Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

Blog

2014 Hugo Finalists

I don’t have a voting membership this year, but in case you, like me, are interested in seeing what’s on the ballot, here is the complete list.

I am as always most interested in the novels, so here’s that list:

Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie
Neptune’s Brood, Charles Stross
Parasite, Mira Grant
Warbound, Book III of the Grimnoir Chronicles, Larry Correia
The Wheel of Time, Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

To which my first response is: The Wheel of Time? Really? Now, I admit, I have never read any part of this work, but after reading this analysis by Marie Brennen, frankly, I am surprised to see it appear here. Especially since, hello, huge series? How is a full series even eligible? Is there a single book that came out last year that was also called The Wheel of Time? Because that is not what Amazon shows. Amazon shows a single volume with a specific title (A Memory of Light) that finishes the whole shebang.

But, whatever.

I do not ordinarily like Charles Stross much, he’s one of those writers where I can see why other people like him, but he’s not really my type. Mira Grant is a good writer, but I haven’t read this book. I had enough issues with believability in the plotting in the Feed trilogy that I would pick up Parasite with some trepidation. Warbound is the third book of a series and I am suspicious that it may not stand by itself, but I haven’t read it, either.

But! I was just kidding earlier about my first response. No, my FIRST response was: Yay! Ancillary Justice made the ballot! That one definitely deserved the nomination, no question, and I hope it wins, though of course I really shouldn’t say that when I haven’t read any of the others on the ballet. Even so. It has what I want in a nominee for a major award: scope, ambition, outside-the-box concepts, and good writing. Have you all read it? Because it’s excellent and unusual. It doesn’t exactly end on cliffhanger — not exactly — but I should add that it is definitely the first in a series.

Okay, [some of] the rest of the Hugo nominees:

Best Novella
The Butcher of Khardov, Dan Wells
The Chaplain’s Legacy”, Brad Torgersen
“Equoid”, Charles Stross
Six-Gun Snow White, Catherynne M. Valente
“Wakulla Springs”, Andy Duncan and Ellen Klages

Best Novelette
“Opera Vita Aeterna”, Vox Day
“The Exchange Officers”, Brad Torgersen
“The Lady Astronaut of Mars”, Mary Robinette Kowal
“The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling”, Ted Chiang
“The Waiting Stars”, Aliette de Bodard

I’ve really liked some of Dan Wells’ novels, and of course there’s Cat Valente. I should track these down and read them. Vox Day, huh? Voting block, I gather, not that that is unknown for the Hugos. Ted Chiang is a really good writer, imo, which doesn’t mean I like all his stories, but I bet that one is well written. I’m interested in the Aliette de Bodard story — curious to see how it compares to last year’s nominee.

Other than that, I see The Book Smugglers were nominated for Best Fanzine. Good for them. I don’t read their blog as consistently as I used to (very large TBR pile already), but I always do like stopping by. Even better, I see Liz Bourke was nominated for Best Fan Writer. I hope she wins — granted, I am not that familiar with the other nominees, but you all know I particularly like Liz’s reviews. Here is her review of Elizabeth Bear’s Eternal Sky trilogy. It’s a beautiful review — and spoiler-free, which I greatly appreciate.

I would sure have a lot of reading to do if I were voting. The ONLY nominee I’ve read is Ancillary Justice.

Please Feel Free to Share:

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblrmail

9 Comments 2014 Hugo Finalists

  1. Pete+Mack

    I like Charlie Stross’s books, so I’d be happy to see him win a Hugo. Either Neptune’s Brood or Ancillary Justice would be excellent choices. Mira Grant is a possible, though I haven’t read Parasite.

    Warbound does not stand by itself very well–I did happen to buy it as a package deal from Baen. It reaffirmed my belief that I don’t like Correia as an author. I did not finish it.

    And I totally agree with you about WoT. I read the first few books thinking this is pretty good stuff. Then I read a few more thinking meh. Then I realized I was being taken for a ride.

  2. Linda S

    It’s definitely an interesting slate. I bought a supporting membership again this year, so I’m looking forward to the Hugo packet.

    It looks like the Wheel of Time nomination is pretty controversial, and I’m not thrilled with it myself. I understand the argument that it’s eligible because it’s one long story rather than a “real” series. However, the rule it was nominated under was pretty clearly designed for stories serialized in magazines, not for 14-book epics. In his excellent post about the controversy (http://brandonsanderson.com/the-wheel-of-time-nominated-for-a-hugo-award/), Brandon Sanderson pointed out that the same rule was used for Blackout/All Clear and Season 1 of Game of Thrones, but both of those seem like less of a stretch than WoT. That said, I doubt there will be much difference in practice between having A Memory of Light on the ballot and having the whole WoT there. I suppose there are some people who would vote for WoT but not for AMoL alone, but I can’t believe it’s a very large number.

    I completely agree with you about Ancillary Justice; it was one of the two novels I nominated this year, not that it needed any help from me. (The other was The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord. It’s not as ambitious as Ancillary Justice, but I really enjoyed it.) I’m just glad I read AJ before I saw much discussion of it, since a lot of its fans make it sound like a Very Important Message about Gender Issues rather than a great SF story with some very interesting worldbuilding. I hope the WoT and Correia voting blocs give AJ a try, though they’re obviously not going to put it in the #1 slot no matter what.

  3. Rachel

    Pete, I’ve heard from other people that the WoT series starts off pretty good and then Jordan started to lose control of it. Either way, I think it has Generic Fantasy stamped all over it — the opposite of ambitious, except in terms of length. But so many people grew up on it and I think a lot of them will have it tagged in their hearts as the Ur-Fantasy and will vote for it.

    Linda, good point, I bet you are right that including just the last book would have almost no affect on the voting. I will try to at least glance at some of the other contenders, but I doubt very much anything will push AJ out of the top spot on that slate for me. And your recommendation is one that made me give the book a try, so thanks!

  4. Rachel

    Pete, I’ve heard from other people that the WoT series starts off pretty good and then Jordan started to lose control of it. Either way, I think it has Generic Fantasy stamped all over it — the opposite of ambitious, except in terms of length. But so many people grew up on it and I think a lot of them will have it tagged in their hearts as the Ur-Fantasy and will vote for it.

    Linda, good point, I bet you are right that including just the last book would have almost no effect on the voting. I will try to at least glance at some of the other contenders, but I doubt very much anything will push AJ out of the top spot on that slate for me. And your recommendation is one that made me give the book a try, so thanks!

  5. Craig

    Tor has announced they’re going to be putting the entire Wheel of Time series into the Hugo voter packet, so the usual point that a voting membership is cheaper than buying the nominated works is significantly more true than normal. If I were interested in investing the time to read the thing, that might actually push me into a supporting membership myself.

    Given that I was impressed by the one thing of Sanderson’s that I’ve read, I’d be surprised if it weren’t significantly better written than the average WoT volume. That makes me wonder how many voters there are who would rate just AMoL by itself *ahead of* the whole WoT.

  6. Craig

    Oh, and I notice that for the second year in a row there weren’t five short stories that met the 5% cut off for nomination.

  7. Elaine T

    I’m among those who raised an eyebrow at the WoT nomination. Seems to be one of those cases where if you squint the right way it fits the rules but otherwise doesn’t. I read at least two, maybe 3 of them and stopped. There had been a good story there, but Jordan lost control.

    The Stross I haven’t read, but my husband has – meh. Mira Grant under that name, or Seanan Mcguire doesn’t do much for me, and seems … oh, .. nothing special. Husband enjoys at least some of Correia’s work, but was mildly surprised to hear he’s been nominated. He did like ANCILLIARY JUSTICE, which I haven’t gotten to yet. I’m trying to get the ‘gender message’ reviews out of my head.

    I’m tempted to buy a voting membership next year to nominate Andrea Host, actually. If I’d thought of it in time, I’d’ve tried that this year.

  8. Rachel

    Elaine, I think it would be very cool to nominate something by Host. I would be tempted to seriously PUSH a ticket for something by Host and something by Martha Wells, plus whatever else had come out in the right year that I thought really ought to be on the ballot. Plus if I happened to have a work that was eligible that I thought was suitable, I would PUSH HARDER. Apparently it doesn’t take too many nominating votes to get something on the ballot.

  9. Craig

    In 2013 — the 2014 numbers won’t be available until after the convention — it took 118 votes to be nominated for a Best Novel Hugo. (It took only the high 30s to make the Novelette or Short Story list.)

Leave A Comment