Brief Hugo Thoughts

This year’s Hugo shortlists were announced yesterday. I was mostly too wiped to pay much attention, but it did seem to be a very good list and reaction today seems to have confirmed that.

Having been drowning in Tiptree reading for the past year my own ballot was a bit sketchy, but I am delighted to see a few of the works I and my fellow jurors loved getting a nod from the Hugo electorate as well. The Black Tides of Heaven by JY Yang was on our Honor List, while “Small Changes Over Long Periods of Time” by K.M. Szpara was on the Long List. Rivers Solomon, who appears on the Campbell short list, was also on our Honor List for An Unkindness of Ghosts.

Which brings me to another thing. Back when I was getting nominated for Hugos I was generally the only trans person on the list. That didn’t surprise me too much as we only make up a small percentage of the population. Last year there were at least three, including two on the Novel list. This year we have at least six, plus a few more who may identify as non-binary but don’t do so very publicly. Also the Yang and Szpara stories specifically feature trans themes.

This year list is also starting to feel truly international for the first time. It is still largely anglophone — certainly all of the written works were published in English — but the people on the list come from many parts of the world, not just the USA and UK.

Somewhat to my surprise, the category that I am most well read (well, watched) in is DP: Long. Much as I love the first bits of Wonder Woman, and the disc extras, I’m pretty sure that I will be voting for Thor: Ragnarok. I have a sneaking suspicion that Taika Waititi knows what a Hugo is and will make a very silly acceptance video. And he may mention Jack Kirby in the process, because the visuals on that film were totally a tribute to the King.

The category I am going to find hardest is Novella. Nnedi is brilliant, I love JY Yang’s Tensorate stories and would very happy to see another trans winner, but I adore Murderbot. Speaking of whom, I am really pleased to see the Raksura books get a nod in Best Series. I have been a fan of Martha Wells’ work since Emerald City days and am delighted to see her getting recognition at last.

The only thing that disappointed me about the list was that I was hoping to be voting for Discovery in BDP: Short, but Trek fandom went and picked the episode I liked least from it. Still, everyone keeps telling me that I should watch The Good Place and now I have no more excuses. Also the Clipping song appears to be radio-safe, so guess what I’m playing on my show on Wednesday.

My congratulations to all of the finalists, many of whom I am delighted to call friends. Best of luck in August, folks.

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