Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form
1. Black Mirror: "San Junipero" - I thought this was brilliant and moving. It came second both in votes and nominations.
2. Doctor Who: "The Return of Doctor Mysterio" - last year's only Who episode, which I feel now presaged the distinct uptick in quality of this year's episodes. Came fifth in the vote.
3. Splendor & Misery [album] - Brilliant to see music getting on the list for a real concept album with an SF narrative theme. Scraped onto the ballot due to disqualifying one of the Game of Thrones episodes; came only sixth, sorry to say. Perhaps there is merit in looking at a music Hugo.
4. Game of Thrones: "The Door" - came a strong third.
5. Game of Thrones: "Battle of the Bastards" - came fourth.
6. The Expanse: "Leviathan Wakes" - Far ahead in the final vote, and topped the nominations ballot jointly with GoT episode "The Winds of War" (which was withdrawn by yhe makers). I have to admit I completely bounced off it, but I had not seen any of the earlier episodes. Obviously a lot of people had, or else found it easier to get into than I did. This was the only Hugo category this year where I ranked the actual winner as low as sixth.
Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form
1. Arrival - I was blown away by this as were many others. Almost 60% of nominators in the category nominated Arrival (including me) and it had by far the most crushing victory of any winner in any category. Likely to be the major sf movie of the decade.
2. Hidden Figures - also ranked second by the voters.
3. Ghostbusters - ranked sixth by the voters; à chacun son goût.
4. Stranger Things, Season One - also ranked fourth by the voters. I confess I wanthed only the first and last episodes. Would not have qualified if there had been only five finalists.
5. Rogue One - It seems that I was more disappointed by this than others were; it came third.
6. Deadpool - watched the first hour and decided it was not for me. Voters liked it a bit more and it ranked fifth. Although it had slate support, I am inclined to think it would have made the final ballot anyway.
Best Graphic Story
1. The Vision, Volume 1: Little Worse Than A Man - I started reading this with some resentment for the headscratching its fans had caused me during the process of finalising the ballot. But actually rather against my will I was charmed and gave it my top preference. Voters did not feel the same and raked it sixth.
2. Monstress, Volume 1: Awakening - I knew this was going to win as soon as I read it; gorgeous art and grim story, which also topped the nominations ballot. I was a little squicked by the violence, which bumped it down a place for me.
3. Paper Girls, Volume 1 - scraped into fourth place by two votes.
4. Saga, Volume 6 - raked third by voters.
5. Ms. Marvel, Volume 5: Super Famous - ranked second by voters.
6. Black Panther, Volume 1: A Nation Under Our Feet - ranked fifth by voters.
1. The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold - I've been a Bujold fan since roughly 2000, and am still captivated by her intensely political future empire and its grappling with modernity. The Vorkosigan Saga topped the nominations poll and had the most convincing victory of any winner other than Arrival. The qualifying volume this year was Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, a lovely romance set on Sergyar featuring Cordelia; not the greatest of the Vorkosigan books, but a decent enough capstone to the series. Second paragraph of third chapter:
Smiling, Oliver seated himself in the nearby wicker chair. “I remember how Aral used to rub them for you, after these ordeals.”2. The Peter Grant / Rivers of London series, by Ben Aaronovitch - I've been working through these and very much enjoying them, a good grim take on an alternate London. I've reviewed the first three here; I read the fourth, Broken Homes, earlier in the year and found the invocation of urban architecture very interesting, with a plot twist at the end that I didn't see coming. Second paragraph of its third chapter:
Despite the fact that services had returned to normal by the end of January, I was not really Mr Popular with Transport for London, who run the Underground and the BTP who have to police it. Which might be why, when Jaget said that he had some information for me, we didn’t meet in the BTP Headquarters at Camden Town but in a café just down the road.3. The Expanse, by James S.A. Corey - enjoyed the first volume, did not feel the need to track down the rest. Voters liked it more and ranked it in second place.
4. The Temeraire series, by Naomi Novik - enjoyed the first volume, did not feel the need to track down the rest. It came last in first preferences for the first round, but benefited from transfers to finish third.
5. The Craft Sequence, by Max Gladstone - thought the first two volumes were OK, was very glad that we were able to add games to the Hugo packet (at rather a late stage). Voters ranked it fifth.
6. The October Daye Books, by Seanan McGuire - Unlike the other series, I had not read any of these before, so I checked for the highest rated volume in LibraryThing and Goodreads, found that it was the eighth volume, The Winter Long, and read it. I completely bounced off the core concept of a Gaelic otherworld conveniently located in the American West, with no visible representation from other less foreign supernatural traditions. (Not the first time I’ve had this sort of problem with this author.) Second paragraph of third chapter:
I turned to find him studying the hallway walls, his hands folded politely behind his back. His face was visible only in profile, still softened and humanized by the illusion plastered over it. I guess he didn’t dare release it. Most people couldn’t catch the taste of his magic just by walking past him, but any child of Faerie, however weak, would be able to smell the rot lurking inside him if they were standing nearby when he dropped the spell.For whatever reason, voters also ranked it sixth; if there had been five finalists, this would not have been on the ballot.
The WSFS Business Meeting this year went ahead and ratified the Best Series award as a permanent category, despite my entreaties not to. The conscientious voter who likes to read all the finalists before voting simply will not be able to do so in this category, and will probably resort to a combination (like me) of balancing memories of books read in previous years with whatever the publishers decide to make available in the given time. I also think it goes against the spirit of the Hugos as honouring work completed in the previous year. The WSFS Business Meeting has spoken; perhaps in a few years it will speak again.
This is the last of my how-I-voted posts; I don’t feel I have much to contribute on the Artist categories and the others get a bit too personal for me to post them in public. I have set this to post in my absence; I get back from Africa tomorrow morning, all being well.