Ahoy there me mateys! The Hugo Finalists for 2020 have been announced. I have always loved reading Hugo award winners but last year was the first time I seriously followed the awards themselves. I loved it so much that I be doing it again. Arrr! Looking at this year’s list, I 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 8/2/2020. It’s gonna be a virtual con this year. Crazy huh?
I am using the list as published on Tor.com with links to me reviews (click the titles) 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 City in the Middle of the Night, by Charlie Jane Anders (Tor; Titan)
- Gideon the Ninth, by Tamsyn Muir (Tor.com Publishing)
- The Light Brigade, by Kameron Hurley (Saga; Angry Robot UK)
- A Memory Called Empire, by Arkady Martine (Tor; Tor UK)
- Middlegame, by Seanan McGuire (Tor.com Publishing)
- The Ten Thousand Doors of January, by Alix E. Harrow (Redhook; Orbit UK)
Thoughts: Ouch this be a bad year for me. I read and abandoned ship on three of these – gideon, memory, and middlegame. I didn’t even write reviews for two of them because I was so annoyed that I wasn’t enjoying them. I also have abandoned two of Kameron Hurley’s prior books and think her books are not for me. And while Charlie Jane Anders has one of the best novelettes ever written, I abandoned her debut novel and so be hesitant to pick up her nominee. What be wrong with me? Some of me picks for this category would have been the raven tower, the winter of the witch, gods of jade and shadow, the girl with no face, and finder.
Hoped for Winner: The Ten Thousand Doors of January, by Alix E. Harrow (Redhook; Orbit UK) (by default even though I didn’t love it and just liked it)
- “Anxiety Is the Dizziness of Freedom”, by Ted Chiang (Exhalation (Borzoi/Alfred A. Knopf; Picador)
- The Deep, by Rivers Solomon, with Daveed Diggs, William Hutson & Jonathan Snipes (Saga Press/Gallery)
- The Haunting of Tram Car 015, by P. Djèlí Clark (Tor.com Publishing)
- In an Absent Dream, by Seanan McGuire (Tor.com Publishing)
- This Is How You Lose the Time War, by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone (Saga Press; Jo Fletcher Books)
- To Be Taught, If Fortunate, by Becky Chambers (Harper Voyager; Hodder & Stoughton)
Thoughts: While I love Tor.com, it is great to see some other publishers on this list. This be where the lack of open libraries hurts. I rarely buy novellas outright because they are usually too short to justify the high cost if I don’t end up liking them. I only buy ones that I know I will reread. The Ted Chiang short story collection ebook is on hold at the library but the list is a million people long and so we shall see if it comes through in time. I want to read the Clark story but would prefer an omnibus of his novellas to date and the libraries don’t have it on ebook either (bah!). I read the four others and abandoned two of them – time war and the deep. Both were well written but I just couldn’t get into the plot or characters. I could give the deep another go but I am not going to push it given how much I be struggling to read this year. I adored absent dream and but the Chambers book was awesome and the experience of how I read it heightened it for me.
Hoped for Winner: To Be Taught, If Fortunate, by Becky Chambers (Harper Voyager; Hodder & Stoughton)
- “The Archronology of Love”, by Caroline M. Yoachim (Lightspeed, April 2019)
- “Away With the Wolves”, by Sarah Gailey (Uncanny Magazine: Disabled People Destroy Fantasy Special Issue, September/October 2019)
- “The Blur in the Corner of Your Eye”, by Sarah Pinsker (Uncanny Magazine, July-August 2019)
- Emergency Skin, by N.K. Jemisin (Forward Collection (Amazon))
- “For He Can Creep”, by Siobhan Carroll (Tor.com, 10 July 2019)
- “Omphalos”, by Ted Chiang (Exhalation (Borzoi/Alfred A. Knopf; Picador))
Thoughts: None. None of them. There is work to be done here.
Hoped for Winner: To Be Determined
Best Short Story
- “And Now His Lordship Is Laughing”, by Shiv Ramdas (Strange Horizons, 9 September 2019)
- “As the Last I May Know”, by S.L. Huang (Tor.com, 23 October 2019)
- “Blood Is Another Word for Hunger”, by Rivers Solomon (Tor.com, 24 July 2019)
- “A Catalog of Storms”, by Fran Wilde (Uncanny Magazine, January/February 2019)
- “Do Not Look Back, My Lion”, by Alix E. Harrow (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, January 2019)
- “Ten Excerpts from an Annotated Bibliography on the Cannibal Women of Ratnabar Island”, by Nibedita Sen (Nightmare Magazine, May 2019)
Thoughts: None again. Dang it. I will try to track all of these down.
Hoped for Winner: To Be Determined
- The Expanse, by James S. A. Corey (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
- InCryptid, by Seanan McGuire (DAW)
- Luna, by Ian McDonald (Tor; Gollancz)
- Planetfall series, by Emma Newman (Ace; Gollancz)
- Winternight Trilogy, by Katherine Arden (Del Rey; Del Rey UK)
- The Wormwood Trilogy, by Tade Thompson (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
Thoughts: I have read the Planetfall series, Winternight trilogy, Luna trilogy, four books in the Expanse series (later abandoned), and the first book of the Wormwood trilogy which I loved though I abandoned book two partway through. I love Seanan McGuire’s work but have not read her InCryptid series because urban fantasy tends to be a miss for me. While I loved Plantfall and Luna, this is a no brainer. Winternight is one of the best trilogies I have ever read especially because of how the three books work together.
Hoped for Winner: Winternight Trilogy, by Katherine Arden (Del Rey; Del Rey UK)
Side note: The next two awards are technically not Hugos but are given out on the same day.
Astounding Award for Best New Writer
- Sam Hawke (2nd year of eligibility)
- R.F. Kuang (2nd year of eligibility)
- Jenn Lyons (1st year of eligibility)
- Nibedita Sen (2nd year of eligibility)
- Tasha Suri (2nd year of eligibility)
- Emily Tesh (1st year of eligibility)
Thoughts: I have read books by Jenn Lyons and R.F. Kuang. I have heard of, but not wanted to read, books by Sam Hawke, Emily Tesh, and Tasha Suri. I had never heard of Nibedita Sen until her 2020 short story nominee and will read that in due course. Of Lyons and Kuang, I do think Kuang’s writing is much stronger. I actually liked book two of her trilogy better than book one!
Hoped for Winner: R.F. Kuang
Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book
- Catfishing on CatNet, by Naomi Kritzer (Tor Teen)
- Deeplight, by Frances Hardinge (Macmillan)
- Dragon Pearl, by Yoon Ha Lee (Disney/Hyperion)
- Minor Mage, by T. Kingfisher (Argyll)
- Riverland, by Fran Wilde (Amulet)
- The Wicked King, by Holly Black (Little, Brown; Hot Key)
Thoughts: Even though I have only read two books in this category, one of them is currently the main contender. I absolutely adored dragon pearl. I also read catfishing which was cute but the short story was better (and won the Hugo in 2016). I have no urge for the wicked king. Deeplight be on the list to read already. I have been meaning to read Kingfisher for forever so I can start with this and somehow I missed Wilde’s book altogether. I will try to read the remaining three books and see if Yoon Ha Lee gets pushed out of the top spot.
Hoped for Winner: Dragon Pearl, by Yoon Ha Lee (Disney/Hyperion)
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