Andy Weir (finalist)
Those who topped the File 770 straw poll were:
Becky Chambers (22)
Andy Weir (22)
Natasha Pulley (16)
Scott Hawkins (10)
Kelly Robson (10)
Alyssa Wong (10)
with nobody else getting more than five. Sebastien de Castell and Pierce Brown were each nominated by one File 770 responder, and Brian Niemeier by none. All of the finalists apart from Alyssa Wong were on the slate; it's reasonably to assume that Weir would have made it without slate assistance, but Becky Chambers' exclusion is a travesty.
6) Brian Niemeier. The Hugo packet includes a novel by Niemeier, Nethereal, and a shorter story, "Strange Matter". I lost patience with the novel within the first hundred pages, an astonishingly dull mixture of magic, sf and combat. The short story had a more original idea but botched the execution. In case it matters to you, Niemeier is a full-on supporter of the Puppies, but more importantly, his writing just isn't that good. No hesitation in putting him last.
5) No Award. Despite the puppydom, I actually thought that all the others had points of redemption, and I'm feeling in a generous mood.
4) Pierce Brown. I had actually read Red Rising for the Clarke Award last year. My note to fellow judges was as follows: "I thought this was good but not great; leant a little too heavily on Ender and Hunger Games, though to an extent also on Homer, and was frankly turned off by the violence (not all of which was plausible). Readable enough but I won't be pushing it."
3) Sebastien de Castell. His novel The Traitor's Blade was also included in the Hugo packet, and I found it pretty readable, even though sword-and-sorcery isn't usually my thing. I felt it lost its way a bit towards the end.
2) Alyssa Wong. Her short story "Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers" is included in the packet, and has already made her the second youngest Nebula winner ever. I thought it was a great piece, but it veers rather far into horror for my taste, and it's the only writing that I can judge her by.
1) Andy Weir. I quite enjoyed The Martian as a book; I really loved the film, which perhaps makes me view the book more favourably. There's also a bit of me that feels that the Campbell Award can reasonably recognise precocious achievement, and it's clear that both Weir and Wong have displayed that. In the end, I enjoyed The Martian just a bit more than "Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers", so Weir gets my vote.
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