June 6th, 2016

buzz

My Hugo and #RetroHugos1941 votes: Best Novella

As noted previously, it is more difficult this year than last year to assess the impact that slate voting had on the final ballot for the Hugos. For some guidance on that question, once again I'm looking at the File 770 straw poll, where the top novellas that readers reported nominating were:

Penric’s Demon, by Lois McMaster Bujold (25)
Binti, by Nnedi Okorafor (16)
Witches of Lychford, by Paul Cornell (13)
“The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn”, by Usman T. Malik (12)
The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps, by Kai Ashante Wilson (12)
“The New Mother”, by Eugene Fischer (11)

In fact the first two of these did make it to the final ballot, Binti without slate support and Penric’s Demon with support both from the Rabid Puppies and from me; if the File 770 readership is representative of the broader non-Puppy Hugo electorate (which of course it may not be), “Slow Bullets”, by Alastair Reynolds (7), would not have been far off either, whereas “The Builders”, by Daniel Polansky (3) was probably further, and “Perfect State” by Brandon Sanderson (0) further still.

It's probably also worth noting that all four of the slated finalists have distanced themselves from the slate in pretty clear terms. (Okorafor's views are also pretty clear.)

My own nominations were:

1941
"The Mound", by H.P. Lovecraft and Zealia Bishop
"If This Goes On—", by Robert A. Heinlein (finalist)
Fattypuffs and Thinifers, by Andre Maurois
The Invention of Morel, by Adolfo Bioy Casares
"But Without Horns", by Norvell Page

2016
"Citadel of Weeping Pearls", by Aliette de Bodard
Penric's Demon, by Lois McMaster Bujold (finalist)
Witches of Lychford, by Paul Cornell
"The New Mother", by Eugene Fischer
A Day In Deep Freeze, by Lisa Shapter

So one of my five choices made the final ballot for both 1941 and 2016, and in both cases, having read the other four possibilities, my surviving nominee will remain my top preference.

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The quality gap between the 1941 and 2016 lists is rather less here than for other categories (mainly because the 1941 list has a couple of weak finalists). My votes for 2016 are as follows:

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I'm hoping that the one 1940 novelette that I haven't otherwise found will show up in the Retro Hugo packet from MidAmeriCon 2 - I've read all the others, including the 2015 finalists.

Best Novel (1941/2016) / Best Novella (1941/2016) / Best Novelette (1941/2016) / Best Short Story (1941/2016) / Best Related Work (2016) / Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form) (1941/2016) / Art categories (1941/2016) / John W. Campbell Award