2016 Hugo Awards Winners: Dogged Determination

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
Hao Jingfang and Ken Liu
Hugo winner Hao Jingfang, with translator Ken Liu

The 2016 Hugo Awards were handed out on Saturday night, the voters having chosen their favourites from a controversial ballot that was heavily affected by the Rabid Puppies slating campaign.

Top prize of Best Novel went to The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin, while Nnedi Okorafor’s Binti, Hao Jingfang’s “Folding Beijing” and Naomi Kritzer’s “Cat Pictures Please” won in the short fiction categories.

The fact that all four prose fiction awards went to women—and an ethnically diverse group of women, at that—has already led to tedious claims that the voters practiced “affirmative action.” But speaking as someone who has read all of the finalists in those categories, I honestly found The Fifth Season, Binti, and “Folding Beijing” to be the most deserving contenders in their respective brackets, despite strong competition from writers such as Stephen King, Brandon Sanderson, and Neal Stephenson. I was, admittedly, less convinced by “Cat Pictures Please,” but then, there were slim pickings in the Short Story category.

The Sandman: Overture, by Neil Gaiman and J. H. Williams III, was the winner in Best Graphic Story. The two Best Dramatic Presentation categories were won by The Martian and the Jessica Jones episode “AKA Smile.” Uncanny Magazine was named Best Semiprozine, and File 770 took Best Fanzine. Its editor, Mike Glyer, also won the trophy for Best Fan Artist. Finally, the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer went to Andy Weir, author of The Martian.

The Fifth Season

Last year, the Worldcon voters responded to the Sad and Rabid Puppies by voting “No Award” in every category that was dominated by Puppy-slated finalists: The casualties were Short Story, Novella, Related Work, and the two Editor categories. It was long unclear, however, whether the 2016 Hugos would see a similar result.

After all, the two Puppy campaigns showed a different make-up this year. The Sad Puppies—now led by Kate Paulk, Sarah Hoyt, and Amanda Green—took a more open approach to assembling their list, accepting nominations from people outside the campaign. Meanwhile, the Rabid Puppies slate specifically included works that would likely have made the Hugo ballot anyway, presumably to vex the Worldcon members who would vote “No Award” to any and all slated nominees. One example of this is the Rabid slate for the Best Graphic Story category, which includes a book by Worldcon favourite Neil Gaiman alongside four works that stood much less chance of reaching the ballot without Puppy help.

When the 2016 ballot was announced back in April, the effect of the Sad Puppies turned out to be negligible. While a number of choices from the Sad list were nominated, all of them were either well-liked by the regular Worldcon voting base or also included on the Rabid slate. It was the Rabid Puppies, then, that caused the most disruption.

The categories swept entirely by Rabid choices—and, consequently, in most danger of going to No Award—were Related Work, Graphic Story, Professional Artist, and Fancast.

Binti, by Nnedi OkoraforIn practice, the Worldcon voting base was comparatively gentle towards slated nominees this year. Multiple “human shields,” such as The Sandman: Overture, won trophies despite appearing on the Rabid Puppies list, while a few other slated nominees in the more prominent categories made it above “No Award.” Perhaps surprisingly, Chuck Tingle’s “Space Raptor Butt Invasion” was not one of them. Although nominated as a prank by the Rabid Puppies, Tingle’s humorous response to becoming a finalist meant that his story gained some vocal advocates from outside Puppy circles.

The only categories that saw “No Award” take first place were Best Fancast and Best Related Work. The latter was particularly controversial, with George R. R. Martin referring to it as a “toxic swamp.” Four of the finalists in this section were from Castalia House, a company set up by Rabid Puppies founder Vox Day. The fifth was an essay by Moira Greyland, daughter of SF author and child molester Marion Zimmer Bradley, arguing that the gay rights movement was unknowingly encouraging pedophilia. Marc Aramini’s Between Light and Shadow: An Exploration of the fiction of Gene Wolfe, 1951 to 1986 was generally agreed to be the best of the bunch and finished second to “No Award.”

In addition, Thursday, August 18th saw the presentation of the Retro Hugos honouring works from 1941.

2016 Hugo Awards Winners and Runners-Up

Best Novel

  • Winner: The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)
  • Uprooted by Naomi Novik (Del Rey)
  • Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie (Orbit)
  • Seveneves: A Novel by Neal Stephenson (William Morrow)
  • The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher (Roc)

Best Novella

  • Winner: Binti by Nnedi Okorafor (Tor.com)
  • Penric’s Demon by Lois McMaster Bujold (Spectrum)
  • Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds (Tachyon)
  • Penric’s Demon by Lois McMaster Bujold (Spectrum)
  • Perfect State by Brandon Sanderson (Dragonsteel Entertainment)
  • The Builders by Daniel Polansky (Tor.com)

Best Novelette

  • Winner: “Folding Beijing” by Hao Jingfang, trans. Ken Liu (Uncanny Magazine, Jan-Feb 2015)
  • “And You Shall Know Her by the Trail of Dead” by Brooke Bolander (Lightspeed, Feb 2015)
  • “Obits” by Stephen King (The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, Scribner)
  • No Award
  • “What Price Humanity?” by David VanDyke (There Will Be War Volume X, Castalia House)
  • “Flashpoint: Titan” by CHEAH Kai Wai (There Will Be War Volume X, Castalia House)

Best Short Story

  • Winner: “Cat Pictures Please” by Naomi Kritzer (Clarkesworld, January 2015)
  • No Award
  • Space Raptor Butt Invasion by Chuck Tingle (Amazon Digital Services)
  • “Asymmetrical Warfare” by S. R. Algernon (Nature, Mar 2015)
  • “Seven Kill Tiger” by Charles Shao (There Will Be War Volume X, Castalia House)
  • “If You Were an Award, My Love” by Juan Tabo and S. Harris (voxday.blogspot.com, Jun 2015)

Best Related Work

  • No Award
  • Between Light and Shadow: An Exploration of the Fiction of Gene Wolfe, 1951 to 1986 by Marc Aramini (Castalia House)
  • “The Story of Moira Greyland” by Moira Greyland (askthebigot.com)
  • “The First Draft of My Appendix N Book” by Jeffro Johnson (jeffro.wordpress.com)
  • “Safe Space as Rape Room” by Daniel Eness (castaliahouse.com)
  • SJWs Always Lie: Taking Down the Thought Police by Vox Day (Castalia House)

Best Graphic Story

  • Winner: The Sandman: Overture written by Neil Gaiman, art by J.H. Williams III (Vertigo)
  • No Award
  • Invisible Republic Vol 1 written by Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman, art by Gabriel Hardman (Image Comics)
  • The Divine written by Boaz Lavie, art by Asaf Hanuka and Tomer Hanuka (First Second)
  • Full Frontal Nerdity by Aaron Williams (ffn.nodwick.com)
  • Erin Dies Alone written by Grey Carter, art by Cory Rydell (dyingalone.net)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

  • Winner: The Martian screenplay by Drew Goddard, directed by Ridley Scott (Scott Free Productions; Kinberg Genre; TSG Entertainment; 20th Century Fox)
  • Mad Max: Fury Road written by George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, and Nico Lathouris, directed by George Miller (Village Roadshow Pictures; Kennedy Miller Mitchell; RatPac-Dune Entertainment; Warner Bros. Pictures)
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens written by Lawrence Kasdan, J. J. Abrams, and Michael Arndt, directed by J.J. Abrams (Lucasfilm Ltd.; Bad Robot Productions; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
  • Ex Machina written and directed by Alex Garland (Film4; DNA Films; Universal Pictures)
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron written and directed by Joss Whedon (Marvel Studios; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

  • Winner: Jessica Jones: “AKA Smile” written by Scott Reynolds, Melissa Rosenberg, and Jamie King, directed by Michael Rymer (Marvel Television; ABC Studios; Tall Girls Productions;Netflix)
  • Doctor Who: “Heaven Sent” written by Steven Moffat, directed by Rachel Talalay (BBC Television)
  • Grimm: “Headache” written by Jim Kouf and David Greenwalt, directed by Jim Kouf (Universal Television; GK Productions; Hazy Mills Productions; Open 4 Business Productions; NBCUniversal Television Distribution)
  • No Award
  • Supernatural: “Just My Imagination” written by Jenny Klein, directed by Richard Speight Jr. (Kripke Enterprises; Wonderland Sound and Vision; Warner Bros. Television)
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: “The Cutie Map” Parts 1 and 2 written by Scott Sonneborn, M.A. Larson, and Meghan McCarthy, directed by Jayson Thiessen and Jim Miller (DHX Media/Vancouver; Hasbro Studios)

Best Editor, Short Form

  • Winner: Ellen Datlow
  • Sheila Williams
  • Neil Clarke
  • John Joseph Adams
  • No Award
  • Jerry Pournelle

Best Editor, Long Form

  • Winner: Sheila E. Gilbert
  • Liz Gorinsky
  • No Award
  • Toni Weisskopf
  • Jim Minz
  • Vox Day

Best Professional Artist

  • Winner: Abigail Larson
  • No Award
  • Michal Karcz
  • Larry Elmore
  • Larry Rostant
  • Lars Braad Andersen

Best Semiprozine

  • Winner: Uncanny Magazine edited by Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas, Michi Trota, and Erika Ensign & Steven Schapansky
  • Strange Horizons edited by Catherine Krahe, Julia Rios, A. J. Odasso, Vanessa Rose Phin, Maureen Kincaid Speller, and the Strange Horizons staff
  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies edited by Scott H. Andrews
  • No Award
  • Daily Science Fiction edited by Michele-Lee Barasso and Jonathan Laden
  • Sci Phi Journal edited by Jason Rennie

Best Fanzine

  • Winner: File 770 edited by Mike Glyer
  • Lady Business edited by Clare, Ira, Jodie, KJ, Renay, and Susan
  • No Award
  • Tangent Online edited by Dave Truesdale
  • Superversive SF edited by Jason Rennie
  • Castalia House Blog edited by Jeffro Johnson

Best Fancast

  • No Award
  • Tales to Terrify, Stephen Kilpatrick
  • The Rageaholic, RazörFist
  • 8-4 Play, Mark MacDonald, John Ricciardi, Hiroko Minamoto, and Justin Epperson
  • Cane and Rinse, Cane and Rinse
  • HelloGreedo, HelloGreedo

Best Fan Writer

  • Winner: Mike Glyer
  • No Award
  • Jeffro Johnson
  • Morgan Holmes
  • Shamus Young
  • Douglas Ernst

Best Fan Artist

  • Winner: Steve Stiles
  • No Award
  • Christian Quinot
  • Matthew Callahan
  • Kukuruyo
  • disse86

The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer

  • Winner: Andy Weir
  • Alyssa Wong
  • No Award
  • Pierce Brown
  • Sebastien de Castell
  • Brian Niemeier

1941 Retro Hugo Winners

Best Novel: Slan by A.E. Van Vogt (Astounding Science‐Fiction, Dec 1940)

Best Novella: “If This Goes On…” by Robert A. Heinlein (Astounding Science‐Fiction, Feb 1940)

Best Novelette: “The Roads Must Roll” by Robert A. Heinlein (Astounding Science‐Fiction, June 1940)

Best Short Story: “Robbie” by Isaac Asimov (Super Science Stories, Sept 1940)

Best Graphic Story: Batman #1 (Detective Comics, Spring 1940)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form: Fantasia written by Joe Grant and Dick Huemer, directed by Samuel Armstrong et al. (Walt Disney Productions, RKO Radio Pictures)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form: Pinocchio written by Ted Sears et al., directed by Ben Sharpsteen and Hamilton Luske (Walt Disney Productions, RKO Radio Pictures)

Best Editor, Short Form: John W. Campbell

Best Professional Artist: Virgil Finlay

Best Fanzine: Futuria Fantasia by Ray Bradbury

Best Fan Writer: Ray Bradbury

The categories for Best Related Work, Best Editor (Long Form), Best Fancast and Best Fan Artist were all dropped.

Doris V. Sutherland

Doris V. Sutherland

Horror historian, animation addict and tubular transdudette. Catch me on Twitter @dorvsutherland, or view my site at dorisvsutherland.com. If you like my writing enough to fling money my way, then please visit patreon.com/dorvsutherland or ko-fi.com/dorvsutherland.