Friday, February 12, 2016

Hugo Nominations Ballot

I am about to submit my Hugo Award nominations ballot. It is very similar to my tentative Nebula Award nominations ballot, so this post will summarize the differences rather than walk through every category.

Best Novel

Unlike the Nebula, the Hugo uses ranked choice voting, so the order of works on your ballot actually matters. I put Beauty Is a Wound by Eka Kurniawan in the 4-spot, bumping Slade House down to 5 and knocking Laurus off the list.

Best Short Story

Another difference between the Hugo and the Nebula is that the Hugo allows self-nomination, and as I said a year ago, "if I am not for myself, who will be for me?" I put my story "The Joy of Sects" at the top of my ballot. In the interests, however, of not bumping off too many good stories by other authors, I only nominated that one, leaving MiƩville, Sakurazaka, Enjoe, and Hirayama on the ballot.

Best Professional Editor (Short Form)

For this category, I nominated some editors with whom I have had the privilege to work, namely, C. C. Finlay of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Neil Clarke of Clarkesworld, Nick Mamatas of Haikasoru (and other ventures), and A. C. Wise and Bernie Mojzes, both of Unlikely Story. I recognize that the inclusion of Wise and Mojzes may stretch the definition of "Professional Editor"--I try not to devote too much brain power to the metaphysics of Hugo Award categories--but Unlikely Story is an excellent publication that deserves widespread recognition.

Best Semiprozine

This is another Hugo category whose definition would baffle Aristotle. I confined myself to nominating publications that I thought might be eligible that had appeared elsewhere on my nomination ballot, thus, Unlikely Story and Lightspeed. I'm not entirely sure if Lightspeed is still eligible.

The John W. Campbell Award (not a Hugo)

This is for "a new writer is one whose first work of science fiction or fantasy appeared in 2014 or 2015 in a professional publication." This is my second and last year of eligibility--the count of years was started by "Bonfires in Anacostia"--so of course I nominated myself first. I also nominated Scott Hawkins, whose novel The Library at Mount Char was his debut as a published writer, as well as Lesley Nneka Arimah and Libby Cudmore, both of whom published excellent short stories this year that didn't make my nomination ballot only because there was such an abundance of excellent short stories this year. I'm quite sure that Arimah is in her first year of Campbell eligibility, and I encourage everyone to read her story "Who Will Greet You at Home". Cudmore I'm less sure of, because she did have some publications a few years ago in what I believe were "non-professional" venues. So I am pretty sure that her story in Haikasoru's Hanzai Japan was her first Campbell-qualifying publication. She also has a novel, The Big Rewind, that came out earlier this year, which I am looking forward to reading. (And she is a fellow SUNY-Binghamton alum!)

You may notice that I only nominated 4 authors out of a possible 5 for the Campbell. If you believe I've unfairly overlooked someone, please feel free to comment!

Categories in which I did not nominate

Best Related Work (didn't read anything this year that struck me as relevant); Best Graphic Story (the only graphic I read this year was Red Rosa, which has no science fictional or fantastical elements); Best Dramatic Presentation (both Long Form and Short Form--I rarely watch movies or television); Best Professional Editor (I don't have enough data on which to judge this); Best Professional Artist (I was tempted to nominate Yuko Shimizu, who, among other things, has done a lot of cover art for Haikasoru, but I am not enough of an expert on illustration to defend that choice); Best Fanzine (I was tempted to Google my name and nominate any such publication that has given complimentary reviews to my stories, but that seemed crude. If I don't care enough about these to regularly read them, I should not nominate); Best Fancast (I rarely listen to any of these); Best Fan Writer (I want this category to be incinerated); Best Fan Artist (I cannot even begin to care about this). My bias in favor of prose as an expressive medium is pretty clear.

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