2019 Hugo Awards Celebrate the Fantasy Existing Among Us

Featured Image for 2019 Hugo Award

Thousands of science fiction and fantasy fans arrived in Dublin this month to take part in the 77th World Science Fiction Convention. The activities and attractions culminated on Sunday with the Hugo Awards, when a selection of winners were presented with coveted socket ship trophies.

The award for Best Novel went to Mary Robinette Kowal’s The Calculating Stars, a story of triumph over prejudice set in an alternate 1950s where the US space program has been spurred on by a catastrophic meteor crash. The Calculating Stars also won the Nebula Award for Best Novel back in May, marking the only overlap between two awards’ prose categories this year.

For the second year in a row, Best Novella has gone to an entry in Martha Wells’ popular Murderbot Diaries series, with Artificial Condition taking the prize. Best Novelette went to “If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again” by Zen Cho, while “A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies” by Alix E. Harrow was named best short story. These three pieces of short fiction share the theme of non-human beings mingling among us: Martha Wells’ story is about a security cyborg trying to fit in with humans; Zen Cho’s tale follows a dragon-like being as it befriends an academic; and Alix E. Harrow’s story is based on the idea that countless librarians are secretly witches, guiding the lives of young library visitors.

The title of Best Series went to Becky Chambers’ space opera Wayfarers, the most recent volume of which — Record of a Spaceborn Few — was also a runner-up for Best Novel. Chambers is only the second author to win in this category, which was introduced in 2017 and went to Lois McMaster Bujold in both of its previous iterations.

Uncanny Magazine — which received plenty of attention last year for a special issue from disabled contributors — won its fourth Hugo Award for Best Semiprozine.

For the third year in a row, a volume of Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda’s Monstress was named Best Graphic Story. In the Best Dramatic Presentation categories, the long form winner was the animated superhero adventure Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, while the short form award went to The Good Place episode “Janet(s)” — marking the afterlife series’ second victory in that category.

The Best Editor awards went to Navah Wolfe for long form and Gardner Dozois for short form. The latter is a posthumous victory for the influential Dozois, who sadly passed away in May 2018.

This year, the Hugo Awards introduced a special one-off category for Best Art Book. The winner was The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition, in which the late Ursula K. Le Guin’s much-loved fantasy series was given a new dimension by illustrator Charles Vess. Vess also won the Hugo Award for Best Professional Artist.

The award for Best Related Work went to one of the most offbeat finalists on the ballot: the fanfiction website Archive of Our OwnFounded in 2009, this site has long since moved from merely archiving fanfic to advocating for it, and so its representation at the Hugos can be seen not merely as a victory for a particular website but to an entire ethos of fannish creativity.

In the dedicated fan categories, Lady Business won Best Fanzine for the second time; Foz Meadows took Best Fan Writer; Best Fancast went to Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe’s Our Opinions Are Correct, which launched last year; and Mia “Likhain” Sereno was named Best Fan Artist.

Presented alongside the Hugos were the two awards that, while not officially Hugos, are part and parcel of the same voting process. The first of these was the Campbell Award for Best New Writer, which went to Under the Pendulum Sun author Jeannette Ng. The second was the Lodestar Award for Young Adult Book, introduced in 2018 and won this year by Tomi Adeyemi’s Children of Blood and Bone.

Also taking place at Dublin were the Retro Hugos, honouring works that would have been eligible in 1944 — one of the years in which the Hugos were skipped. The Retro Hugos were presented on Thursday, with Fritz Leiber’s classic Conjure Wife taking the prize for Best Novel; Ray Bradbury’s “King of the Gray Spaces” (also known as “R is for Rocket”) winning Best Short Story; “Mimsy Were the Borogoves”, written by C.L. Moore and Henry Kuttner under the joint pseudonym of Lewis Padgett, being named Best Novelette; and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s beloved picture book The Little Prince ending up as the somewhat outside-the-box winner of Best Novella.

In Best Graphic Story, an early issue of Wonder Woman beat out an international gathering of heroes that included Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers and Plastic Man from America, Tintin from Belgium and Garth from Britain. The two Best Dramatic Presentation awards were won by the afterlife fantasy Heaven Can Wait and the Universal monster-mash Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man — the latter being just brief enough to qualify as short form.

John W. Campbell was named Best Professional Editor, Short Form (an award for Long Form was not presented); Virgil Finlay was dubbed Best Professional Artist; and Forrest J. Ackerman was the unsurprising winner of Best Fan Writer. Finally, the award for Best Fanzine went to Le Zombie — an influential publication perhaps best remembered for introducing the term “space opera”

2019 Hugo Awards

Best Novel

  • Winner: The Calculating Stars, by Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor)
  • Record of a Spaceborn Few, by Becky Chambers (Hodder & Stoughton / Harper Voyager)
  • Revenant Gun, by Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris)
  • Space Opera, by Catherynne M. Valente (Saga/Corsair)
  • Spinning Silver, by Naomi Novik (Del Rey / Macmillan)
  • Trail of Lightning, by Rebecca Roanhorse (Saga)

Best Novella

  • Winner: Artificial Condition, by Martha Wells (Tor.com Publishing)
  • Beneath the Sugar Sky, by Seanan McGuire (Tor.com Publishing)
  • Binti: The Night Masquerade, by Nnedi Okorafor (Tor.com Publishing)
  • The Black God’s Drums, by P. Djèlí Clark (Tor.com Publishing)
  • Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach, by Kelly Robson (Tor.com Publishing)
  • The Tea Master and the Detective, by Aliette de Bodard (Subterranean Press / JABberwocky Literary Agency)

Best Novelette

  • Winner: “If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again,” by Zen Cho (B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog, 29 November 2018)
  • “The Last Banquet of Temporal Confections,” by Tina Connolly (Tor.com, 11 July 2018)
  • “Nine Last Days on Planet Earth,” by Daryl Gregory (Tor.com, 19 September 2018)
    The Only Harmless Great Thing, by Brooke Bolander (Tor.com Publishing)
  • “The Thing About Ghost Stories,” by Naomi Kritzer (Uncanny Magazine 25, November-December 2018)
  • “When We Were Starless,” by Simone Heller (Clarkesworld 145, October 2018)

Best Short Story

  • Winner: “A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies,” by Alix E. Harrow (Apex Magazine, February 2018)
  • “The Court Magician,” by Sarah Pinsker (Lightspeed, January 2018)
  • “The Rose MacGregor Drinking and Admiration Society,” by T. Kingfisher (Uncanny Magazine 25, November-December 2018)
  • “The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington,” by P. Djèlí Clark (Fireside Magazine, February 2018)
  • “STET,” by Sarah Gailey (Fireside Magazine, October 2018)
  • “The Tale of the Three Beautiful Raptor Sisters, and the Prince Who Was Made of Meat,” by Brooke Bolander (Uncanny Magazine 23, July-August 2018)

Best Series

  • Winner: Wayfarers, by Becky Chambers (Hodder & Stoughton / Harper Voyager)
  • The Centenal Cycle, by Malka Older (Tor.com Publishing)
  • The Laundry Files, by Charles Stross (most recently Orbit/Tor and Tor.com publishing)
  • Machineries of Empire, by Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris)
  • The October Daye Series, by Seanan McGuire (most recently DAW)
  • The Universe of Xuya, by Aliette de Bodard (most recently Subterranean Press)

Best Related Work

  • Winner: Archive of Our Own, a project of the Organization for Transformative Works
  • Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction, by Alec Nevala-Lee (Dey Street Books)
  • The Hobbit Duology (documentary in three parts), written and edited by Lindsay Ellis and Angelina Meehan (YouTube)
  • An Informal History of the Hugos: A Personal Look Back at the Hugo Awards, 1953-2000, by Jo Walton (Tor)
  • www.mexicanxinitiative.com: The Mexicanx Initiative Experience at Worldcon 76 (Julia Rios, Libia Brenda, Pablo Defendini, John Picacio)
  • Ursula K. Le Guin: Conversations on Writing, by Ursula K. Le Guin with David Naimon (Tin House Books)

Best Graphic Story

  • Winner: Monstress, Volume 3: Haven, written by Marjorie Liu, art by Sana Takeda (Image Comics)
  • On a Sunbeam, by Tillie Walden (First Second)
  • Abbott, written by Saladin Ahmed, art by Sami Kivelä, colours by Jason Wordie, letters by Jim Campbell (BOOM! Studios)
  • Black Panther: Long Live the King, written by Nnedi Okorafor and Aaron Covington, art by André Lima Araújo, Mario Del Pennino and Tana Ford (Marvel)
  • Paper Girls, Volume 4, written by Brian K. Vaughan, art by Cliff Chiang, colours by Matt Wilson, letters by Jared K. Fletcher (Image Comics)
  • Saga, Volume 9, written by Brian K. Vaughan, art by Fiona Staples (Image Comics)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

  • Winner: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, screenplay by Phil Lord and Rodney Rothman, directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman (Sony)
  • Annihilation, directed and written for the screen by Alex Garland, based on the novel by Jeff VanderMeer (Paramount Pictures / Skydance)
  • Avengers: Infinity War, screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo (Marvel Studios)
  • Black Panther, written by Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole, directed by Ryan Coogler (Marvel Studios)
  • A Quiet Place, screenplay by Scott Beck, John Krasinski and Bryan Woods, directed by John Krasinski (Platinum Dunes / Sunday Night)
  • Sorry to Bother You, written and directed by Boots Riley (Annapurna Pictures)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

  • Winner: The Good Place: “Janet(s),” written by Josh Siegal & Dylan Morgan, directed by Morgan Sackett (NBC)
  • The Expanse: “Abaddon’s Gate,” written by Daniel Abraham, Ty Franck and Naren Shankar, directed by Simon Cellan Jones (Penguin in a Parka / Alcon Entertainment)
  • Doctor Who: “Demons of the Punjab,” written by Vinay Patel, directed by Jamie Childs (BBC)
  • Dirty Computer, written by Janelle Monáe and Chuck Lightning, directed by Andrew Donoho and Chuck Lightning (Wondaland Arts Society / Bad Boy Records / Atlantic Records)
  • The Good Place: “Jeremy Bearimy,” written by Megan Amram, directed by Trent O’Donnell (NBC)
  • Doctor Who: “Rosa,” written by Malorie Blackman and Chris Chibnall, directed by Mark Tonderai (BBC) 

Best Professional Editor, Short Form

  • Winner: Gardner Dozois
  • Neil Clarke
  • Lee Harris
  • Julia Rios
  • Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas
  • E. Catherine Tobler

Best Professional Editor, Long Form

  • Winner: Navah Wolfe
  • Sheila E. Gilbert
  • Anne Lesley Groell
  • Beth Meacham
  • Diana Pho
  • Gillian Redfearn

Best Professional Artist

  • Winner: Charles Vess 
  • Galen Dara
  • Jaime Jones
  • Victo Ngai
  • John Picacio
  • Yuko Shimizu

Best Semiprozine

  • Winner: Uncanny Magazine, publishers/editors-in-chief Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas, managing editor Michi Trota, podcast producers Erika Ensign and Steven Schapansky, Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction Special Issue editors-in-chief Elsa Sjunneson-Henry and Dominik Parisien
  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies, editor-in-chief and publisher Scott H. Andrews
  • Fireside Magazine, edited by Julia Rios, managing editor Elsa Sjunneson-Henry, copyeditor Chelle Parker; social coordinator Meg Frank, special features editor Tanya DePass, founding editor Brian White, publisher and art director Pablo Defendini
  • FIYAH Magazine of Black Speculative Fiction, executive editors Troy L. Wiggins and DaVaun Sanders, editors L.D. Lewis, Brandon O’Brien, Kaleb Russell, Danny Lore, and Brent Lambert
  • Shimmer, publisher Beth Wodzinski, senior editor E. Catherine Tobler
  • Strange Horizons, edited by Jane Crowley, Kate Dollarhyde, Vanessa Rose Phin, Vajra Chandrasekera, Romie Stott, Maureen Kincaid Speller, and the Strange Horizons Staff

Best Fanzine

  • Winner: Lady Business, editors Ira, Jodie, KJ, Renay & Susan
  • Galactic Journey, founder Gideon Marcus, editor Janice Marcus
  • Journey Planet, edited by Team Journey Planet
  • nerds of a feather, flock together, editors Joe Sherry, Vance Kotrla and The G
  • Quick Sip Reviews, editor Charles Payseur
  • Rocket Stack Rank, editors Greg Hullender and Eric Wong 

Best Fancast

  • Winner: Our Opinions Are Correct, hosted by Annalee Newitz and Charlie Jane Anders
  • Be the Serpent, presented by Alexandra Rowland, Freya Marske and Jennifer Mace
    The Coode Street Podcast, presented by Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe
  • Fangirl Happy Hour, hosted by Ana Grilo and Renay Williams
  • Galactic Suburbia, hosted by Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce, and Tansy Rayner Roberts, produced by Andrew Finch
  • The Skiffy and Fanty Show, produced by Jen Zink and Shaun Duke; hosted by Jen Zink, Shaun Duke, Paul Weimer, Alex Acks, Elizabeth Fitzgerald, Trish Matson, and team

Best Fan Writer

  • Winner: Foz Meadows
  • James Davis Nicoll
  • Charles Payseur
  • Elsa Sjunneson-Henry
  • Alasdair Stuart
  • Bogi Takács 

Best Fan Artist

  • Winner: Likhain (Mia Sereno)
  • Sara Felix
  • Grace P. Fong
  • Meg Frank
  • Ariela Housman
  • Spring Schoenhuth

Best Art Book

  • Winner: The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition, illustrated by Charles Vess, written by Ursula K. Le Guin (Saga Press /Gollancz)
  • Daydreamer’s Journey: The Art of Julie Dillon, by Julie Dillon (self-published)
  • Dungeons & Dragons Art & Arcana: A Visual History, by Michael Witwer, Kyle Newman, Jon Peterson, Sam Witwer (Ten Speed Press)
  • Spectrum 25: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art, ed. John Fleskes (Flesk Publications)
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – The Art of the Movie, by Ramin Zahed (Titan Books)
  • Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth, ed. Catherine McIlwaine (Bodleian Library)

John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer

  • Winner: Jeannette Ng (2nd year of eligibility)
  • Katherine Arden (2nd year of eligibility)
  • S.A. Chakraborty (2nd year of eligibility)
  • R.F. Kuang (1st year of eligibility)
  • Vina Jie-Min Prasad (2nd year of eligibility)
  • Rivers Solomon (2nd year of eligibility) 

Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book

  • Winner: Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi Adeyemi (Henry Holt / Macmillan Children’s Books)
  • The Belles, by Dhonielle Clayton (Freeform / Gollancz)
  • The Cruel Prince, by Holly Black (Little, Brown / Hot Key Books)
  • Dread Nation, by Justina Ireland (Balzer + Bray)
  • The Invasion, by Peadar O’Guilin (David Fickling Books / Scholastic)
  • Tess of the Road, by Rachel Hartman (Random House / Penguin Teen)

1944 Retro Hugo Awards

Best Novel

  • Winner: Conjure Wife, Fritz Leiber, Jr. (Unknown Worlds 4/43)
  • Das Glasperlenspiel [The Glass Bead Game], Hermann Hesse (Fretz & Wasmuth)
  • Gather, Darkness!, Fritz Leiber, Jr. (Astounding Science-Fiction 5/43-7/43)
  • Perelandra, C.S. Lewis (John Lane, The Bodley Head)
  • Earth’s Last Citadel, C.L. Moore & Henry Kuttner (Argosy 4/43)
  • The Weapon Makers, A.E. van Vogt (Astounding Science-Fiction 2/43-4/43)

Best Novella

  • Winner: The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (Reynal & Hitchcock)
  • “We Print the Truth”, Anthony Boucher (Astounding Science-Fiction 12/43)
  • “Attitude”Hal Clement (Astounding Science-Fiction 9/43)
  • “The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath”, H.P. Lovecraft (Beyond the Wall of Sleep)
  • The Magic Bed-Knob; or, How to Become a Witch in Ten Easy Lessons, Mary Norton (Hyperion)
  • “Clash by Night”Lawrence O’Donnell (C.L. Moore & Henry Kuttner) (Astounding Science-Fiction 3/43)

Best Novelette

  • Winner: “Mimsy Were the Borogoves”, Lewis Padgett (C.L. Moore & Henry Kuttner) (Astounding Science-Fiction 2/43)
  • “Citadel of Lost Ships”, Leigh Brackett (Planet Stories 3/43)
  • “The Halfling”, Leigh Brackett (Astonishing Stories 2/43)
  • “Thieves’ House”, Fritz Leiber, Jr (Unknown Worlds 2/43)
  • “The Proud Robot”, Lewis Padgett (Henry Kuttner) (Astounding Science-Fiction 10/43)
  • “Symbiotica”, Eric Frank Russell (Astounding Science-Fiction 10/43)

Best Short Story

  • Winner: “King of the Gray Spaces” (AKA “R is for Rocket”), Ray Bradbury (Famous Fantastic Mysteries 12/43)
  • “Death Sentence”, Isaac Asimov (Astounding Science Fiction 11/43)
  • “Yours Truly – Jack the Ripper”, Robert Bloch (Weird Tales 7/43)
  • “Exile”, Edmond Hamilton (Super Science Stories 5/43)
  • “Q.U.R.”, H.H. Holmes (Anthony Boucher) (Astounding Science-Fiction 3/43)
  • “Doorway into Time”, C.L. Moore (Famous Fantastic Mysteries 9/43)

Best Graphic Story

  • Winner: Wonder Woman #5: “Battle for Womanhood”, William Marsden & Harry G. Peter (DC Comics)
  • Plastic Man #1: “The Game of Death”, Jack Cole (Vital Publications)
  • Garth, Steve Dowling (Daily Mirror)
  • Le Secret de la Licorne [The Secret of the Unicorn], Hergé (Le Soir)
  • Buck Rogers: “Martians Invade Jupiter”, Philip Nowlan & Dick Calkins (National Newspaper Service)
  • Flash Gordon: “Fiery Desert of Mongo”, Alex Raymond (King Features Syndicate)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

  • Winner: Heaven Can Wait
  • Batman
  • Cabin in the Sky
  • A Guy Named Joe
  • Münchhausen
  • Phantom of the Opera

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

  • Winner: Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man
  • The Ape Man
  • Der Fuehrer’s Face
  • I Walked with a Zombie
  • The Seventh Victim
  • Super-Rabbit

Best Professional Editor, Short Form

  • Winner: John W. Campbell
  • Oscar J. Friend
  • Mary Gnaedinger
  • Dorothy McIlwraith
  • Raymond A. Palmer
  • Donald A. Wollheim

Best Professional Artist

  • Winner: Virgil Finlay
  • Hannes Bok
  • Margaret Brundage
  • Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
  • J. Allen St. John
  • William Timmins

Best Fanzine

  • Winner: Le Zombie
  • Futurian War Digest
  • Guteto
  • The Phantagraph
  • Voice of the Imagi-Nation
  • YHOS

Best Fan Writer

  • Winner: Forrest J Ackerman
  • Morojo (Myrtle Douglas)
  • Jack Speer
  • Wilson “Bob” Tucker
  • Art Widner
  • Donald A. Wollheim
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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.