Draft Hugo Ballot

A little later than advertised, here’s my working draft Hugo ballot. As with Joe Sherry’s draft, at this stage I plan to definitely nominate anything marked with asterisks (***), and am considering the other items listed. I’ll post some thoughts on each category as a comment to this post [ta-da!], and I’ll be posting further comments and probably updating the post as I read more; recommendations welcome, although I’m probably not going to get through many more eligible novels.

Best Novel (“A science fiction or fantasy story of 40,000 words or more that appeared for the first time in 2009.”)

***The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi (Night Shade Books)
***The Other Lands by David Anthony Durham (Doubleday)
***Galileo’s Dream by Kim Stanley Robinson (HarperVoyager)
***In Great Waters by Kit Whitfield (Del Rey/Jonathan Cape)
Flood by Stephen Baxter (Roc)
UFO in Her Eyes by Xiaolu Guo (Chatto & Windus)
The Ask & The Answer by Patrick Ness (Candlewick/Walker)
White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi (Nan A Talese/Canongate)

Best Novella (A science fiction or fantasy story between 17,500 and 40,000 words that appeared for the first time in 2009.)

***”Vishnu at the Cat Circus” by Ian McDonald (in Cyberabad Days, Pyr/Gollancz)
Starfall by Stephen Baxter (PS Publishing)
“Earth II” by Stephen Baxter (Asimov’s, July 2009)
The Language of Dying by Sarah Pinborough (PS Publishing)
“Sublimation Angels” by Jason Sanford (Interzone)

Best Novelette (A science fiction or fantasy story between 7,500 and 17,500 words that appeared for the first time in 2009.)

***”Sinner, Baker, Fabulist Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast” by Eugie Foster (Interzone 220)
***”A Journal of Certain Events of Scientific Interest from the First Survey Voyage of the Southern Waters by HMS Ocelot, As Observed by Professor Thaddeus Boswell, DPhil, MSc; or, A Lullaby” by Helen Keeble (Strange Horizons, 1 and 8 June)
***”Eros, Philia, Agape” by Rachel Swirsky (Tor.com, March)
***”The Island” by Peter Watts (The New Space Opera 2, ed. Dozois/Strahan)
“Problems of Light and Dark” by Deborah Biancotti (A Book of Endings)
“It Takes Two” by Nicola Griffith (Eclipse Three, ed. Jonathan Strahan)
“Seventh Fall” by Alex Irvine (Subterranean)
“Black Swan” by Bruce Sterling (Interzone 221)

Best Short Story (A science fiction or fantasy story of less than 7,500 words that appeared for the first time in 2009.)

“Microcosmos” by Nina Allan (Interzone 222)
“Turning the Apples” by Tina Connolly (Strange Horizons, 30 March)
“All the Anne Franks” by Erik Hoel (Strange Horizons, 23 November)
“Useless Things” by Maureen F McHugh (Eclipse Three);
“Unexpected Outcomes” by Tim Pratt (Interzone 222)

Best Related Work (Any work related to the field of science fiction, fantasy, or fandom appearing for the first time during 2009 or which has been substantially modified during 2009, and which is either non-fiction or, if fictional, is noteworthy primarily for aspects other than the fictional text, and which is not eligible in any other category.)

***Fifty Key Figures in Science Fiction ed. Mark Bould, Andrew M. Butler, Adam Roberts, and Sherryl Vint (Routledge)
***The Seven Beauties of Science Fiction by Istvan Csicsery-Ronay Jr (Wesleyan, 2008 with extended eligibility)
***Imagination/Space: Essays and Talks on Fiction, Feminism, Technology and Politics by Gwyneth Jones (Aqueduct)
Canary Fever: Reviews by John Clute (Beccon)
On Joanna Russ ed. Farah Mendlesohn (Wesleyan)

Best Graphic Story (Any science fiction or fantasy story told in graphic form appearing for the first time in 2009.)

***Scott Pilgrim vs. The Universe by Bryan Lee O’Malley (Oni Press)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form (Any theatrical feature or other production, with a complete running time of more than 90 minutes, in any medium of dramatized science fiction, fantasy, or related subjects that has been publicly presented for the first time in its present dramatic form during 2009.)

***Where the Wild Things Are
Monsters vs Aliens
The Road
Torchwood: Children of Earth
The Time-Traveler’s Wife

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form (Any television program or other production, with a complete running time of 90 minutes or less, in any medium of dramatized science fiction, fantasy or related subjects that has been publicly presented for the first time in its present dramatic form during 2009.)

***”Season Two, Episode One”, Ashes to Ashes
***”Epitaph One”, Dollhouse
***”Born to Run”, The Sarah Connor Chronicles
“Pilot”, Caprica
“The State of the Art” by Iain M Banks, adapted by Paul Cornell (Radio 4, 5 March 2009)

Best Editor, Short Form (The editor of at least four (4) anthologies, collections or magazine issues (or their equivalent in other media) primarily devoted to science fiction and/or fantasy, at least one of which was published in 2009.)

***Susan Marie Groppi, Strange Horizons
***Jonathan Strahan, various anthologies
Scott H Andrews, Beneath Ceaseless Skies
Andy Cox et al, Interzone
Sheila Williams, Asimov’s

Best Editor, Long Form (The editor of at least four (4) novel-length works primarily devoted to science fiction and/or fantasy published in 2009 that do not qualify as works under Best Editor, Short Form.)

L Timmel Duchamp
Jo Fletcher
Jeremy Lassen
Betsy Mitchell
Patrick Nielsen Hayden
Simon Spanton
Juliet Ulman

Best Professional Artist (An illustrator whose work has appeared in a professional publication in the field of science fiction or fantasy during 2009. If possible, please cite an example of the nominee’s work. Failure to provide such references will not invalidate a nomination.)

***Raphael Lacoste (The Windup Girl, The Caryatids)
***Adam Tredowski (Interzone covers)
Stephan Martiniere (Desolation Road)

Best Semiprozine (Any generally available non-professional publication devoted to science fiction or fantasy which by the close of 2009 has published four (4) or more issues (or the equivalent in other media), at least one (1) of which appeared in 2009, and which in 2009 met at least two (2) of the following criteria: Had an average press run of at least 1,000 copies per issue; Paid its contributors and/or staff in other than copies of the publication; Provided at least half the income of any one person; Had at least 15% of its total space occupied by advertising; Announced itself to be a “semiprozine”.)

***The Internet Review of Science Fiction
Beneath Ceaseless Skies
The New York Review of Science Fiction
The SF Site

Best Fanzine (Any generally available non-professional publication devoted to science fiction, fantasy, or related subjects which by the close of 2009 has published four (4) or more issues (or the equivalent in other media), at least one (1) of which appeared in the previous calendar year, and which does not qualify as a semiprozine.)

***Banana Wings
***Asking the Wrong Questions
Coffee and Ink
Everything is Nice
Journey Planet

Best Fan Writer (Any person whose writing has appeared in semiprozines or fanzines or in generally available electronic media during 2009.)

Claire Brialey
Karen Burnham
Paul Kincaid
Martin Lewis
James Davis Nicoll
Abigail Nussbaum
Mark Plummer
Adam Roberts
Micole S

Best Fan Artist (An artist or cartoonist whose work has appeared through publication in semiprozines or fanzines or through other public display during 2009.)

Kate Beaton

John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer (Not a Hugo) (A writer whose first work of science fiction or fantasy appeared during 2008 or 2009 in a professional publication. For Campbell Award purposes a professional publication is one for which more than a nominal amount was paid, any publication that had an average press run of at least 10,000 copies, or any other that the Award sponsors may designate.)

Jedidiah Berry
Lauren Beukes
Kristin Cashore
Patrick Ness
Ali Shaw
Kari Sperring [eligibility expired]

49 thoughts on “Draft Hugo Ballot

  1. So, thoughts on each category so far:

    Best Novel: Pretty much sorted; the only question is whether I give that fifth spot to something quixotic (e.g. UFO in Her Eyes), or something that might stand some chance of making the ballot (e.g. Flood). Would still like to read: The Devil’s Alphabet by Daryl Gregory; The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland by Catherynne Valente.

    Best Novella: Obviously some way to go here; I wouldn’t be sad to see any of the four unstarred novellas I’ve listed on the ballot, but I’ve got a lot I still want to read: “To Kiss the Granite Choir” by Michael Anthony Ashley (Beneath Ceaseless Skies); “Pelago”, Judith Berman (Asimov’s); Ars Memoriae, Beth Bernobich (PS); “Oceanic” by Greg Egan (Oceanic); “Wives” by Paul Haines” (X6); The Push by Dave Hutchinson (Newcon); “Crimes and Glory” by Paul McAuley (Subterranean); “The Wreck of the Grampus” by Jeremy Adam Smith (Lone Star Stories); “Palimpsest” by Charles Stross (Wireless). (I have a copy of Catherynne Valente’s Under in the Mere, as well, but she reckons that’s a little too long to be eligible.)

    Best Novelette: as ever, the easiest short fiction category for me. Special mention to Vandana Singh’s “Infinities”, which would be on my ballot except for the fact that The Woman Who Thought She Was A Planet has a 2008 copyright date. Still want to read: “The Long Cold Goodbye” by Holly Philips (Asimov’s); “Hair” by Adam Roberts (When it Changed); “Ultriusque Cosmi” by Robert Charles Wilson (New Space Opera 2)

    Best Short Story: recommendations very welcome here. Still want to read: “Moss Witch” by Sara Maitland (When it Changed) and “The Mermaids Singing Each to Each” by Cat Rambo (Clarkesworld).

    Best Related Work: I’ve stuck to books, although by the text of the category it seems as though essays would also be eligible. Still want to read: The Inter-Galactic Playground by Farah Mendlesohn; A Short History of Fantasy by Farah Mendlesohn and Edward James; The Secret Feminist Cabal by Helen Merrick. It is probably massively over-optimistic to think that I’ll get through more than one of these by the nominating deadline.

    Best Graphic Story: As is probably obvious, not a category I feel hugely invested in. Just looking at Paul Cornell’s thirty comics for Hugo voters makes me feel tired.

    Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form: still want to watch Sleep Dealer and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, but otherwise I think this has been a good year for sf film.

    Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form: still want to watch the Middleman table read; other recommendations welcome.

    Best Editor, Short Form and Long Form: other suggestions welcome. In the Long Form category, I need to do a bit more research to narrow down my list.

    Best Professional Artist, Best Fan Artist: again, not categories I am hugely invested in, but recommendations welcome.

    Best Semiprozine: Strange Horizons is absent because it is not a semiprozine. It would be nice to see IROSF get a nod, though.

    Best Fanzine: I’m sure there are other blogs I meant to mention.

    Best Fan Writer: Lots more folk I could have listed here, but I have to start narrowing it down at some point.

    Best New Writer: It would be nice to have at least one short story writer on there. Any suggestions?

  2. You have the Istvan Csicsery-Ronay Jr book titled as The Fifty Key Figures of Science Fiction, when I think you mean The Seven Beauties of Science Fiction.

  3. You’ve got the wrong title for the Csicsery-Ronay book in Best Related Work.

    I hadn’t thought “The State of the Art” for BDP short form, so good catch. I’ve got it on my iPod so will try to get to it.

    For the Campbell, I’ve been thinking of nominating Erin Cashier, who had a couple of good stories in BCS, and possibly Alice Sola Kim.

  4. Special mention to Vandana Singh’s “Infinities”, which would be on my ballot except for the fact that The Woman Who Thought She Was A Planet has a 2008 copyright date.

    A thought: I think this story’s appearance in the next Dozois’ Year’s Best will mark its first US publication, thus granting it eligibility for next year’s Hugos.

  5. I was trying to work out why you’d nominated Watts’ story from The New Space Opera 2 but hadn’t read the RCW (which opens the anthology, IIRC). Then I remembered that the Watts one was one of three or four from the anthology that were made available online…

    Which in turn made me wonder how much online availability will affect the shortlists this year…

  6. Nice theory, but (a) Wilson’s story is also available online, and (b) I read Watts’ story in my dead tree copy of NSO2. I tend not to read anthologies (or magazines) cover-to-cover unless I’m reviewing them, and it happens that I’ve read the Watts, but haven’t yet read the Wilson.

    I expect the Hugo short fiction nominees to be dominated by Asimov’s and F&SF for another few years yet.

  7. I don’t know exactly how long UNDER IN THE MERE is, but my estimate is 44,000 words, which is longer than the official upper limit for novella but within (if just barely) the deadband the rules allow (which I can’t remember offhand if it’s 10% or 5,000 words). (I won’t nominate it myself — I found it interesting, and beautifully written, but not sufficiently a story for my taste (yours may differ) and too much what I would call a sort of commentary on the Matter of Britain (with Californian aspects!) than its own thing.)

    Have you read John Barnes’s “Things Undone” (at Baen’s Universe)? It’s my personal favorite novelette of the year (though “Eros, Philia, Agape” is up there too).

    I’ll be putting together my list soon … I’ve been so late on finishing my summaries that I haven’t done it even though I could, it’s not like I have anything left to read (well, I might, but I don’t have the time …)

  8. Thanks for the info. I haven’t read “Things Undone“, no. Does Baen not have a way of paying for individual stories? I don’t really want to pay $30 for just this one. (Because, realistically, I’m not going to read their archive in any depth.)

  9. I’m glad to see someone nominating Tina’s “Turning the Apples.” The story was a touch messy for me in ways I didn’t tease out enough to articulate (I think the voice felt slightly… askew?), but I thought it was very powerful emotionally in sum. I think she’s a really smart short story writer and poet, and I know she’s shopping around a novel, too.

    I look forward to reading the pieces on your ballot that I haven’t picked up yet — assuming I can get hold of them, of course.

  10. Chuffed to see my name on your list, even as a possible; but isn’t there a risk your Hugo ballot will shrivel up and burn if you actually try to put it down?

    Otherwise, Simon Spanton absolutely deserves a long form editor nom (I’m biased, here, obviously; but he’s an editor of genius). You might consider Lou Anders for that list also.

    Where does Jones’s Spirit stand in this respect? Is it eligible?

    Is it only modesty that stands in the way of your putting Torque Control forward?

  11. Best Editor: what I need is a better breakdown of who edits what at Gollancz. Pyr seems more clearly Lou Anders’ baby, so that’s a bit easier, and you’re right that I should be considering him.

    Where does Jones’s Spirit stand in this respect? Is it eligible?

    After some investigation, it looks like it’s not eligible this year, but by dint of the fact that Jones published it online last month it will be eligible next year. Don’t worry, I will be reminding people of this fact at regular intervals.

    Torque Control: I don’t approve of nominating one’s own works. (And if there’s one thing that pains me about this time of year, it’s “Here’s what I’ve done that’s Hugo eligible!” posts, even witty ones.) I could justify nominating Strange Horizons as an entity, since my work there is only one part of it — but as I note in my first comment, since it’s not a semiprozine there’s no category in which it is eligible. I would, however, very much like to see Susan nominated in Best Editor, Short Form.

  12. I’m torn about _The Other Lands_: on one hand, awesome; on the other hand, I dislike middle books when it comes to awards.

    (Arrgh. I can’t believe I still haven’t finished my review of that. Arrgh arrgh arrgh. _Other_ people manage to have a kid a day job and a spouse and still write, darn it . . . )

  13. Me too, usually, but any ballot I construct that leaves it off looks wrong. Partial rationalisation: it may not have an ending, but it has a clean enough beginning that I think someone could come to it cold and not miss too much.

  14. Interesting selection. Agree with the Epitaph One, Windup Girl and Moon nominations the most, there’s a lot of stuff here I can’t comment from not having read it.

    Still not sure what so many people see in Watts’ predictable bleakness with regards “The Island”, although I may be in the minority on this.

  15. Strange Horizons is absent because it is not a semiprozine.

    Strange Horizons does not self-identify as a semiprozine and will decline nomination. Not the same thing.

  16. I thought you didn’t believe there was any such thing as a semiprozine? And even if you do, absent that self-definition, as far as the Hugos are concerned Strange Horizons is not one.

    Alexander: for me it’s the level of commitment to a particular vision that makes “The Island” stand out, not the vision per se.

  17. I thought you didn’t believe there was any such thing as a semiprozine?

    I don’t. The whole idea of a semiprozine is retarded.

    However, even jettisoning “Announced itself to be a “semiprozine”.” it still meets two criteria:

    Paid its contributors and/or staff in other than copies of the publication;


    Had an average press run of at least 1,000 copies per issue;

    Yes – infinity is loads more than 1,000.

  18. I know you’ve got plenty for Long Form Editor, but I might be adding Lou Anders and Bill Schafer to mine.

    I’m definitely chagrined by how slight my short fiction offerings will be; I read over 800 short stories last year but they were almost all slush.

    For artist I’ll definitely be adding John Picaccio. I wouldn’t even be tempted by the new Jack Skillingstead collection if it weren’t for John’s cover.

    I like your picks for the Campbell. I’m weighing Jesse Bullington in my mind; I didn’t like “Brother’s Grossbart,” but it certainly had ambition.

    Thanks for the mention for writing! Made my day.

  19. But it maintains it is not “a non-professional publication”

    Ah, but you forget that the Hugos are using their own special definition of non-professional (ie not published by Dell).

    I’ll stop now.

  20. Thanks very much for your mentions of Beneath Ceaseless Skies.

    I too will be nominating Raphael Lacoste for Best Pro Artist. The current BCS cover art is a work of his, that rather fits with the weather this season…. :)

    Scott H. Andrews
    Beneath Ceaseless Skies

  21. I’ll be interested to know (especially as I’m now eligible to vote) if Patrick Ness is eligible for the Campbell or not. I’ve not read his first (adult) novel, The Crash of Hennington (2003), but it sounds from the description – and review comments comparing it to Calvino and Ionesco – that it contains “literary fantasy” elements at least. If he is eligible, then he will definitely have my vote.

    Frances Hardinge is definitely not eligible for the Campbell, but Gullstruck Island/The Lost Conspiracy would be one I would vote for, for best novel. I doubt it stands much of a chance of winning though.

  22. Rose:

    Kate Beaton

    Good idea! I’ve added her to the ballot. (And there doesn’t seem to be an option for preview, I’m afraid.)

    Scott: You’re welcome; I like what I’ve read so far.

    Gary: Ah, if true about Ness, bummer. I haven’t got to it yet either, but thought it was mainstream.

  23. I’ve talked to Kari about her Campbell eligibility and sadly it appears that she doesn’t qualify. She’s had professional sales of short fiction a few years back.

  24. I’m flattered, but I’m ineligible for the Campbell, due to a first sale (short story) in 2007.

  25. I’ve been looking at the thread title so much it’s starting to read “Daft Hugo Ballot” to me … Not that I would call that a Freudian slip or anything! [grin]

  26. Caprica‘s pilot may not qualify as short form. It runs a hair over 87 minutes without credits, 92 with.

    Epitah One is certainly a fan favorite, but is hurt in the nominations by the fact that it never aired in the US. My favorite for the Hugo, though, is Belonging. I felt it to be one of the best-written and acted episodes of the entire series.

  27. Incidentally, Egan’s “Oceanic” is not only ineligible for a 2010 Hugo on account of having been first published a long time ago, it doesn’t need a Hugo — it already won! (In 1999.)

    Also, “The Wreck of the Grampus” — a fine story — is from 2008.

  28. Kari/Cheryl: boo! But thanks for letting me know.

    Dave: I’m pretty sure there’s wiggle room built into the BDP categories, as there is into the fiction categories. So it could probably go in either, and it feels more short-form to me (unlike, say, Torchwood). Re: “Dollhouse”, yes, obviously, but it’s also probably the only episode of the show that really deserves a nomination — I had problems with “Belonging”. My runner-up would actually be “Man on the Street”.

    Rich: D’oh. I mean, of course, the original novella within the collection Oceanic. “Hot Rock”? Hadn’t realised the Smith novella was a couple of years old though! Thanks.

  29. Thanks for mentioning the radio play. I hadn’t even considered it, because I felt it was so unlikely that enough people would have heard it, but it’s something I’m hugely proud of.

  30. Question on the Hugo voting for Dramatic Presentation, Short Form: is it allowed for a given voter to have distinct episodes from the same television show nominated? Say I thought the five best episodes of televised scifi for the past year were Fringe (God knows why). Could I then put in five distinct episodes, or would I be able to put in only one, and would have to find other candidates or leave blank for the rest of the shortlist? I’ve generally seen it like in the above form, one episode per show, but is that based on personal viewpoint or something in the rules?

  31. I’m adding Kate Beaton to my ballot, too. Good stuff there that I hadn’t heard of.

    Thanks for posting this, Niall. It’s giving me a few more things to consider.

  32. Anon:

    The Hugo rules don’t prohibit nominating multiple episodes from a single show, and there have been cases in which the final ballot contained several nominees from the same show (the example that comes to mind is the 2006 ballot in which Doctor Who took up three slots). It’s just that in general for an episode to made it onto the ballot there has to be a consensus among fans that this was the best episode of the year for that show – shows that have multiple favorite episodes tend to get left off the ballot because fans split their votes according to personal taste. So it tends happens that only a single episode from each show makes it onto the ballot, though exceptions are not uncommon.

  33. For those who may be interested, I’ve posted my prospective nominees at my blog, The Elephant Forgets (ecbatan.livejournal.com).

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