Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Hugo nominations for novels: And the final nomination list will be ….

Chaos Horizon is my go-to site to see what’s actually going on with awards. He’s got a very interesting series of posts about the Hugo and how the nominations might fall out — filled with bold assumptions, which is inevitable, but interesting all the same. Here’s what’s on Chaos Horizon’s list of predicted nominees for this year, in this order:

Seveneves, Neal Stephenson
Uprooted, Naomi Novik
The Aeronaut’s Windlass, Jim Butcher
Somewhither, John C Wright
Ancillary Mercy, Ann Leckie

With these titles (among others) included as contenders that might appear:

Golden Son, Pierce Brown
The Fifth Season, NK Jemisin
Aurora, Sim Stanley Robinson

That leaves off the following titles, all of which I’ve seen talked about and most of which I actually wouldn’t be surprised to see appear on the final ballot:

Sorcerer to the Crown, Zen Cho
The Just City, Jo Walton
Karen Memory, Elizabeth Bear
The Traitor Baru Cormorant, Seth Dickinson
Archivist Wasp, Nicole Kornher-Stace
The Grace of Kings, Ken Liu
Luna: New Moon, Ian McDonald
Radiance, Catherynne Valente
The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps, Kai Ashante Wilson, which I kind of think might appear on the Novella list instead of the novel list

Meanwhile, at File 770, many commenters are sharing their nominations lists. From this, with patience, one can determine that yep, lots of people are going for Ancillary Mercy. The top picks from the first 40 or so commenters included:

Ancillary Mercy — ten commenters had it on their list
Uprooted — six
The Fifth Season — five
The Just City — five, and splitting nominations between The Just City and Philosopher Kings may mean neither pick up enough votes.
Sorcerer to the Crown — four
Seveneves — three
Radiance — three

And I noticed Archivist Wasp on one list other than mine.

So you see that Chaos Horizon appears to be drawing from sources similar to commenters on File 770.

My personal nominations wandered off in an almost completely different direction from the above. I wound up leaving off Uprooted and Ancillary Mercy. I loved them both, but I figured they would both almost certainly get nominated, so I left them to other people. From the above, I’d guess that I was right. Anyway that let me nominate personal favorites even though they might not, based on the above, have much of a chance.

So, my picks for the novel category:

Silver on the Road by Laura Anne Gilman
Archivist Wasp by Nicole Kornher-Stace
The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman
Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

and, a very last minute addition that I actually only finished the night of March 31st and thus nominated without quiiite having read the ending:

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

This was recommended to me by Linda S, who was right — I loved it. I was trusting her when I didn’t quite have time to finish the book before nominations closed, which worked out fine because I liked the resolution quite a bit. But I notice one File 770 commenter said it might not be eligible. I don’t know why, but if not, too bad! I guess I should have nominated Bryony and Roses instead. Well, at least Ursula Vernon’s story “Wooden Feathers” was on a lot of lists; I was glad to see that.

Anyway, I have not had time to write a review of The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, obviously, but I nominated it because it is a really fun SF space opera with a cluttered Star-Trek-Federation type of setting — I haven’t seen anybody tackle a setting like that for a long time. Actually, the closest background I can think of in recent SFF is in Tanya Huff’s Valor series.

I had quibbles here and there with the worldbuilding and story, but OMG did I ever love Kizzy, one of the Best! Characters! Ever! Chambers must have had so much fun writing her, seriously. I have a new ambition: to write a wild impulsive uninhibited extrovert who is as much fun as Kizzy. Wonderful character building through dialogue. I wound up becoming quite attached to all the characters, including the ones who were thoroughly unsympathetic at the beginning. I also liked the rather intimate feel of the story against the very wide-scale background, which Chambers pulled off despite frequently switching the pov. And as I say, I liked the resolution. There are sad things about the ending, but it is not a downer.

Well, in a few weeks I suppose we’ll see what the actual nominee list looks like. Other than the ones on my personal list, here are the ones I would personally most like to see make the cut:

The Fifth Season. I would like to read it, and I may never have the nerve unless it’s nominated. I tried a sample, but I wasn’t sufficiently emotionally involved with the protagonist to endure the horrible tragedy that befalls her right in the first pages. But I suspect I might wind up loving the book if I kept going.

Sorcerer to the Crown. I wasn’t blown away by the sample, but so many other people were that I would like to have a reason to move it to the top of my TRB pile.

The Just City. It looks like it might be too dry for me, and I’m not sure I know enough about Greek philosophy to get the most out of it, but I’d like to have reason to read it anyway.

Aurora. I don’t generally go out of my way to read KSR, but I would probably admire this book if I actually read it, so I’d like to have a reason to tackle it.

And, no offense to its many fans, but the book up there on those lists that I would actually least like to read? Seveneves. In the past, I have had something of an intellectual appreciation for Stevenson, but I haven’t found his books particularly engaging and I have no special desire to read this one. But I suppose I will probably wind up at least trying it, because it sure looks likely to make the list.

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6 Comments Hugo nominations for novels: And the final nomination list will be ….

  1. charlotte

    I have read Seveneves, and didn’t care for it. Not my personal cup of tea.

    but the other books I’ve read that you mention I’d be happy to see honored!

  2. Linda S

    It looks like Long Way may have the same eligibility issue as The Martian did last year–it was apparently self-published on Amazon in 2014, then picked up by HarperCollins in 2015. I really wish that there were a good way to amend the rules to give books like this a second eligibility period. Books published in a language other than English (e.g., The Three-Body Problem) and books published in English outside the US already get an automatic extension, as long as they didn’t make the ballot in their first year of publication. Unfortunately, I think it’s harder to write a general rule for self-published/traditionally published works, and I don’t know how many people see it as a serious problem.

    Anyway, I’m glad you liked the book–I thought it was a lot of fun, and I hope that kind of setting comes into fashion again. I agree that the characters were one of its major strengths. It’s interesting to me that you liked Kizzy so much, though, since I actually found her kind of annoying at times!

  3. Mary Anne

    I guess because I had heard so much good of Sorcerer to the Crown, I was disappointed. Had I read it without any expectations, I think I would have liked it much more. The converse of how I enjoyed Superman v Batman – it’s so nice when things are better than you expect! But I was underwhelmed by Sorcerer.

  4. Rachel

    Charlotte, given you weren’t super-keen on Seveneves makes me doubt it even more. But I will *try* to approach it with an open mind if it makes the final list.

    Linda, thanks for explaining abut The Long Way. That makes sense. I think we probably need a rule that books that first came out as self-published are also eligible their first year as traditionally published works. I think that would be fair. More people may come to see it as an issue as more books inevitably get caught this way. I mean, one a year is going to get noticeable eventually.

    Mary Anne, thanks for your take on Sorcerer. That’s certainly a potential problem. Since I tried the sample and didn’t really find myself drawn in, I guess my expectations are kind of pulling me in both directions.

  5. Edith

    I couldn’t finish Seveneves. The concept was very interesting, but I didn’t actually care what happened to any of his characters. So when the third section opened and I found out how people had survived and how factions had developed, I found it totally implausible and quit.

  6. Rachel

    Edith, thanks for your take on Seveneves. Yeah, I think that was the kind of barely-involved feeling that made it hard for me to finish Snow Crash, even though I liked the *idea* of the novel.

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