Since I wasn’t attending WorldCon, I kind of forgot that it was this past weekend. Even though I saw Martha Wells fretting about it on Twitter or Facebook or somewhere, so I meant to keep track. I totally expected her novella to win, but I must admit I did not read any of the other novellas. But still, I totally expected Murderbot to take the Hugo voters by storm.
I’m delighted to see I was right!
All Systems Red by Martha Wells
And Then There Were (N-One) by Sarah Pinsker
Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor
The Black Tides of Heaven by JY Yang
Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire
River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey
Congratulations to Martha Wells! I believe that is her first Hugo, though Death of the Necromancer was a nominee, I think.
Here are the other winners — click through for the full list with all the categories.
The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin
The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi
New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson
Provenance by Ann Leckie
Raven Stratagem by Yoon Ha Lee
Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty
Well, you know I did not exactly get into this particular Jemisin trilogy. Still, I didn’t really pay much attention to the novels because I haven’t read any of them. I haven’t even read Provenance, which I totally intended to, and will, eventually. First year I have ever been much more interested in a shorter-form category than in the novel category. I doubt that happens again.
Here’s the other category I was interested in:
World of the Five Gods, by Lois McMaster Bujold
The Books of the Raksura, by Martha Wells
The Divine Cities, by Robert Jackson Bennett
InCryptid, by Seanan McGuire
The Memoirs of Lady Trent, by Marie Brennan
The Stormlight Archive, by Brandon Sanderson
Some very, very strong contenders among these nominees. I would not have known how to vote. I swear, I would have pinned three of them (Bujold, Wells, Brennan) up on a tree and thrown darts at them. Blindfolded.
Personally I think Martha Wells should write a nice Raksura novella and see if she can get into the Best Series category again. Also, that would give us another Raksura novella, and that would be a fine thing right there.
Whether or not she does that, however, once again, big congrats for Murderbot!
7 thoughts on “Oh, right, the Hugos! Also, yay!”
So happy for Martha Wells, Murderbot is such a great character. I also love her Raksura series but must admit I would also have put LMJ’s series ahead just because of “Chalion” and “Paladin of Souls” and also all those wonderful Penric and Desdemona novellas. More Raksura and more Murderbot would be very, very good indeed.
Thanks for posting about the Hugos—I’m always interested to read your thoughts. I decided to be a supporting member again this year, and it definitely helped me discover some things I wouldn’t have tried otherwise.
Novellas: I loved Murderbot and was so happy that “All Systems Red” won! “And Then There Were (N-One)” was also a great story with an extremely cool premise.
Novels: As you know, I thought the Broken Earth series was really well done, but a Hugo for each book seems like overkill. I thought Provenance was great, though it’s definitely a much quieter story than Ancillary Justice. I also enjoyed Collapsing Empire much more than I was expecting to. It’s a compelling story, and it has a truly amazing prologue. The characters all sound a little too much like John Scalzi, though. Yoon Ha Lee’s series is growing on me, but I’m still not sure how I feel about it overall. I kept bouncing off Six Wakes for some reason, and KSR is just not my cup of tea.
Other short fiction: You didn’t mention the novelettes or short stories here, but I ended up liking more of them than usual. For novelettes, I had a lot of trouble ranking “The Secret Life of Bots” (the winner), “Wind Will Rove”, and “A Series of Steaks.” For short stories, I thought both “Sun, Moon, Dust” and “Fandom for Robots” were fun. I voted for Prasad for the Campbell based on “Steaks” and “Fandom,” but sadly, she didn’t win.
Series: I had a terrible time ranking the series. Chalion and Paladin were amazing, but Paladin already won the Hugo for Best Novel, and Chalion was a finalist. I re-read Raksura for the Hugos and found that I liked it even better the second time. Like Raksura, Divine Cities had an amazing world and some great characters. I hadn’t been expecting to like Lady Trent at all, but I ended up ripping through them as fast as I could. I kept juggling the order of those four series over and over until the last minute, and I’m still not sure I got it right. But Five Gods is certainly a worthy winner.
I heard “N minus One” was a good story (maybe from you) so I really need to find a copy and read it.
I’m glad you thought the short fiction was good this year. I know the short forms can be kind of hit or miss for me.
Out of curiosity, if you don’t mind saying, how did you wind up ranking the series? That must have been really hard. I think . . . maybe . . . I might have gone Five Gods, Raksura, Lady Trent. But as soon as I say that, I think, maybe actually the reverse order? And then I immediately think, well, but if Paladin already won a Hugo, maybe put it third this time? I would probably have changed my mind every day. I haven’t tried Divine Cities, but if you liked it that much, I really ought to.
By the way, another Raksura novella would sadly not be enough to make the series eligible again. The rules for the award were written to reduce the chance that the same series would appear on the ballot year after year:
184.108.40.206: Previous losing finalists in the Best Series category shall be eligible only upon the publication of at least two (2) additional installments consisting in total of at least 240,000 words after they qualified for their last appearance on the final ballot and by the close of the previous calendar year.
This is obviously not clear to a lot of people; the detailed nomination results show that a lot of people tried to nominate the Craft, the Expanse, and October Daye again, even though they were finalists last year: https://www.worldcon76.org/images/publications/2018DetailedResults.pdf. Though in fairness, last year’s Best Series Hugo was a special award given by the convention as opposed to the “regular” Hugo that started this year, so maybe nominators thought that the repeated eligibility rules wouldn’t apply.
None of this should discourage Martha Wells from writing more Raksura novellas, though!
Oh, that is a good deal more complicated than I thought about series nominations. It’s really kind of a good idea though.
Next, let’s declare that no author can be in the running for a novel nomination three years in a row. It is kind of troubling to me that nominators act as though a handful of authors should always be nominated no matter what they write or what other novels came out that year.
Out of curiosity, if you don’t mind saying, how did you wind up ranking the series?
Honestly, I switched them around so much that I had to check what ranking I finally ended up with:
1. Divine Cities
3. Lady Trent
4. Five Gods
I actually started with Five Gods at #1 but kept moving it down, since the series already had a Hugo and 3 nominations. I moved Raksura and Divine Cities above Lady Trent mostly because of their complex worldbuilding. For the other two, it was basically a coin flip.
If you do decide to try Divine Cities, I’ll be interested to hear what you think. It’s a much darker world than the others, but it’s about people who are trying to make things better.
Well, with you ranking it right at the top, for whatever reason, I’m a lot more likely to try it. Wait, I mean “Go on with it.” Now that I look at the book titles, I realize I did read the first book, and liked it, but never actually went on to the second.
Gosh, look at that, the whole trilogy is $2.99 on Amazon right now. Okay, fine, now I am quite a bit more likely to read the whole trilogy. I’ll have to re-read the first book again to remind myself of the details, though now that I think about it, I remember the basics pretty well.
I don’t think I would have put it first, not because it’s not really good, but because I didn’t find it as catchy.