The Hugo Awards – 2022

This was my first time attending Chicon, and the Hugo Awards, virtually of course, but what a treat it was. I’ve read so many of the nominees this year, perhaps next year I will vote, but voting seems impossible since I love so many of the books – in my heart, there can be more than one, but in the awards, only one reigns supreme. Impossible to decide (for me.)

But admittedly, I’m not particularly good at deciding why one book is better than another – some people seem to give things 3.5 ratings with ease, while I’m more likely to give it a 1 or a 5 – though it helps that I only tend to read books I really want to read.

Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book

Victories Greater Than Death, Iron Widow, Redemptor are three that I know and love, but the rest I’m unfamiliar with. Time to change that I think!

  • The Last Graduate, by Naomi Novik (Del Rey Books)
  • Chaos on CatNet, by Naomi Kritzer (Tor Teen)
  • Iron Widow, by Xiran Jay Zhao (Penguin Teen / Rock the Boat)
  • Redemptor, by Jordan Ifueko (Amulet Books / Hot Key Books)
  • A Snake Falls to Earth, by Darcie Little Badger (Levine Querido)
  • Victories Greater Than Death, by Charlie Jane Anders (Tor Teen / Titan)

Astounding Award for Best New Writer

Shelly Parker-Chan’s She Who Became the Sun was so spectacular I can see how they made a splash, Micaiah Johnson’s The Space Between Worlds is one of the best inter dimensional travel books I’ve read (and incidentally, I’ve read several!) and Xiran Jay Zhao’s Iron Widow had me enamoured with it from the first pages.

  • Shelley Parker-Chan (1st year of eligibility)
  • Tracy Deonn (2nd year of eligibility)
  • Micaiah Johnson (2nd year of eligibility)
  • A.K. Larkwood (2nd year of eligibility)
  • Everina Maxwell (1st year of eligibility)
  • Xiran Jay Zhao (1st year of eligibility)

Best Novel

I’m currently in the middle of A Master of Djinn by P.Djeli Clark, and it’s very good so far, and I have had Project Hail Mary recommended to me repeatedly but haven’t gotten around to picking it up (at least in part because the audiobook is only available on Audible, and I won’t be buying from them, for a lot of reasons) but the rest I read and loved, all in entirely different ways.

Becky Chambers, because it had the usual Wayfarers series magic and I love distantly related characters being featured in books set in common worlds. Light from Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki was such a cool story – featuring earth mythologies and space travel and queerness and violins, I had no idea where it would go when I read it, but in the best way. She Who Became the Sun by Shelly Parker-Chan (who won the Astounding award) was at times intensely bleak or righteous or furious. And finally A Desolation Called Peace from Arkady Martine, who won the award.

I read the duology over the course of a few weeks this year, and it’s something that lingers. I can’t quite put my finger on what about this one made it the favourite – was it the world building, was it the social commentary, was it the immersive story? All of the above I imagine.

  • A Desolation Called Peace, by Arkady Martine (Tor)
  • The Galaxy, and the Ground Within, by Becky Chambers (Harper Voyager / Hodder & Stoughton)
  • Light From Uncommon Stars, by Ryka Aoki (Tor / St Martin’s Press)
  • A Master of Djinn, by P. Djèlí Clark (Tordotcom / Orbit UK)
  • Project Hail Mary, by Andy Weir (Ballantine / Del Rey)
  • She Who Became the Sun, by Shelley Parker-Chan (Tor / Mantle)

Best Novella

The acceptance speach for best novella was pretty special I think, so here is a transcript I lifted off the Hugo Awards livestream and corrected some of errors off of.

I wanted so badly to be at worldcon this year, I had my tickets, I had my outfit for tonight halfway planned. I told folks I would be there with bells on. Even if it wasn’t for this award, I just wanted to be with all of you again. To see old friends and make some new ones.

But I got sick six weeks ago, in the way that most of us have by now. I got sick and then I got better, and I am better don’t worry, but I couldn’t muster the energy or courage to get on a plane and place myself in a crowd. I will, but not yet. For the moment I’m tired. I’m soul suckingly, bone shatteringly tired. And Ii often feel like I have no cause to be. I kick myself about it constantly, even though I can’t really remember a time in which I wasn’t tired anymore. It’s because of the book that I know many of you feel the same. you’ve told me in letters, in zoom chats, in fan art, in music, and you’ve said you are tired too. It is nice for the few hours it took you to read this to be given permission to rest.

I’m enormously grateful when I hear those things. please, please understand this. You do not need permission to rest. you do not have to justify your weariness. You do not have to earn the right to be alive or safe or comfortable. or at least you shouldn’t have to. It is a bit cruel to sum up what so many of us are feeling as burn out, as though we just pushed ourselves too hard, didn’t eat enough kale or do enough yoga. What we are is exhausted and grieving in a world that tells us it is lazy and entitled to take time to heal, that human lives are less important than the bottom line. That we’re just a collection of siloed off individuals who don’t have to care for or protect those around us. Everything about this machine that chews us up and spits us out day after day after day is contrary to our most central nature. That we are fragile living beings that need each other. That need space to think and time to love. A world that values these truths above all else should not exist only in works of fiction. It makes me angry that it does. It is my hope that one day people won’t need to be angry about that anymore.

I decided to rest this year and I hope that choice doesn’t speak as disrespectful in light of the incredible honor. But much as it saddens me not to be there, I thought it would be dishonest to get on stage and smile at you and look like a person who has it all figured out while accepting a trophy for this book of all books.  Dex and Moscap would tell me to rest. I’m telling you to do the same in whatever form you need in whatever way you can.

Transcript of Becky Chambers acceptance speech, Hugo Awards 2022, as read by Annalee Newitz.
  • A Psalm for the Wild-Built, by Becky Chambers (Tordotcom)
  • Across the Green Grass Fields, by Seanan McGuire (Tordotcom)
  • Elder Race, by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Tordotcom)
  • Fireheart Tiger, by Aliette de Bodard (Tordotcom)
  • The Past Is Red, by Catherynne M. Valente (Tordotcom)
  • A Spindle Splintered, by Alix E. Harrow (Tordotcom)

I’ve only read A Psalm for the Wild-Built and Across the Green Grass Field, but I’ve got Elder Race ready to go in my e-reader for when I have a moment to read it.

Best Novelette

I have read absolutely none of these, and have no opinion yet, but I’m hoping to work my way through them, each one is linked to its respective magazine.

Best Short Story

Sarah Pinsker brought up her Dad’s autograph book from Chicon 1962 and I thought it was such a sweet gesture. And of course it made me think of my dad, who didn’t attend conventions as far as I know, but definitely sparked my love of science fiction from a young age.

I didn’t read any of these short stories before the Hugo’s but I’m working my way through them. I started with Mr. Death by Alex E Harrow, and spent the morning crying. For some reason, I always underestimate short stories and how powerful they can be, and then am shocked when I am sobbing or laughing throughout or when I’m left thinking about them much later.

Best Series

  • Wayward Children, by Seanan McGuire (Tordotcom)
  • The Green Bone Saga, by Fonda Lee (Orbit)
  • The Kingston Cycle, by C. L. Polk (Tordotcom)
  • Merchant Princes, by Charles Stross (Macmillan)
  • Terra Ignota, by Ada Palmer (Tor Books)
  • The World of the White Rat, by T. Kingfisher (Ursula Vernon) (Argyll Productions)

I recently read through the World of the White Rat series by T.Kingfisher and really enjoyed them. They were like a warm hug where chivalry wasn’t completely dead, there was love, murder, knights, golems, and more, and interestingly enough, I didn’t pick it up because of the Hugo nominees list, but another actual human I know in real life recommended it to me.

Wayward Children by Seanan McGuire (who is one of my “always read” authors ever since I picked up her Mira Grant works) is such a special series, and despite my somewhat ambivalent feelings towards most fantasy novels, I loved jumping into semi-familiar fairy tales and mythology, with weirdos and misfits, and kids just trying to fit in in the world.

I started reading Jade City by Fonda Lee, and for whatever reason, I just couldn’t get through it – I know I will come back to it, but the mafia-esque kind of fantasy isn’t my first choice. (I have opinions sometimes!)

On my pending TBR: the Kingston Cycle, Merchant Princess, and Terra Ignota.

Best Graphic Story or Comic

I am not big into graphic novels or comics, so I haven’t looked at any of these, but I do love all of N.K. Jemisin’s novels, so it might get me to pick this up.

  • Far Sector, written by N.K. Jemisin, art by Jamal Campbell (DC)
  • DIE, vol. 4: Bleed, written by Kieron Gillen, art by Stephanie Hans, lettering by Clayton Cowles (Image)
  • Lore Olympus, vol. 1, by Rachel Smythe (Del Rey)
  • Monstress, vol. 6: The Vow, written by Marjorie Liu, art by Sana Takeda (Image)
  • Once & Future, vol. 3: The Parliament of Magpies, written by Kieron Gillen, illustrated by Dan Mora, colored by Tamra Bonvillain (BOOM!)
  • Strange Adventures, written by Tom King, art by Mitch Gerads and Evan “Doc” Shaner (DC)

Best Related Work

Never Say You Can’t Survive has been on my bedside table for a while, and I just haven’t read any of it. I have such a hard time reading non-fiction sometimes, but I’ll get there eventually.

The other books on here sound excellent, but the work that really stuck out for me was something I’ve read before, and read again – “How Twitter can ruin a life” by Emily St. James about a story (some people call it “The Helicopter Story” from Clarkesworld January 2020) and person that was largely misunderstood at the time it was posted. I appreciated the extra and thoughtful context.

  • Never Say You Can’t Survive, by Charlie Jane Anders (Tordotcom)
  • Being Seen: One Deafblind Woman’s Fight to End Ableism, by Elsa Sjunneson (Tiller Press)
  • The Complete Debarkle: Saga of a Culture War, by Camestros Felapton (Camestros Felapton)
  • Dangerous Visions and New Worlds: Radical Science Fiction, 1950 to 1985, edited by Andrew Nette and Iain McIntyre (PM Press)
  • “How Twitter can ruin a life”, by Emily St. James (Vox, Jun 2021)
  • True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee, by Abraham Riesman (Crown)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

This one felt like it had a phone in acceptance speech, and I didn’t care much who won, but Dune was somewhat underwhelming for me (even as someone that loved the books.) I think it would have been neat if Encanto won a Hugo, and I am very curious about Space Sweepers.

  • Dune, screenplay by Jon Spaihts, Denis Villeneuve, and Eric Roth; directed by Denis Villeneuve; based on the novel Dune by Frank Herbert (Warner Bros / Legendary Entertainment)
  • Encanto, screenplay by Charise Castro Smith and Jared Bush; directed by Jared Bush, Byron Howard, and Charise Castro Smith (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
  • The Green Knight, written and directed by David Lowery (BRON Studios/A24)
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, screenplay by Dave Callaham, Destin Daniel Cretton, Andrew Lanham; directed by Destin Daniel Cretton (Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
  • Space Sweepers, screenplay by Jo Sung-Hee, Yookang Seo-ae, and Yoon Seung-min; directed by Jo Sung-hee (Bidangil Pictures)
  • WandaVision, screenplay by Peter Cameron, Mackenzie Dohr, Laura Donney, Bobak Esfarjani, Megan McDonnell, Jac Schaeffer (created by and head writer), Cameron Squires, Gretchen Enders, Chuck Hayward; directed by Matt Shakman (Disney+)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

I haven’t seen any of these except Loki, but this might make me check out The Expanse. JC likes For All Mankind, but I never watched it.

  • The Expanse: Nemesis Games, written by Daniel Abraham, Ty Franck, and Naren Shankar; directed by Breck Eisner (Amazon Studios)
  • The Wheel of Time: The Flame of Tar Valon, written by Justine Juel Gillmer, directed by Salli Richardson-Whitfield, based on The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan (Amazon Studios)
  • For All Mankind: The Grey, written by Matt Wolpert and Ben Nedivi; directed by Sergio Mimica-Gezzan (Tall Ship Productions/Sony Pictures Television)
  • Arcane: The Monster You Created, written by Christian Linke and Alex Yee; story by Christian Linke, Alex Yee, Conor Sheehy, and Ash Brannon; directed by Pascal Charrue and Arnaud Delord (Netflix)
  • Loki: The Nexus Event, written by Eric Martin, directed by Kate Herron, created for television by Michael Waldron (Disney+)
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks: wej Duj, written by Kathryn Lyn, directed by Bob Suarez (CBS Eye Animation Productions)

Best Editor, Short Form

I followed Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki’s saga trying to get a visa to the United States for this award, and was a bit disappointed that he did not win this one. Neil Clarke seems like a nice dude, and Clarksworld has been an institution forever as far as I’m concerned so it’s likely well deserved.

  • Neil Clarke
  • Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki
  • Mur Lafferty & S.B. Divya
  • Jonathan Strahan
  • Sheree Renée Thomas
  • Sheila Williams

Best Editor, Long Form

I am not familiar with Ruoxi Chen’s work, but I realize that this win makes me want to find out more.

  • Ruoxi Chen
  • Nivia Evans
  • Sarah T. Guan
  • Brit Hvide
  • Patrick Nielsen Hayden
  • Navah Wolfe

Best Professional Artist

  • Rovina Cai
  • Tommy Arnold
  • Ashley Mackenzie
  • Maurizio Manzieri
  • Will Staehle
  • Alyssa Winans

Best Semiprozine

I’m leaving this Hugo season with more subscriptions or more inclinations towards subscriptions. Both Uncanny Magazine, FIYAH, and Strange Horizons have me especially interested!

  • Uncanny Magazine, publishers and editors-in-chief Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas; managing/poetry editor Chimedum Ohaegbu; nonfiction editor Elsa Sjunneson; podcast producers Erika Ensign & Steven Schapansky
  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies, editor Scott H. Andrews
  • Escape Pod, editors S.B. Divya, Mur Lafferty, and Valerie Valdes; assistant editors Benjamin C. Kinney and Premee Mohamed; guest editor Brent C. Lambert; hosts Tina Connolly and Alasdair Stuart; audio producers Summer Brooks and Adam Pracht; and the entire Escape Pod team
  • FIYAH Magazine of Black Speculative Fiction, publisher Troy L Wiggins; executive editor DaVaun Sanders; managing editor Eboni Dunbar; poetry editor B. Sharise Moore; reviews editor and social media manager Brent Lambert; art director L. D. Lewis; web editor Chavonne Brown; non-fiction editor Margeaux Weston; guest editors Summer Farah and Nadia Shammas; acquiring editors Kaleb Russell, Rebecca McGee, Kerine Wint, Joshua Morley, Emmalia Harrington, Genine Tyson, Tonya R. Moore, Danny Lore; technical assistant Nelson Rolon
  • PodCastle, co-editors Jen R. Albert, C. L. Clark, Shingai Njeri Kagunda, and Eleanor R. Wood; assistant editors Summer Fletcher and Sofía Barker; audio producer Peter Adrian Behravesh; host Matt Dovey; and the entire PodCastle team
  • Strange Horizons, Vanessa Aguirre, Joseph Aitken, Kwan-Ann Tan, Rachel Ayers, M H Ayinde, Tierney Bailey, Scott Beggs, Drew Matthew Beyer, Gautam Bhatia, Tom Borger, S. K. Campbell, Emma Celi, Zhui Ning Chang, Rita Chen, Tania Chen, Liz Christman, Emma-Grace Clarke, Linda H. Codega, Bruhad Dave, Sarah Davidson, Tahlia Day, Arinn Dembo, Belen Edwards, Rebecca Evans, Ciro Faienza, Courtney Floyd, Lila Garrott, Guananí Gómez-Van Cortright, Colette Grecco, Julia Gunnison, Dan Hartland, Sydney Hilton, Angela Hinck, Amanda Jean, Jamie Johnson, Sean Joyce-Farley, Erika Kanda, Kat Kourbeti, Catherine Krahe, Anna Krepinsky, Clayton Kroh, Natasha Leullier, Dante Luiz, Gui Machiavelli, Cameron Mack, Samantha Manaktola, Marisa Manuel, Jean McConnell, Heather McDougal, Maria Morabe, Amelia Moriarty, Sarah Noakes, Aidan Oatway, AJ Odasso, Joel Oliver-Cormier, Kristina Palmer, Karintha Parker, Anjali Patel, Juliana Pinho, Nicasio Reed, Belicia Rhea, Abbey Schlanz, Elijah Rain Smith, Alyn Spector, Hebe Stanton, Melody Steiner, Romie Stott, Yejin Suh, Sonia Sulaiman, Ben Tyrrell, Renee Van Siclen, Kathryn Weaver, Liza Wemakor, Aigner Loren Wilson, E.M. Wright, Vicki Xu, and The Strange Horizons Editorial Collective

Best Fanzine

Completely out of the loop on this, but when Seanan McGuire came up to accept the award for this, it was just so touching, and sweet. She acted kind of like she wasn’t a big deal, and Lee Moyer was a big deal, but I think she’s a huge deal (if only because… I don’t know who Lee Moyer is…)

  • Small Gods, Lee Moyer (Icon) and Seanan McGuire (Story)
  • The Full Lid, by Alasdair Stuart and Marguerite Kenner
  • Galactic Journey, founder Gideon Marcus; editor Janice L. Newman; associate writers Gwyn Conaway, Jason Sacks, and John Boston
  • Journey Planet, edited by Erin Underwood, Jean Martin, Sara Felix, Vanessa Applegate, Chuck Serface, Errick Nunnally, Evan Reeves, Steven H Silver, James Bacon and Christopher J Garcia
  • Quick Sip Reviews, editor Charles Payseur
  • Unofficial Hugo Book Club Blog, editors Amanda Wakaruk and Olav Rokne

Best Fancast

Podcasts aren’t my jam, so I had no opinions on this. I am tempted to check out Worldbuilding for Masochists.

Best Fan Writer

  • Cora Buhlert
  • Chris M. Barkley
  • Bitter Karella
  • Alex Brown
  • Jason Sanford
  • Paul Weimer

Best Fan Artist

Seanan McGuire accepted this award on behalf of Lee Moyer and was very gracious and funny.

  • Lee Moyer
  • Iain J. Clark
  • Lorelei Esther
  • Sara Felix
  • Ariela Housman
  • Nilah Magruder

I was so excited about being able to attend this event, and the conference virtually and at my leisure. felt like such a civilized and enjoyable way to celebrate authours I liked and stories I loved, I will try and participate in more conferences in this way this year. Fold Kids Fest is coming up again, and I’m really looking forward to it!