Too Early 2015 Hugo Prediction
NOTE: This post is from August 2014; click here for my most up-to-date Hugo Prediction.
Now that the 2014 Hugo Award for Best Novel has been awarded, we can turn our eyes to the 2015 Award. Today, I’ll predict an initial slate of 5 nominees. It’s definitely too early to do this: there are still almost four months left in the year, and several heavy hitters for the 2015 award season haven’t been released yet. Let’s get to my predicted 2015 slate, with comments below.
Note: this is who I think will be nominated, not necessarily who deserves to be nominated.
Predicted 2015 Hugo Nominees for Best Novel:
1. Lock In, John Scalzi
2. Ancillary Sword, Ann Leckie
3. Monster Hunter Nemesis, Larry Correia
4. The Mirror Empire, Kameron Hurley
5. The Martian, Andy Weir
Book titles link to Amazon, and author names link to their blogs.
Where to start? The Hugos love nominating the same authors over and over again, so it’s likely at least some of the nominees will be drawn from previous slates. Mira Grant, for instance, has been nominated four years in a row now. Will she make it five? How about Charles Stross, another author who has been nominated multiple times over the past few years? Will Ann Leckie score another nomination? How about John Scalzi, returning after not publishing a novel last year? Will Larry Correia return as the “outsider” nominee?
These repeaters are pretty easy to get a sense of. Let’s look at the nominated authors from the past two years:
John Scalzi, Lock In (very likely to be nominated): Scalzi won the 2013 award for Redshirts, and he has a couple of other past nominations. With two of his series being optioned for television (Redshirts and the Old Man’s War series), his profile is only growing. Lock In has received an aggressive marketing campaign, and is almost certain to earn Scalzi another Hugo nomination.
Ann Leckie, Ancillary Sword (very likely to be nominated if it comes out this year): Leckie just completed a dominating award season, sweeping both the Hugo and Nebula for Ancillary Justice. Her percentage total for Ancillary Justice was truly impressive for the Hugo, and if Ancillary Sword is anything but a complete disaster, it’s going to get nominated.
The biggest hurdle here is whether or not the novel comes out this year: Amazon is showing an October 7th, 2014 release date, but it also shows the novel as unavailable for pre-order. Problems or just Amazon skullduggery? UPDATE: Leckie confirms it is just Amazon skullduggery, and the novel is due out on October 7th! Crisis averted!
Larry Correia, Monster Hunter Nemesis (likely to be nominated): Larry Correia crashed the Hugo party this year with Warbound as conservative counter-programming to the perceived overly liberal Hugo slate. If you’re not familiar with this controversy, here’s Correia’s take on the whole thing, and you can find more information by googling “2014 Hugo Controversy.” While I don’t know if Correia is going to push a slate for 2015, Monster Hunter Nemesis is from his more popular military series Monster Hunter, and there are a large number of readers who like the kind of military SF and Fantasy books Baen specializes in publishing. Expect Correia to crash the party again in 2015.
Mira Grant, Symbiont (less likely to be nominated): With four nominations in a row, three from her Newsflesh series and the other being Parasite, which Symbiont is a direct sequel to, Grant may seem like a slam dunk for 2015. However, her new series has not been as popular as the zombie-themed Newsfeed books, and her vote percentage has been declining over the recent years. I think she’s left out this year, but we’ll see. It’ll depend a lot on if other strong contenders emerge between now and December.
Charles Stross, The Rhesus Chart (less likely to be nominated): Stross won a Hugo this year for best novella, and has been nominated multiple times over the past years. However, The Rhesus Chart is from his urban fantasy series The Laundry Files, and urban fantasy books don’t have the same impact on the Hugos as more traditional SF (like his nominated Neptune’s Brood this year). Look for Stross to sit this year out.
Brandon Sanderson, Words of Radiance (less likely to be nominated): You’d think Sanderson would have a decent shot: he’s the most popular fantasy writer not named George R. R. Martin, and he has a rabid fan base due to his involvement with Wheel of Time. Past Hugo awards tell us, though, that fantasy books like this don’t get nominated. This is the second volume of The Stormlight Archives, and although well-liked, it would be something of a surprise if it received a nomination.
Kim Stanley Robinson, Shaman (less likely to be nominated): Robinson has been a stalwart of the Hugos, but Shaman’s unusual subject matter (ancient humans and their religious beliefs) and so-so reception will likely not result in a nomination. When Robinson writes more traditional SF, expect him to return to the slate. Robinson’s book was published in 2013, not 2014, so it won’t be eligible.
Nominees from the past two years that don’t have a novel appearing this year: Saladin Ahmed, Louis McMaster Bujold, Robert Jordan.
So who else is likely to make it? N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season doesn’t look like it will arrive in 2014 (it’s listed with an August release date on her website, but there’s no page on Amazon). Jo Walton’s My Real Children has been well received, and she won the Hugo in 2012, so her book is a possibility. Walton, though, has been drifting away from SFF and more towards realistic fiction. Jeff VanderMeer is a favorite of mine, and his three book Southern Reach trilogy, all published this year, might be a contender if people figure out how to nominate it. William Gibson has a novel coming out with The Peripheral, but he hasn’t been a Hugo contender in years. If the Hugo award wanted to cross over to literary fiction, David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks would be an interesting nominee.
There are two
debut (it was pointed out that Hurley’s novel isn’t a debut; I knew that but forgot. It’s actually the debut of a new series) other novels that stand out as contenders:
Kameron Hurley, The Mirror Empire (likely to be nominated): Hurley won two Hugo awards this year, one for Fan Writer and one for Best Related Work. This year, she’s moving in to fantasy in a big way, with an ambitious fantasy novel that’s gotten plenty of pre-publication buzz. We won’t know how well The Mirror Empire will do until we get some fan reaction, but this novel is poised to be this year’s Ancillary Justice: a debut novel that might capture the imagination of the SFF fanbase. Definitely a book to keep your eye on.
Andy Weir, The Martian (likely to be nominated): Weir’s book, although self-published in 2012, had its major publisher debut in 2014. Although the eligibility issue is confusing, let’s assume it’s eligible this year. If it is, this should be a strong contender: the novel rode the wave of the film Gravity to NYT bestseller status, and would represent a more classic “Hard SF” novel amongst this group. The paperback is coming in November, so it should receive another strong round of publicity late in the year, making it perfectly positioned for a Hugo nomination. I’ll be interested to see how this does on critic’s year end lists: it might even be the favorite.
Anything I missed? Who do you think will end up on the 2015 slate?