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Hugo Ballot Announced

That Finnish Worldcon has announced this year's finalists for the Hugo Awards.

You can hear the nominees announced by Finns, here:

Alternatively, you could just go to LOCUS and read the list for yourself:

Congratulations to everyone who made the ballot, and condolences to those who didn't.

All in all, this is the best ballot we've had in several years, mostly because the impact of the slates has ebbed somewhat. Maybe it was EPH and the rules changes, or maybe they just got tired, but whatever the reason, not a single category this year was slated top to bottom. Yeah, there are some finalists that are plainly unworthy... but there's real choice in every category, and I doubt that the halls of Helsinki will be resounding to the sound of "No Award." I haven't read everything that's on the ballot -- that's one of the things the Hugo ballot has traditionally been good for, it makes a great reading list -- and when I do, I probably won't like everything. But I expect I will like something in every category, and that's all I really ask for.

Personally, I'm thrilled to see that two episodes of GAME OF THRONES were nominated in Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form: our two Emmy winners, as it happens, "Battle of the Bastards" and "The Door." I know David Benioff and Dan Weiss will be also been thrilled, along with our cast and crew and all the good people at HBO. Helsinki is a lot closer to Belfast than the US, so there's even a chance that David and Dan might fly in for the ceremony (shooting schedule permitting), as they did for Loncon. If they can't, the lovely Sibel Kekilli will help me represent GOT on the night, as Ron Donachie and Rory McCann did in prior years.

Of course, we face some hellacious tough competition. "Leviathan Wakes" has also been nominated, the finale of season one of THE EXPANSE, along with "San Junipero" from BLACK MIRROR, my favorite episode from that terrific show. And of course there's an episode of DR. WHO in there, as there always is, along with a sixth nominee that I'm unfamiliar with, as yet. As it happens, there were three episodes of GAME OF THRONES that got enough votes to make the final ballot, but this year a new rule went into effect, limiting each series to no more than two nominees. That's the DR. WHO rule. It's been needed for years, and I'm glad to see it in place, but it's one of life's little ironies that the first show it bites is not DR. WHO, but GAME OF THRONES. But one must not be greedy. It IS an honor just to be nominated, and a double honor to be nominated twice, so thanks to all the fans out there who gave us one of their votes.

Those who follow my Not A Blog regularly will know that I made recommendations in a number of different categories (though by no means all) during the nominating period. Some of them made the cut, and some did not. And that's fine, that's the way it goes, the way it always went before the advent of the slates. You make your picks, and sometimes your fellow fans agree and sometimes they don't, and that's why it's a horse race. Anyone who works in this field for long, as writer, artist, editor, or fan, will have their share of both celebrations and disappointments. I certainly have. But you know, you can even celebrate your disappointments; that's what the Hugo Losers Party is all about.

And yes, I will confess, I am very disappointed that WILD CARDS did not get a nod in the new Best Series category, it being our thirtieth anniversary and all. On the other hand, a number of my Wild Carders did very well. In that same Best Series category, Jimmy Corey and Max Gladstone are both finalists, Carrie Vaughn got a nomination in Short Story, and the Newmans are nominated in Best Fancast. No Alfie for them this year, they may have to make do with a Hugo. Oh, and speaking of that, I was also pleased to see how many Alfie winners made the ballot. Alyssa Wong has two nominations, Ursula Vernon is up in Short Story, Liz Gorinsky is nominated for Best Editor Long Form, John Joseph Adams for Best Editor Short Form, Julie Dillon for Best Pro Artist, and JOURNEY PLANET for Best Fanzine.

Which reminds me, now that the ballot is out, one of the things I'm doing to have to ponder is whether or not I need to give out Alfies this year. My first inclination is to say, hey, maybe not, doesn't look as though they're necessary. But they were fun, so let me mull that a while. I still have a lot of hood ornaments in the basement.

One thing I can say for sure about the Hugo Awards: this year, like every year, there will be more losers than winners. Which means we'll need another Hugo Losers Party.

I do hope Robert Silverberg wins. I would so look forward to seeing him in a conehead.


Apr. 5th, 2017 01:46 am (UTC)
Since Helsinki is unusual in the way that not all convention guests will be lodging at the convention center's adjunct hotel, I wonder how all the parties - room and otherwise - will work?
Apr. 5th, 2017 02:03 am (UTC)
Your guess is as good as mine.
Matt Stedman
Apr. 5th, 2017 01:52 am (UTC)
Puppy contingent
Do you think its possible there is less Puppy influence this year because their ilk are pretty much running the country now and don't care about sweating the small stuff anymore?
Apr. 5th, 2017 02:04 am (UTC)
Re: Puppy contingent
You'd have to ask a puppy.
Apr. 5th, 2017 03:07 am (UTC)
Re: Puppy contingent
Disillusionment may also be a culprit. The God-Emperor Trump has proven underwhelming so far, to say the least. I wouldn't be surprised if some have simply lost enthusiasm for the culture war against the SJWs and the snowflakes now that their hero's administration is proving as corrupt and incompetent as all signs should have told them it would be.
Williamjames Hoffer
Apr. 5th, 2017 06:18 pm (UTC)
Re: Puppy contingent
We should be very careful about creating black v. white, good v. evil categories. With the way some of the snowflakes have behaved at places like Berkeley, Middlebury, and Yale, it is really hard to tell which is which. Some of us are even tempted to argue the snowflakes/SJWs are the orcs! ;)
Apr. 8th, 2017 10:42 pm (UTC)
Re: Puppy contingent
Everybody: stop with the "snowflake" crap, or you'll be deleted and banned.

The Puppies call themselves the Puppies. No one calls themselves the Snowflakes.

Edited at 2017-04-08 10:43 pm (UTC)
Apr. 5th, 2017 07:59 pm (UTC)
Re: Puppy contingent
The Rabid Puppies, who march in lockstep with VD, basically decided to get behind one (sometimes two) nominations per category to minimize the effect of EPH... which neatly served to prove EPH was indeed the right way to go. File 770 had a run down of what they slated and what made the ballot.
Stephen Richter
Apr. 5th, 2017 02:04 am (UTC)
re: Hugos
I too was happy to see the Puppies influence wane. I hope because everyone took care to vote the downpage categories, and not because the Puppies all got jobs in the Trump Government! I too got to nominate and at least one of my picks in each category got in. Thanks for your help, especially in the Long Editor section. It was hard to find out who edited my favorite books unless the author mentioned it in social media. Plus I have tickets for StokerCon so I see you later this month.
Anthony DeMarco
Apr. 5th, 2017 02:10 am (UTC)
San Junipero
San Junipero was so amazing, glad to see it get recognition out of all the other possible nominees out there. I'll still be rooting for Thrones of course!
Adam Shelton
Apr. 5th, 2017 02:15 am (UTC)
Alfie Awards
I thought your Alfie awards were really fun, and classed up the joint for a few years when they were sorely needed. I would really like to see them stick around for a while if there's a way to maintain the original spirit of the award in a year where the power of the slates has clearly ebbed.

P.S. I marvel every year at how many more books you are able to get through than I, but I have managed to keep up with Alyssa Wong's work and I'm super excited to see her recognized. She is top notch.
Alan Dants
Apr. 5th, 2017 02:57 am (UTC)
Dramatic Presentation - Long
Would Stranger Things get your vote?
Apr. 5th, 2017 05:25 am (UTC)
RE: Dramatic Presentation - Long
I loved Stranger Things but it is up against some tough competition.
Alan Dants
Apr. 5th, 2017 03:03 pm (UTC)
Re: Dramatic Presentation - Long
Arrival and Rogue One were amazing as well, but Ghostbusters? I'm still trying to block that one out of my head forever. I certainly don't think it is on par with the other nominees. Now if Sense8 was nominated, then I would do a happy dance.
Apr. 5th, 2017 07:17 pm (UTC)
Re: Dramatic Presentation - Long
I found the new GHOSTBUSTERS entertaining, but I don't think it is on a par with the other finalists either. And while HIDDEN FIGURES was a great film, it is not science fiction... yes, I know the rules make it eligible on the same basis as APOLLO 13 and the real moon landings, but I didn't agree with those either.

Myself, I would have favored more television series in those slots. STRANGER THINGS got on, but the amazing first season of WESTWORLD was more worthy of a Long Form nod than several items on the ballot, I thought.
Alan Dants
Apr. 5th, 2017 11:26 pm (UTC)
Re: Dramatic Presentation - Long
Good point- I mean Westworld vs. Ghostbusters? There's really just no comparison. And I am sure you are also a big fan of the composer for Westworld's soundtrack! (Ramin is so awesome!) I suppose I did laugh at the absurdity of Chris Hemworth's character and Kate McKinnon had her moments in Ghostbusters, but that is one film I am certain I will never watch again in my life. (Sorry Tywin)
Apr. 6th, 2017 02:11 pm (UTC)
Re: Dramatic Presentation - Long
I don't like having films and TV seasons in the same category; I think they are too different to compare fairly. Since we now have more than enough eligible TV to have a decent ballot of TV seasons, it makes sense to me that we should have three lengths of Dramatic Presentation (TV episode for one-offs and episodic shows, film for films and TV season for season-long TV arcs). 200 minutes would probably work as the break between films and TV seasons.

If there can be four - now five - lengths for written fiction, why not three for dramatic presentations?
Apr. 6th, 2017 09:39 pm (UTC)
Re: Dramatic Presentation - Long
We have too many Hugo categories already. We should be eliminating some, not adding more.
Apr. 5th, 2017 04:02 am (UTC)
Speaking of conventions...
...well this is as good a post to remark on this as any: some weeks ago I asked if you could help out by asking Anne Groell or Gardner Dozois if they could attend our local NYC-area convention; you wrote back saying you forwarded the messages (thanks!) though I guess they were unable to come.

It was a pretty small convention (even the big panels had at best 20 people at them, for things like Westworld). Still given that it was an entirely grassroots attempt at presenting an "academic" track of Westeros-themed panels, the people who did come had a lot of fun.

At any rate, I did manage to record all 8 hours of it and post them on to youtube - I can only hope you find time to peruse them if you've got time on your hands from writer's block again:


To bring this back on topic: I didn't really announce the convention track very well in advance, with the Brotherhood Without Banners, and after I gave a report on it on the forums a couple of people said they actually would have come had I told them.

...well, the problem was I started getting increasingly afraid that given that I was presenting panels on "Gender & Sexuality, Westeros compared to the real Middle Ages" and "Social Status of Women, in Westeros and the Real Middle Ages"...I got kind of paranoid that the Sad Puppies (or whatever they call themselves) would crash the panels. Which is pretty silly, it was a tiny local convention, but they seem kind of everywhere.

Apr. 5th, 2017 06:56 am (UTC)
Re: Speaking of conventions...
Well, yeah, it was kind of silly. They're not everywhere, at least not in numbers large enough to notice. And I haven't seen them "crashing" any panels at any cons I've attended.

The internet always lowers the level of discourse and distorts our perceptions of each other, I think. On the few occasions when I have met a Puppy at a con, we've managed perfectly civil conversation, even where we disagreed strongly. They may call themselves Puppies, but they don't actually bite.

And of course if you're hanging with the Brotherhood Without Banners, you're surrounded by some of the best people in fandom.

In any case, I am glad you had a good con, and thanks for the link... though I don't know that I am going to be up for listening to eight hours of panels any time soon.
Apr. 5th, 2017 05:06 am (UTC)
Well that episode of Doctor Who is no competition at all. Jumping on the superhero bandwagon without adding anything to the genre. This is in contrast to the previous year where "Heaven Sent" was one of those episodes that makes slogging through years of mediocrity worthwhile.
Apr. 5th, 2017 06:10 am (UTC)
All categories appear to have worthy contenders, but I'm disappointed with some authors that get overlooked. I know it won't be a popular opinion, but I'm starting to feel like the Hugo Award is losing its relevance. It feels like the same clique of 1500 to 2000 people constantly recommending the same stuff to each other. I see great authors like Pierce Brown, Victoria Schwab, and Sylvain Neuvel get overlooked. I find it strange that a book can win a GoodReads Choice Award by a landslide, and not get a Hugo nomination.
I think WorldCon's aging membership needs to promote itself more to attract a wider membership.

I did my part and nominated. Many of the nominees are worthy, but I'd like to see young up and coming authors get the recognition they deserve.

Congratulations and good luck to those nominated.
Apr. 5th, 2017 06:42 am (UTC)
That list of finalists is full of young up and coming authors.

Maybe not the same ones you like, but no less up and coming.

Some of the people unhappy with the list are saying things like, "I've never heard of these people." Which is what they always say when new writers are nominated. I am sure back in 1974, when I was nominated for my first Hugo, some people said, "Hey, who is this Martin guy, never heard of him."

I don't think there's anything odd about GoodReads favoring different books than worldcon. Every award has its own constituency. The Nebulas, the Howies, the Stokers, the Tiptrees, these new Dragons... none of them ever align precisely. Nor should they.

But keep nominating. Some of the things you like will make the ballot, some won't. That's how it's always been.
Apr. 5th, 2017 11:18 am (UTC)
Who is is this Martin guy, again?
Craig Dickson
Apr. 5th, 2017 06:20 am (UTC)
I haven't paid much attention to the Hugos in a long time; is it unusual that not a single nominated story of any length was originally published in Analog, Asimov's, or F&SF? Rather a sad commentary on the state of the last survivors of the golden era of SF magazines.
Apr. 5th, 2017 06:43 am (UTC)
It's an internet age now, whether we like it or not. I am not thrilled with that myself, to tell the truth. Those print magazines were the foundation of my own career.
Gregory Hullender
Apr. 5th, 2017 02:27 pm (UTC)
A Peripheral Affair
I still have my copy of the 1973 F&SF with your story, "A Peripheral Affair" in it. It was my first copy of any SFF magazine ever.
Apr. 5th, 2017 07:32 am (UTC)
Short fiction categories
It seems that the success of some of the classic magazines in the short fiction categories has declined rather steeply in recent times. Where's Asimov's? Analog? F&SF?

I wonder why that is. Does anybody have an explanation?
Piet Nel
Apr. 5th, 2017 08:31 pm (UTC)
Re: Short fiction categories
Isn't it obvious? Clarkesworld, Lightspeed, Tor.com, Beneath Ceaseless Skies and others are producing tons of world class fiction that can be read for free. The traditional magazines still need payment.

Don't get me wrong—I subscribe to Asimov's and F&SF, and those are the magazines I'm loyal to, but it's going to be tough for the to get on the ballot from now on.

Watch the Sturgeon Awards, though. Because it's a juried award, the print magazines have a level playing field.
Apr. 5th, 2017 09:24 am (UTC)
Doctor Who has been on a break, hence fewer nominations.
Albert Jackson
Apr. 5th, 2017 10:26 am (UTC)
The Expanse
Thanks goodness The Expanse got a Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form) nod!
I really like Stranger Things at lot, but the Expanse was better as a long form.
Maybe next year since the 2nd season of The Expanse has been better than the first! (Still needs more viewers , at least there will be a 3rd.)

I love Hidden Figures , but gee, it is neither science fiction or fantasy.
Apr. 5th, 2017 10:57 am (UTC)
Ursula Vernon ...
... is up for Novelette and not Short Story. Small correction.
Doug Lee
Apr. 5th, 2017 12:50 pm (UTC)
print magazines
In my opinion the stories printed in the big 3 magazines are mostly excellent. I'm guessing the Hugo voters haven't read those stories because they aren't free to read.
Apr. 5th, 2017 01:45 pm (UTC)
Hurray for Obelisk Gate! I'm reading it right now.
Apr. 5th, 2017 02:42 pm (UTC)
Mr. Martin, if you had a choice(which you may) in choosing a spin off for GOT? What story-line would you choose? I personally like anything involving the Mad king. Thanks

Apr. 5th, 2017 03:26 pm (UTC)
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Apr. 5th, 2017 03:30 pm (UTC)
Hi George,
Thanks for all your work with the Hugos over the last couple of years.
I hope you don't mind me asking this question again, but I'm wondering if there were any fantasy novels you know of, before ASOIAF, that took economics as seriously as you do? Any particular inspirations, or is that one of the things that came more out of your interest in real world history?
Thanks so much for your time.
Apr. 5th, 2017 07:19 pm (UTC)
Abraham's DAGGER AND THE COIN is the only other one to come to mind, but you know about that one already.

A lot of fantasy just ignores the existance of money, let alone banking.
Apr. 5th, 2017 07:35 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for your reply! I truly appreciate your insight.
Looking forward to all your future work!
Christopher Frazier
Apr. 6th, 2017 06:12 am (UTC)
I was doing my best to think of some good examples of this myself. Since I read a lot of fantasy novels a year. I honestly cannot think of one. The times it is mentioned, it is when a character gives a gold coin to the inn keeper or something.
Rarely is the currency named if it is brought up. So ignoring money, ignoring sewer systems or the fact people go to the bathroom, making all non human races look the same, the chosen child, The good king is always a great ruler, the people in black clothes who hate the light are bad and the people in white clothes who worship the light are good.
Those are all typical things in many works of fantasy.
Apr. 6th, 2017 08:40 pm (UTC)
Robert Jordan's WHEEL OF TIME has a somewhat more developed sense of economy than that of many of his predecessors. There are banks, moneylenders, active references to differences in coinage between various lands as well as trade activity both within kingdoms and between kingdoms, and some of the tertiary characters (of which there are many) have mercantile or trade backgrounds.
Keith Russell Dulak
Apr. 6th, 2017 02:13 am (UTC)
Truly a great series with some of the best written characters in modern fantasy.
Craig Smith
Apr. 8th, 2017 06:45 pm (UTC)
Raymond E. Feist's Rise of a Merchant Prince has a good focus of economics. It's also one of my favourites in the whole riftwar saga
Apr. 5th, 2017 07:40 pm (UTC)
Harry Potter
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was released in July of 2016 which I think makes the Harry Potter series eligible for the Best Series Hugo. The Harry Potter series has won a Best Novel Hugo in the past and was a finalist in another year. It is the best selling SF&F series of all time according to the Wertzone blog with 450 million copies sold. Do you think the 1393 Worldcon members who voted on Best Series got it right when they said the following series were better? Do you think the wider SF&F fandom would agree?

The Craft Sequence, by Max Gladstone (Tor Books)
The Expanse, by James S.A. Corey (Orbit US / Orbit UK)
The October Daye Books, by Seanan McGuire (DAW / Corsair)
The Peter Grant / Rivers of London series, by Ben Aaronovitch (Gollancz / Del Rey / DAW / Subterranean)
The Temeraire series, by Naomi Novik (Del Rey / Harper Voyager UK)
The Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold (Baen)
Apr. 5th, 2017 08:00 pm (UTC)
Re: Harry Potter
I think that awards are not determined by sales figures. Nor should they be. If they were, every major fantasy award for the past decade would have gone to J.K. Rowling, Robert Jordan, Stephen King, and... well, me.

There is already a great award for bestselling books. Money. Sell as many copies as Harry Potter has, and it arrives in dumptrucks, boxcars, 747s. You can fill your swimming pool and roll in it, like Scrooge McDuck. You can indulge your fantasies, you can try to do good in the world, you can pay forward... or not, as you are inclined.

Do I think the worldcon voters got it right in their nominations for Best Series? No, not entirely. They left off Wild Cards.

But all in all, those are some pretty good nominations.
(Deleted comment)
Christopher Frazier
Apr. 6th, 2017 06:00 am (UTC)
Re: Hugos
Harry Potter was crafted for children/young adults in mind but anyone can be a fan. You also have to keep in mind, The Hobbit and Watership Down were crafted for children as well.
Both those books in my opinion are in the top 5 best books (or series) in the past 117 years (others agree). 50 Shades of Grey was a book people were freaking out about but I did not sit down and force myself to read it - much less force myself to like it. Because I knew it was not for me.
My point is, who a book is supposed to be written for and the popularity level should not matter when it comes to the Hugo Awards. Nor should it cause people to turn up their noses and think it lesser.
As a Marvel comic book reader I had many an English snob explain to me how they are far from real literature and for children. Like I was somehow stupid and below them.

People do not always agree with lists I could make a list of the top 10 movies every year - or the top 10 cookies of all time. Many would not agree. Such is the nature of any list sculpted by opinion (votes and or the creator of the list)

Edited at 2017-04-06 06:14 am (UTC)
Apr. 6th, 2017 01:44 pm (UTC)
Re: Hugos
Harry Potter actually did win a Hugo, for GOBLET OF FIRE.

I agree the series doesn't really live up to the hype, though. If it hadn't sold a gazillion copies, I would have simply considered it a slightly above average children's novel and forgotten about it.

Also, personal pet peeve: the relentless demonization of Slytherin annoyed me. Who out there in wizardling world thought it was a good idea to create four houses in the local boarding school and deliberately sort all the worst assholes into only one? The fact that, by Word of God, they aren't ALL bad just makes it worse; if you're the token good Slytherin, you get to spend your formative years up to your eyeballs in racist assholes, while being told by the adults that it's where you belong.

A bit like being born into House Bolton and having a squeamishness about blood and a fondness for kittens. Makes childhood rather awkward, really.

In addition, the 'ambition' that makes you a Slytherin appears to be universally perceived as 'ambition to gain power and dominate others.' What if I ended up in Slytherin because I'm very ambitious, but my ambition is to cure cancer?
Sean Patrick Hazlett
Apr. 6th, 2017 06:35 am (UTC)
Writer Inspiration
Given all this talk of Hugos and writing, I just wanted to thank you, George, for inspiring me to write. I first started reading your A Song of Ice and Fire series back in 2003 when I was still in the Army, and it blew me away.

My story, "Adramelech", appears in the latest volume of Writers of the Future, and I would love to send you a copy to show you my appreciation if you don't already have one. I've been told it's the darkest story ever to appear in the contest in 33 years.


Elliot Grantaire Bluma
Apr. 7th, 2017 05:37 pm (UTC)
Splendor and Misery
The sixth entry that you have yet to familiarize yourself with is actually a really fantastic noise rap group called clipping., the last time a musical number was nominated for this award was Jefferson Starship in the early 70's ('71, I believe). Frankly, I'd be extremely interested in seeing your opinion on them, as their work differs greatly from the other nominees.


George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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