The 2019 Hugo Awards – Publisher’s Picks

(Note:  voting closes in a bit more than ten days from now on 7/21/19.  Membership sales (required for voting rights in most cases) also close soon.  Visit the Dublin in 2019 website for more information.)

This being a Monday, and Mondays being slow, I figured it was about time to share my 2019 Hugo Awards Finalist Ballot, which ballot will be used to help tally the vote for the 2019 Hugo Awards, which will be presented – for the first time ever – in my ancestral lands of Ireland.

(Start at 30 seconds in; the important part comes at 54 seconds)

Sadly, I will not be in attendance, but I am a supporting member and therefore, get to vote.

Below are screen captures of the individual categories and my placements (the Hugo Awards use a preferential voting system where you rank your picks).

The Retro Hugo Awards follow the contemporary Hugo Awards.

Some general comments:  I don’t vote for works I’m not personally familiar with, which happens for one reason and another;  I also don’t consider reading an excerpt from a longer work to be sufficient exposure to judge it properly.

This also means that I don’t necessarily rank everything in a category.

There are a handful of categories I didn’t vote in or opted to select No Award for – excercising my Ghu-given right to “vote” by not selecting anyone or picking No Award to indicate that I disagree with the inclusion of the category in the awards.

This is not pique over disagreeing with a categorie’s inclusion when I campaigned against its inclusion but lost the vote.  It’s actually three reactions:  1. I really don’t think that it should be an award category, find it problematic for various reasons and see it as more (eventual) trouble than it is worth – which gets a “No Award”;  2.  I disagree with the category but don’t care enough – or think it harmful enough – to bother with it and 3.  I’ve no interest in the category and therefore can’t vote because I really don’t engage with it.  Let those who do decide who should win without interference from me.

Note:  the screencaps are a bit difficult to read, so the email summary of my ballot is included after them.  I’m showing the screen caps first because the summary only includes those Finalists that I actually voted for.

*I’ve been vocal on the AO3 “controversy”.  Early on I asked that they detail the “sufficient” changes made to the site that would make it eligible in a year in which it was not first produced.  (In fact, I think its TEN years AFTER it was first created that we are being asked to vote for it.  As if The Martian appeared on the ballot AFTER the film rolled out, in a year in which the novel itself was not first published in English.)

I am not objecting to “new voters”  coming into the fold here.  We absolutely want that.  What I am finding issue with is an internet community that does not normally engage with the awards doing so to get their “thing” a win.  Just like the gamer gaters that were recruited by the Sad and Rabid puppies.  (No, they are not pups;  some of their actions are ‘puppy-like’.)

If this kind of thing becomes common (and I suspect it may), the awards turn into a defacto “popularity” contest:  how many people who never heard of the Hugo Awards before can we get to vote because their “friends” are up for an award?

But putting that argument aside for a moment:  the public display on the part of AO3 members (yay, all of my fan fic works are now Hugo Nominees:  I’m a Hugo Finalist author – gonna put that right up on my website!) AFTER being informed that they are not entitled to such honors individually, is, to me, more than enough reason to not vote for it.

Prior coverage of this debate here 

Finalist Vote Summary:


The Calculating Stars

Trail of Lightning

Space Opera


Artificial Condition

The Tea Master and the Detective

Binti: The Night Masquerade


“The Thing About Ghost Stories”

The Only Harmless Great Thing

Short Story:

“The Tale of the Three Beautiful Raptor Sisters, and the Prince Who Was Made of Meat”

“The Court Magician”

“The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington”

Related Work:

Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction

An Informal History of the Hugos: A Personal Look Back at the Hugo Awards

Ursula K. Le Guin: Conversations on Writing The Mexicanx Initiative Experience at Worldcon 76

The Hobbit Duology (documentary in three parts)

No award

Dramatic Long:

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Sorry to Bother You

Black Panther

Avengers: Infinity War


A Quiet Place

Dramatic Short:

The Good Place: “Janet(s)”

The Good Place: “Jeremy Bearimy”

Editor Short:

Gardner Dozois

Neil Clarke


Strange Horizons

FIYAH Magazine of Black Speculative Fiction

Fireside Magazine

Beneath Ceaseless Skies

Uncanny Magazine



Rocket Stack Rank

Galactic Journey

Journey Planet

nerds of a feather, flock together

Fan Writer:

Foz Meadows

James Davis Nicoll

Alasdair Stuart

Fan Artist:

Spring Schoenhuth


No award

New Writer:

Jeannette Ng


No award

The Retro Hugo Awards

(The older I get, the closer the Retros come to being THE Hugo Awards….)

Yes, seems that this year I have a ‘thing’ for Don Wollheim, Eric Frank Russell and C. L. Moore.

(Pretty sure I’ve always had a thing for them.)

Symbiotica (EF Russell) makes me laugh.  Every. Single. Time.  I think it takes the prize for most vomitous novelette in the history of the genre (though Sturgeon’s The Girl Had Guts comes a very close second).  And by vomitous, I don’t mean on the part of the reader.  I mean, more people vomit in that story than in any other.



Retro Novel:

Conjure Wife

Earth’s Last Citadel

The Weapon Makers

Gather, Darkness!


Retro Novella:


“Clash by Night”

The Little Prince

“We Print the Truth”

Retro Novelette:


“Mimsy Were the Borogoves”

“The Proud Robot”

“Citadel of Lost Ships”

“The Halfling”

Retro Short Story:


“Yours Truly – Jack the Ripper”

“Doorway into Time”

“King of the Gray Spaces” (“R is for Rocket”)

“Death Sentence”

Retro Graphic Story:

Flash Gordon: Fiery Desert of Mongo

Buck Rogers: Martians Invade Jupiter

Wonder Woman #5: Battle for Womanhood

Retro Dramatic Long:

Phantom of the Opera


Heaven Can Wait


Retro Dramatic Short:


Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman

The Ape Man

Der Fuehrer’s Face

Retro Editor Short:

Donald A. Wollheim

Mary Gnaedinger

Dorothy McIlwraith

John W. Campbell

Raymond A. Palmer

Retro Pro Artist:

Margaret Brundage

Hannes Bok

J. Allen St. John

Virgil Finlay

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

William Timmins

Retro Fanzine:

The Phantagraph

Le Zombie

Futurian War Digest


Voice of the Imagi-Nation

Retro Fan Writer:

Jack Speer

Morojo (Myrtle Douglas)

Wilson “Bob” Tucker

Donald A. Wollheim

Forrest J. Ackerman

Art Widner

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  1. The Best Related Work Category was a bit of a mess this year, wasn’t it?

    I mean, Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction, An Informal History of the Hugos: A Personal Look Back at the Hugo Awards and Ursula K. Le Guin: Conversations on Writing are each solid… but an entire fanfic website and a short series of YouTube videos?

    Those last two puzzled me, and I have a feeling the latter only got nominated because there was a sizable push for votes from their Twitter following.

    I’m pulling for Astounding because that was just phenomenal work, but I’ll be disappointed if it ends up being one of those two.

    1. I feel much the way you do, though I’ve no beef with the video presentation being nominated.

      Nevala-Lee’s histobiography is a monumental achievement and should NOT be finding itself competing with an electronic archive, no matter what the focus of that archive might be, nor how vibrant its community is.

      The fact that enough of AO3’s membership posted online about being “Hugo Finalists” for it to be noticed, without checking or internal circumspection regarding the advisability of doing so strongly suggests to me that they have little to no actual engagement with Fandom (as in, original Fandom that created all this stuff AND hosts and votes for the Hugo Awards since 1953), equally strongly suggests to me that we should not be honoring this crowd with an award.

      That’s harsh, I know, but: it does not qualify for the category (despite the admin’s ruling that it does) for several reasons (can’t substantiate the “significant” change from earlier versions, don’t believe the changes cited now qualify it, should be in the fanzine category).

      If they’d published, as loudly and as widely “individual members are NOT Hugo Award Finalists; your individual stories are NOT Hugo Award Finalists” as they bruited their nomination, I’d have less of a problem with it, but since they did not, all it looks like to me is campaigning for the vote – which (again), if they were really familiar with the award and Fandom, they would know is something that We. Do. Not. Do.

      Like you, I am hoping that the traditional crowd of voters is able to overcome whatever influx may have been generated by AO3’s promotion and gives the win to Astounding.

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