2016 Hugo Award nominations

Let’s talk about something more fun, shall we? These were my nominations for the 2016 Hugo Awards. The final ballot will be announced on April 26. Hugo nominations, unlike final ballots, are not ranked. I’d be happy to see any of these things win their categories.

I read a lot of good stuff at novel-length this year, but not enough shorter fiction to fill all five nomination slots per category. Something to work harder on next year, I suppose. (It didn’t help that I spent most of January and February in paper crunch mode.) I don’t even try to nominate outside the fiction categories.

Links go to the full text of the work and to authors’ websites when possible, otherwise to Goodreads pages.


  • Zen Cho, Sorcerer to the Crown. If you, like me, have been wishing for a sequel to Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell since the day you finished reading it, you will like this book.

  • Naomi Novik, Uprooted. Polish folktale crossed with supernatural horror. Online reviews tend to be all about the characters (whom they either love or hate) but the really compelling aspect of this one, IMNSHO, is the evil magic forest.

  • Kazuo Ishiguro, The Buried Giant. It takes some doing to achieve a new take on the Matter of Britain nowadays; Ishiguro has pulled it off.

  • Judith Tarr, Forgotten Suns. Three words: space opera archaeology. Why haven’t people done more of that? Yeah, Stargate, but it was almost never central to the plot.

  • Jo Walton, The Just City. Pallas Athene decides to create the allegorical city from Plato’s Republic in real life, basically to see what happens.



Short Story

Graphic Story

  • Sydney Padua, The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage. What if Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage had successfully constructed an Analytical Engine? is not new territory—Bruce Sterling did it back in the 80s, and it’s often implied background for steampunk Victoriana—but doing it as a humorous graphic novel which is also a detailed work of historical research, with footnotes and references and everything: that deserves recognition.

  • Abbadon, Kill Six Billion Demons. This is worth reading just for the art. And the incredibly vast world that has been built. The plot is set up like your standard everygirl rescues love interest in distress, taking several levels in badass along the way but I doubt that’s where it’s going.

  • Ru Xu, Saint for Rent. So often you see time travel stories where the time travel is just a way to put people into the interesting historical or futuristic situations, and not actually used to its full power. This is not like that.

  • Pascale Lepas, Wilde Life. Oscar rented an old house off craigslist, then things got weird… Creepy rural Vermont and creepy rural Arizona are both well-traveled paths, but how often do you see cheerful-yet-creepy rural Oklahoma?

  • Dave Kellett, Drive. Relatively straightforward space opera, but lots of fun detail and manages to remain tongue-in-cheek while also running a deadly serious plot.