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  • Writer's pictureSteve Haywood

SF Awards 2020 Part Two – Hugo Award Nominees

Updated: Dec 15, 2020

Last month I wrote about the Nebula Award nominees, and also my reading challenge to read all of the nominees (well, novels and short stories at least, plus some of the novellas/novelettes). I promised an update, which hasn’t materialised yet, but I’ll get to that soon, promise. In the meantime, here’s the Hugo Award nominees which came out this week, which I’m adding to my challenge.

It’s worth noting that there’s *a lot* of categories for the Hugos. I know this because I watched the live stream of the nominees being announced and it went on, like, half an hour. I’m not going to cover all of them here, but if you want to look at the full list, go here.

Hugo Award Nominees for Best Novel 2020

Okay we’ll start with the biggie, best novel. Here are this year’s nominees (links to Goodreads page):

The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders – Set on a planet with a permanent night and a permanent light side. Add autocratic government, rationing of light and a character that rises up against that, and you’ve got what promises to be a good story.

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir – swordplay, politics, lesbian necromancers… what more could you ask for? Also a Nebula Award nominee.

The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley – A new take on space opera and military SF, where soldiers travel to the front line by being transformed into light (not sure how that works, but hey)

A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine – an interesting and fresh take on the space opera, combined with a murder mystery with some interesting tech – and philosophy/psychology.

Middlegame by Seanan McGuire – Reed, a practitioner of the the alchemical arts, creates two beings to raise to godhood, and then take their authority as his own. Very unusual concept – should be interesting!

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow – Books and portals to other worlds from the writer who brought us the Hugo Award winning short story ‘A Witches Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies. Great books.

I’ve read two of these, A Memory Called Empire and The Ten Thousand Doors of January, both of which are also Nebula nominees. Of the others, the only one I’ve not come across at all before is Middlegame. It’s by Seanan McGuire, the author of the very popular Wayward Children series. Rather than YA Fantasy though, this one is adult SF and it looks really interesting.

Hugo Award Nominees for Best Short Story 2020

Happily, all of these are available to read for free online, the links are to where you can read the story (magazine its from in brackets).

And Now His Lordship Is Laughing, by Shiv Ramdas (Strange Horizons) As the Last I May Know, by S.L. Huang ( Blood Is Another Word for Hunger, by Rivers Solomon ( A Catalog of Storms, by Fran Wilde (Uncanny Magazine) Do Not Look Back, My Lion, by Alix E. Harrow (Beneath Ceaseless Skies) Ten Excerpts from an Annotated Bibliography on the Cannibal Women of Ratnabar Island, by Nibedita Sen (Nightmare Magazine)

Of these I’ve read Do Not Look Back, My Lion, but that’s all for now. Looking forward to reading the rest soon.

Best Novella

Sadly, none of these are available for free.

Anxiety Is the Dizziness of Freedom, by Ted Chiang The Deep, by Rivers Solomon, with Daveed Diggs, William Hutson & Jonathan Snipes The Haunting of Tram Car 015, by P. Djèlí Clark ( Publishing) In an Absent Dream, by Seanan McGuire ( Publishing) This Is How You Lose the Time War, by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone To Be Taught, If Fortunate, by Becky Chambers

This is How You Lose the Time War was one of my favourite reads of last year, so I’m really pleased to see it on this list (though I’d have classed it as a short novel rather than a novella, but that’s just me).

Best Novelette

A couple of free ones here, I’ve put links to where you can get it for free online.

The Archronology of Love, by Caroline M. Yoachim (Lightspeed, April 2019) Away With the Wolves, by Sarah Gailey (Uncanny Magazine: Disabled People Destroy Fantasy Special Issue, September/October 2019) The Blur in the Corner of Your Eye, by Sarah Pinsker (Uncanny Magazine, July-August 2019) Emergency Skin, by N.K. Jemisin For He Can Creep, by Siobhan Carroll Omphalos, by Ted Chiang

Also, if you have Amazon Prime or Kindle Unlimited, you may be able to get Emergency Skin by N.K. Jemisin for free – it is one of a series of near future novellas by different authors; I read one by Blake Crouch which was excellent.

I will be updating soon with where I’m upto with Hugo & Nebula Award reads.

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