Jemisin Wins Hugo Award for Best Novel

At WorldCon, they just announced that N.K. Jemisin won the Hugo for Best Novel for The Fifth Season this year! Congratulations to her in what was hard-fought and controversial year.

Jemisin’s win is something of a surprise. We’ll have the stats soon, but Uprooted had a lot of the traditional markers going for it: it won the Nebula, it won the Locus Fantasy, it was more popular then The Fifth Season on Goodreads and Amazon. Jemisin’s win goes to show how unpredictable the Hugos have become–the influx of new voters, along with the high sentiments regarding the Puppy controversy, have basically shot past Hugo patterns all to hell. After ten or so years when the Nebula winner pretty regularly won the Hugo, this may mark a new era in Hugo history. It certainly makes for a more dynamic award, even if it plunges Chaos Horizon and my predictions, into, well, chaos.

In the other categories, things played out largely as expected. In many cases, there was only one non-Puppy choice; that usually won. The two exceptions were in the Campbell, where Andy Weir beat Alyssa Wong, and in Novelette, where Hao Jingfang beat Brooke Bolander. Both Weir and Jingfang were very mainstream picks, however, and could have made the ballot without any Rabid support. In general, the Hugo voters didn’t No Award” Hugo categories just because of overlap with the Rabid Puppies. Neither Gaiman nor File 770 were punished for appearing on the slate. When categories were given “No Award” (Best Related Work, Fancast),  it was because none of the nominees overlapped with typical Hugo picks.

As the dust clears and the stats come out, I’ll continue to do some more analysis. Whatever we can say about 2016, we know that 2017 will be even more unpredictable. We’ve got ballot rule changes, more high passions and controversies, and a new seat of books to ponder over!

8 responses to “Jemisin Wins Hugo Award for Best Novel”

  1. MadProfessah says :

    Stats are up: Looks like support for Jemisin was surprisingly strong, considering she lost Nebula and Locus to Novik. I just read Uprooted recently and would definitely say The Fifth Season is the stronger book.

    • chaoshorizon says :

      It won 1372-1203. Cinder Spires also easily beat No Award, 1409-902.

      • chaoshorizon says :

        Another interesting note: here’s the Best Novel nominees:

        877 Seveneves Neal Stephenson 23.73%
        797 Ancillary Mercy Anne Leckie 21.57%
        761 The Fifth Season N.K. Jemisin 20.60%
        715 Uprooted Naomi Novik 19.35%
        688 The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut’s Windlass Jim Butcher 18.62%
        533 Somewhither: A Tale of the Unwithering Realm John C. Wright 14.42%
        444 Golden Son Pierce Brown 12.02%
        404 Agent of the Imperium Marc MIller 10.93%
        325 Aurora Kim Stanley Robinson 8.80%
        273 Karen Memory Elizabeth Bear 7.39%
        269 The Traitor Baru Cormorant Seth Dickinson 7.28%
        250 The Just City Jo Walton 6.77%
        246 The Grace of Kings Ken Liu 6.66%
        235 Sorcerer to the Crown Zen Cho 6.36%
        213 The Water Knife Paolo Bacigalupi 5.76%

        Seveneves is still in without the Puppies. Without them, the ballot would have been Novik, Jemisin, Stephenson, Leckie, Robinson, which would have been absolutely typical.

  2. Lela E. Buis says :

    Do you think the winners break down along political lines? Notice that all the awards in the fiction categories went to women, three of which were minorities, as did the editor awards and the pro artist award. Men who won included Wier, Glyer, Gaiman and Stiles. Vox Day recommended all of these for the final vote.

    • MadProfessah says :

      Hmmmmm, the nominations data is fascinating! So does that mean this was Neal Stephenson’s award to lose? Didn’t VD instruct his minions to vote for Seveneves?

      If I were voting, I would have picked Seveneves for the Best Novel of the year. But then again I’m a sci-fi fan more than a fantasy fan but it looks like in 2015 fantasy was a bigger share of the nominees.

      • Lela E. Buis says :

        I believe Vox Day recommended Uprooted, but Seveneves was likely a popular choice. The split vote between these two finalists likely resulted in Jemisin’s win.

      • chaoshorizon says :

        There can’t be a split vote like because of the way the Hugo tabulation works—they eliminate nominees one by one and redistribute all the votes to the remaining nominees. So if you look at the stats, of the 609 who voted for Seveneves #1 over Jemisin and Novik, 164 went to Jemisin and 259 went to Novik for the count. That made it closer, but not enough for Uprooted to edge ahead.

    • Mark says :


      The fiction categories were a function of what was left after poor slated works were discarded, and an all-female sweep in fiction isn’t improbable given the finalists.

      Ditto Editor longform, while the credible shortform finalists were 50:50 M:F.

      With the exception of Weir, the male winners you name clearly won without VDs support. Weir won a tight race against Wong, who were the two credible finalists.

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