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2020 Hugo Finalists

7 Apr, 2020


Best Novel

  • The City in the Middle of the Night, by Charlie Jane Anders (Tor; Titan)
  • Gideon the Ninth, by Tamsyn Muir (Tor.com Publishing)
  • The Light Brigade, by Kameron Hurley (Saga; Angry Robot UK)
  • A Memory Called Empire, by Arkady Martine (Tor; Tor UK)
  • Middlegame, by Seanan McGuire (Tor.com Publishing)
  • The Ten Thousand Doors of January, by Alix E. Harrow (Redhook; Orbit UK)

Best Novella

  • Anxiety Is the Dizziness of Freedom”, by Ted Chiang (Exhalation (Borzoi/Alfred A. Knopf; Picador))
  • The Deep, by Rivers Solomon, with Daveed Diggs, William Hutson & Jonathan Snipes (Saga Press/Gallery)
  • The Haunting of Tram Car 015, by P. Djèlí Clark (Tor.com Publishing)
  • In an Absent Dream, by Seanan McGuire (Tor.com Publishing)
  • This Is How You Lose the Time War, by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone (Saga Press; Jo Fletcher Books)
  • To Be Taught, If Fortunate, by Becky Chambers (Harper Voyager; Hodder & Stoughton)

Best Novelette

  • The Archronology of Love”, by Caroline M. Yoachim (Lightspeed, April 2019)
  • Away With the Wolves”, by Sarah Gailey (Uncanny Magazine: Disabled People Destroy Fantasy Special Issue, September/October 2019)
  • The Blur in the Corner of Your Eye”, by Sarah Pinsker (Uncanny Magazine, July-August 2019)
  • Emergency Skin, by N.K. Jemisin (Forward Collection (Amazon))
  • For He Can Creep”, by Siobhan Carroll (Tor.com, 10 July 2019)
  • Omphalos”, by Ted Chiang (Exhalation (Borzoi/Alfred A. Knopf; Picador))

Best Short Story

  • And Now His Lordship Is Laughing”, by Shiv Ramdas (Strange Horizons, 9 September 2019)
  • As the Last I May Know”, by S.L. Huang (Tor.com, 23 October 2019)
  • Blood Is Another Word for Hunger”, by Rivers Solomon (Tor.com, 24 July 2019)
  • A Catalog of Storms”, by Fran Wilde (Uncanny Magazine, January/February 2019)
  • Do Not Look Back, My Lion”, by Alix E. Harrow (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, January 2019)
  • Ten Excerpts from an Annotated Bibliography on the Cannibal Women of Ratnabar Island”, by Nibedita Sen (Nightmare Magazine, May 2019)

Best Series

  • The Expanse, by James S. A. Corey (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
  • InCryptid, by Seanan McGuire (DAW)
  • Luna, by Ian McDonald (Tor; Gollancz)
  • Planetfall series, by Emma Newman (Ace; Gollancz)
  • Winternight Trilogy, by Katherine Arden (Del Rey; Del Rey UK)
  • Wormwood, by Tade Thompson (Orbit US; Orbit UK)

Best Related Work

  • Becoming Superman: My Journey from Poverty to Hollywood, by J. Michael Straczynski (Harper Voyager US)
  • Joanna Russ, by Gwyneth Jones (University of Illinois Press (Modern Masters of Science Fiction))
  • The Lady from the Black Lagoon: Hollywood Monsters and the Lost Legacy of Milicent Patrick, by Mallory O’Meara (Hanover Square)
  • The Pleasant Profession of Robert A. Heinlein, by Farah Mendlesohn (Unbound)
  • 2019 John W. Campbell Award Acceptance Speech”, by Jeannette Ng
  • Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin, produced and directed by Arwen Curry

Best Graphic Story or Comic

  • Die, Volume 1: Fantasy Heartbreaker, by Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans, letters by Clayton Cowles (Image)
  • LaGuardia, written by Nnedi Okorafor, art by Tana Ford, colours by James Devlin (Berger Books; Dark Horse)
  • Monstress, Volume 4: The Chosen, written by Marjorie Liu, art by Sana Takeda (Image)
  • Mooncakes, by Wendy Xu and Suzanne Walker, letters by Joamette Gil (Oni Press; Lion Forge)
  • Paper Girls, Volume 6, written by Brian K. Vaughan, drawn by Cliff Chiang, colours by Matt Wilson, letters by Jared K. Fletcher (Image)
  • The Wicked + The Divine, Volume 9: Okay, by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie, colours by Matt Wilson, letters by Clayton Cowles (Image)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

  • Avengers: Endgame, screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo (Marvel Studios)
  • Captain Marvel, screenplay by Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck and Geneva Robertson-Dworet, directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (Walt Disney Pictures/Marvel Studios/Animal Logic (Australia))
  • Good Omens, written by Neil Gaiman, directed by Douglas McKinnon (Amazon Studios/BBC Studios/Narrativia/The Blank Corporation)
  • Russian Doll (Season One), created by Natasha Lyonne, Leslye Headland and Amy Poehler, directed by Leslye Headland, Jamie Babbit and Natasha Lyonne (3 Arts Entertainment/Jax Media/Netflix/Paper Kite Productions/Universal Television)
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, screenplay by Chris Terrio and J.J. Abrams, directed by J.J. Abrams (Walt Disney Pictures/Lucasfilm/Bad Robot)
  • Us, written and directed by Jordan Peele (Monkeypaw Productions/Universal Pictures)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

  • The Good Place: The Answer”, written by Daniel Schofield, directed by Valeria Migliassi Collins (Fremulon/3 Arts Entertainment/Universal Television)
  • The Expanse: Cibola Burn”, written by Daniel Abraham & Ty Franck and Naren Shankar, directed by Breck Eisner (Amazon Prime Video)
  • Watchmen: A God Walks into Abar”, written by Jeff Jensen and Damon Lindelof, directed by Nicole Kassell (HBO)
  • The Mandalorian: Redemption”, written by Jon Favreau, directed by Taika Waititi (Disney+)
  • Doctor Who: Resolution”, written by Chris Chibnall, directed by Wayne Yip (BBC)
  • Watchmen: This Extraordinary Being”, written by Damon Lindelof and Cord Jefferson, directed by Stephen Williams (HBO)

Best Editor, Short Form

  • Neil Clarke
  • Ellen Datlow
  • C.C. Finlay
  • Jonathan Strahan
  • Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas
  • Sheila Williams

Best Editor, Long Form

  • Sheila E. Gilbert
  • Brit Hvide
  • Diana M. Pho
  • Devi Pillai
  • Miriam Weinberg
  • Navah Wolfe

Best Professional Artist

  • Tommy Arnold
  • Rovina Cai
  • Galen Dara
  • John Picacio
  • Yuko Shimizu
  • Alyssa Winans

Best Semiprozine

  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies, editor Scott H. Andrews
  • Escape Pod, editors Mur Lafferty and S.B. Divya, assistant editor Benjamin C. Kinney, audio producers Adam Pracht and Summer Brooks, hosts Tina Connolly and Alasdair Stuart
  • Fireside Magazine, editor Julia Rios, managing editor Elsa Sjunneson, copyeditor Chelle Parker, social coordinator Meg Frank, publisher & art director Pablo Defendini, founding editor Brian White
  • FIYAH Magazine of Black Speculative Fiction, executive editor Troy L. Wiggins, editors Eboni Dunbar, Brent Lambert, L.D. Lewis, Danny Lore, Brandon O’Brien and Kaleb Russell
  • Strange Horizons, Vanessa Rose Phin, Catherine Krahe, AJ Odasso, Dan Hartland, Joyce Chng, Dante Luiz and the Strange Horizons staff
  • Uncanny Magazine, editors-in-chief Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas, nonfiction/managing editor Michi Trota, managing editor Chimedum Ohaegbu, podcast producers Erika Ensign and Steven Schapansky

Best Fanzine

  • The Book Smugglers, editors Ana Grilo and Thea James
  • Galactic Journey, founder Gideon Marcus, editor Janice Marcus, senior writers Rosemary Benton, Lorelei Marcus and Victoria Silverwolf
  • Journey Planet, editors James Bacon, Christopher J Garcia, Alissa McKersie, Ann Gry, Chuck Serface, John Coxon and Steven H Silver
  • nerds of a feather, flock together, editors Adri Joy, Joe Sherry, Vance Kotrla, and The G
  • Quick Sip Reviews, editor Charles Payseur
  • The Rec Center, editors Elizabeth Minkel and Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Best Fancast

  • Be The Serpent, presented by Alexandra Rowland, Freya Marske and Jennifer Mace
  • Claire Rousseau’s YouTube channel, produced & presented by Claire Rousseau
  • The Coode Street Podcast, presented by Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe
  • Galactic Suburbia, presented by Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce and Tansy Rayner Roberts, producer Andrew Finch
  • Our Opinions Are Correct, presented by Annalee Newitz and Charlie Jane Anders
  • The Skiffy and Fanty Show, presented by Jen Zink and Shaun Duke

Best Fan Writer

  • Cora Buhlert
  • James Davis Nicoll
  • Alasdair Stuart
  • Bogi Takács
  • Paul Weimer
  • Adam Whitehead

Best Fan Artist

  • Iain Clark
  • Sara Felix
  • Grace P. Fong
  • Meg Frank
  • Ariela Housman
  • Elise Matthesen

Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book (not a Hugo)

  • Catfishing on CatNet, by Naomi Kritzer (Tor Teen)
  • Deeplight, by Frances Hardinge (Macmillan)
  • Dragon Pearl, by Yoon Ha Lee (Disney/Hyperion)
  • Minor Mage, by T. Kingfisher (Argyll)
  • Riverland, by Fran Wilde (Amulet)
  • The Wicked King, by Holly Black (Little, Brown; Hot Key)

Astounding Award for the best new science fiction writer, sponsored by Dell Magazines (not a Hugo)

  • Sam Hawke (2nd year of eligibility)
  • R.F. Kuang (2nd year of eligibility)
  • Jenn Lyons (1st year of eligibility)
  • Nibedita Sen (2nd year of eligibility)
  • Tasha Suri (2nd year of eligibility)
  • Emily Tesh (1st year of eligibility)

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Illimitable Dominion Reviews

6 Apr, 2020


News that an exciting new coronavirus is spreading, facilitated by our modern transportation networks, might seem a little alarming. Simple logic says we probably shouldn’t worry too much. Aside from the HIV/AIDS Pandemic, the 1968 Flu Pandemic, the Asian Flu (1956 – 1958), the 1918 Flu Pandemic, the First through Sixth Cholera Pandemics, the Black Death, Justinian’s Plague, the Antonine Plague, the Plague of Athens, the Plague of Cyprian, the Roman Plague of 590, the Plague of 664, the Japanese smallpox epidemic, not to mention the near-annihilation of various indigenous populations winnowed by virgin field epidemics following contact with the Old World, epidemics and pandemics have played minor roles in human history. I suggest you stop thinking about alarming news articles, ignore that odd tickle at the back of your throat, and relax with some diverting works of science fiction. Every two weeks or so for the foreseeable future, I will review works of never-were exploring that unlikely scenarios, global pandemic.

Here are nine of the possible candidates. Suggestions welcome!

● Mary Shelley may today be best known for her classic novel Frankenstein, but it is by no means her only significant work. In her The Last Man (1826), political and geopolitical struggle prove side-issues as a deadly plague spreads across the world. Possessing only rudimentary medical technology, Shelley’s characters lack any means to cure the plague or limit its spread. For some, the chaos that follows provides opportunity … but their successes are but a prelude to inevitable death. The only way to escape the plague is to die of other causes first.

● Contagious disease is a misfortune suffered only by the poor. The pretty folk at the top of the social pyramid will no doubt be spared. Or so the wealthy convince themselves in Poe’s The Masque of the Red Death (1842). They sequester themselves in a country mansion, believing that this will save them from the red death. It doesn’t.

● Former professor James Smith is one of the few who survived the eponymous plague in Jack London’s The Scarlet Plague (1912). Most Americans die. So does civilization. Smith does his best to inspire in his savage descendants a sense of what has been lost. They dismiss his tales as fantasies inapplicable to the real world. 

● Laid up by a rattlesnake bite, Ish inadvertently avoids the global pandemic that depopulates the world in George Stewart’s Earth Abides (1949). Like a modern-day Ishi1, Ish is forced to live in a world transformed. His skills have little relevance to the new realities. His efforts to preserve at least a little of the old America are, like those of Smith in the previous tale, doomed. 

● William C. Heine’s The Last Canadian (1974) begins with a happy moment: American-born Eugene Arnprior receives notification of his Canadian citizenship. Then a Soviet-engineered super-virus sweeps across Canada and the other nations of the New World. Natural immunity spares Eugene but not his family … nor most of the rest of the North and South American population. Now an asymptomatic carrier, Eugene struggles with his grief in a landscape virtually empty of other humans. He turns his pain outward: he will travel and infect those who survived. 

● In the backstory to Jake Saunders and Howard Waldrop’s The Texas-Israeli War: 1999, interfering do-gooders convinced the great powers to set aside most of their nuclear arsenal. Never underestimate human ingenuity: the war of 1992 was fought chemical and biological weapons. The world of 1999 is a much emptier one. Lacking enough numbers to crush the Texan insurgents, America has no choice but to import mercenaries from the one industrialized nation spared in the exchange: Israel! 

● In Steven King’s The Stand (1978), the American Military Industrial Complex accidentally unleashes a highly contagious, nearly 100 percent fatal disease on the world. National defense ceases to be an issue! What follows is a struggle between good-hearted survivors and pure evil2.

● The bumbling academics of Connie Willis’ The Doomsday Book (1992) possess the secrets of time travel. The universe has a causal immune system to protect history from meddling time travellers; if a traveller’s intended destination would permit them to alter history, slippage” diverts them somewhere where they are much less likely to cause temporal havoc. Kivrin Engle sets out for Oxford in 1320. She arrives in 1348, in a small village in the path of the Black Death. 

● In Alastair Beaton’s A Planet for the President (2004) an American president who has laughed at tales of environmental crisis discovers that the crisis is killing people he knows. Solution: engineer a plague that will kill off the planet’s surplus population. This will not affect Americans, who will be protected by their state-of-the-art medical establishment. It turns out that the establishment isn’t as good at producing vaccines as it has led others to believe. 


There, don’t you feel better now? If you’ve got any more suggestions for what-me-worry? novels, feel free to mention them in comments. 

1: But Ish isn’t entirely alone. Ishi was, because American settlers deliberately carried out a decades-long campaign of violent annihilation against Ishi’s people.

2: The differences between the original version of the novel and the 1990 expanded edition reveal a different struggle: that between a novelist and the editor to whom he should have listened.

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Books Received, March 28 — April 3

4 Apr, 2020


Tony Prosdocimi lives in the bustling Metropolis of San Ventura — a city gripped in fear, a city under siege by the hooded supervillain, The Cowl. 

When Tony develops super-powers and acts to take down The Cowl, however, he finds that the local superhero team Seven Wonders aren’t as grateful as he assumed they’d be… 

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March 2020 in Review

31 Mar, 2020


March 2020

21 books read. 10 by women (48%), 9 by men (43%), 2 by authors whose gender is unknown (10%), and 8 works by POC (38%)

Year to Date

64 books read. 33.5 by women (52%), 26 by men (41%), 2 by non-binary authors (3%), 2.5 by unknown (4%), 25 works by POC (39%)

Charts below cut

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Books Received, March 21 — 27

28 Mar, 2020


The story of Julie D’Aubigny is well known. Her tumultuous childhood, her powerful lovers, her celebrated voice. Connected to most of the nobility of 17th century Paris, feted for her performance, unwilling to live by the rules of her society, she took female lovers, fought duels with noblemen and fled from city to country and back again. But now the real truth can be told. She also made a deal with the devil. He gave her no powers or help, but he kept her alive for only one reason. To take revenge… 

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Books Received, March 14 — March 20

21 Mar, 2020


In this first novel set in award-winning author Marie Brennan’s incomparable Driftwood fantasy universe, enter a post-apocalyptic realm where the apocalypse has not ended, where fragments of worlds cohere into shifting myths. Yet even as everything fades, Drifters gather to tell conflicting legends of Last, the guide – the one man who seemed immortal, but may have been a fraud. Who is Last? Fame is rare in Driftwood – it’s hard to get famous if you don’t stick around long enough for people to know you. But many know the guide, Last, a one-blooded survivor who has seen his world end many lifetimes ago. For Driftwood is a strange place of slow apocalypses, where continents eventually crumble into mere neighborhoods, pulled inexorably towards the center in the Crush. Cultures clash, countries fall, and everything eventually disintegrates. Within the Shreds, a rumor goes around that Last has died. Drifters come together to commemorate him. But who really was Last? Lying liar, or heroic savior? A mercenary, a charlatan, a legend? A man, an immortal – perhaps even a god? 

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Books Received, March 7 — March 13

14 Mar, 2020


An anthology of original stories based on the dark fantasy, role-playing video game series from Bioware. Ancient horrors. Marauding invaders. Powerful mages. And a world that refuses to stay fixed. Welcome to Thedas. From the stoic Grey Wardens to the otherworldly Mortalitasi necromancers, from the proud Dalish elves to the underhanded Antivan Crow assassins, Dragon Age is filled with monsters, magic, and memorable characters making their way through dangerous world whose only constant is change. Dragon Age: Tevinter Nights brings you fifteen tales of adventure, featuring faces new and old, including: Three Trees to Midnight” by Patrick Weekes
Down Among the Dead Men” by Sylvia Feketekuty
The Horror of Hormak” by John Epler
Callback” by Lukas Kristjanson
Luck in the Gardens” by Sylvia Feketekuty
Hunger” by Brianne Battye
Murder by Death Mages” by Caitlin Sullivan Kelly
The Streets of Minrathous” by Brianne Battye
The Wigmaker” by Courtney Woods
Genitivi Dies in the End” by Lukas Kristjanson
Herold Had the Plan” by Ryan Cormier
An Old Crow’s Old Tricks” by Arone Le Bray
Eight Little Talons” by Courtney Woods
Half Up Front” by John Epler
Dread Wolf Take You” by Patrick Weekes

Read more ➤

Books Received, February 29 — March 6

7 Mar, 2020


One woman will either save an entire continent or completely destroy it in a captivating epic fantasy bursting with intrigue and ambition, questioned loyalties and broken magic

Guard the tower, ward the stone. Find your answers writ in bone.”

Deep within Gloamingard Castle lies a black tower. Sealed by magic, it guards a dangerous secret that has been contained for thousands of years. 

As Warden, Ryxander knows the warning passed down through generations: nothing must unreal the Door. But one impetuous decision will leave her with blood on her hands – and unleash a threat that could doom the world to fall to darkness.

Keep your trust through wits or war– nothing must unseal the door.”

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February 2020 in Review

3 Mar, 2020


February 2020

20 books read. 12 by women (60%), 7 by men (35%), 1 by a non-binary author (5%), 8 works by POC (40%)

Year to Date

43 books read. 23.5 by women (55%), 17 by men (40%), 2 by non-binary authors (5%), 0.5 by unknown (1%), 17 works by POC (40%)

Charts below cut 

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Books Received, Feb 8 — 14

15 Feb, 2020


Women disappear from streets, clubs, and rooftops leaving the police dazed and confused. The mystical Soothsayer Task Force must use their special skills to divine the truth and solve the mystery. 

Detectives Simantov and Bitton, along with their team of mystic agents, try to make sense of the weird crime scenes and even weirder forensic findings. The victims are seemingly unconnected and the only clues to their disappearances are the small objects they leave behind; a whip, a feather, a lock of hair… 

Together with Mazzy’s instincts and Yariv’s stubbornness, they realise that these abductions signal the start of an apocalypse — a war between opposing hosts of angels, the daughters of Lilith and the Nephilim. The battle for access to heaven is underway and humans are caught in the middle. But strong as they may be, angels will always underestimate the power and weight in human free will. 

This is the English translation from the original Hebrew text, translated by Marganit Weinberger-Rotman. 

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