Line up your rockets! Or, we have the 2020 Hugo Award Finalists!

Photo © Dave Howell, designer of the base of the 2009 Hugo trophies.

Photo © Dave Howell, designer of the base of the 2009 Hugo trophies.

I first learned of the existence of the Hugos when I found a copy of one of the Hugo Winners anthologies edited (back then) by Isaac Asimov when I was about 12 or 13 years old. His anecdotal description of the awards and the ceremony created a fantasy version of the process for me. For instance, I assumed (incorrectly) that the voting for the awards happened at the convention itself. Anyway, because of that early perception, attending a WorldCon and attending the banquet as a professional writer myself (and maybe even as a nominee!) became my own subconscious prerequisites to voting in the Hugos. This persisted even after, at a later age, when I learned that in order to vote one merely needed to buy a supporting membership, and the voting all happened by mail and online.

While I knew I could just buy a membership and vote, I never actually did it until the Melancholy Canine Kerfuffle motivated me to get involved.

And I’ve been happily nominating, reading the packet after the ballot comes out, and voting ever sense.

Which *drum roll* brings us to—the finalists for the 2020 Hugo Awards and the 1945 Retro Hugo Awards have been announced!

2020 Hugo and Astounding Awards

Best Novel

Only two of the books I nominated made it to the final ballot, but three more were already in my to-be-read pile, so this is a very strong selection, and I suspect I’ll have a very hard time picking in this category.

  • The City in the Middle of the Night, Charlie Jane Anders (Tor; Titan)
  • The Ten Thousand Doors of January, Alix E. Harrow (Redhook; Orbit UK)
  • The Light Brigade, Kameron Hurley (Saga; Angry Robot UK)
  • A Memory Called Empire, Arkady Martine (Tor; Tor UK)
  • Middlegame, Seanan McGuire (Tor.com Publishing)
  • Gideon the Ninth, Tamsyn Muir (Tor.com Publishing)

Best Novella

Again, only two of the novellas I nominated made this list, but a couple more were ones I would have nominated if I could nominate more than five. And the other two I’ve heard good things about, so, I’m looking forward to the Hugo packet.

  • To Be Taught, If Fortunate, Becky Chambers (Harper Voyager; Hodder & Stoughton)
  • “Anxiety Is the Dizziness of Freedom”, Ted Chiang (Exhalation)
  • The Haunting of Tram Car 015, P. Djèlí Clark (Tor.com Publishing)
  • This Is How You Lose the Time War, Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone (Saga)
  • In an Absent Dream, Seanan McGuire (Tor.com Publishing)
  • The Deep, Rivers Solomon, with Daveed Diggs, William Hutson & Jonathan Snipes (Saga)

Best Novelette

The further you get down the ballot ballot in the printed fiction categories, the less possible it is that any individual reader has seen a significant fraction of all the stories in that category published in a single year. So I’m not surprised that only one single entry is one that was on my ballot. But several that I haven’t read yet have been written by authors I know are really good, so…

  • “For He Can Creep”, Siobhan Carroll (Tor.com 7/10/19)
  • “Omphalos”, Ted Chiang (Exhalation)
  • “Away with the Wolves”, Sarah Gailey (Uncanny 9-10/19)
  • “Emergency Skin”, N.K. Jemisin (Forward)
  • “The Blur in the Corner of Your Eye”, Sarah Pinsker (Uncanny 7-8/19)
  • “The Archronology of Love”, Caroline M. Yoachim (Lightspeed 4/19)

Best Short Story

I think this is the first time, ever, that four of the stories in this category are ones I had read before the ballot came out. This looks like, again, a great set of nominees.

  • “Do Not Look Back, My Lion”, Alix E. Harrow (Beneath Ceaseless Skies 1/31/19)
  • “As the Last I May Know”, S.L. Huang (Tor.com 10/23/19)
  • “And Now His Lordship Is Laughing”, Shiv Ramdas (Strange Horizons 9/9/19)
  • “Ten Excerpts from an Annotated Bibliography on the Cannibal Women of Ratnabar Island”, Nibedita Sen (Nightmare 5/19)
  • “Blood Is Another Word for Hunger”, Rivers Solomon (Tor.com 7/24/19)
  • “A Catalog of Storms”, Fran Wilde (Uncanny 1-2/19)

Best Series

This is still a very new category, and it’s difficult to know which series are eligible in a give year. Only two of the entries on this list were on my nomination ballot, but I’m familiar with a couple more, and know that they are very good.

  • Winternight, Katherine Arden (Del Rey; Del Rey UK)
  • The Expanse, James S.A. Corey (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
  • Luna, Ian McDonald (Tor; Gollancz)
  • InCryptid, Seanan McGuire (DAW)
  • Planetfall, Emma Newman (Ace; Gollancz)
  • Wormwood, Tade Thompson (Orbit US; Orbit UK)

Best Related Work

This category is always odd, because it is intentionally a miscellaneous category intended as, among other things, a place to nominate new artforms. Anyway, three things I nominated made it here, so obviously I think it is good. I am delighted that Jeannette Ng’s speech made the list, even though it never occurred to me that it was eligible. On the other hand, I think that other things on the list are more deserving of the trophy. But then, I have to admit that half the reason I’m delighted that the speech is here is precisely because of the people who are furious that it got nominated.

  • Joanna Russ, Gwyneth Jones (University of Illinois Press)
  • The Pleasant Profession of Robert A Heinlein, Farah Mendlesohn (Unbound)
  • “2019 John W. Campbell Award Acceptance Speech”, Jeannette Ng (Dublin 2019 — An Irish Worldcon)
  • The Lady from the Black Lagoon: Hollywood Monsters and the Lost Legacy of Milicent Patrick, Mallory O’Meara (Hanover Square)
  • Becoming Superman: My Journey From Poverty to Hollywood, J. Michael Straczynski (Harper Voyager US)
  • Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin

Best Graphic Story or Comic

When I was younger I was reading comic books as they came out, before they were collected into graphic novels. I tend to wait, now, so I’m not as up on what all is out there, like I used to be. This year while I was trying to fill out my nomination ballot, I learned that almost everything I’d read in the last year had been published earlier, so I didn’t nominate many. Only one title below is one that I have read recently (and nominated). But I’m familiar with several of the writers and artists of the other titles, so I’m looking forward to reading them.

  • Die, Volume 1: Fantasy Heartbreaker, Kieron Gillen, illustrated by Stephanie Hans (Image)
  • The Wicked + The Divine, Volume 9: Okay, Kieron Gillen, illustrated by Jamie McKelvie & Matt Wilson (Image Comics)
  • Monstress, Volume 4: The Chosen, Marjorie Liu, illustrated by Sana Takeda (Image)
  • LaGuardia, Nnedi Okorafor, illustrated by Tana Ford, colours by James Devlin (Berger Books/Dark Horse)
  • Paper Girls, Volume 6, Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Cliff Chiang & Matt Wilson (Image)
  • Mooncakes, Wendy Xu & Suzanne Walker (Oni Press; Lion Forge)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

Three things I nominated made this list. Two others I have reason to believe are really good. One… one is going under No Award on my ballot already. But I don’t think anyone who knows me will be surprised that the number one slot on my ballot is going to Good Omens

  • Avengers: Endgame
  • Captain Marvel
  • Good Omens
  • Russian Doll, Season One
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
  • Us

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

Only one episode I nominated made it to the list. A couple of the other series, I nominated different episodes than are here.

  • Doctor Who: “Resolution”
  • The Expanse: “Cibola Burn”
  • The Good Place: “The Answer”
  • The Mandalorian: “Redemption”
  • Watchmen: “A God Walks into Abar”
  • Watchmen: “This Extraordinary Being”

Best Editor, Short Form

Editor categories are always hard to predict. Three of the editors I nominated made it here. Two of the others I am familiar with their work already. It will be interesting researching the others.

  • Neil Clarke
  • Ellen Datlow
  • C.C. Finlay
  • Jonathan Strahan
  • Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas
  • Sheila Williams

Best Editor, Long Form

The last couple of years what I have tried to do in this category is find out the editor of the novels I nominated. This year, I was only able to find out who was one of the editors of the five novels I nominated. She made it to the list. I really wish the book publishers would make it easier to find who the editors are. It was only after the ballot was released today that I found out that one single editor who wasn’t on my ballot edited two things I nominated. They didn’t make it to the list, and I firmly belief part of the reason is because people like me can’t find out who edited the books we love!

  • Sheila Gilbert
  • Brit Hvide
  • Diana M. Pho
  • Devi Pillai
  • Miriam Weinberg
  • Navah Wolfe

Best Professional Artist

Several great choices. I suspect the ones I’m not familiar with already are good, as well.

  • Tommy Arnold
  • Rovina Cai
  • Galen Dara
  • John Picacio
  • Yuko Shimizu
  • Alyssa Winans

Best Semiprozine

Three of my nominees made it to the list. The other three entries on the list are all things that almost made it. I just read/listen to a LOT. Every one of these publishes good stuff, so another really strong category.

  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies
  • Escape Pod
  • Fireside
  • FIYAH
  • Strange Horizons
  • Uncanny

Best Fanzine

Only one of the things I nominated made it to the list this time, but three more are publications that I quite love, and the other two I’ve never perused before, so I’m looking forward to exploring new things.

  • The Book Smugglers
  • Galactic Journey
  • Journey Planet
  • nerds of a feather, flock together
  • Quick Sip Reviews
  • The Rec Center

Best Fancast

Three of my nominees made the list. I’m familiar with a couple of the others and they almost made the cut. So, once again, a strong category.

  • Be the Serpent
  • The Coode Street Podcast
  • Galactic Suburbia
  • Our Opinions Are Correct
  • Claire Rousseau’s YouTube channel
  • The Skiffy and Fanty Show

Best Fan Writer

I was so happy watching the livestream when this category was announced. Three of the entries were also on my nomination ballot. Two of those are Blog Buddies! And the other three are people whose work I am at least partially familiar with and have enjoyed their work, so this is a category I’ll have a difficult time ranking.

  • Cora Buhlert
  • James Davis Nicoll
  • Alasdair Stuart
  • Bogi Takács
  • Paul Weimer
  • Adam Whitehead

Best Fan Artist

Good list!

  • Iain Clark
  • Sara Felix
  • Grace P. Fong
  • Meg Frank
  • Ariela Housman
  • Elise Matthesen

Lodestar for Best Young Adult Book (Not a Hugo)

Only one book I nominated made it to the list. But part of the problem there is that three other books that did make it were in my to-be-read pile at nomination time and I don’t feel right nominating if I haven’t read it. This is another really strong list and I’m looking forward to finishing a few books and reading two more.

  • The Wicked King, Holly Black (Little, Brown; Hot Key)
  • Deeplight, Frances Hardinge (Macmillan)
  • Minor Mage, T. Kingfisher (Argyll)
  • Catfishing on CatNet, Naomi Kritzer (Tor Teen)
  • Dragon Pearl, Yoon Ha Lee (Disney/Hyperion)
  • Riverland, Fran Wilde (Amulet)

Astounding Award for Best New Writer (Not a Hugo)

This is another really strong list!

  • Sam Hawke*
  • R.F. Kuang*
  • Jenn Lyons
  • Nibedita Sen*
  • Tasha Suri*
  • Emily Tesh

*Second year of eligibility

1945 Retro Hugo Nominees

The Retro Hugos are… weird. At final ballot time I seem to never pick the winners. I know that part of the problem with the Retros is that enough voters vote by looking for familiar names, so when an early story by someone who later became really good is on the ballot, even when that is one of the worst stories that later-famous author ever wrote, and clearly the weakest story on the Retro ballot, it still wins.

That said…

I’m happy that Leigh Brackett has several nominations.

I am even more happy that C.L. Moore is nominated in several categories!

I am delighted that a movie based on a story by Oscar Wilde made it into one of the Dramatic Presentation categories.

Related, a non-fiction book by H.G. Wells is also nominated. Wouldn’t it be awesome if Oscar Wilde and H.G. Wells won Retro Hugos at the same time? I’m just saying!

I am not surprised that Edgar Rice Burroughs appears more than once, but remember he owned his own publishing company by this point, and was churning out work at an insane pace.

The f-ing fascist was nominated in one of the editor categories. I really hope that my fave, Raymond Palmer finally gets one of the Retro Hugos, but we all know it is almost guaranteed to go the fascist, so…

Best Novel

  • “Shadow Over Mars”, Leigh Brackett (Startling Stories Fall ’44)
  • Land of Terror, Edgar Rice Burroughs (Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc.)
  • The Golden Fleece, Robert Graves (Cassell)
  • “The Winged Man”, E. Mayne Hull & A.E. Van Vogt (Astounding Science Fiction 5-6/44)
  • The Wind on the Moon, Eric Linklater (Macmillan)
  • Sirius, Olaf Stapledon (Secker & Warberg)

Best Novella

  • “The Jewel of Bas”, Leigh Brackett (Planet Stories Spring ’44)
  • “A God Named Kroo”, Henry Kuttner (Thrilling Wonder Stories Winter ’44)
  • “Trog”, Murray Leinster (Astounding Science Fiction 6/44)
  • “Intruders from the Stars”, Ross Rocklynne (Amazing Stories 1/44)
  • “Killdozer!”, Theodore Sturgeon (Astounding Science Fiction 11/44)
  • “The Changeling”, A.E. van Vogt (Astounding Science Fiction 4/44)

Best Novelette

  • “The Big and the Little”, Isaac Asimov (Astounding Science Fiction 8/44)
  • “Arena”, Fredric Brown (Astounding Science Fiction 6/44)
  • “No Woman Born”, C.L. Moore (Astounding Science Fiction 12/44)
  • “The Children’s Hour”, Lawrence O’Donnell (C.L. Moore & Henry Kuttner) (Astounding Science Fiction 3/44)
  • “When the Bough Breaks”, Lewis Padgett (C.L. Moore & Henry Kuttner) (Astounding Science Fiction 11/44)
  • “City”, Clifford D. Simak (Astounding Science Fiction 5/44)

Best Short Story

  • “The Wedge”, Isaac Asimov (Astounding Science Fiction 10/44)
  • “I, Rocket”, Ray Bradbury (Amazing Stories 5/44)
  • “And the Gods Laughed”, Fredric Brown (Planet Stories Spring ’44)
  • “Desertion”, Clifford D. Simak (Astounding Science Fiction 11/44)
  • “Huddling Place”, Clifford D. Simak (Astounding Science Fiction 7/44)
  • “Far Centaurus”, A.E. van Vogt (Astounding Science Fiction 1/44)

Best Series

  • Pellucidar, Edgar Rice Burroughs
  • Jules de Grandin, Seabury Quinn
  • The Shadow, Maxwell Gibson (Walter B. Grant)
  • Captain Future, Brett Sterling
  • Doc Savage, Kenneth Robeson/Lester Dent
  • Cthulhu Mythos, H.P. Lovecraft, August Derleth, and others

Best Related Work

  • “The Science-Fiction Field”, Leigh Brackett (Writer’s Digest 7/44)
  • Mr. Tompkins Explores the Atom, George Gamow (Cambridge University Press)
  • “The Works of H.P. Lovecraft: Suggestions for a Critical Appraisal”, Fritz Leiber (The Acolyte Fall ’44)
  • Rockets: The Future of Travel Beyond the Stratosphere, Willy Ley (Viking Press)
  • Fancyclopedia, Jack Speer (Forrest J Ackerman)
  • ‘42 To ‘44: A Contemporary Memoir Upon Human Behavior During the Crisis of the World Revolution, H.G. Wells (Secker & Warburg)

Best Graphic Story or Comic

  • Donald Duck: “The Mad Chemist”, Carl Barks (Dell Comics)
  • >Buck Rogers: “Hollow Planetoid”, Dick Calkins (National Newspaper Service)
  • Flash Gordon: “Battle for Tropica”, Alex Raymond (King Features Syndicate)
  • Flash Gordon: “Triumph in Tropica”, Alex Raymond (Kings Features Syndicate)
  • Superman: “The Mysterious Mr. Mxyztplk”, Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster (DC)
  • The Spirit: “For the Love of Clara Defoe”, Manly Wade Wellman, Lou Fine, and Don Komisarow

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

  • The Canterville Ghost
  • The Curse of the Cat People
  • Donovan’s Brain
  • House of Frankenstein
  • The Invisible Man’s Revenge
  • It Happened Tomorrow

Best Professional Editor, Short Form

  • John W. Campbell, Jr.
  • Oscar J. Friend
  • Mary Gnaedinger
  • Dorothy McIlwraith
  • Raymond A. Palmer
  • W. Scott Peacock

Best Professional Artist

  • Earle Bergey
  • Margaret Brundage
  • Boris Dolgov
  • Matt Fox
  • Paul Orban
  • William Timmins

Best Fanzine

  • The Acolyte
  • Diablerie
  • Futurian War Digest
  • Shangri L’Affaires
  • Voice of the Imagi-Nation
  • Le Zombie

Best Fan Writer

  • Fritz Leiber, Jr.
  • Morojo (Myrtle R. Douglas)
  • J. Michael Rosenblum
  • Jack Speer
  • Bob Tucker
  • Harry Warner, Jr.

Edited to add: Where To Find The 2020 Hugo Award Finalists For Free Online.

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About fontfolly

I've loved reading for as long as I can remember. I write fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and nonfiction. For more than 20 years I edited and published an anthropomorphic sci-fi/space opera literary fanzine. I attend and work on the staff for several anthropormorphics, anime, and science fiction conventions. I live near Seattle with my wonderful husband, still completely amazed that he puts up with me at all.

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