This Year’s Hugo Finalists

Well, here we go again. And with many people in fandom having declared that the Hugos are over and deserve to die in a fire, what are we to make of this year’s crop of finalists?

First up, Glasgow seems to have made a good job of presenting the finalists. There is inevitable muttering about the list being released over the Easter holiday weekend, but that is when Eastercon happens so for a UK Worldcon it is the obvious timing. Also not every fan in the world is a Christian, or even lives in a Christian country.

Nicholas Whyte promised in advance to give a full list of any recusals and disqualifications when the finalists were announced, and he seems to have made good on that. Transparency, as I have said, is a two-edged sword. It is only because the Hugo process is so transparent that we know about the shenanigans in Chengdu. But once you commit to transparency you have to embrace it, and that is what Glasgow appears to have done.

Dell Magazines, who are the owners of the Astounding Award, have kindly asked that Xiran Jay Zhao, one of the victims of political censorship by Dave McCarty and his crew, be given another year of eligibility. This is, of course, only possible because the Astounding is Not A Hugo, and because Dell Magazines is a private company, not a club run by town meetings as is the case for WSFS. They can take whatever decisions they want about their award without having to ask permission from the members.

I’m delighted to see a significant number of Chinese works among the finalists. I very much hope that some of the Chinese fans who have come on board WSFS as a result of Chengdu will stick with the Hugos and buy supporting memberships for subsequent years so that Chinese works can continue to grace the ballot.

Also, kudos to Glasgow for getting someone who can read Chinese and pronounce it well to read the nominees. Good work, Sophia Xue. They also had someone who can correctly pronounce Pádraig Ó Méalóid, which I haven’t managed after years of trying. Good work, Nicholas Whyte.

Kudos too for the decision to list the translators along with the authors on all of the translated finalists.

As to the actual finalists, as usual, I am well out of step with fandom. I have read four of the Best Novel finalists and did not nominate any of them. Two of my picks got onto the Novella list. Surprisingly I’m more in tune with the movies. I’m disappointed that The Marvels didn’t make the list, but I will have a hard time choosing between Barbie, Nimona and Across the Spider-Verse.

I look forward with interest to see if and how the Best Game finalists are represented in the Voter Packet, and very much hope to see something other than a computer game next year. Hint, hint.

Adrian Tchaikovsky was full of praise for David Thomas Moore at the BSFA Awards ceremony. It is great to have an editor from a smaller UK press on the list.

That The Library of Broken Worlds did not make it onto the Lodestar ballot is an absolute travesty. But it won a BSFA Award so I am slightly mollified.