah: We can send the link, it’s on the official website.
Q: What about public displays of affection?
Jeddah: That’s part of the Public Decency Law. Public shows of affection are not acceptable. Regardless of same-sex, opposite-sex.
Q: Going back to the national origin question from earlier: if I have an Israeli stamp in my passport, will that cause any difficulty on entrance?
Jeddah: I really don’t know, but I don’t expect it should.
Q: Are there any known national origins that could cause—
At this point the Zoom presentation was cut off due to somebody else using the same Zoom Webinar token.
There has been a lot of discussion about the amount of reading added for the scrupulous Hugo voter by the Best Series Hugo. So I decided to try to quantify it.
The problem, of course, is that “reading added” is subjective based on the voter. (If you’re up-to-date on a series and it shows up on the Best Series shortlist, then there’s obviously nothing new for you to read.) But I think we can use two primary classifications to get some idea of how many extra works are showing up on the Hugo ballot because of the Series category. First, there’s how long the series is in total at the time of nomination, less any parts of it that appear elsewhere on the ballot. Second, there’s the totality of the series minus any parts of it that have ever appeared on a Hugo ballot. (Including Campbell/Astounding nominations as well.) Obviously not all voters in a given year will have been members of previous Worldcons (especially relevant for the longest series—I was two years old when Falling Free showed up on the ballot), but again, we’re looking for a general sense of “how much of this series is new to Hugo voters.”
The best measurement would be word count, but I don’t have access to word counts for much of these series (having done my reading in hardcopy). Still, I think the counts I can provide are indicative.
|Series||Total Length||New to the Ballot|
|The Craft Sequence, by Max Gladstone||5 novels||3 novels|
|The Expanse, by James S.A. Corey||6 novels||5 novels|
|The October Daye Books, by Seanan McGuire||10 novels, 1 novella, 5 novelettes, 4 short stories||9 novels, 1 novella, 5 novelettes, 4 short stories|
|The Peter Grant / Rivers of London series, by Ben Aaronovitch||6 novels||6 novels|
|The Temeraire series, by Naomi Novik||9 novels||6 novels|
|The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold||16 novels, 4 novellas, 1 short story||5 novels, 2 novellas, 1 short story|
|TOTALS||52 novels, 5 novellas, 5 novelettes, 5 short stories||34 novels, 3 novellas, 5 novelettes, 5 short stories|
- My copy of the 2017 Hugo packet is currently inaccessible so please let me know if there is anything I missed with these!
- The Craft Sequence nomination also included two interactive games.
- The Vorkosigan “short story” is the interstitial matter in Borders of Infinity. I excluded “Weatherman” because it’s more-or-less the first part of The Vor Game.
- The “new to the ballot” column is particularly silly for the Vorkosigan Saga because the only new work since Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance was a Best Novel finalist was Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen. Feel free to discount accordingly.
|Series||Total Length||New to the Ballot|
|The Books of the Raksura, by Martha Wells||5 novels, 4 novellas, 5 short stories||5 novels, 4 novellas, 5 short stories|
|The Divine Cities, by Robert Jackson Bennett||3 novels||3 novels|
|InCryptid, by Seanan McGuire||6 novels, 2 novellas, 18 novelettes, 11 short stories||6 novels, 2 novellas, 18 novelettes, 11 short stories|
|The Memoirs of Lady Trent, by Marie Brennan||5 novels, 1 short story||5 novels, 1 short story|
|The Stormlight Archive, by Brandon Sanderson||3 novels||3 novels|
|World of the Five Gods, by Lois McMaster Bujold||3 novels, 6 novellas||1 novel, 4 novellas|
|TOTALS||25 novels, 12 novellas, 18 novelettes, 17 short stories||23 novels, 10 novellas, 18 novelettes, 17 short stories|
- This was a great year for the category in promoting works that mostly had been overlooked by the other Hugo categories. However this increased the total reading required by the typical Worldcon voter by a lot.
- The Stormlight Archive‘s novels are all very long, so it’s probably more accurate to count them twice or thrice.
- I excluded “Edgedancer” from the Stormlight count since it was not referenced in the series’s Hugo packet submission.
|Series||Total Length||New to the Ballot|
|The Centenal Cycle, by Malka Older||3 novels||2 novels|
|The Laundry Files, by Charles Stross||9 novels, 2 novellas, 2 novelettes||9 novels, 1 novelette|
|Machineries of Empire, by Yoon Ha Lee||2 novels||n/a|
|The October Daye Series, by Seanan McGuire||10 novels, 3 novellas, 5 novelettes, 4 short stories||2 novels, 2 novellas|
|The Universe of Xuya, by Aliette de Bodard||2 novellas, 10 novelettes, 15 short stories||1 novella, 6 novelettes, 14 short stories|
|Wayfarers, by Becky Chambers||2 novels||1 novel|
|TOTALS||26 novels, 8 novellas, 17 novelettes, 19 short stories||14 novels, 3 novellas, 7 novelettes, 14 short stories|
- Revenant Gun, Record of a Spaceborn Few, and The Tea Master and the Detective are excluded from this listing because they were already on the ballot in Novel and Novella.
- The “new to the ballot” column is likely overstated to the extent that most readers will have read A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet before A Closed and Common Orbit, and also that it is unlikely that readers will have only read short-fiction Laundry works.
|Series||Total Length||New to the Ballot|
|The Expanse, by James S. A. Corey||8 novels||2 novels|
|InCryptid, by Seanan McGuire||8 novels, 4 novellas, 21 novelettes, 11 short stories||2 novels, 2 novellas, 3 novelettes|
|Luna, by Ian McDonald||3 novels||3 novels|
|Planetfall series, by Emma Newman||4 novels||4 novels|
|Winternight Trilogy, by Katherine Arden||3 novels||1 novel|
|The Wormwood Trilogy, by Tade Thompson||3 novels||3 novels|
|TOTALS||29 novels, 4 novellas, 21 novelettes, 1 short stories||15 novels, 2 novellas, 3 novelettes|
- You could argue for including additional short fiction for both The Expanse and Luna. I omitted them due to lack of reference thereto in the voter packet.
Saga Press has revealed the cover and table of contents of their upcoming Year’s Best Science Fiction, Vol. 1, edited by Jonathan Strahan. Of the twenty-eight stories, eleven were originally published in original book anthologies, nine in online magazines, three in print magazines, two in an original online anthology, one in a collection, one in a newspaper, and one as a digital stand-alone.
- “The Bookstore at the End of America” by Charlie Jane Anders. (A People’s Future of the United States, One World.)
- “The Galactic Tourist Industrial Complex” by Tobias S. Buckell. (New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color, Solaris.)
- “Kali_Na” by Indrapramit Das. (The Mythic Dream, Saga Press.)
- “Song of the Birds” by Saleem Haddad. (Palestine + 100: Stories from a Century After the Nakhba, Comma Press.)
- “The Painter of Trees” by Suzanne Palmer. (Clarkesworld, June 2019.)
- “The Last Voyage of Skidbladnir” by Karin Tidbeck. (Tor.com, 14 January 2019.)
- “Sturdy Ladders and Lanterns” by Malka Older. (Current Futures: A Sci-fi Ocean Anthology, XPRIZE.)
- “It’s 2059, and the Rich Kids Are Still Winning” by Ted Chiang. (The New York Times, 27 May 2019.)
- “Contagion’s Eve at the House Noctambulous” by Rich Larson. (F&SF, March/April 2019.)
- “Submarines” by Han Song. (Broken Stars: Contemporary Chinese Science Fiction in Translation, Tor.)
- “As the Last I May Know” by S.L. Huang. (Tor.com, 6 November 2019.)
- “A Catalog of Storms” by Fran Wilde. (Uncanny, January-February 2019.)
- “The Robots of Eden” by Anil Menon. (New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color, Solaris.)
- “Now Wait for This Week” by Alice Sola Kim. (A People’s Future of the United States, One World.)
- “Cyclopterus” by Peter Watts. (Mission Critical, Solaris.)
- “Dune Song” by Suyi Davies Okungbowa. (Apex, 7 May 2019.)
- “The Work of Wolves” by Tegan Moore. (Asimov’s, July/August 2019.)
- “The Archronology of Love” by Caroline M. Yoachim. (Lightspeed, April 2019.)
- “Soft Edges” by Elizabeth Bear. (Current Futures: A Sci-fi Ocean Anthology, XPRIZE.)
- “Emergency Skin” by N. K. Jemisin. (Amazon Original Stories.)
- “Thoughts and Prayers” by Ken Liu. (Slate, 26 January 2019.)
- “At the Fall” by Alec Nevala-Lee. (Analog, May/June 2019.)
- “Reunion” by Vandana Singh. (The Gollancz Book of South Asian Science Fiction, Hachette India.)
- “Green Glass: A Love Story” by E. Lily Yu. (If This Goes On, Parvus Press.)
- “Secret Stories of Doors” by Sofia Rhei. (Everything is Made of Letters, Aqueduct Press.)
- “This Is Not the Way Home” by Greg Egan. (Mission Critical, Solaris.)
- “What the Dead Man Said” by Chinelo Onwualu. (Slate, 24 August 2019.)
- “I (28M) Created a Deepfake Girlfriend and Now My Parents Think We’re Getting Married” by Fonda Lee. (MIT Technology Review, 27 December 2019.)
(via File 770)
This is intended as a supplement to JJ’s File 770 post, Where To Find The 2019 Hugo Award Finalists For Free Online. If you want to read the actual Hugo finalists, that’s where to look.
If you are interested in reading works that were on this year’s Hugo longlist but did not make the final ballot, here’s a guide to find material which is available for free online. Where available in their entirety, works are linked. If not available for free, an Amazon link is provided and a free excerpt has been linked if I could find one online. I highly encourage you to purchase books via your local independent bookseller instead of Amazon if possible.
Works are provided in the order of longlist finish. No attempt has been made to verify eligibility or lack thereof.
- The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang (Harper Voyager) (excerpt)
- Blackfish City by Sam J. Miller (Ecco) (excerpt)
- Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett (Crown) (excerpt)
- Witchmark by C. L. Polk (Tor.com) (excerpt)
- The Consuming Fire by John Scalzi (Tor) (Prologue) (Chapter 1) (Chapter 2)
- Circe by Madeline Miller (Little, Brown) (excerpt)
- In the Vanisher’s Palace by Aliette de Bodard (JABberwocky Literary Agency) (excerpt)
- Semiosis by Sue Burke (Tor) (excerpt)
- Before Mars by Emma Newman (Ace) (excerpt)
- Red Moon by Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit) (excerpt)
- Exit Strategy by Martha Wells (Tor.com) (excerpt) — declined nomination
- Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells (Tor.com) (excerpt) — declined nomination
- Time Was by Ian McDonald (Tor.com) (excerpt)
- The Descent of Monsters by JY Yang (Tor.com) (excerpt)
- The Flowers of Vashnoi by Lois McMaster Bujold (Spectrum Literary Agency)
- The Freeze-Frame Revolution by Peter Watts (Tachyon)
- “Umbernight” by Carolyn Ives Gilman (Clarkesworld)
- The Expert System’s Brother by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Tor.com)
- Kingdom of Needle and Bone by Mira Grant (Subterranean Press) (excerpt)
- Alice Payne Arrives by Kate Heartfield (Tor.com) (excerpt)
- “How to Swallow the Moon” by Isabel Yap (Uncanny Magazine)
- “The Substance of My Lives, the Accidents of Our Births” by José Pablo Iriarte (Lightspeed)
- “A Study in Oils” by Kelly Robson (Clarkesworld)
- “An Agent of Utopia” by Andy Duncan (An Agent of Utopia)
- “The Privilege of the Happy Ending” by Kij Johnson (Clarkesworld)
- “Evernight” by Victor Milán (Tor.com)
- “Thirty-Three Percent Joe” by Suzanne Palmer (Clarkesworld)
- “The Nearest” by Greg Egan (Tor.com)
- “A World to Die For” by Tobias S. Buckell (Clarkesworld)
- “No Flight Without the Shatter” by Brooke Bolander (Tor.com)
- “Meat and Salt and Sparks” by Rich Larson (Tor.com)
- “Field Biology of the Wee Fairies” by Naomi Kritzer (Apex Magazine)
- “Waterbirds” by G. V. Anderson (Lightspeed)
- “Sour Milk Girls” by Erin Roberts (Clarkesworld)
- “She Still Loves the Dragon” by Elizabeth Bear (Uncanny Magazine)
- “The Starship and the Temple Cat” by Yoon Ha Lee (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)
- “You Can Make a Dinosaur But You Can’t Help Me” by K.M. Szpara (Uncanny Magazine)
- “Mother Tongues” by S. Qiouyi Lu (Asimov’s)
- “Asphalt, River, Mother, Child” by Isabel Yap (Strange Horizons)
- “And Yet” by A.T. Greenblatt (Uncanny Magazine)
- Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin (most recently Saga Press) (excerpt from A Wizard of Earthsea)
- The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells (Tor.com) (excerpt from All Systems Red)
- Wildcards edited by George R. R. Martin (most recently Tor)
- Foreigner by C. J. Cherryh (DAW)
- Planetfall by Emma Newman (Ace) (excerpt from Planetfall)
- The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman (Ace)
- Sin du Jour by Matt Wallace (Tor.com) (excerpt from Envy of Angels)
- Fractured Europe by Dave Hutchinson (Solaris) (excerpt from Europe at Midnight)
- The Arcadia Project by Mishell Baker (Saga Press) (excerpt from Borderline)
- Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch (Gollancz) (excerpt from Lies Sleeping)
- Fire and Blood by George R. R. Martin (Bantam) (excerpt)
- Strange Stars: David Bowie, Pop Music, and the Decade Sci-Fi Exploded by Jason Heller (Melville House) (excerpt)
- Space Odyssey: Stanley Kubrick, Arthur C. Clarke and the Making of a Masterpiece by Michael Benson (Simon & Schuster) (excerpt)
- “I Belong Where the People Are: Disability and The Shape of Water” by Elsa Sjunneson-Henry (Tor.com)
- “Hard Enough” by Melissa Lingen (Uncanny Magazine)
- How to Invent Everything: A Survival Guide for the Stranded Time Traveller by Ryan North (Riverhead Books) (excerpt)
- “The 2017 #BlackSpecFic Report” by Cecily Kane (Fireside Magazine)
- Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin by Arwen Curry (Grasshopper Film) (trailer)
- “One Atom of Justice, One Molecule of Mercy, and the Empire of Unsheathed Knives” by Alexandra Rowland (The Stellar Beacon)
- “On motherhood and erasure: people-shaped holes, hollow characters and the illusion of impossible adventures” by Aliette de Bodard (Intellectus Speculativus)
- The Wicked + The Divine Vol. 7: Mothering Intervention, written by Kieron Gillen, illustrated by Jamie McKelvie, colored by Matt Wilson, lettered by Clayton Cowles (Image Comics)
- The Adventure Zone: Here There Be Gerblins, written by the McElroy Brothers, art by Carey Pietsch (First Second)
- Ms. Marvel Vol. 9: Teenage Wasteland, written by G. Willow Wilson, illustrated by Nico Leon, colored by Ian Herring (Marvel Comics)
- The Electric State by Simon Stålenhag (Skybound Books)
- Shuri: The Search for Black Panther, written by Nnedi Okorafor, illustrated by Leonardo Romero and Jordie Bellaire (Marvel Comics)
- X-Men Gold Annual #2, written by Seanan McGuire, art by Marco Failla, colored by Rachelle Rosenberg (Marvel Comics)
- Spider-Gwen: Ghost-Spider #1, written by Seanan McGuire, art by Rosi Kämpe, colored by Ian Herring (Marvel Comics)
- Mister Miracle, written by Tom King, illustrated by Mitch Gerads (DC Comics)
- Runaways, Vol. 1: Find Your Way Home, written by Rainbow Rowell, illustrated by Kris Anka (Marvel Comics)
- The Forever War: Forever Free, written by Joe Haldeman, illustrated by Marvano (Titan Comics)
Dramatic Presentation, Long Form
- A Wrinkle in Time (trailer)
- Solo: A Star Wars Story (trailer)
- The Expanse (season 3) (trailer)
- Incredibles 2 (trailer)
- Ready Player One (trailer)
- Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (trailer)
- Deadpool 2 (trailer)
- Isle of Dogs (trailer)
- She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (season 1) (trailer)
- Ant-Man and the Wasp (trailer)
Dramatic Presentation, Short Form
- Doctor Who: “The Woman Who Fell to Earth” (trailer)
- She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: “Promise”
- Westworld: “Kiksuya” (trailer)
- Steven Universe: “Reunited” (trailer)
- The Expanse: “Immolation” (trailer)
- The Magicians: “A Life in the Day” (trailer)
- She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: “Princess Prom” (trailer)
- Star Trek: Discovery: “What’s Past is Prologue” (trailer)
- The Expanse: “Fallen World” (trailer)
- DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: “The Good, the Bad, and the Cuddly” (trailer)
Professional Editor, Short Form
- Jonathan Strahan (The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of the Year: Volume Twelve [reprint anthology], Infinity’s End [original anthology], Black Helicopters, The Million, Time Was, Tor.com [5 stories])
- John Joseph Adams (The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2018 (with N.K. Jemisin) [reprint anthology], Lightspeed Magazine (with Wendy N. Wagner), Nightmare Magazine (with Wendy N. Wagner)
- Sheila Williams (Asimov’s Science Fiction)
- C. C. Finlay (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction)
- Scott H. Andrews (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)
- Ellen Datlow (The Best Horror of the Year: Volume 10 [reprint anthology], The Best of the Best Horror of the Year [reprint anthology], The Devil and the Deep: Horror Stories of the Sea [original anthology], Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach, Tor.com [10 stories])
- S.B. Divya and Mur Lafferty (Escape Pod)
- Dominik Parisien (Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction, Robots vs. Fairies (with Navah Wolfe)
- Trevor Quachri (Analog Science Fiction & Fact)
- Ann VanderMeer (Tor.com [4 stories])
Professional Editor, Long Form
- Joe Monti (The Long Sunset, The Tangled Lands, Trail of Lightning)
- Jenni Hill
- Brit Hvide (Annex, A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe, The Tower of Living and Dying)
- Sarah Guan (There Before the Chaos, Afterwar, Empire of Sand, Torn)
- Lee Harris (Bedfellow, Outbreak)
- Liz Gorinsky (The Calculating Stars, The Fated Sky, Ball Lightning)
- Miriam Weinberg (The Phoenix Empress, Vengeful)
- Anne Sowards (Ascendant, Burn Bright, Lake Silence, Magic Triumphs, Marked, Mecha Samurai Empire, Phoenix Unbound, River of Bones, Shadow’s Bane, Smoke and Iron, Stars Uncharted)
- Toni Weisskopf
- Devi Pillai (The Stars Now Unclaimed)
- Tommy Arnold
- Julie Dillon
- Will Staehle
- Greg Ruth
- Simon Stålenhag
- Rovina Cai
- Sana Takeda
- Michael Komarck
- Reiko Murakami
- Maurizio Manzieri
- Escape Pod
- Book Smugglers
- Cast of Wonders
- Shoreline of Infinity
- Apex Magazine
- File 770 — declined nomination
- Women Write About Comics
- The Rec Center
- SF Bluestocking
- Banana Wings
- The Drink Tank
- Black Gate
- The Wertzone
- SF in Translation
- Ditch Diggers
- Sword and Laser
- Breaking the Glass Slipper
- Books and Pieces
- Hammer House of Podcast
- Jay and Miles Xplain the X-Men
- Lindsey Ellis
- Orjan Westin
- Adam Whitehead
- Sarah Gailey
- Cora Buhlert
- Liz Bourke
- Mike Glyer
- Paul Weimer
- Jason Sanford
- Abigail Nussbaum
- Erin Horáková
- Jemina Malkki
- Richard Man
- Steve Stiles
- Maurine Starkey
- Vandy Hall
- Michael Carroll
- Elizabeth Leggett
- Geneva Benton
- Caio Santos
- Terry Pratchett’s Discworld Imaginarium by Paul Kidby (Gollancz) — ineligible, published in 2017
- Beyond Science Fiction: The Alternative Realism of Michael Whelan by Michael Whelan (Baby Tattoo Books) (teaser)
- A Middle-Earth Traveler: Sketches from Bag-End to Mordor by John Howe (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
- The Art of Black Panther by Eleni Roussos (Marvel)
- The Chronicles of Exandria, Vol II: The Legend of Vox Machina by Liam O’Brien et al. (Hunters Books)
- Marvelocity: The Marvel Comics Art of Alex Ross by Alex Ross et al. (Pantheon)
- The Electric State by Simon Stålenhag (Skybound Books)
- Monster Portraits by Del Samatar and Sofia Samatar (Rose Metal Press) (excerpt)
- Cicada by Shaun Tan (Arthur A. Levine)
- Yoshitaka Amano: The Illustrated Biography – Beyond the Fantasy by Yoshitaka Amano (Dark Horse)
Young Adult Book (Lodestar)
- Skyward by Brandon Sanderson (Delacorte Press) (excerpt)
- Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce (Random House) (excerpt)
- Peasprout Chen: Future Legend of Skate and Sword by Henry Lien (Henry Holt) (excerpt)
- Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor (Little, Brown) (excerpt)
- Arabella: Traitor of Mars by David D. Levine (Tor) (excerpt)
- Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan (Jimmy Patterson)
- The Hidden City by David Bowles (IFWG Publishing International) (excerpt)
- Obsidio by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Ember) (excerpt)
- The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert (Flatiron Books) (excerpt)
- Cross Fire by Fonda Lee (Scholastic) (excerpt)
New Writer (Campbell)
- Tasha Suri – Empire of Sand (excerpt)
- Tomi Adeyemi – Children of Blood and Bone (excerpt)
- Nibedita Sen – “Never Yawn Under a Banyan Tree“, “Leviathan Sings to Me in the Deep“, “Pigeons“
- Alexandra Rowland – A Conspiracy of Truths (excerpt), “Love in Every Stitch“
- Karen Osborne – “An Equal Share of the Bone“, “Dollhouse“, “The Bodice, the Hem, the Woman, Death“
- C. L. Polk – Witchmark (excerpt)
- Sam Hawke – City of Lies (chapter 1) (chapter 2) (chapter 3) (chapter 4)
- K Arsenault Rivera – The Tiger’s Daughter (chapter 1) (chapter 2) (chapter 3) (chapter 4), The Phoenix Empress (excerpt)
- Simone Heller – “How Bees Fly“, “When We Were Starless“
- Anna Smith Spark – The Court of Broken Knives (excerpt), The Tower of Living and Dying
The 2019 Hugo Awards were handed out on Sunday night in Dublin, Ireland, at the 77th World Science Fiction Convention. I was there, and now that I am home and have had a chance to review the detailed voting and nomination statistics, I have some thoughts.
John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer
This was the first award, and was given to a rather strange mood in the room; Ada Palmer’s serious speech about the role of fantasy in challenging systems of government was constantly interrupted by audience chuckles induced by the automatic speech-to-text captioning, which provided such gems as “Bored of the Rings and Cream of Thrown”. Jeannette Ng was announced as the winner (beating Rivers Solomon by 43 votes) and began her speech by proclaiming that “John W. Campbell was a fucking fascist.” Her full speech can be read here, and if you click one link in this post it should be that one.
Since then there have been a lot of discussions in various places (see, e.g., this File 770 post) about whether the Campbell should be renamed. A few factors to consider:
- The World Science Fiction Society doesn’t own the Campbell. While we administer it, it’s owned by Dell Magazines, publishers of Analog (the magazine that Campbell used to edit). Dell Magazines controls the name of the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.
- It is mechanically possible for WSFS to stop administering the Campbell and start administering their own award. This could be done either as either a new Not-a-Hugo or a Hugo for Best New Writer. My personal preference would be for the former as I don’t really like the idea of a Hugo with rolling two-year eligibility and I think there are some two-Hugo-for-the-same-work concerns. On the other hand the latter would avoid having to figure out a new award name. Also Analog could take the Campbell somewhere else and keep awarding it.
- The other thing that I haven’t seen discussed is that we’re still actively honoring John W. Campbell. He won the 1944 Retro Hugo for Best Short Form Editor administered by this very convention. Now that’s a very silly award, and I’ll admit I didn’t bother to vote in it; only 425 people did. But this was the most overwhelming win of any category, with 56.8% of first preferences. If we are serious about no longer honoring Campbell, we shouldn’t overlook the Retro Hugos.
Best Related Work
Archive of Our Own beat Ursula K. Le Guin: Conversations on Writing by 174 votes. Last year 55.3% of Hugo voters voted in this category; this year that increased to 64.4%, easily the largest increase in any category. (And if I’m doing the math right there were 261 voters who just voted for AO3 in this category.)
I’m still not entirely sure I agree that AO3 was eligible here but I’m happy for its win as the existence of AO3 really is important for the fannish community and deserves recognition. (And it’s not like the more serious scholarly books I vote for do well anyway: Astounding came in sixth!) I was particularly moved by the donation of the Hugo trophy to the traveling exhibition, thereby quite literally giving the Hugo back to the fans that make AO3 possible.
Naomi Novik’s acceptance speech can be read here.
Best Art Book
A trial category for this year. I’m extremely “eh” on how the trial turned out, and I say this as somebody who is generally supportive of things that make Related Work a bit less of a grab bag. It got a rather low number of nominations (42 ballots and 13 nominees fewer than the next lowest categories) and two of the top eight were ruled ineligible. On the other hand, it got a very respectable number of final votes (1392, or 44.9% of ballots). The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition won by 282 votes over Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse: The Art of the Movie.
It bears noting that this win both overlapped with the Professional Artist (Charles Vess) winner and appears to have been at least in part a “We Like Earthsea” vote. (Note that Earthsea was the first runner-up in Series nominations, as discussed below.) There were 128 fewer votes for second place in this category. However I’m not sure that it’s possible to have categories that contain professional art without overlapping a Professional Artist category; consider, for instance, Sana Takeda’s and Monstress‘s wins last year. And obviously an art book can contain art that would not be eligible for a given year’s Professional Artist award due to, say, being a retrospective.
Lady Business beat Journey Planet by 132 votes. Their acceptance speech can be read here.
The Big Thing that people are talking about in this category is that Fanzine only got votes on 26.9% of Hugo ballots, leaving it dangerously close to an automatic No Award. (At least 25% of all of the valid final Hugo ballots must have a non-No Award first place vote in a category for it to be awarded.) Frustratingly, this category isn’t obviously broken from a definitional perspective. There might need to be a bit more voter education in terms of what’s eligible (as in, a lot of online stuff—I think Acrophilia might be technically eligible even though I will laugh at anybody who nominates me) but Pro/Fan Artist this is not.
Even more interestingly, there’s a huge drop-off from last year. Here’s a look at the fan categories over the last decade:
If you ignore the 2015-16 Puppy spike Fanzine has been chugging along fairly steadily until this year when it drops from 38.0% to 26.9%. In actual voter numbers, that’s 1075 voters last year to 833 this year. (Note that we picked up 269 additional Hugo voters this year.) The biggest change in the ballot this year is File 770 (permanently) declining nomination; File 770 was second in nominations anyway, with 52, and as best I can tell 252 people voted for File 770 last year on the final ballot and then left the rest of the category blank.
Again, I’m not really sure what the solution is here other than getting the word out about good fanzines that you should be reading. (Although my probably-unpopular opinion is that community sites such as AO3 or r/fantasy are a better fit here than in Related Work.) Aidan Moher suggested merging Fanzine and Fancast but I tend to agree with Claire Rousseau‘s and Renay‘s dissents that the two are actually quite different and should be considered separately.
Our Opinions Are Correct was the only winner to break 50% in less than six rounds of voting, beating The Skiffy and Fanty Show by 220 votes.
I don’t vote in this category because I can’t focus on audio-only for any period of time without getting distracted. However I was pleased to note the appearance of BookTube on the longlist, represented by Kalanadi and Books and Pieces. Remember, folks, YouTube channels are eligible in this category!
Best Fan Writer
Foz Meadows beat Bogi Takács by 81 votes. Her acceptance speech can be read here.
Fan Writer is a good example of a category that used to be kind of stale and has more recently done a very good job of honoring a bunch of different, worthy people.
Best Fan Artist
Likhain (Mia Serrano) beat Grace P. Fong by 90 votes. Her acceptance speech can be read here.
Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse beat Black Panther by 247 votes. Notably the top three places on the final ballot all went to Marvel Comics-related movies, which suggests that we’re not going to see an end to the superhero domination of this category any time soon. (I had Spider-Verse second on my ballot, voting first for Sorry to Bother You which placed sixth. They’re really, really different things and honestly kind of hard to compare.)
Of interest to the potential Games Hugo category, Black Mirror: Bandersnatch made the longlist with 53 nominations.
Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form
The Good Place: “Janet(s)” beat The Expanse: “Abaddon’s Gate” by 144 votes, the second year in a row for a Good Place win in this category.
Dirty Computer placed sixth, which is a bit disappointing but honestly unsurprising. The last few years have seen one kind of off-beat (i.e. “not a television episode”) finalist that is kind of exciting but ultimately does poorly in the voting. The rest of the longlist is also TV episodes.
The Good Place sent a video acceptance and I’d just like to say that it was really exciting to actually have real acceptances from both Dramatic Presentation winners this year instead of the typical “the convention accepts this on behalf of Hollywood people who don’t know we exist”.
Best Professional Editor, Short Form
Gardner Dozois beat Neil Clarke by 98 votes. This was the first time that a finalist placed on the ballot by E Pluribus Hugo effects won the Hugo; under the old nomination system, he would have been displaced by Jonathan Strahan.
That being said, Didi Chanoch had a good Twitter thread about how this is really more of a lifetime achievement award for an editor who (very deservedly) had already been well-recognized by the Hugos.
Thought experiment: if we changed this category into Best Anthology and Best Magazine, would The Book of Magic have won for Anthology? (The Locus results actually suggest yes, although the Locus and Hugo electorates aren’t the same.)
Written Fiction Categories
Not particularly close, with The Calculating Stars beating Spinning Silver by 302 votes. It was pretty cool to see the award for a Lady Astronaut novel being presented by an actual lady astronaut. Mary Robinette Kowal’s acceptance speech can be read here.
I was pleased to see Blackfish City and Foundryside, which I nominated, on the longlist. There’s a pretty wide gap in terms of nomination count between the finalist novels and everything else.
This was actually slightly closer than the last couple years, although still not very: Artificial Condition beat The Tea Master and the Detective by 323 votes. The other two Murderbot novellas also received enough nominations to qualify for the final ballot, but Martha Wells graciously declined nomination for them. (The limit on how many works by the same author can appear in a category is two.)
I’m glad The Freeze-Frame Revolution and “Umbernight” both made the longlist although I’d have liked to see them a bit higher. One of the two main flaws that tends to afflict Hugo ballots is voters’ tendencies to read in their comfort zone and nominate accordingly; much of the longlist is series work.
“Umbernight” was also the only entry on the longlist that was published as part of a periodical, not as a separate book.
The other big issue that we’ve seen on recent Hugo ballots is the tendency to avoid nominating stories from the print magazines. This year’s longlist isn’t entirely fiction that’s available for free online; “An Agent of Utopia” is there and that’s from an anthology. But that’s it; everything else on that list is free online. Now, novelette was a strong category this year so it’s not obviously weakening the category but I can’t help but wonder what great stories we might be missing.
Best Short Story
This is one I thought would be closer, with “A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies” beating “The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington” by 342 votes. Alix E. Harrow’s acceptance speech can be read here.
The longlist follows the pattern I noted above of being predominantly from the free online magazines. “Mother Tongues” (which I nominated!) is the notable exception, being originally published in Asimov’s but then subsequently reprinted in Clarkesworld prior to the nomination deadline.
Wayfarers beat The Laundry Files by 218 votes. I voted for Machineries of Empire, which is a completed trilogy (with some short-fiction add-ons) and likely won’t be eligible here again. However I will note that Wayfarers, as a “shared-setting” series, doesn’t really have any of the incompleteness problems I’ve complained about before. (On the other hand, to me that makes it a better fit in Best Novel than in Series, whereas the likes of Machineries of Empire is the reverse; you can jump into Record of a Spaceborn Few without having read anything else while you’d likely be totally lost if you just read Revenant Gun in isolation.)
The longlist shows that we’re still dealing with some eligibility issues in this category. The first non-finalist was Earthsea, which was very technically eligible due to a newly published short story; while Earthsea is of course great, to me it’s very hard to argue that we should be honoring it with an award for 2019 fiction. This award should be for current series, not classic series we all love that have technical hooks. The second non-finalist was The Murderbot Diaries, which was not eligible due to insufficient word count.
I was a bit disappointed in this year’s Series shortlist because I had read most of it already. Fortunately there are some series down in the longlist that I’m not particularly familiar with that I might have to check out.
Becky Chambers’s acceptance speech can be read here.
Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book
Children of Blood and Bone beat Dread Nation by 64 votes.
The main issue with this award is participation; only 34.3% of Hugo voters voted for the Lodestar, which is more in line with a fan category than a written fiction category. Otherwise it seems to be working well.
Best Graphic Story
Monstress, Volume 3 beat Black Panther: Long Live the King by 8 votes, the closest result on the ballot. My taste in comics is irreparably lowbrow so I tend not to vote in this category but I’m still a bit annoyed how much of it is dominated by the latest volume in series that have a regular finalist spot. This is the third year in a row that Monstress won.
Uncanny Magazine beat Strange Horizons by 122 votes. This is Uncanny‘s fourth win in a row, although this year’s win includes the Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction special issue edited by Elsa Sjunneson-Henry and Dominik Parisien, who have not won Hugos before.
Best Professional Editor, Long Form
Navah Wolfe (Saga Press) beat Sheila E. Gilbert, last year’s winner, by 86 votes.
Best Professional Artist
Charles Vess beat Galen Dara by 50 votes. See above comments on the Art Book category.
This post has been updated on 23 August to include a link to Becky Chambers’s acceptance speech.
I knew of Ursula’s longstanding love of Steens Mountain in the remote high desert of the farthest corner of southeastern Oregon, a landscape that had informed the world of her novel The Tombs of Atuan, as well as her poetry-photography collaborative collection Out Here.
—David Naimon, Ursula K. Le Guin: Conversations on Writing (Portland, Ore.: Tin House Books, 2018), p. 53
Steens Mountain’s summit, at 9,733 feet, is the highest point of Harney County. It’s been on my to-visit list for a while but hasn’t really bubbled up to the top due to, as mentioned, its sheer remoteness; the nearest town with a gas station is Burns, about ninety miles away. The Tombs of Atuan mention makes it an even more intriguing visit though, as does the mention of incredible local stargazing. (I really need to remember to bring my binoculars on my car-camping trips; the last truly dark skies I saw were at Hinkey Summit, in remote northwestern Nevada, and they were spectacular.)
I use “Steens Mountain’s summit” advisedly, as the mountain itself is a huge fifty-mile fault block that rises directly from the nearby Alvord Desert, five thousand feet below. Beyond the Alvord Desert is the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, which you may remember from the 2016 occupation of its headquarters by armed seditionists. Or “Right-Wing Loonybirds”, as Le Guin called them.
I’ll write about something other than just books acquired at some point, I promise. Just haven’t had time lately.
Kind of a quiet library book sale this week:
Bova, Ben (editor). The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Volume Two B. Doubleday, 1973. SFBC hardcover. Second in a set of what SFWA considered to be the best science fiction novellas that predated the Nebula Awards. It’ll sit next to Volume Two A on my shelf.
Brin, David. Infinity’s Shore. Bantam Spectra, 1996. First edition hardcover. Second in the Uplift Storm trilogy. No. 745 on Mt. Tsundoku.
Kuttner, Henry. The Best of Henry Kuttner. Nelson Doubleday, 1975. First edition SFBC hardcover. Predates the trade edition by two months. Another in the Ballantine Classic Science Fiction series, and fortuitously acquired in time to do some Retro Hugo reading—this includes both “Mimsy Were the Borogoves” and “The Proud Robot”.
Dragging the local used book stores for this year’s Hugo finalists finally turned up something!
Nevala-Lee, Alec. Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction. Dey Street, 2018. First edition hardcover. Hugo finalist for Best Related Work. I nominated this, and I think it’s exactly the kind of thing the Related Work category should be showcasing. A look at the origins of American science fiction viewed through the life of Astounding editor John W. Campbell and those he influenced.
On the way back home from Brushy Peak on Sunday I hit up a couple of library bookstores on the off chance they had anything good. I like to do this when I have time because library “books for sale” sections are both extremely cheap and (when non-local) I haven’t picked them clean recently. The result, from Livermore for $1:
Tuchman, Barbara W. The Guns of August. Macmillan, 1962. Third printing of the first edition hardcover. Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction. Replaces a paperback copy. Unfortunately price-clipped, but other than that a quite decent hardcover copy. Obviously this should not be your first stop for an understanding of the causes of the First World War (the historical analysis has not aged well) but a classic non-fiction read nonetheless.
And of course while in the area I had to check Half Price Books:
Dick, Philip K. Martian Time-Slip. Ballantine, 1964. First edition mass-market paperback. A classic Dick novel about a Martian colony, expanded from a 1963 novella. No 140 on Mt. Tsundoku.
I misread an advertisement for a Half Price Books tent sale as applying to everywhere instead of just the Citrus Heights location. Discovering my error, I of course didn’t bother to drive all the way up to Sacramento, but did check the Fremont SFF shelves just in case there was something I particularly wanted.
Novik, Naomi. Uprooted. Del Rey, 2015. First edition hardcover. Nebula Award and Hugo finalist for Best Novel; Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel. Supplements an ebook. I’m not hugely big on fairy-tale inspired stuff but I really liked this; it’s about a girl, a mage, and a corrupted forest.