Final 2016 SFF Awards Meta-List

As I wrap up my analysis from last year, let’s look at my final 2016 SFF Awards Metalist, now with all winners marked. This covers books published in 2015 that got award nominations in 2016. For this list, which gives a good 10,000 foot view of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Awards, I track 14 different awards to see who got nominated and who won. Here’s the top of the list, with all the books that got more than 2 nominations:

Nominations Title Author Wins
5 The Fifth Season Jemisin, N.K. 1
5 Uprooted Novik, Naomi 3
4 Europe at Midnight Hutchinson, Dave
4 Seveneves Stephenson, Neal 1
3 Ancillary Mercy Leckie, Anne 1

Jemisin’s The Fifth Season and Novik’s Uprooted finished atop the list with 5 nominations each, although Novik grabbed 3 wins (Nebula, British Fantasy, Locus Fantasy) to Jemisin’s one (Hugo). Seveneves won the Prometheus, and Ancillary Mercy won the Locus SF. A wide range of books won SF awards this year, including lesser known works such as The Chimes by Anna Smaill (British Fantasy), Radiomen by Eleanor Lerman (Campbell), and Lizard Radio by Pat Schmaltz (Tiptree). I’ll also note that this list correlated with 4/5 of the Hugo nominees, with only Hutchinson missing out.

I think a list like this gives us a good place to start thinking about the 2017 SFF Awards season. Since the SFF voting public doesn’t change massively from year to year, they tend to duplicate picks from year to year. For 2016, Jemisin is back with The Obelisk Gate, a sequel to The Fifth Season; I expect that to be a stalwart on the 2017 awards circuits, probably matching the number of noms and wins of The Fifth Season. Novik published League of Dragons in 2016, the final book of her 9 novel Temraire sequence. Books that are #9 in a series rarely get SFF awards nomination, although she may be a possibility in the new Best Series Hugo.

Leckie and Stephenson didn’t publish books last year, which opens up some spots in the the awards. Leckie in particular has grabbed a host of nominations in these 14 awards over the past 3 years: 16 nominations and 9 wins by my count. That’s a big vacuum to fill: who’s going to step and grab these spots?

Dave Hutchinson is an interesting possibility for the Hugo this year. His third volume in his Fractured Europe series just came out November 3, Europe in Winter. Hutchinson is not particularly well known here in the United States, but he’s racked up 2 best novel  nominations on the Clarke (a British award), 3 in the British Science Fiction Award (obviously British), and 2 in the Campbell (a more literary American SF award). Could the Hugos being held in Europe this year—and presumably more British voters making the trip to Finland than Americans—result in a European bounce? London in 2014 didn’t produce much of a boon for European writers, but Glasgow in 2005 resulted in an all British/Scottish final ballot. The new Hugo voting rules will prevent a 2005 style-sweep, but they could also help push a British or maybe even Finnish author onto the ballot. Hutchinson might also be competitive in the Best Series category, although I think Charles Stross and his well-liked Laundry Files might be the better bet for the Best Series category, given the fact that he’s won the Best Hugo Novella 3 times already for works from that series.

Looking further down the list, no one from last year’s nominees really jumps out as a major contender for 2016. Amazingly, The Dark Forest by Cixin Liu didn’t get a single SFF award nomination last year despite winning the Hugo the year before, which probably speaks poorly to Death’s End‘s chances. Ken Liu only got the Nebula nomination for The Grace of Kings, so he might be a contender in that category again. Becky Chambers got only one nomination for The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, but that was an indie published book that came out in several different formats over several different years; her sequel A Closed and Common Orbit has none of those publication issues and may grab some nominations.

All in all, we’re going to be looking at some new faces for 2017. I’ll start hacking away with some preliminary lists of contenders for the 2017 Hugo and Nebula later this week.

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4 responses to “Final 2016 SFF Awards Meta-List”

  1. Mark says :

    The Obelisk Gate is a) really good and b) going to benefit from a familiarity factor, so I think it’s a good call.

    On the subject of Chambers, you might find the Goodreads Award an interesting early indicator, not necessarily in the main selections but in the write-in element. Chambers just got a successful write-in, along with Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee, Crosstalk by Connie Willis, City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennet and Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire (that’s not all the write-ins, just the ones that jumped out at me). What’s interesting is that those are all either award perennials or books with a certain amount of buzz, indicating that the write-in voters might be onto something.

    An interesting one for the possible European effect is Arcadia by Ian Pears. It came out in 2015 in the UK and got an Arthur C Clarke nom, but is a 2016 publication for the US so has a second bite at the cherry for some awards, including the Hugo.

    • chaoshorizon says :

      Most of the books you suggested will be on my upcoming Hugo prediction list! What do you think about the McGuire? Novella or novel? Amazon lists it at 176 pages and the print looks pretty big using the online viewer. I need to get my hands on a copy.

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