2013 Hugo and Campbell Awards: Get out the popcorn!

The winners of the 2013 Hugo and Campbell Awards have been announced. You may recall that this year’s nominations proved to be unexpectedly controversial, when a bunch of people did not agree with the nominated works and creators at all. Short summary of a long and heated discussion: Yes, we want diversity, but not this kind of diversity.

Now the winners have been announced, so let’s heat up the popcorn and wait for the controversy or not to roll in. John Scalzi finally won a Hugo in the best novel category (he already won best fan writer and best related work) for Redshirts. It wouldn’t have been my first choice (I preferred both Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance and Throne of the Crescent Moon), but it’s one I can live with. It’s also a choice very likely to piss off the “The Hugos are broken” crowd, since Redshirts came in for a lot of flak along with the works of Lois McMaster Bujold and Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant for being too light, too nostalgic and not serious enough (because SFF is serious business, damn you!).

Brandon Sanderson won in the novella category for The Emperor’s Soul, which is the main puzzler in the fiction categories for me. Because I vastly prefer Aliette de Bodard’s On a Red Station, Drifting and Jay Lake’s The Stars Do Not Lie in this category. The Nancy Kress novella also got a lot of good press and actually won the Nebula award in that category. Meanwhile, The Emperor’s Soul was along with the Mira Grant novella the nominee that wasn’t really on my radar at all. It’s not the only Hugo Brandon Sanderson got to take home either, for his Writing Excuses podcast also won in the best related works category. IMO this is another puzzling win. It’s not that I have issues with Writing Excuses. A lot of my writer fans praise that podcast, though I have never listened to it, cause I don’t do podcasts. However, there is a separate podcast category in the Hugo awards, which was won by SF Squeecast (so Seanan McGuire did get to take home a well-deserved Hugo after all). So why did Writing Excuses get nominated in the “Best related work” category, which I have always understood to be for non-fiction books about SFF-nal themes? Indeed, my favoured choices in the best related work category are usually academic books about SFF, though those rarely win.

Pat Cadigan won in the novelette category for the delightfully entitled The Girl Thing Who Went Out for Sushi, while Ken Liu won in the short story category for Mono No Aware. I can’t really disagree with either winner, though I would have preferred both Kij Johnson and Aliette de Bodard in the short story category, since I have read and enjoyed their short stories, while I haven’t read Ken Liu’s. Mur Lafferty won the Campbell award, another good choice.

The Avengers won in the best dramatic presentation long form category, which surprised absolutely no one considering how popular the movie was. Though there was something of a surprise in the short form category, for Game of Thrones finally managed to break the six year domination of Doctor Who and won for the episode “Blackwater”. Next year will certainly be interesting in this category, when we have a rather lackluster Neil Gaiman written Doctor Who episode, the 50th anniversary special, the episode that was supposed to reveal the name of the Doctor, but didn’t and possibly a regeneration episode, too, going up against the Red Wedding.

I can’t say much about the graphic novel and the artist categories, ditto for best podcast. The choices for best editor, best semiprozine and best fanzine should be pretty non-controversial as well (but then you never know). Finally, I am very pleased that Tansy Rayner Roberts won the best fan writer Hugo.

Strangelove for Science Fiction has photos of the winners. I was quite surprised that the gentleman standing next to George R.R. Martin is Rory McCann, the actor who plays The Hound in Game of Thrones, since I didn’t recognize him without the make-up.

The voting breakdown, including works which didn’t make the nomination list, may be seen here BTW. And since Hugo voting is rather cryptic, Nicholas Whyte has taken it upon himself to analyze the breakdown. What I find particularly interesting is that the Cambridge Companion to Fantasy, which would have been my personal favourite in the best related work category, lost out to the podcast by only a couple of votes. Larry Correia, whose self-promotional efforts caught quite a bit of flak during the “Hugos are broken” debate earlier this year, narrowly missed being nominated in the best novel category (Correia himself comments on his blog). Seanan McGuire narrowly lost out garnering another nomination in the short story category. The nominees who didn’t quite make it in the fan writer category are also interesting.

As for reactions, so far everything has been surprisingly quiet. Mondyboy shares his Hugo reactions at The Hysterical Hamster and Cheryl Morgan has some Hugo thoughts here. Among other things, she writes:

I gather that the Angry Young Men brigade thinks that Scalzi winning Best Novel is a sign of the death of civilization.

In fact, that pretty much was my first thought as well. My, a whole lot of people will be very pissed off at this. But oddly enough, the angry young men, at least the usual suspects among them, remain strangely silent so far. At The Guardian, David Barnett has a summary of this spring’s Hugo controversy, but that’s all so far. I suspect the angry young men are still too jetlagged or hungover to react.

Finally, there is some sad news to report, for legendary writer and editor (and in recent years blogger) Frederick Pohl died today aged 93. His last blog post is dated September 2, 2013 BTW, so he was active right up to the end. Jo Walton shares her reactions to the news at Tor.com.

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15 Responses to 2013 Hugo and Campbell Awards: Get out the popcorn!

  1. Andrew Trembley says:

    The producers of Writing Excuses don’t consider their work appropriate to the Fancast category, because they’re professional writers talking about the craft and business of writing.

    “Best Related Work” was first “Best Non-fiction Book” and used to be “Best Related Book” but was expanded to other media. It’s kind of a sloppy category with a wide range of eligible content types.

    • Cora says:

      Thanks for the clarification.

      I agree that the “best related work” category is a bit messy. Last year, there even was a filk CD among the nominees.

      • Andrew Trembley says:

        I think Seanan’s CD belonged in one of the Dramatic Presentation categories (there is a precedent for an album to be nominated and put in the ballot) rather than “related work.” But there were enough nominators who put it there, and no technical/objective justification in the rules for the administrators to move it.

        In those cases, it’s “let the electorate sort them out.”

        • Cora says:

          Dramatic presentation would certainly have been more appropriate, though she would’ve been creamed by either Doctor Who or Hollywood movies in either dramatic presentation categories.

  2. Mark says:

    Just out of curiosity, did you read the nominated stories/novels that you mention here or are your preferences based on your overall opinion about the nominated writers (past work, reviews, genre, origin or whatever).

    I was disappointed about Sanderson’s win, too. I thought Aliette de Bodard’s novella was by far the best in this category (Jay Lake’s was award-worthy too, Nancy Kress’s story was well-written and entertaining, but lacked originality).

    I really liked Pat Cadigan’s The Girl Thing Who Went Out for Sushi (my first choice), and I’m quite happy that it won.

    In the short story category Aliette de Bodard’s story was my first choice, but Ken Liu’s was award-worthy, too.

    I didn’t vote in the novel category this year (and most of the other categories). Not a single novel that I was interested in. I didn’t even download the novel package from the Hugo Voters packet.

    • Cora says:

      It’s half and half (not a Hugo voter this year, so no packet. But next year…).

      In the novel category I read the Bujold (cause I follow the series) and the Scalzi. I heard good things about Saladin Ahmed’s Throne of the Crescent Moon and wouldn’t have minded to see it to win, if only to strike a blow for diversity in the genre. I didn’t read the Robinson and the Mira Grant, cause I neither care for Kim Stanley Robinson nor for zombies.

      Novella: I read the Jay Lake and Aliette de Bodard and enjoyed them both. I didn’t read the Nancy Kress, but heard good things, plus it did win the Nebula Award. Didn’t read the Mira Grant (zombies) and the Sanderson was barely on my radar, because usually doesn’t write things that interest me.

      Novelette: I read both Seanan McGuire stories and liked them all right. I didn’t read the Pat Cadigan, though I love the title and like her work in general. Didn’t read the Catherynne Valente (not a fan) and the Thomas Oude Heuvelt, though I wouldn’t have minded if he won, cause there isn’t enough Dutch SFF.

      Short stories: I read Aliette de Bodard and Kij Johnson, but not Ken Liu, cause I didn’t have the anthology it was published in. Though I hear Lightspeed has reprinted it.

      Films: Didn’t watch a single one, though it’s pretty clear that The Avengers would take this one. My personal favourite Beasts of the Southern Wild, wasn’t even nominated.

      TV: Watched and enjoyed Game of Thrones, gave up on Doctor Who a while back, never got into Fringe in the first place.

  3. Andrew Trembley says:

    If you want to see the Angry Young (?) Men ranting about Scalzi, I suggest you check out John Ringo’s Facebook post in which he asserts Scalzi’s pandering to a liberal conspiracy is what won him this Hugo.

    • Cora says:

      That certainly sounds popcorn worthy.

      • Andrew Trembley says:

        Not really. It’s pretty much a tl;dr whine-fest by self-identified conservatives who claim a liberal elite conspiracy is systematically denying their Hugo-worthiness and shunting the award over to someone who panders to them.

        • Cora says:

          Larry Correia’s “Please, please nominate me for a Hugo” in overdrive then mixed with a bit of the “Straw Communists ruined publishing and stole my Hugo” that can be found on the blogs of certain right leaning writers.

  4. Pat Cadigan says:

    My name is Pat Cadigan. Not ‘cardigan’, Cadigan.

  5. stfg says:

    I know Ken Liu’s story was hard to come by without buying the whole anthology it was in or by getting a Hugo voter packet. However, Mark, of Mark Reads, read the three short shory nominees out loud on his website if you would like to listen to it. Link here:

  6. Pingback: Hugos and Worldcon Redux | Cora Buhlert

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