The winners of the 2016 Hugo Awards were just announced at the 74th World Science Fiction Convention in Kansas City, Missouri. It’s the second year in a row where the awards have been mired in controversy, yet the fan community has once again proven that science fiction is a truly global genre, belonging to all people.
Photo credit: Fred Teifeld
The winners and nominations for each category are outlined below. Texts highlighted in bold were the winners of each category. Texts highlighted in red were listed in the Rabid Puppies slate. I have listed the categories in order of presentation, to provide some commentary on how the ceremony unfolded.
Best Fan Artist
- Steve Stiles
- Matthew Callahan
- Christian Quinot
As the only nominee not on the Rabid Puppies list, Steve Stile’s victory heralded another backlash against the Puppies. His acceptance speech was heartfelt and beautiful.
Best Fan Writer
- Mike Glyer
- Douglas Ernst
- Morgan Holmes
- Jeffro Johnson
- Shamus Young
Mike Glyer must have a whole room full of Hugo trophies (four as Best Fan Writer, and now seven for Best Fanzine); it’s great to see him recognized again.
- No Award
- 8-4 Play, Mark MacDonald, John Ricciardi, Hiroko Minamoto, and Justin Epperson
- Cane and Rinse, Cane and Rinse
- HelloGreedo, HelloGreedo
- The Rageaholic, RazörFist
- Tales to Terrify, Stephen Kilpatrick
With the category dominated by slate nominations, the first “No Award” of the night confirmed the ongoing backlash against the Rabid Puppies.
- File 770 edited by Mike Glyer
- Castalia House Blog edited by Jeffro Johnson
- Lady Business edited by Clare, Ira, Jodie, KJ, Renay, and Susan
- Superversive SF edited by Jason Rennie
- Tangent Online edited by Dave Truesdale
Aside from last year’s Guardians of the Galaxy, this is the first time in two years that an award has gone to a nominee from a slate. Yet Mike Glyer’s File 770 is enormously popular across the entire fan community (this is File 770‘s seventh Hugo Award since 1984) and would’ve likely been a nomination even without the endorsement of the Puppies. It will be interesting to see how the Rabid Puppies interpret this result.
The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer
- Andy Weir
- Pierce Brown
- Sebastien de Castell
- Brian Niemeier
- Alyssa Wong
There’s little doubt that Andy Weir deserved this award – The Martian was one of the best novels in 2014 and then one of the best films of 2015 (and it won the Hugo for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form- see below!). Weir is one of those rare writers who can transform realistic science into a thrilling story.
- Uncanny Magazine edited by Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas, Michi Trota, and Erika Ensign & Steven Schapansky
- Beneath Ceaseless Skies edited by Scott H. Andrews
- Daily Science Fiction edited by Michele-Lee Barasso and Jonathan Laden
- Sci Phi Journal edited by Jason Rennie
- Strange Horizons edited by Catherine Krahe, Julia Rios, A. J. Odasso, Vanessa Rose Phin, Maureen Kincaid Speller, and the Strange Horizons staff
Michi Trota’s acceptance speech, as the first Filipino Hugo Award winner, was a beautiful celebration of how science fiction is a truly global phenomenon.
Best Related Work
- No Award
- Between Light and Shadow: An Exploration of the Fiction of Gene Wolfe, 1951 to 1986 by Marc Aramini (Castalia House)
- “The First Draft of My Appendix N Book” by Jeffro Johnson (jeffro.wordpress.com)
- “Safe Space as Rape Room” by Daniel Eness (castaliahouse.com)
- SJWs Always Lie: Taking Down the Thought Police by Vox Day (Castalia House)
- “The Story of Moira Greyland” by Moira Greyland (askthebigot.com)
The second (and last) “No Award” for the night came in a category dominated by controversial and unpopular nominees from Vox Day’s Castalia House. There were tense hisses from the audience as the nominees were announced. The result is a firm statement against the Puppies.
Best Professional Artist
- Abigail Larson
- Lars Braad Andersen
- Larry Elmore
- Michal Karcz
- Larry Rostant
Best Graphic Story
- The Sandman: Overture written by Neil Gaiman, art by J.H. Williams III (Vertigo)
- The Divine written by Boaz Lavie, art by Asaf Hanuka and Tomer Hanuka (First Second)
- Erin Dies Alone written by Grey Carter, art by Cory Rydell (dyingalone.net)
- Full Frontal Nerdity by Aaron Williams (ffn.nodwick.com)
- Invisible Republic Vol 1 written by Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman, art by Gabriel Hardman (Image Comics)
Neil Gaiman’s acceptance speech (read by Randall Shepherd) absolutely savaged the entire idea of slating, labeling the Puppies as “sad losers” who have undermined the Hugo Awards. It’s the first time in the last two years that a winner has openly acknowledged the slating controversy on stage. Apparently Gaiman’s margin of victory was enormous, according to online commentary by Cheryl Morgan.
Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form
- Jessica Jones: “AKA Smile” written by Scott Reynolds, Melissa Rosenberg, and Jamie King, directed by Michael Rymer (Marvel Television; ABC Studios; Tall Girls Productions; Netflix)
- Doctor Who: “Heaven Sent” written by Steven Moffat, directed by Rachel Talalay (BBC Television)
- Grimm: “Headache” written by Jim Kouf and David Greenwalt, directed by Jim Kouf (Universal Television; GK Productions; Hazy Mills Productions; Open 4 Business Productions; NBCUniversal Television Distribution)
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: “The Cutie Map” Parts 1 and 2 written by Scott Sonneborn, M.A. Larson, and Meghan McCarthy, directed by Jayson Thiessen and Jim Miller (DHX Media/Vancouver; Hasbro Studios)
- Supernatural: “Just My Imagination” written by Jenny Klein, directed by Richard Speight Jr. (Kripke Enterprises; Wonderland Sound and Vision; Warner Bros. Television)
The inclusion of My Little Pony in the sizzle reel for these episodes felt like an absolute joke.
Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form
- The Martian screenplay by Drew Goddard, directed by Ridley Scott (Scott Free Productions; Kinberg Genre; TSG Entertainment; 20th Century Fox)
- Avengers: Age of Ultron written and directed by Joss Whedon (Marvel Studios; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
- Ex Machina written and directed by Alex Garland (Film4; DNA Films; Universal Pictures)
- Mad Max: Fury Road written by George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, and Nico Lathouris, directed by George Miller (Village Roadshow Pictures; Kennedy Miller Mitchell; RatPac-Dune Entertainment; Warner Bros. Pictures)
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens written by Lawrence Kasdan, J. J. Abrams, and Michael Arndt, directed by J.J. Abrams (Lucasfilm Ltd.; Bad Robot Productions; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
The Martian overcame some tough competition, but it reaffirms Andy Weir’s ability to tell a gripping story with realistic science. (Although, I admit it, I wish the award had gone to Star Wars.)
Best Editor, Short Form
- Ellen Datlow
- John Joseph Adams
- Neil Clarke
- Jerry Pournelle
- Sheila Williams
Best Editor, Long Form
- Sheila E. Gilbert
- Vox Day
- Liz Gorinsky
- Jim Minz
- Toni Weisskopf
Best Short Story
- “Cat Pictures Please” by Naomi Kritzer (Clarkesworld, January 2015)
- “Asymmetrical Warfare” by S. R. Algernon (Nature, Mar 2015)
- “If You Were an Award, My Love” by Juan Tabo and S. Harris (voxday.blogspot.com, Jun 2015)
- “Seven Kill Tiger” by Charles Shao (There Will Be War Volume X, Castalia House)
- Space Raptor Butt Invasion by Chuck Tingle (Amazon Digital Services)
Kritzer’s acceptance speech good-naturedly thanked Chuck Tingle for providing everyone with something to laugh about.
- “Folding Beijing” by Hao Jingfang, trans. Ken Liu (Uncanny Magazine, Jan-Feb 2015)
- “And You Shall Know Her by the Trail of Dead” by Brooke Bolander (Lightspeed, Feb 2015)
- “Flashpoint: Titan” by CHEAH Kai Wai (There Will Be War Volume X, Castalia House)
- “Obits” by Stephen King (The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, Scribner)
- “What Price Humanity?” by David VanDyke (There Will Be War Volume X, Castalia House)
Ken Liu is becoming a regular fixture on stage at the Hugos, especially after last year’s win for The Three Body Problem. Hao Jingfang ended her speech with the hope that the future is brighter than the one depicted in her story.
- Binti by Nnedi Okorafor (Tor.com)
- The Builders by Daniel Polansky (Tor.com)
- Penric’s Demon by Lois McMaster Bujold (Spectrum)
- Perfect State by Brandon Sanderson (Dragonsteel Entertainment)
- Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds (Tachyon)
Another award that celebrates science fiction as a global phenomenon.
- The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)
- Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie (Orbit)
- The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher (Roc)
- Seveneves: A Novel by Neal Stephenson (William Morrow)
- Uprooted by Naomi Novik (Del Rey)
The most anticipated award of the night. Jemisin’s powerful acceptance speech was read by Alyssa Wong. It acknowledged her uphill battle in a year where a lobby group was actively campaigning against nominees such as herself. It celebrated “literary innovation and realistic representation,” things in which the Hugos have always excelled.
What conclusions can we draw from the 2016 Hugo Awards?
As I predicted, the results are much less clear cut than last year. Although some categories demonstrated a decisive backlash against the Rabid Puppies (particularly Best Fancast and Best Related Work), other categories acknowledged that the quality of nominations transcended any attempts to claim them for political agendas. Voter’s sentiments against the Puppies were most clearly felt in the less well-known categories.
In those categories where the winners had been listed on a slate, it certainly didn’t indicate a shift in the favour of the Puppies. Neil Gaiman’s return to the Sandman series (Best Graphic Story) was the closest thing to a shoo-in that the Hugos have ever seen; this victory belongs to Gaiman and J.H. William III alone, regardless of their endorsement by the Puppies. Gaiman’s speech unambiguously expressed his dislike of the Puppies’s slating tactics and how they have brought the Hugos into disrepute.
Jemisin’s win for Best Novel was an outstanding victory, especially against stiff competition from Leckie’s Ancillary Mercy and Stephenson’s incredibly popular Seveneves. Chaos Horizon had even predicted Novik’s Uprooted – it’s clear that Jemisin was something of an underdog in this contest. It will be interesting to see the data from the votes.
Early analysis of the results at Chaos Horizon show that the Rabid Puppies vote may have declined precipitously between the nomination stage and the final vote. Their waning influence over this year’s awards, combined with the potential change to the nomination process from E Pluribus Hugo, could mean that this is the last year that a slating controversy cripples the awards.
The real question, going forward from here, is whether the reputation of the Hugo Awards has been irreparably damaged, or whether these last couple of years will prove to be an aberration for an otherwise prestigious institution.
Congratulations to all the winners (and nominees) of the 2016 Hugo Awards!