2017 Hugo Award Predictions

A few short notes before we get to the picks.

As you all know, this past year was a bit different than most for me.

I make these picks/predictions in an organic fashion.  They’re more “art” than “science”, based at least partially on the assumption that other awards and online discussion about fnalists provide some clues to the year’s zeitgeist.

Temper or flavor that with my personal take on the sensibilities and direction of Fandom (also gleaned largely from the web) over the previous year, add in a dash of consideration for trends, the entire history of the award and guess work derived from the subconsicous and there you have it, Hugo Award winner predictions that have been at least 80% accurate for the past several years.

It’s a funny accuracy.  Actually, accurate is not the right word to be using.  In the ballpark is perhaps more accurate than accuracy.  If I pick the winner of a category, that’s accurate.  If I pick the second place finisher, that’s accurate too, because you can’t be any closer except for picking the actual winner and, if I pick the third place finisher, that too is accurate because there’s usually some (good) reason as to why.

Admittedly, this lets me claim “in the ballpark” for fifty percent of the finishing places (1-5 plus No Award*), but where would the fun be without coming close at least a few times?

All this by way of saying:  I’ve not been on top of things this past year owing to other, more pressing concerns, so I don’t expect to be anywhere close to my 80%+ record.  Not even when we redefine accuracy as “in the ballpark”.

*Of course, I’m now in less than 50% territory as the new rules have added a finalist to the mix in each category, plus No Award.  42.8% to be a bit more precise.  Also of monumental change this year is the fact that fewer categories are as predictable as those dominated by puppy bloc voting.  Those were easy picks.  The winner was ALWAYS No Award, immediately followed by whatever non-puppy finalist managed to survive the BS.  I’ve only been wrong once in the previous 3 years on those kinds of categories.

That incorrect pick was Guardians of the Galaxy.  And I knew it was going to win over No Award (stated so in advance), but went with No Award in the Dramatic Presentation:  Long Form category anyway in the hopes that the prediction might help sway the outcome.

Which brings up my first set of pesudo-predictions for 2017:  What would the final outcome look like if 3 Stage Voting had been in place this year, as opposed to (hopefully) being in place next year.

Here are the category finalists for 2017:  (Puppy BS on the final ballot is marked in red)
Best Novel
All the Birds in the Sky, by Charlie Jane Anders (Tor Books / Titan Books)
A Closed and Common Orbit, by Becky Chambers (Hodder & Stoughton / Harper Voyager US)
Death’s End by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu (Tor Books / Head of Zeus)
Ninefox Gambit, by Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris Books)
The Obelisk Gate, by N. K. Jemisin (Orbit Books)
Too Like the Lightning, by Ada Palmer (Tor Books)

Best Novella
The Ballad of Black Tom, by Victor LaValle (Tor.com publishing)
The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe, by Kij Johnson (Tor.com publishing)
Every Heart a Doorway, by Seanan McGuire (Tor.com publishing)
Penric and the Shaman, by Lois McMaster Bujold (Spectrum Literary Agency)
A Taste of Honey, by Kai Ashante Wilson (Tor.com publishing)
This Census-Taker, by China Miéville (Del Rey / Picador)

Best Novelette
“Alien Stripper Boned From Behind By The T-Rex”, by Stix Hiscock (self-published)
“The Art of Space Travel”, by Nina Allan (Tor.com , July 2016)
“The Jewel and Her Lapidary”, by Fran Wilde (Tor.com publishing, May 2016)
“The Tomato Thief”, by Ursula Vernon (Apex Magazine, January 2016)
“Touring with the Alien”, by Carolyn Ives Gilman (Clarkesworld Magazine, April 2016)
“You’ll Surely Drown Here If You Stay”, by Alyssa Wong (Uncanny Magazine, May 2016)

Best Short Story
“The City Born Great”, by N. K. Jemisin (Tor.com, September 2016)
“A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers”, by Alyssa Wong (Tor.com, March 2016)
“Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies”, by Brooke Bolander (Uncanny Magazine, November 2016)
“Seasons of Glass and Iron”, by Amal El-Mohtar (The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales, Saga Press)
“That Game We Played During the War”, by Carrie Vaughn (Tor.com, March 2016)
“An Unimaginable Light”, by John C. Wright (God, Robot, Castalia House)

Best Related Work
The Geek Feminist Revolution, by Kameron Hurley (Tor Books)
The Princess Diarist, by Carrie Fisher (Blue Rider Press)
Traveler of Worlds: Conversations with Robert Silverberg, by Robert Silverberg and Alvaro Zinos-Amaro (Fairwood)
The View From the Cheap Seats, by Neil Gaiman (William Morrow / Harper Collins)
The Women of Harry Potter posts, by Sarah Gailey (Tor.com)
Words Are My Matter: Writings About Life and Books, 2000-2016, by Ursula K. Le Guin (Small Beer)

Best Graphic Story
Black Panther, Volume 1: A Nation Under Our Feet, written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, illustrated by Brian Stelfreeze (Marvel)
Monstress, Volume 1: Awakening, written by Marjorie Liu, illustrated by Sana Takeda (Image)
Ms. Marvel, Volume 5: Super Famous, written by G. Willow Wilson, illustrated by Takeshi Miyazawa (Marvel)
Paper Girls, Volume 1, written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Cliff Chiang, colored by Matthew Wilson, lettered by Jared Fletcher (Image)
Saga, Volume 6, illustrated by Fiona Staples, written by Brian K. Vaughan, lettered by Fonografiks (Image)
The Vision, Volume 1: Little Worse Than A Man, written by Tom King, illustrated by Gabriel Hernandez Walta (Marvel)

Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form)
Arrival, screenplay by Eric Heisserer based on a short story by Ted Chiang, directed by Denis Villeneuve (21 Laps Entertainment/FilmNation Entertainment/Lava Bear Films)
Deadpool, screenplay by Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick, directed by Tim Miller (Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation/Marvel Entertainment/Kinberg Genre/The Donners’ Company/TSG Entertainment)
Ghostbusters, screenplay by Katie Dippold & Paul Feig, directed by Paul Feig (Columbia Pictures/LStar Capital/Village Roadshow Pictures/Pascal Pictures/Feigco Entertainment/Ghostcorps/The Montecito Picture Company)
Hidden Figures, screenplay by Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi, directed by Theodore Melfi (Fox 2000 Pictures/Chernin Entertainment/Levantine Films/TSG Entertainment)
Rogue One, screenplay by Chris Weitz and Tony Gilroy, directed by Gareth Edwards (Lucasfilm/Allison Shearmur Productions/Black Hangar Studios/Stereo D/Walt Disney Pictures)
Stranger Things, Season One, created by the Duffer Brothers (21 Laps Entertainment/Monkey Massacre)

Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form)
Black Mirror: “San Junipero”, written by Charlie Brooker, directed by Owen Harris (House of Tomorrow)
Doctor Who: “The Return of Doctor Mysterio”, written by Steven Moffat, directed by Ed Bazalgette (BBC Cymru Wales)
The Expanse: “Leviathan Wakes”, written by Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby, directed by Terry McDonough (SyFy)
Game of Thrones: “Battle of the Bastards”, written by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, directed by Miguel Sapochnik (HBO)
Game of Thrones: “The Door”, written by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, directed by Jack Bender (HBO)
Splendor & Misery [album], by Clipping (Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, Jonathan Snipes)

Best Editor – Short Form
John Joseph Adams
Neil Clarke
Ellen Datlow
Jonathan Strahan
Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas
Sheila Williams

Best Editor – Long Form
Vox Day
Sheila E. Gilbert
Liz Gorinsky
Devi Pillai
Miriam Weinberg
Navah Wolfe

Best Professional Artist
Galen Dara
Julie Dillon
Chris McGrath
Victo Ngai
John Picacio
Sana Takeda

Best Semiprozine
Beneath Ceaseless Skies, editor-in-chief and publisher Scott H. Andrews
Cirsova Heroic Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine, edited by P. Alexander
GigaNotoSaurus, edited by Rashida J. Smith
Strange Horizons, edited by Niall Harrison, Catherine Krahe, Vajra Chandrasekera, Vanessa Rose Phin, Li Chua, Aishwarya Subramanian, Tim Moore, Anaea Lay, and the Strange Horizons staff
Uncanny Magazine, edited by Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas, Michi Trota, Julia Rios, and podcast produced by Erika Ensign & Steven Schapansky
The Book Smugglers, edited by Ana Grilo and Thea James

Best Fanzine
Castalia House Blog, edited by Jeffro Johnson
Journey Planet, edited by James Bacon, Chris Garcia, Esther MacCallum-Stewart, Helena Nash, Errick Nunnally, Pádraig Ó Méalóid, Chuck Serface, and Erin Underwood
Lady Business, edited by Clare, Ira, Jodie, KJ, Renay, and Susan
nerds of a feather, flock together, edited by The G, Vance Kotrla, and Joe Sherry
Rocket Stack Rank, edited by Greg Hullender and Eric Wong
SF Bluestocking, edited by Bridget McKinney

Best Fancast
The Coode Street Podcast, presented by Gary K. Wolfe and Jonathan Strahan
Ditch Diggers, presented by Mur Lafferty and Matt Wallace
Fangirl Happy Hour, presented by Ana Grilo and Renay Williams
Galactic Suburbia, presented by Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce and Tansy Rayner Roberts, produced by Andrew Finch
The Rageaholic, presented by RazörFist
Tea and Jeopardy, presented by Emma Newman with Peter Newman

Best Fan Writer
Mike Glyer
Jeffro Johnson
Natalie Luhrs
Foz Meadows
Abigail Nussbaum
Chuck Tingle

Best Fan Artist
Ninni Aalto
Elizabeth Leggett
Vesa Lehtimäki
Likhain (M. Sereno)
Spring Schoenhuth
Steve Stiles

Best Series (Worldcon 75 Special Committee Award)
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)

The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer
Sarah Gailey (1st year of eligibility)
J. Mulrooney (1st year of eligibility)
Malka Older (2nd year of eligibility)
Ada Palmer (1st year of eligibility)
Laurie Penny (2nd year of eligibility)
Kelly Robson (2nd year of eligibility)

This Census-Taker, by China Miéville (Del Rey / Picador) – remains on the ballot because. Mieville.  (Obviously a shield nominee.)

“Alien Stripper Boned From Behind By The T-Rex”, by Stix Hiscock (self-published) – removed by a stunning number of no votes because:  1. no one messes with the Tingle and survives. 2. Getting Boned by the T-Rex is not nearly interesting or exciting as Getting Pounded in the Butt Again By Another Inevitable Hugo Nomination.

“An Unimaginable Light”, by John C. Wright (God, Robot, Castalia House) – removed from the ballot by not so wide a margin because: John C. Wright; voter’s reluctance to remove someone just because of their political/religious views (as opposed to their being an active part of the anti-Hugo campaign); the quality of writng for Mr. Wright, according to a large portion of the zeitgeist, has just not been up to his pre-enlightenment standards.

The View From the Cheap Seats, by Neil Gaiman (William Morrow / Harper Collins) – remains, because Gaiman is everybody’s favorite former scientologist.  Also – shields.

Deadpool, screenplay by Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick, directed by Tim Miller (Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation/Marvel Entertainment/Kinberg Genre/The Donners’ Company/TSG Entertainment) – remains, because – shield and, because no one thinks that Rabid Puppies can seriously influence this category, or ought to be allowed be taken into consideration for this category

Vox Day – removed, nearly unanimously, with the remainder not voting for removal providng everyone with a very clear view of just how many voters are voting in lock step with the Rabid bloc.  Unless Vox instructs his minions not to participate in voting the second stage for this category – which of course would help result in its removal from the ballot.  Don’t they call that something like a Xanatos Gambit?  Head’s you’re gone, Tails you’re gone AND we know how many minions you have?

Cirsova Heroic Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine, edited by P. Alexander – removed, because:  too closely identified with Gamergate and too ham-handed with the attempts at self-promotion (by a midling margin).

Castalia House Blog, edited by Jeffro Johnson – removed, by a midlng margin.  See above for reasons.

The Rageaholic, presented by RazörFist – removed, by a slightly larger margin than midling. Because: Alt-Rt rage-a-holicing is done way better by the likes of Hannity, Beck, Limbaugh &c…

Jeffro Johnson – removed, because – Mike Glyer, Natalie Luhrs, Foz Meadows, Abigail Nussbaum, Chuck Tingle.  (Actually, I’m of mixed mind on this one;  many of the voters who would probably vote to remove might also be of a mind that seeing it finish below No Award would be more satisfying than out-right removal.  The actual results would be too close to call, though I hope that removal takes it, as allowing it through carries a slightly higher risk.

J. Mulrooney (1st year of eligibility) – remains, probably because hardly anyone wins their first year of the Campbell, it is “Not-a-Hugo” and not so many voters pay attention to this one.  One the other hand, this author is a Castalia House “discovery”….

Remember, the above is only a what-if.  All of the finalists listed above can be found on the 2017 Final Ballot.

Tomorrow, more serious picks.

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