This is my first year participating in the selection process for the Hugo awards and I’m pretty excited about being involved. I bought a Supporting Membership which means I get to nominate things for the awards and once the shortlists are compiled I get to vote for what I’d like to see win each category.
Last year I read 11 SF novels and X fantasy novel/novellas. Not all of those were written in 2012. And I have read absolutely nothing that is eligible for nomination in some of the categories (short fiction why do I hate you so?). So I’m fully up for admitting that there are a lot of gaps in my knowledge. Still, having been part of ladybusiness in 2012, a blogging tri-partnership which brings me into contact with a lot of things about fantasy and SF I think there are lots of interesting people and works I am aware of that can be nominated.
I also think there might be some projects I may be thinking of nominating for the wrong category. The Hugo organisers have tried to make the categorisation as clear as possible, but it’s still hard for me to tell who should be in the professional categories sometimes. What better way to clear up my mistakes than by roping other people in to help clean up my list?
With that in mind I present my draft ballot for the 2013 Hugo awards:
‘The Killing Moon’ – N K Jemisin: Again kind of an obvious choice for me. I loved, loved, loved Jemisin’s ‘Inheritance trilogy’ and when Renay reminded me that this would be eligible I decided to cram it in before the nomination period closed.
‘Blackout’ – Mira Grant: This was an obvious choice for me as I devoured Grant’s zombie series this year.
‘The Snow Child’– Eowyn Ivey: Another story that expands a traditional tale. My favourite thing about this book was the way it managed to express both the harshness and wonder of nature through its prose and its characters’ lives.
‘Railsea’ – China Mieville: I don’t think Mieville is going to need any help from me getting onto the Hugo list, but this was one of my favourite SF books from 2012. The conceit was fabulous, the world an ideal combination of many of the elements I liked in some of Mieville’s previous work and the text played around with language.
‘Ship of Souls’ – Zetta Elliott: This was the only SF novella I read last year that was also published last year. I know when I finished it I said it wasn’t a huge favourite, but that was largely about my reaction to some of the magical elements (the magical, spiritual dove just wasn’t my bag). It gets my nomination because it’s inventive; I have literally never seen anything like it in fantasy before. And the three main teenage characters were so intriguing. Yet another book I would wish there was a whole lot of fan-fic for.
Best Related Work
(Blog tour) A More Diverse Universe blog tour – Aarti at BookLust: Aarti’s call for people to write reviews of speculative fiction books by chromatic authors resulted in a 90 post strong blog tour, which I think was a massive achievement.
(Tumblr) Women Fighters in Reasonable Armour: Love this place, which puts up art that shows women wearing clothes they could actually fight in. It’s an antidote to all the art and film that features women fighting in stillettos (people I can barely run for a bus in stilettos while sober, let alone maintain a decent perfect fighting stance). This Tumblr account had a major technical problem this year, but it also has 2012 posts so I figure it is eligible.
(Project) Striking a Pose: Women and Fantasy Covers – Jim C Hines: Jim Himes original post about ridiculous/impossible cover poses for women was interesting in itself, but what I think makes it worthy of a Hugo nomination is that it has led to a lot of follow up projects highlighting the unrealistic/sexualised way woman are portrayed in fantasy and SF art. There’s been a real chain reaction of interest in this subject and that interest can often be traced back to Hines post.
(Critical essay) 'Table for Two - Kendra and Jordan break down the Vampire Diaries' (published by Racialicious): A very smart, fannish post about the supernatural series ‘The Vampire Diaries’, which especially concentrates on the shows problematic treatment of its black characters. As this is a specific post and a guest post at that I’m assuming it is eligible in this category.
(Blog) Lab Lit: This site is based on an interesting idea that I think appeal to both hard science SFF fans and lit geeks. It sets out to examine how science is currently portrayed in literature and to talking about real lab culture. Much fascinating stuff to be found here like http://www.lablit.com/article/749 essays about SF that has gone from fiction to fact.
Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form)
‘The Hunger Games’: A lot of big SFF film franchises that are focused on men made a showing in 2012 and the list for this category is going to be dominated by things like ‘The Hobbit’, ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, ‘Avengers Assemble’ etc It would be great if one of the biggest SFF films centred on a heroine’s story was in that shortlist alongside them, so I’m throwing my little nominating weight behind Katniss’ story. That moment when she flashes the sign still gets me in the feels all these months later.
Why not try the trailer:
‘Mirror Mirror’: A fun adaptation of the Snow White story with significant changes, a charming romance, Julia Roberts acting impeccably and opulent, absolutely bats costume design.
Why not try the trailer:
Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form):
‘Room on the Broom’: A very short work which was shown on the BBC over Christmas. I love the work of this animation team, who also made ‘The Gruffalo’ and ‘The Gruffalo’s Child’. They really have managed to convey how a simply, visually pleasing story that works for children, can easily satisfy adults without any fancy adult tricks being inserted.
Merlin – ‘The Diamond of the Day’ (Pt 1 & Pt 2): I have all the feels about this two part ending to ‘Merlin’. Whhhhhy is it over?? But if it has to be over I think this was a near perfect ending that sticks just close enough to the myth, but adds plenty of individual touches which is just what the program has done since the beginning. And the awesome Guinevere is left to be sole ruler, even if that isn’t a huge part of the episode.
Best Professional Artist
Candace Ellis: I know about Ellis because she drew the web comic of Karen Mahoney’s ‘Moth Tales’, which is lovely. She also did work for ‘Womanthology’ this year.
Why not try a comic: ’Moth Tales’
Julie Dillon: Dillon is one of the artists highlighted by Tor in their post about work eligible for the Hugos, which reminded me how much I liked her illustration of a giant squid capture. Cue browsing her work, finding an amazing picture of Alice, the lion and the unicorn and bam she’s on my nomination ballot.
Why not try a picture: ‘The Lion and the Unicorn’
Jonas de Ro: I saw a lot of Jonas de Ro’s fantasy landscapes pop up on Tumblr (along with his realistic art) and have fallen in love with his work. The visual texture is dreamy and the colours are beautiful. I had to guess whether this was the right place to put him. I know he’s worked on films and he didn’t seem like someone who would fit in the fan artist category, but please let me know if you think he should be in a different category.
Why not try a picture: ’Dark Ages’
Paolo Riviera: I found out about Riviera when The Booksmugglers posted his surrealist Wolverine piece. Love his super hero art.
Why not try a picture: ’Scarlet’
The Mary Sue: I’m still not sure I can correctly identify a semi-pro publication, but hopefully the excellent Mary Sue is eligible. Their coverage manages to be both eclectic and wide ranging. Feminism and inclusion are important to them.
Racialicious: I know Racialicious is interested in pop culture in general, but it’s got a strong enough SFF bent that I thought it was worth a shot nominating them in this category. They run the Octavia Butler book group, have regular roundtables about ‘The Walking Dead’ and host guest posts about ‘TVD’.
Why not try a post: ‘Victorianism without Victoria: On Mexican Steampunk’
The Booksmugglers: Renay has really said it all about why these ladies deserve a nomination. Over the last year they’ve become even more committed to blogging about SFF and expanding which books receive much needed coverage. You can always trust them to be honest and I’ve found so many great books because of them.
Why not try a post: ‘Review of Dragon Slippers’
SF Mistressworks: Ian Sales dedicated site for reviews of classic SF by women was designed to provide a counterpoint to the pre-dominantly male Masterworks published series. It’s still going strong and there are lots of great critical reviews (largely written by women) to be found there.
Why not try a post: Review of ‘The Holdfast Chronicles’ by Suzy McKee Charnas.
Calico Reaction: Again http://ladybusiness.dreamwidth.org/
Why not try a post: Review of ‘The Knife of Never Letting Go’ by Patrick Ness.
Best Fan Writer
Occupation girl: cleolinda writes reviews of many major SFF films which are both entertaining and thoughtful. Her posts always generate excellent discussion and her parodies bring the lulz.
Why not try a post: ‘So I saw The Hobbit’.
Tansy R Roberts: I really enjoyed starting to investigate two of Roberts series this year; ‘Where the Wonder Women Are’ which profiles super women and a set of posts all about Terry Pratchett’s female characters. Lots of insight and lots of love for genre.
Why not try a post: ‘Where the Wonder Women Are: The Black Canary’.
Foz Meadows: Foz is just excellent everyone. We all linked to so many of her posts at LB this year it was almost embarrassingly stalker like. She is another honest critical blogger who is both fair and not afraid to call people on their rubbish. I read her posts even when I have little interest in the media she’s discussing and I always come away feeling like I have got something from her writing.
Why not try a post: ‘Criticism in SFF and YA’.
Nic Clarke: I have been following Clarke’s posts at Eve’s Alexandria for years now and this year I even branched out and read some of her articles at semi-pro zines. I have enormous respect for the confidence and fluidity of her writing. And I admire her ability to be scrupulously discriminating, while at the same time showing a great awareness of her own subjectivity.
Why not try a post: Review of ‘God’s War’ by Kameron Hurley.
Liz Bourke: I have so enjoyed following Bourke’s new column at Tor this year. This is another space where SFF is approached from a feminist perspective – hmm, do you see a theme in these nominations? Bourke balances asking big questions about the genre’s representation of women, critically reviewing media and making recommendations in this column.
Why not try a post: ‘Why are fantasy films all about the men?’
Best Fan Artist
RJ Edwards – RiotNrd: Ana introduced me to this comic about being a nerd, which seeks to show a more diverse grouping of people who also identify as nerds.
Why not try a comic: The Metaphorical Puppyverse.
Kathleen Jennings – The Dalek Game: Jennings actually illustrates covers professionally - she did the cover art for ‘The Freedom Maze’. But I mostly know her because of the series of non-professional (as classified by the Hugo guide lines) illustrations at her blog. She puts the word Dalek in place of words in book titles and draws a representation of that title. They make me so happy.
Why not try a picture: Wuthering Daleks.
Coran Stone – kizer180 portfolio on deviant art: I’m pretty sure I started following Stone’s art because The Booksmugglers posted one of his Calvin and Hobbes drawings, but he also does fantastic drawings of super heros and villains, which make him eligible for a Hugo category. I’m terrible about talking about art because I don’t have a proper technical vocabulary to describe it with, but if pushed I’d say I like the fade effect that he uses in many of his pictures, the way he sets up his compositions, his use of sharp jaws and the way he sometimes experiments with different styles.
Why not try a picture: 'The Line of Justice'.
Justin Pierce – The Non-Adventures of Wonderella: A comic about a bad ass super heroine who is very different from the usual heroine ideal. Boss.
Why not try a comic: 'I'll be Doom for Christmas'.
All the categories I haven't got a clue about
The John W. Campbell Award
Best Short Story
Best Graphic Story
Best Editor (Long Form)
Best Editor (Short Form)
Are you nominating this year? If so, what's on your slate so far?