Handicapping this year’s Hugo Awards


I was just perusing the list of Hugo nominations. I am going to go out on a limb and predict, without reading any of the nominated novels, that China Mieville will with for Embassytown.

Okay, I confess that I have read some of Embassytown as I picked it up in anticipation of it being nominated. I think that there is enough being said and written about the book that it will be an easy winner.

Seeing that the Hugos are more of a popularity contest these days, I think the closest competitor for Mieville will be George R.R. Martin’s A Dance With Dragons, not because it’s a great book, which it very well may be, but because Martin’s Game of Thrones has been such a success in its HBO television adaptation. That name recognition factor will go a long way to helping it win votes.

Don’t get me started about how something with dragons in the title is being nominated for a science fiction award. You don’t see stories about rockets and robots when the World Fantasy Awards are handed out.

Probably the strangest nomination is for something called “The Drink Tank’s Hugo Acceptance Speech” by Christopher J Garcia and James Bacon from Renovation. How meta is that? If it wins, could the acceptance speech for that award be nominated for a Hugo next year?


  1. I’ve known Chris for about 6 years now. He was one of my nominators for DUFF in 2010. He’s a very entertaining person, so his speech was likely gold.

    I’m glad his zine (which I’ve written for) won. In the past years podcasts and other unrelated things have instead. He deserved one just for being prolific.

  2. The Hugo Awards are not exclusively for science fiction. It says so right in their official definition in the WSFS Constitution, section 3.2.1: Unless otherwise specified, Hugo Awards are given for work in the field of science fiction or fantasy appearing for the first time during the previous calendar year.

    The World Fantasy Awards are presented by a small jury with strong administrative powers to arbitrarily define what they consider “fantasy” and “not-fantasy.” The Hugo Award administrators are strongly discouraged from applying any form of value judgements on the works, and to leave the decision as to whether a work is SF, Fantasy, or related to the field in some way up to the voters. Think of it as having a “jury” of over 1,100 members.

    1. Thanks for the clarification. I never looked that closely at the definitions for the awards. In my mind, they’ve always been awards for science fiction, but clearly they are not. There certainly have been other fantasy books that have been nominated and won over the years and a few borderline cases that had me scratching my head over their inclusion.

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