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04 April 2017 @ 12:56 pm
Hugo Award Semifinals  
Edit: I wrote this yesterday, not realizing that the finalists would be announced today. My speculations about who's likely to get nominated are moot, while my desire to promote people "not likely" to be nominated is even more fervent.

So here are the finalists: http://www.tor.com/2017/04/04/2017-hugo-award-finalists-announced/

Many things i voted for made it on, and many more that i voted for didn't! As you shall soon see! (/Edit)

Now that the deadline for the Hugo Award semifinals has passed and i no longer have to worry about accusations of slate voting, i'm going to share what i nominated.

Unfortunately i didn't spend as much time working on my ballot sheet as i did the past couple years, since i was on vacation a week prior to the deadline and before that was busy planning for the vacation.

However i did discover a couple online resources (a wiki and a google doc spreadsheet) people were using to compile lists of eligible works, which helped out a lot.

Best Novel
- All the Birds in the Sky; Charlie Jane Anders
- The Obelisk Gate; N. K. Jemisin
- Ghost Talkers; Mary Robinette Kowal
- Edge of Worlds; Martha Wells
- Wrath of the Great Guilds; Jack Campbell


Because of changes to the voting system for this year's Hugos my original plan was to vote for two "well known" things and two lesser well known things, leaving the fifth slot empty.

(In short, i agree with the general idea of trying to elimiante block voting, but instead of Single Transferable Vote with ranked selection which i prefer they went with a system where you have a single vote spread across all your remaining eligible nominees in the current round.)

However i ended up thinking of way too many books i wanted to vote for and had trouble narrowing it down to just five, much less four.

"All the Birds in the Sky" and "The Obelisk Gate" are my "safties". I read them and i liked them, though i had a couple issues with each. (I felt the ending to "All the Birds in the Sky" was a little weak, and the second person POV in alternating chapters of "The Obelisk Gate" still bothers me.) However both have also gotten a lot of critical praise (i believe both were nominated for the Nebulas?) and i would like to help make sure there are at least one or two books in the final round that i would feel comfortable (if not excited) voting for.

"Ghost Talkers" is middle of the road. Mary Robinette Kowal is a fairly well known author and has had multiple Hugo nominations and a couple wins before, but i don't think i've heard the kind of critical acclaim about this book that i would expect to lead to a Hugo nom. But still, i loved the book and it's at least got a shot.

"Edge of Worlds" and "Wrath of the Great Guilds", i loved both these books, but honestly they probably don't have a snowballs chance in hell of making the finals. I believe Martha Wells has had one Nebula nomination before and zero Hugo noms, and John G Hemry (who uses the pesudonym Jack Campbell) hasn't had any Nebula or Hugo noms.

They're also at a disadvantage because both of these books are parts of series, and usually it's far more likely that the first book in a series will be nominated. However "Wrath of the Great Guilds" does have a slight edge in that it is the last book of its series, which i would think would have better odds that some random book in the middle?

I did seriously consider voting for Ken Liu's "The Wall of Storms" instead of "Wrath of the Great Guilts", but 1: Ken Liu already has a couple Hugos while John G Hemry has none, and more importantly 2: I can vote for Ken Liu in another year or so when the third (and theoretically final?) book of the "Dandelion Dynasty" series comes out, but this was my last chance to vote for John G Hemry's "Pillars of Reality" series. (Though to be fair, he's already published the first book in a "daughter" series, so it won't be my last chance to vote for that universe.)


Best Novella:
- Every Heart a Doorway; Seanan McGuire
- The Liar; John P Murphy
- The Dispatcher; John Scalzi

And then pretty much immediately my nominations fall off a cliff, because i mostly read novel length fiction. This was actually a relatively exceptional level of non-novel reading this year! It certainly helps if two authors i love and one author i know all come out with novellas!

(I probably _ought_ to have nominated one of Lois McMaster Bujold's new Chalion novellas, but i haven't gotten around to reading any of the 2016 ones.)

Novelette:
- The Tomato Thief; Ursula Vernon; Apex Magazine

Best Short Story:
- Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies; Brooke Bolander; Uncanny
- A Trump Christmas Carol; Roz Kaveney, Laurie Penny, John Scalzi,
and Jo Walton; Uncanny Magazine
- Ye Highlands and Ye Lowlands; Seanan McGuire; Uncanny Magazine

So i actually read a comparatively large number of short stories this year, mainly due to twitter and io9. Yes, three is a comparatively large number for me =P

(Well, i also read Ken Liu's "Paper Menagerie", and i think one other anthology? But by the time short stories come out in anthologies they're generally well past their Hugo expieration date.)

Best Related Work:
- IO9; Rob Bricken; http://io9.gizmodo.com/
- The Tingled Puppies; Chuck Tingle; http://www.therabidpuppies.com/

Again, i mostly read novels. I was originally thinking of nominating a Storify of Chuck Tingle's trolling of the Puppies from last year, but i couldn't find a good source. And then i saw "The Tingled Puppies" in the aforementioned spreadsheet. If i'd known before that Chuck Tingle managed to hijack www.therabidpuppies.com i must have forgotten about it. It's awesome, and it seems like a good alternative to the twitter trolling.

And since i was already nominating websites i threw in io9. Hey, they're responsible for some of the short story nominations above, so they probably deserve it!

Best Graphic Story:
- Oglaf; Bodil Bodilson; http://oglaf.com (NSFW)
- Homestuck; Andrew Hussie; http://www.mspaintadventures.com

That thing about mostly reading novels? That doesn't include graphic ones. So normally i have very little to nominate here. But i saw these both in the list, and i've read and liked both (though i'm not current on Oglaf and _very_ not current on Homestuck) so i figured why not? It's not clear from the category description on whether these actual qualify or not, but since i had nothing else to nominate, again, why not?

Best Dramatic Long:
- Rogue One
- Deadpool
- Kubo and the Two Strings
- The Expanse (season 1)
- Hidden Figures

Finally! Another category in which there were multiple things i could nominate!

Deadpool was silly but awesome, Rogue One and Kubo and the Two Strings were sad but awesome. The first season of The Expanse was awesome. Hidden Figures is maybe technically not SF, but still awesome :)

Best Dramatic Short:
- J.R.R. Tolkien vs. George R.R. Martin ; Epic Rap Battles of
History
- The Answer; Steven Universe
- Leviathan Wakes; The Expanse
- Salvage; The Expanse
Alcon Entertainment
- Critical Mass; The Expanse


So "JRR Tolkein vs George RR Martin" and Steven Universe were both ideas i got off the spreadsheet, though ones i wholeheartedly agreed with once they were pointed out.

I had been planning from the beginning to vote for an episode of The Expanse. The problem was, which one? Last year The Expanse didn't make it on (probably) because the vote got split between different episodes.

As a general rule i disagree with slate voting. However personally i don't see anything wrong with trying to coordinate with other fans of a series to agree on which is the best episode(s) to vote for in that series. Babylon 5 had a similar problem back in the day, and the fans eventually overcame that problem in the same manner.

Unfortunately these days there is no singular spot on the internet you can go to for a show such as the Lurker's Guide for Babylon 5, which means arriving at a consensus has gotten a bit more difficult.

I checked Reddit, i looked for some Wikis, i asked on twitter, and everyone seemed to have a different episodes, or two, or three, to recommend. Which is kinda impressive given that there were only six episodes eligible for this year!

After agonizing about it for far too long i realized something important. Last year i also wanted to nominate the Flash, and Supergirl, and maybe even Legends of Tomorrow (as cheesy as it is.) However that was when those shows were on Hulu and we were current on them. But last year all the DC shows switched from Hulu to CW's streaming service. We tried to watch them, really we did. But we had to do it on PC, and the website was awkward, and the commercials... there were soooo many commercials. And so many of the same ones kept repeating over and over and over...

If you have to watch the same ad before each episode on Hulu we can deal with it. (Not that we usually do since we started paying for the service.) But if you have to wath the same 3-5 ads before each episode, _and_ in the middle of the episode, and then maybe _again_ near the end, it starts getting overwhelming pretty quick.

So we have not seen the current seasons for most of those shows, so i had nothing from them i wanted to vote for. (Supposedly they'll be put on Hulu when after the seasons are over and hopefully we can watch them then.) And we haven't seen Stranger Things yet because i'm worried about how scary it will be. And i haven't seen Daredevil or the other eligible Marvel series yet because... i dunno, just haven't gotten around to it.

So in the end i had nothing else to vote for and just voted for three episodes of the Expanse. Hopefully one of them makes it on!

On that note, i would definitely support an amendment that when tabulating semifinal votes in this category a separate tally is kept for each series, with one point for each person who nominates an episode from it. (Not for each episode each person nominates, because then hardcore fans would just fill their ballot completely with different episodes from a single show.) Then if the series makes it to the finals the single episode with the most semifinal votes is chosen to represent it.


Best Series:
- Raksura; Martha Wells; The Edge of Worlds
- Pillars of Reality; Jack Campbell; Wrath of the Great Guilds
- October Daye; Seanan McGuire; Once Broken Faith
- Vorkosigan Saga; Lois McMaster Bujold; Gentleman Jole and the Red
Queen
- Temeraire; Naomi Novik; League of Dragons

And finally, one of the toughest categories.

Each year the WorldCon hosts have the opportunity to add one special category to the Hugos. Sometimes those categories are a hit and go on to become regular categories, and sometimes they just fade away.

This year Helsinki is trying out "Best Series." I love the _idea_ of this category, but the result is a bit of a mess. They did their best to try to limit the number of nominees, in particular by requiring that the series have an eligible work come out within the last year, but it's still a bit of a mess. A glorious mess, but a mess.

My inner-teenager reaaaaally wanted to nominate Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar series. I also considered Brand Sanderson, Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, The Expanse, Marko Kloos, David Weber, "Mira Grant", Gail Carriger, Diane Duane, and the other Jack Campbell series. And probably others that i've forgotten now.

But i love the Raksura series! (Were-dragons with a matrilineal society in a well developed and very interesting fantasy world!)

And i love the Pillars of Reality books (Conceptually a bit like Pern, except with magic instead of dragons, and instead of the external threat of Thread the internal threat of the people who had the technology or magic deciding that they ought to be in charge. Also it set out a "standard" epic conflict in the plot and resolved the whole thing in just six books all released within two years!)

And i love the October Daye series (Urban Faerie Fantasy, with lots of focus on actual faerie mythology.)

And i love the Temerarie books (*cough* even though i still need to read the last one.)(Napoleonic war with aerial dragon combat.)

And finally, i love the Vorkosigan series. (*cough* especially the middle books.)(Liberal space opera/military SF/intrigue/"murder" mystery/romantic comedy) This is almost certainly the last chance for the series to get an award (the last several books hadn't been _bad_, but they've definitely been off-peak.)

So there you have it, the stuff i really think people should have read/watched/whatever over the last year!
 
 
 
squee is a universal language: clappingnaye on April 4th, 2017 09:04 pm (UTC)
*high-five for people who nominated the Raskura series*

There were a LOT of good books this years - it makes me really happy that my first year voting for the Hugos (I know!) is one with so many good titles in well-deserved nomination slots now.

I'm personally incredibly psyched that more people than myself nominated Clipping's album Splendor & Misery for the Short Form.

And the series one is a tough choice but - McMaster Bujold has been writing since the 80's, I think it's only right the Vorkosigan books get the inaugural award. I hope they keep the category around - there'll definitely be more Toby Daye books, and Raksura books. (Let's keep trying to get those up on the short list!)