You have about 10 days left to submit your official Hugo ballot, which I have just done. I didn’t vote in every category, but here are my picks:
Best Novel: FEED, by Mira Grant
I loved FEED, and the author herself articulated exactly why: “I tried to write a horror novel, but it came out as hard SF.” She also tried to write a zombie novel that came out as a political thriller, and it is that combination of cool, traditionally disparate themes, executed so perfectly, that made me love this book. You’ll see that that’s a strong theme in my picks today–I love what I call “audacity,” the writer’s willingness to pull out all the stops and show me something wild and creative that I’ve never seen before. FEED did that for me in a way the other nominees didn’t, which a pretty amazing feat in a collection of science fiction and fantasy books.
Best Novelette: THAT LEVIATHAN WHOM THOU HAST MADE, by Eric James Stone
I’ve raved about this story many times, but let me put in context of my “audacity” theme: it’s the story of a Mormon minister in the center of the sun, helping a congregation of tri-gendered plasma entities deal with a cultural acceptance of rape. This is a writer who doesn’t pull his punches or shy back from big topics. Great stuff, and superbly written.
Best Short Story: FOR WANT OF A NAIL, by Mary Robinette Kowal
An SF story that starts like a techno-thriller on a generation ship and ends up being a story of Alzheimer’s and euthanasia, in many more ways than one. Maybe it’s because I used to live with my grandfather while he had Alzheimer’s, taking care of him and making sure he ate and got dressed and didn’t hurt himself, watching him slowly erode into a hollow shell, but I really responded to this story. An easy pick for best of the year.
Best Related Work: WRITING EXCUSES, SEASON 4, by Brandon Sanderson, Howard Tayler, and Dan Wells
I voted for this one because it’s me, obviously, but also because it’s super awesome. To the max.
Best Graphic Story: SCHLOCK MERCENARY: MASSIVELY PARALLEL, by Howard Tayler and Travis Walton
A long-form space opera with great characters, a solid SF story, and a punchline every day? Every SF fan should be reading this.
Best Editor, Long Form: Moshe Feder
Moshe is my editor, and he’s done a great job with the books. My number two pick in this category is Lou Anders, who’s pretty much single-handedly made Pyr into a genre powerhouse. Both excellent editors.
Best Professional Artist: Daniel Dos Santos
This was a very hard choice for me, as I’m also a big fan of Picasio and Martiniere. In the end it came down to Dos Santos as my favorite, with the other two as 2 and 3, respectively.
Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form: SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD
Yes, I know that INCEPTION is going to win, and it’s definitely a great movie with a powerful SF concept. But SCOTT PILGRIM, again, had the audacity and the newness and the balls-to-the-wallness that I love to see in fiction, and in genre fiction especially. INCEPTION is a great thriller, but I’ve seen thrillers before; HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON was as good a version of the hero’s journey as I’ve ever seen before, which is saying a lot, but it was, at the end of the day, something I’ve seen before. SCOTT PILGRIM was nothing I’ve ever seen before–nothing even similar to anything I’ve seen before. Everything about it was fresh and new and exciting and jubilantly creative. Huzzah.
Campbell Award for Best New Writer: Dan Wells
I bet none of you saw this coming. Dan Wells’ books have literally changed my life, and it’s a pleasure to be able to vote for him. My runner-up choices in this category were Larry Correia and Lauren Beukes, both excellent writers and great people. And if they beat me I can make their corpses disappear forever.