I’m back from vacation—always important to leave the internet behind for a while. When am I actually going to do my reading? I had a grand old time touring New Mexico, Colorado, and Oregon.
Quite a bit happened in the last few months. Chaos Horizon will spend this week catching up, and then make my 2016 Hugo prediction once the Hugo voting closes at the end of July. I’ll also have my too-early 2017 Hugo and Nebula lists up soon. Beware!
A lot of other SFF nominations and awards have been handed out in the past few weeks. These are good indication of who will win the eventual Hugo—every award nomination raises visibility, and the awards that using votes are often good predictors of who will win the Hugo. Lastly, the full range of SFF awards gives us a better sense of what the “major” books of the year than the Hugo or Nebula alone. Since each award is idiosyncratic, a book that emerges across all 14 is doing something right.
Here’s the top of the list, and the full list is linked here. Total number of nominations is on the far left.
|5||The Fifth Season||Jemisin, N.K.|
|4||Europe at Midnight||Hutchinson, Dave|
|3||Ancillary Mercy||Leckie, Anne|
|2||The House of Shattered Wings||Bodard, Aliette de|
|2||A Borrowed Man||Wolfe, Gene|
|2||Luna: New Moon||McDonald, Ian|
|2||The Thing Itself||Roberts, Adam|
|2||The Book of Phoenix||Okorafor, Nnedi|
|2||The Water Knife||Bacigalupi, Paolo|
|2||Aurora||Robinson, Kim Stanley|
No dominant book this year. At the top of the list are the Hugo nominees, with Europe at Midnight swapped out for the Jim Butcher novel. Butcher has no nominations other than his Hugo, and since The Cinder Spires is a fantasy novel, it was certainly more likely for these awards than his urban fantasy Dresden series.
On to the top contenders:
Since we last checked, Uprooted picked up wins in the Nebula, Locus Fantasy, as well as two more nominations in the British Fantasy and World Fantasy awards. She’s now beaten Jemisin head to head in two voted awards (the Locus Fantasy and Nebula). While neither of those perfectly mirror the Hugo voting audience, I place a lot of stock in those past wins heading into the Hugo.
While Jemisin has 5 nominations, she has zero wins so far. The other Hugo nominees have all managed at least one: Seveneves in the libertarian Prometheus (not a good indicator of future Hugo success), Ancillary Mercy in the Locus SF, and Uprooted in the Nebula and Locus Fantasy.
Hutchinson does well in the British awards (Clarke, BSFA, Kistchies) and poorly in the American ones (only managing a Campbell). This shows, to me at least, a divide between European and American SF readerships. Since the Hugos are in Finland next year, we will see a very different set of Hugo nominees? I don’t think Hutchinson has a novel out in 2016, but it’s something to keep an eye on.
Otherwise, no other books are really emerging as “consensus” books that the Hugos missed. All the awards have nominated, and about have half have given their awards. Aurora did more poorly than I would have expected given Robinson’s reputation. Same with The Water Knife; I expected Bacigalupi’s follow-up to The Windup Girl to garner more attention. Maybe 5 years is too long between novels? Who knows.
Interestingly, of the 7 Nebula nominees, 4 (Schoen, Wilde, Gannon, and Ken Liu) didn’t receive any other nominations in the 14 awards I track. A big surprise for me was Cixin Liu’s The Dark Forest, which had 5 nominations last year (Hugo winner, Nebula, Locus SF, Prometheus, Campbell), and got 0 this year.
Anything else useful to be learned from the list this year?