Ahoy there me mateys! For the last three Wednesdays I have been working on the Series Shakedown. This week’s Shakedown post has been delayed for quite a bit due to the massive amount of research and cataloguing yet to be done. I underestimated the time needed for this undertaking. Seriously the series are out of control! Those posts will resume once I finish the preliminaries. Keep a weathered eye out.
In the meantime, the Hugo Finalists for 2019 have been announced. I have always loved reading Hugo award winners but have never seriously followed the awards themselves. But looking at this year’s list, I have read quite a number of the stories and have thoughts about who I think some of the winners should be. So I figured a) I would share; b) I would make an effort to read all the works in certain categories; and c) I will add some excitement to me year waiting for the winners to be revealed on 8/18/19.
I am using the list as published on Tor.com with links to me reviews where applicable. Under each category I will share me thoughts thus far. I will give periodic updates as we get closer to the reveal. I am only going to track the categories of specific interest to me. They be:
- 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)
Thoughts: I have read half of these. The Valente book is not going to be read because her writing and I are not friends. Book one of the Yoon Ha Lee trilogy is one me list of 19 for 2019 but I am not sure if I will get to the third book by the time of the awards ceremony. I will make an effort to read the Roanhorse book by then. While I loved spinning silver, the Becky Chambers book is the one that will get me vote because it was seriously one of the best books I have ever read. I adored it.
Hoped for Winner: Record of a Spaceborn Few, by Becky Chambers (Hodder & Stoughton / Harper Voyager)
- 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)
Thoughts: Dang Tor.com is dominating this category again. I haven’t managed to get me hands on the Robson work yet but will make the attempt. Seriously this list kinda pains me having to choose. If ye haven’t read these works, ye should. But I LOVE Murderbot and ART’s relationship so that gets me vote.
Hoped for Winner: Artificial Condition, by Martha Wells (Tor.com Publishing)
- “If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again,” by Zen Cho (B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog, 29 November 2018)
- “The Last Banquet of Temporal Confections,” by Tina Connolly (Tor.com, 11 July 2018)
- “Nine Last Days on Planet Earth,” by Daryl Gregory (Tor.com, 19 September 2018)
- The Only Harmless Great Thing, by Brooke Bolander (Tor.com Publishing)
- “The Thing About Ghost Stories,” by Naomi Kritzer (Uncanny Magazine 25, November- December 2018)
- “When We Were Starless,” by Simone Heller (Clarkesworld 145, October 2018)
Thoughts: I have been meaning to read the novelettes but have read none of them. There is work to be done here.
Hoped for Winner: To Be Determined
Best Short Story
- “The Court Magician,” by Sarah Pinsker (Lightspeed, January 2018)
- “The Rose MacGregor Drinking and Admiration Society,” by T. Kingfisher (Uncanny Magazine 25, November-December 2018)
- “The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington,” by P. Djèlí Clark (Fireside Magazine, February 2018)
- “STET,” by Sarah Gailey (Fireside Magazine, October 2018)
- “The Tale of the Three Beautiful Raptor Sisters, and the Prince Who Was Made of Meat,” by Brooke Bolander (Uncanny Magazine 23, July-August 2018)
- “A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies,” by Alix E. Harrow (Apex Magazine, February 2018)
Thoughts: I have read none of these. I am not even sure where to find them online. But I love short stories so I will see if I can get to them.
Hoped for Winner: To Be Determined
- 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)
- Wayfarers, by Becky Chambers (Hodder & Stoughton / Harper Voyager)
Thoughts: I have only read the Wayfarers series. The Xuya series is on the list to read as is the Machineries of the Empire series. I have no real interest in the October Daye series. I haven’t even heard of the other two. Any crew thoughts on if I should add them to me Series Shakedown list? I will try to read the Xuya series before August. But ultimately, it doesn’t matter that I haven’t read any of the others because I adore the Becky Chambers series. Me opinion could change. But I doubt it.
Hoped for Winner: Wayfarers, by Becky Chambers (Hodder & Stoughton / Harper Voyager)
Side note: The next two awards are technically not Hugos but are given out on the same day.
John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer
- Katherine Arden (2nd year of eligibility)
- S.A. Chakraborty (2nd year of eligibility)
- R.F. Kuang (1st year of eligibility)
- Jeannette Ng (2nd year of eligibility)
- Vina Jie-Min Prasad (2nd year of eligibility)
- Rivers Solomon (2nd year of eligibility)
Thoughts: I have read work by four of the six. I loved Vina Jie-Min Prasad’s “A Series of Steaks” which was a finalist for the Nebula and Hugo best novelette in 2017. I know R.F. Kuang and Rivers Solomon’s writing from the vela but have several of their novels on tap for this year. I know nothing about Jeannette Ng but I am not interested in her fae book. I go back and forth on reading S.A. Chakraborty ‘s Daevabad Trilogy. But Katherine Arden’s Winternight trilogy is seriously one of the best trilogies I have ever read. And her middle grade stuff is fun too. No contest for me in this category.
Hoped for Winner: Katherine Arden
Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book
- The Belles, by Dhonielle Clayton (Freeform / Gollancz)
- Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi Adeyemi (Henry Holt / Macmillan Children’s Books)
- The Cruel Prince, by Holly Black (Little, Brown / Hot Key Books)
- Dread Nation, by Justina Ireland (Balzer + Bray)
- The Invasion, by Peadar O’Guilin (David Fickling Books / Scholastic)
- Tess of the Road, by Rachel Hartman (Random House / Penguin Teen)
Thoughts: I have full read two of these and didn’t really like either. I abandoned tess of the road because I disliked the main character. The Clayton book and Black book hold no interest. I haven’t even heard of the invasion but the synopsis holds no appeal. This category be a bust. Given all the hype, I expect the Adeyemi book to win. I am in the minority about it.
Expected (but not Hoped for) Winner: Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi Adeyemi (Henry Holt / Macmillan Children’s Books)
So there ye have it. Me Hugo wishes for now. I will keep y’all posted as I continue readin’ through the nominees. In the meantime
Q: What kind of grades did the pirate get in school?
A: High seas!
Hardy har har!
x The Captain