Sunday, July 28, 2013

My 2013 Hugo Votes

An important item on my bucket list was to vote for the Hugo Awards.  The Hugo Awards are awarded every year.  There are a number of different categories but all of them have to do with fantasy and science fiction.  I've been following the Hugo Awards for decades now.  But I decided this was the year to be a part of it.  So I read the nominated works and cast my vote.

I recognize that many of my normal readers will not be familiar enough with these works to care what I voted for.  However, for those who have read these it's fun to see how others voted.  My guess is that this post will get more traffic from Google than from my normal audience.  So, if you're not interested, I won't be offended if you leave.  But for those who choose to stay, here's a brief explanation about the Hugo voting process.

To vote, you just have to be a supporting member of the World Science Fiction Convention.  (This year, it cost $60.)  They send you an electronic packet with copies of all the nominated works.

You don't just vote for your favorite.  You rank them in order of preference, this eliminates the problem of two similar stories splitting the vote.  The computer does complex algorithms that make it so that if your first choice doesn't get enough votes, your vote goes to to your second choice, etc.  The whole process is explained in detail here.

You'll notice I voted for "no award" a few times.  If you vote for "no award" before a candidate, you are saying that you would prefer that there be no award given, rather than have that nominee win.  This is used when you feel a nominee is not worthy of a Hugo award.  No Award can actually win, and in that case they will not give the award to anyone.

Without further ado, here are all of my votes with some brief commentary explaining why.  I included all of my ranked votes.  I also tried to include cover art where available.  For the short fiction I included the cover art of the magazine that published each piece.

Edit: I have revised the text below by highlighting the actual winner in red.  But, I have left the order of my votes intact whether I voted for the winner or not.

Best Novel

Is it because I'd really like to see a zombie novel win?  Possibly.  But, this novel (and the whole trilogy) was more than just a zombie novel.  It had political schemes, conspiracy to assassinate, clones, and an entire society completely rocked by a deadly virus.  This novel is what I think science fiction is supposed to be like.  It explores how one change in our future could completely change society.  Oh, and if that's not enough, there is a zombie bear.

1Blackout by Mira Grant (Orbit)
2Captain Vorpatril's Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold (Baen)
3Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas by John Scalzi (Tor)
42312 by Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit)
5Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed (DAW)

Best Novella

It's an apocalypse story, it's a time travel story.  It's pretty much awesome sauce all around.  I love the way the story unfolds in 3 different time periods, so in a sense you know what is going to happen from the beginning.  Yet there is still a big reveal at the end.  Totally amazing!

1After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall by Nancy Kress (Tachyon Publications)
2San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats by Mira Grant (Orbit)
3"The Stars Do Not Lie" by Jay Lake (Asimov's, Oct-Nov 2012)
4The Emperor's Soul by Brandon Sanderson (Tachyon Publications)
5On a Red Station, Drifting by Aliette de Bodard (Immersion Press)

Best Novelette

i went back and forth on this one.  The top 3 were all really good, and could have potentially got my vote.  But "The Girl-Thing who Went Out for Sushi" was just so unique.  Have you ever wondered what it's like to be an octopus or a nautilus?  Well, maybe you should go out for sushi.  (I also love the title, because you have to read the story to get what the heck it's talking about.)

1"The Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi" by Pat Cadigan (Edge of Infinity, Solaris)
2"In Sea-Salt Tears" by Seanan McGuire (Self-published)
3"Fade To White" by Catherynne M. Valente (Clarkesworld, August 2012)
4"Rat-Catcher" by Seanan McGuire (A Fantasy Medley 2, Subterranean)
5No Award

"The Boy Who Cast No Shadow" by Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Postscripts: Unfit For Eden, PS Publications)

Best Short Story

All three of the stories were good.  This is another category where I reordered them several times.  The first time, I actually placed "Mantis Wives" in third place, but the more I thought about it the more it grew on me.  It's so brilliant.  On the one hand, it's a horror story.  On another, it's not really horror, it's just insects, it's like a nature documentary.  But yet, on another hand, (yes I have 3 hands) it's a commentary about marriage, and what fathers sacrifice for their children.  You just need to read it.  It's too brilliant.

1"Mantis Wives" by Kij Johnson (Clarkesworld, August 2012)
2"Mono no Aware" by Ken Liu (The Future is Japanese, VIZ Media LLC)
3"Immersion" by Aliette de Bodard (Clarkesworld, June 2012)

Best Related Work

I have to admit something.  There are 2 categories where I didn't read every nominee cover to cover.  This is one of them.  However,  I read enough to discover that I thought this was a very thorough companion to fantasy.  I really want to check out the companion to science fiction which was the Hugo winner in this category in 2005.


The Cambridge Companion to Fantasy Literature Edited by Edward James & Farah Mendlesohn (Cambridge UP)

Writing Excuses Season Seven by Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Mary Robinette Kowal, Howard Tayler and Jordan Sanderson

Chicks Unravel Time: Women Journey Through Every Season of Doctor Who Edited by Deborah Stanish & L.M. Myles (Mad Norwegian Press)

Chicks Dig Comics: A Celebration of Comic Books by the Women Who Love Them Edited by Lynne M. Thomas & Sigrid Ellis (Mad Norwegian Press)

I Have an Idea for a Book… The Bibliography of Martin H. Greenberg Compiled by Martin H. Greenberg, edited by John Helfers (The Battered Silicon Dispatch Box)

Best Graphic Novel

This is the second category where I didn't read everything cover to cover.  But, I did look at them enough to discover that Schlock Mercenary had a genuinely fun feel to it.


Schlock Mercenary: Random Access Memorabilia by Howard Tayler, Colors by Travis Walton (Hypernode Media)

Grandville Bête Noire Written and Illustrated by Bryan Talbot (Dark Horse Comics, Jonathan Cape)

Locke & Key Volume 5: Clockworks Written by Joe Hill, Illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez (IDW)
4Saga, Volume One Written by Brian K. Vaughn, Illustrated by Fiona Staples (Image Comics)

Saucer Country, Volume 1: Run Written by Paul Cornell, Illustrated by Ryan Kelly, Jimmy Broxton and Goran Sudžuka (Vertigo)

Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form)

I've only seen 3 of these movies.  I don't watch R rated movies so I voted the other 2 below "No Award" as my personal protest against R rated movies.  Of the 3 I've seen, all were super awesome.  Ultimately, I had to pick The Hobbit.  I love Tolkien, and I've loved everything Peter Jackson has done with Tolkien's work.  


The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Screenplay by Fran Walsh, Philippa Boyens, Peter Jackson & Guillermo del Toro, Directed by Peter Jackson (WingNut Films, New Line Cinema, MGM, Warner Bros)
2The Avengers Screenplay & Directed by Joss Whedon (Marvel Studios, Disney, Paramount)

The Hunger Games Screenplay by Gary Ross & Suzanne Collins, Directed by Gary Ross (Lionsgate, Color Force)
4No Award
5Looper Screenplay & Directed by Rian Johnson (FilmDistrict, EndGame Entertainment)

The Cabin in the Woods Screenplay by Drew Goddard & Joss Whedon, Directed by Drew Goddard (Mutant Enemy, Lionsgate)

Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form)

There's no cover art for an episode, so you get a picture of me with a Dalek.
In the Doctor Who category (clearly I jest, other years it has been the Star Trek category, or other popular shows) if there was an option to vote for Daleks, I was clearly going to do it.  Daleks have been trying to exterminate the human vermin since before I was born.  They're about as awesome as it can get.

Doctor Who: "Asylum of the Daleks" Written by Steven Moffat; Directed by Nick Hurran (BBC Wales)

Doctor Who: "The Angels Take Manhattan" Written by Steven Moffat, Directed by Nick Hurran (BBC Wales)
3Doctor Who: "The Snowmen" Written by Steven Moffat, Directed by Saul Metzstein (BBC Wales)

Game of Thrones: "Blackwater" Written by George R.R. Martin, Directed by Neil Marshall. Created by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (HBO)

Fringe: "Letters of Transit" Written by J.J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Akiva Goldsman, J.H.Wyman, Jeff Pinkner. Directed by Joe Chappelle (Fox)

Best Editor (Short Form)

When you look at a written work, it's hard to know what the editor actually did to contribute, versus authors or other contributors.  However, I figured in this category, I just had to choose my favorite magazine or anthology.  My 3 favorite magazines are Asimov's, Analog, and Clarkesworld but Asimov's has a special place in my heart.

1Sheila Williams (Asimov's)
2Neil Clarke (Clarkesworld)
3Stanley Schmidt (Analog)
4Jonathan Strahan (Edge of Infinity)
5John Joseph Adams (Armored)

Best Editor (Long Form)

Again, editors are hard to pick.  But Toni Weisskopf edited Captain Vorpatril's Alliance which was my number 2 pick for best novel.
1Toni Weisskopf
2Patrick Nielsen Hayden
3Lou Anders
4Liz Gorinsky
5Sheila Gilbert

Best Professional Artist

I was completely unfamiliar with these artists, but I made my vote based on the artwork included in the Hugo voter's packet.  Doesn't dragon chick above look pretty awesome?
1Dan dos Santos
2John Picacio
3Julie Dillon
4Chris McGrath
5Vincent Chong

Best Fan Artist

Again, in this category  I just decided based on the voter's packet.  We've got aliens, we've got redshirts.  What's not to like?
1Steve Stiles
2Brad W. Foster
3Maurine Starkey
4Spring Schoenhuth
5Galen Dara

Best Fan Writer

This category helped me discover a new blog that I totally love.  Mark Oshiro runs and it's the funnest site ever.  He reads books and shares with you his thoughts as he reads them.  Try reading a book along with him.  (Read his entry on each chapter after you read the chapter.)  It's a fun experience.
1Mark Oshiro
2Steven H Silver
3James Bacon
4Christopher J Garcia
5Tansy Rayner Roberts

Best Semiprozine

The choice here was obvious.  I love ClarkesWorld.

1Clarkesworld edited by Neil Clarke, Jason Heller, Sean Wallace and Kate Baker
2Lightspeed edited by John Joseph Adams and produced/directed by Stefan Rudnicki

Strange Horizons edited by Niall Harrison, Jed Hartman, Brit Mandelo, An Owomoyela, Julia Rios, Abigail Nussbaum, Sonya Taaffe, Dave Nagdeman and Rebecca Cross
4Apex Magazine edited by Lynne M. Thomas, Jason Sizemore and Michael Damian Thomas
5Beneath Ceaseless Skies edited by Scott H. Andrews

Best Fanzine

I had no prior experience with any of these fanzines, several of them are very fun, but Elitist Book Reviews is my favorite.  It probably doesn't hurt that I got the chance to meet Steven Diamond at CONduit this year.
1Elitist Book Reviews edited by Steven Diamond
2SF Signal edited by John DeNardo, JP Frantz, and Patrick Hester
3The Drink Tank edited by Chris Garcia and James Bacon

Journey Planet edited by James Bacon, Chris Garcia, Emma J. King, Helen J. Montgomery and Pete Young
5Banana Wings edited by Claire Brialey and Mark Plummer

Best Fancast

Several of these were really fun, but SF Squeecast was the most fun for me.  Several of the hosts are SF authors, so it's fun to hear their different perspectives.

SF Squeecast, Elizabeth Bear, Paul Cornell, Seanan McGuire, Lynne M. Thomas, Catherynne M. Valente (Presenters) and David McHone-Chase (Technical Producer)
2StarShipSofa, Tony C. Smith
3The Coode Street Podcast, Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe
4SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester, John DeNardo, and JP Frantz

Galactic Suburbia Podcast, Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts (Presenters) and Andrew Finch (Producer)

John W. Campbell Award for best new writer

Blackbirds was the book that I felt took the best skill to write.  The protagonist wasn't very likable, but somehow Chuck Wendig got me to really like her by the end of the book.  Also, of all the books written by these nominees, Blackbirds was the only one that got me to want to read the sequel.  It's such a unique story.  Miriam Black can tell you the day you are going to die.  Creepy and awesome!
1Chuck Wendig 
2Mur Lafferty 
3Max Gladstone
4Stina Leicht 
5Zen Cho 

So those are my votes. Are there any you agree with? Are there any you disagree with? Let me know!


  1. I'm glad you finally finished.

  2. The Hobbit? I wish I could get that 169 min of my life back. Sorry. Don't hate me.

    1. No hate from me. :) I was really close to picking Avengers for my number 1. It could have gone either way.


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