2015 Hugo Watchlist

As part of Chaos Horizon’s continued look at the 2015 Hugo Award for Best Novel, here’s my 2015 Hugo Watchlist:

Disclaimer: Chaos Horizon tries to determine which novels are most likely to be nominated based on data-mining past awards data, not who should be nominated for having the “best” novel in a more general sense. Take the list for what it is intended to be, as a starting point for debate of the 2015 Hugo award.

1. Ancillary Sword, Ann Leckie (2014 Hugo and Nebula winner)
2. Lock In, John Scalzi (2013 Hugo winner)
3. Monster Hunter Nemesis, Larry Correia (2014 Hugo nominee, placed 6th in 2013, prominent Hugo campaigner)
4. The Martian, Andy Weir (one of the bestselling 2014 SF novels; may or may not be eligible due to earlier indie publication)
5. The Mirror Empire, Kameron Hurley (2014 Best Fan Writer Hugo winner, 2014 Best Related Work Hugo winner, 2012 Nebula novel nominee, first novel in an ambitious new series)
6. My Real Children, Jo Walton (2012 Hugo winner, lower on list because of a lack of strong SFF elements)
7. Symbiont, Mira Grant (nominated for four Hugos in a row from 2011-2014, although she barely made the field last year)
8. Broken Monsters, Lauren Beukes (placed 7th in the 2014 Hugos, 11th in 2012)
9. Words of Radiance, Brandon Sanderson (nominated with Robert Jordan for Wheel of Time in 2014; first book in this series (The Way of Kings) placed 11th in 2011)
10. Echopraxia, Peter Watts (first novel since his 2007 Best Novel Hugo nomination)
11. The Chaplain’s War, Brad Torgersen (first novel, 2014 Hugo Novelette and Short Story nominee, 2012 Hugo and Nebula Novelette nominee)
12. Valour and Vanity, Mary Robinette Kowal (2014 Hugo Novellete winner, 2011 Hugo Short Story winner, placed 8th in 2011, 10th in 2012)
13. Cibola Burn, James S.A. Corey (2012 Hugo nominee, 8th in 2013, 14th in 2014)
14. The Rhesus Chart, Charles Stross (2014 Hugo nominee, 2014 Novella Hugo winner, last novel in this series (Apocalypse Codex, from the Laundry novels) didn’t place in top 15)

If a novel didn’t make the list, it’s likely because the novelist lacked any Hugo history. Joe Abercrombie, Elizabeth Bear, Jeff VanderMeer, David Mitchell—the list of important and interesting novels released this year goes on. None of these authors, though, have much in the way of past Hugo performance to indicate they’ll get a nomination.


The list is compiled using several factors:
1. Winners and nominees over the past several years: once you get nominated or win a Hugo, you’re likely to get nominated again
2. Who came close in the nominations for the past 3 years, as mined from the Hugo results .pdfs available at the official Hugo website
3. Who won Hugos in other categories and have novels coming out this year
4. Potential crossovers with the Nebula awards
5. Novels that have lots of sales/critical buzz/visibility

For more information about specific novels, check out My Too Early 2015 Hugo Prediction and Additional Contenders.

Obviously, this is not an exact science. Since Chaos Horizon primarily uses past Hugo performance to predict future Hugo performance, this hurts novelists who have never been nominated for the Hugo before.

I’d like to get the Watchlist to 15 by the end of the year, so I left one spot blank for novels published between now (September) and December. Anyone else to add? Thanks to everyone in previous threads who suggested novels. If you post a suggestion, try to back it up with some data.

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6 responses to “2015 Hugo Watchlist”

  1. Niall says :

    Paul Cornell’s The Severed Streets? Popular in other categories (e.g. graphic story), previous novel placed 13th in the nominations list.

    On another note, I’ve heard it said that there’s a sweet spot for release timing and award nominations (e.g. that books published in January are less likely to receive nominations). If you want suggestions for other analyses, I’d be interested to know whether that has any basis in fact…

    • chaoshorizon says :

      I’ve got sequels like The Severed Streets dropping by about 3-5 slots in voting per year, so that would put Cornell just on the outside of the Top 15. I’ve got to do a more thorough analysis on “sequel drop,” and I like your idea of doing an analysis of publication dates and nomination chances. I’ll get it done sometime in the next few weeks.

  2. jdn@jdb.com says :

    I think you’re looking for “Monster Hunter Nemesis” by Correia. MHI came out years ago.

  3. Niall says :

    Sudden thought: what about The Peripheral by William Gibson?

    • chaoshorizon says :

      I’m going to put up a Review Round-Up of The Peripheral next week. You’d think Gibson would do well, but he hasn’t been nominated for a Hugo since 1994. I thought Pattern Recognition definitely deserved a nom. The Peripheral is his best chance in ages, though, since it is more science fiction-y than his recent work. It hasn’t been treated too well in the press; the A.V Club panned it, for instance.

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