The Nebula Award nominations have already been announced, and the Hugo Awards are up next. The Hugo Award, presented by the World Science Fiction Society, is speculative fiction’s other major writing award. While there is often considerable overlap in nominations between the two, few works win both awards (Ken Liu’s short story “The Paper Menagerie” being a notable exception last year). Personally, I tended to enjoy the Hugo Award winners a little more than the Nebula Award winners, especially in the novel category.
As with the Nebulas, I’m again most interested in the short fiction categories. The 2013 Hugo nominees for best novelette:
• “The Boy Who Cast No Shadow”, Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Postscripts: Unfit For Eden)
• “Fade To White”, Catherynne M. Valente (Clarkesworld)
• “The Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi”, Pat Cadigan (Edge of Infinity, Solaris)
• “In Sea-Salt Tears”, Seanan McGuire (Self-published)
• “Rat-Catcher”, Seanan McGuire (A Fantasy Medley 2)
I find this list very interesting. Seanan McGuire scored two nominations, and one of those was self-published. This might be the first time that a self-published story has been nominated for a major award (I’m not certain, however), and I think we’ll be seeing more of this in the future as self-publishing continues to become a more accepted practice. Only one of the novelette nominees, “Fade to White,” was also nominated for a Nebula Award.
The Hugo nominees for best short story are:
• “Immersion”, Aliette de Bodard (Clarkesworld)
• “Mantis Wives”, Kij Johnson (Clarkesworld)
• “Mono no Aware”, Ken Liu (The Future is Japanese)
There are only three short story nominees this year because no other story garnered the 5% minimum needed to qualify under the Hugo Award rules. I wonder if these three stories simply dominated the nominations, or if there were a lot of stories that split the remaining vote, and thus none were able to get the minimum needed. I’m not sure we’ll ever learn the answer. Again, only one of these stories, Ms. de Bodard’s exceptional “Immersion,” was also nominated for a Nebula.
Finally, I noticed that none of the big three publications (Asimov’s, Fantasy and Science Fiction, and Analog) picked up a novelette or short story nomination (Asimov’s picked up a single novella nomination). Four of the eight nominees are from anthologies, and three of them came from the highly respected online publication, Clarkesworld. Does this tell us anything about the state of short speculative fiction? I don’t know, but it might represent the start of shift of “power” in the field.
I’ve read only a few of these stories, but I’m sure all of them are worthy of their nominations, and I look forward to reading each of them.