Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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Hugo winners 2019

I saw yesterday that Martha Wells won the Novella category for her Murderbot novella, which (a) no surprise; and (b) yay! Martha absolutely nailed it with those novellas, and I can’t wait for the novel, which I guess is probably coming out next year.

Anyway! I wasn’t paying much attention this year, so let’s have a look at what else was nominated and what won. From tor. com:

Best Novel

  • The Calculating Stars, by Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor)
  • Record of a Spaceborn Few, by Becky Chambers (Hodder & Stoughton / Harper Voyager)
  • Revenant Gun, by Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris)
  • Space Opera, by Catherynne M. Valente (Saga)
  • Spinning Silver, by Naomi Novik (Del Rey / Macmillan)
  • Trail of Lightning, by Rebecca Roanhorse (Saga)

Okay; I haven’t read any of them, so I have no opinion. The concept sounds good —

On a cold spring night in 1952, a huge meteorite fell to earth and obliterated much of the east coast of the United States, including Washington D.C. The ensuing climate cataclysm will soon render the earth inhospitable for humanity, as the last such meteorite did for the dinosaurs. This looming threat calls for a radically accelerated effort to colonize space, and requires a much larger share of humanity to take part in the process...

That really is a neat set-up, though generally I prefer historicals set much longer ago than the 1950s. Including spinoff alternate historicals. Still, it does sound good.

I still haven’t read Ninefox Gambit, far less the sequels such as Revenant Gun. I just haven’t been reading much new-to-me fiction this year. Haven’t read Becky Chamber’s latest either, though that one is definitely something I’d like to get to, especially after the comments some of you made about it. Spinning Silver, ditto. Really, this list just shows how many books, how little time, and wow, so far behind with reading. Well, some years are like that, I guess. Moving on —

Best Novella

  • Artificial Condition, by Martha Wells (Tor.com Publishing)
  • Beneath the Sugar Sky, by Seanan McGuire (Tor.com Publishing)
  • Binti: The Night Masquerade, by Nnedi Okorafor (Tor.com Publishing)
  • The Black God’s Drums, by P. Djèlí Clark (Tor.com Publishing)
  • Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach, by Kelly Robson (Tor.com Publishing)
  • The Tea Master and the Detective, by Aliette de Bodard (Subterranean Press / JABberwocky Literary Agency)

Yes, glad Murderbot won, not surprised, good for Martha, I do have a couple of the other ones on my TBR pile. I don’t read enough short fiction to know anything about those categories or the nominees, but here’s the series winner:

Best Series

  • Wayfarers, by Becky Chambers (Hodder & Stoughton / Harper Voyager)
  • The Centenal Cycle, by Malka Older (Tor.com Publishing)
  • The Laundry Files, by Charles Stross (most recently Tor.com Publishing/Orbit)
  • Machineries of Empire, by Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris)
  • The October Daye Series, by Seanan McGuire (most recently DAW)
  • The Universe of Xuya, by Aliette de Bodard (most recently Subterranean Press)

Okay! So Becky Chambers carried home a Hugo, though not for the novel specifically. You know, that’s awkward, having both a novel and the series nominated at the same time. I notice that Yoon Ha Lee also had both a novel nominated as well as the series to which that novel belongs. And Aliette de Bodard, a novella and the series. Interesting. My first reaction is that really, that should not be allowed. My second reaction is: maybe it would be unfair to nix the novel in favor of leaving the nominated series in place, or vice versa. How would you decide which entry to leave and which to take out? Well, that’s all above my pay grade. Congrats to Becky Chambers anyway — and seriously, I do mean to read some of these nominees eventually.

Click through to tor.com to read the whole list of nominees and winners, if you’re interested in the rest of the categories.

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4 Comments Hugo winners 2019

  1. Allan Shampine

    I haven’t read Calculating Stars yet but have it on my Kindle. All in all, pretty happy with the awards. Could quibble about individual categories, but nothing leapt out at me as out of line. Nice to see after the controversies from prior years.

  2. Evenstar

    My thoughts:
    The Calculating Stars: very good, I loved the characters and almost-history
    Record of a Spaceborn Few: worth reading, felt more like vignettes than a novel
    Spinning Silver: parts are great, good overall
    Trail of Lightening: I didn’t like as much as most people seem to, maybe too gritty

  3. Rachel

    Thanks for the comments; I love the concept of The Calculating Stars … full disclosure: I’ve been so out of touch with recent releases I honestly did not know what the concept of the book was until now. I’ve added that one to my virtual TBR pile. It’s just $2.99, which made that an easy decision.

    I felt that one of the plotlines in A Closed and Common Orbit was significantly more compelling than the other — I liked the kid-escaping-from-robot-hell plotline a lot and was distracted by that story from the current plotline. I guess I can see a tendency there for Becky Chambers to tell multiple stories at once, which I gather is what she did in Record of a Spaceborn Few. Still, very interested in reading that one.

    Looking forward to Spinning Silver, too.

    And I agree, Allan, it’s good to see categories filled with reasonable nominees and much less sound & fury.

  4. Kim Aippersbach

    Thanks for the tip about the sale on Calculating Stars! Here is a short story which apparently the novel is based on, or set in the same world, anyway: https://www.tor.com/2013/09/11/the-lady-astronaut-of-mars/

    Spinning Silver is so, so good! Record of a Spaceborn Few wasn’t as engaging at first as the other two in the series, but she’s doing really interesting things with narration and theme and exploring society and psychology and religion in ways that sci fi doesn’t usually but should.

    Also, yay Murderbot! The novel is coming out soon, isn’t it??

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