Hugo Award Nominees: 2013 Edition

Hello everyone! As you may know, it is awards season – speculative fiction awards, that is. The Nebula nominees have been officially announced (and we couldn’t be more thrilled with the selection of titles), but it is also that time of year for the biggest SFF fan award nominations – the Hugo Awards.

The Hugo Award

The Hugo Awards are among the most prestigious under the SFF umbrella, and each year the winners are announced at the World Science Fiction Convention (aka WorldCon). Any SFF fan can sign up to nominate and vote for the Hugos each year. For more information on how to become a member, check out the official Hugo Awards website HERE (or our primer HERE.

As the nomination period is officially open (and rapidly coming to a close – remember that your nominations must be received by Sunday, March 10, 2013, 11:59 PM EDT), as promised, today we reveal our picks! We will try to give our reasons whenever possible especially with regards to the Novel/Novellas/Shorts categories as well as the Fanzine/Fan Writers as they are closest to our hearts.

Without further ado, we give you our picks for the 2013 ballot!


Best Novel:

The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin

The Killing Moon

WHY NOMINATE: This book made it on both of our Top 10 of 2012 lists – Jemisin’s Ancient Egypt-inspired world with its complicated politics, religious and magical systems ranks among the best we have ever had the pleasure of reading. Featuring a brilliant, flawed trio of protagonists, The Killing Moon takes us deep into the heart of Gujaareh, its dreamers, and its corruption. In short: we loved this book. Also: NINJA PRIESTS.

More reasons in our original review HERE.

Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst.


WHY NOMINATE: Another fantasy novel set in a non-European (read: non-Caucasian) world, Sarah Beth Durst’s Vessel is a fascinating coming-of-age story with thought-provoking questions about responsibility, faith, and belief in oneself. AND it’s not preachy, and features a strong protagonist who is prepared to die (so her goddess can assume her body) but who is never a martyr. YES.

More reasons in our original review HERE.

Flame of Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier.

Flame of Sevenwaters

WHY NOMINATE: Juliet Marillier’s Sevenwaters Saga comes to a heartwrenching close with Flame of Sevenwaters, as Maeve, the fourth daughter of Lord Sean and Lady Aisling, embarks on a terrible quest to save Sevenwaters from ruin. With its courageous protagonist, Marillier’s trademark lush prose, and integration of fantasy with history, Flame of Sevenwaters is a truly memorable and beautiful book, worthy of all the awards and accolades.

More reasons in our original review HERE.

A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge.

Face Like Glass AFLG-paperback

WHY NOMINATE: Frances Hardinge is an author we only just discovered last year, but quickly devoured her entire backlist and this 2012 new release. A complex dystopian novel about a subterranean society and the people who live in it with their stoic, set expressions, A Face Like Glass is a novel unlike anything you’ve read before. Trust us.

More reasons in our original review HERE.

The Spark by Susan Jane Bigelow.


WHY NOMINATE: This is part three of a criminally underrated and underread Science Fiction series that any SF fan should be reading right now. It’s political, adventurous, diverse, fun. Bonus points: Superheroes! In SPACE!

More reasons in our original review HERE.

Best Novella:

“The Kairos Mechanism” by Kate Milford.

The Kairos Mechanism

WHY NOMINATE: Part of the excellent series of Americana/Fantasy novels by Kate Milford (starts with The Boneshaker, this is a very good novella mixes the American Civil War, american folklore and even time travel. Reviewed HERE.

Before the Fall, After the Fall, During the Fall by Nancy Kress.

After the Fall Before the Fall During the Fall

WHY NOMINATE: Nancy Kress has been around for many years for good reason: her science fiction is top notch. Before the Fall, After the Fall, During the Fall is, as the title suggests, a time-jumping account of the end of the world – an effective, harrowing novella about the apocalypse and all the comes after it. Reviewed HERE.

Best Short Story:

Under My Hat

“Payment Due” by Frances Hardinge
“The Education of a Witch” by Ellen Klages

Both stories appeared in the Under My Hat anthology (reviewed here) and were Ana’s favourite stories of the bunch.

Best Professional Artist:

pegasus_flame Ana Juan

Jason Chan – Seriously. Just take a look at the whimsical, beautiful art he creates. Absolutely stunning.

Ana Juan – The artist we only learned of after reading Cat Valente’s beautiful Fairyland books, we are now huge fans of Ana Juan.

Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form):

Beasts of the Southern Wild Hunger Games Poster

The Avengers
The Hunger Games
The Dark Knight Rises
Beasts of the Southern Wild
The Cabin in the Woods

Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form):

Doctor Who (Angels Take Manhattan)

“The Angels Take Manhattan” (Doctor Who)
“Valar Morghulis” (Game of Thrones)
“Beside the Dying Fire” (The Walking Dead)
“Killer Within” (The Walking Dead)
Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome

Best Semiprozine: – site for all things Speculative Fiction that features reviews, essays, articles, original fiction, artwork and more. It’s a cool community site with a varied range of topics and columnists. We are particularly fond of their movie and TV coverage, their Sleeps with Monsters series and anything written by Liz Bourke and Jo Walton for their blog.

Strange Horizons – A weekly (Mondays) magazine with a blog that is updated throughout the week. It features really great, in-depth reviews of Fantasy and Science Fiction, essays about these genres and original fiction as well (which often go on to win awards).

io9 – A daily publication that covers science, science fiction, and all things in between, io9 is a great source for breaking news about everything from outer space to movies. We are fans.

Best Fanzine:

SF Signal – A Science Fiction collaborative blog that offers extensive coverage of all things SciFi with news, useful roundups, discussions, interviews and more. We love their (not Jedi) Mind Meld (Sorry, couldn’t help it) articles. They were last year’s winner in this category.

Fantasy Cafe – One of our favourite blogs. Kristen writes excellent, thoughtful reviews of Speculative Fiction with the occasional interview and guest posts by authors. Last April she ran a month-long SUPERB, important event highlighting Women in SF&F.

The World SF Blog – Dedicated to Speculative Fiction coverage, posting links, news, reviews as well as publishing original stories from around the world. It presents more variety and diversity than most Blogs and Fanzines out there.

Lady Business – A collaborative blog ran by three awesome ladies with a focus on a feminist reading of stories in any shape or form (TV, Movie, Books) with a preference for Speculative Fiction. They write awesome critiques, they scour the Internet for the best articles on awesome things then post about them with thoughtful analyses and they also post incredibly thought-provoking studies about genre and gender like their breakdown of Coverage of Women on SF/F Blogs (read and weep. Then prepare yourself for this year’s report – coming soon) and Gender Balance in YA Award Winners Since 2000.

The Mary Sue – A website that highlights women in the geek world? YES PLEASE. Although they don’t a lot of book coverage, they do cover tons of great TV, Movie and general SF geekage to merit a nomination.

This was a hard category to pick only 5 nominees as there are so many fab Fanzines/Blogs out there. Some of our favourites that unfortunately didn’t make the cut (but might make yours):, Calico Reaction, Fangs For the Fantasy, Pornokitsch, SF Mistressworks and Eve’s Alexandria.

Best fan writer:

Foz Meadows – Foz Meadows writes over at shattersnipe: malcontent & rainbows and at the Huffington Post. She has written some of the BEST blog posts and articles last year addressing sexism, racism, problematic narratives in Fandom and in YA, all in relation to SF. For a handy collection of her best articles go HERE.

Liz Bourke – One of the absolutely best Speculative Fiction reviewers out there and a thought-provoking genre commentator. Her reviews appear at, Strange Horizon (like this epic takedown of Theft of Swords by Michael Sullivan) and her own blog Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. Her Sleeps With Monsters feature at is also squee-worthy in terms of coverage of works written by women.

Abigail Nussbaum – Reviews editor at Strange Horizons, Nussbaum also writers incredible critiques over at Asking the Wrong Questions, covering books, TV and Films. Nussbaum is the person responsible for introducing me to the incredible novels by Frances Hardinge and deserves an award for that alone.

Tansy Rayner Roberts We are unfamiliar with Tansy Rayner Roberts’s works as a Fantasy writer but we have been reading her articles and essays on pop culture, feminism (and sexism) and more. Her article “Historically Authentic Sexism in Fantasy. Let’s Unpack That” over at received standing ovation here at the TBS HQ.

Ana Mardoll Ana Mardoll, where have you been all our lives??? Ana writes over at Ana Mardoll’s Ramblings and her reviews of books and movies are awesome but her “deconstruction” posts are enviable in terms of coverage, thoughtfulness and social commentary they provide. Here is an index of all her deconstructions but we highly recommend: Female Science Fiction Authors and The Bechdel Test as a starting point.

John W. Campbell Award

Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone.

Three Parts Dead

Original review HERE.

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman.


Original review HERE.

The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls by Claire Legrand.

The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls (Final)

Original review HERE.

The Rook by Daniel O’Malley.

The Rook

Original review HERE.

What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang.

What's Left of Me

Original review HERE.



What our nominations show: we don’t read nearly enough short fiction! We don’t know enough artists! There are also other categories we are not including only because we know ZERO about them like Podcasts and Editors!

What our nominations don’t show: how hard it was to come up with ONLY 5 novels and only 5 Fanzines and Fan Writers .

What you should know without a doubt: How it wasn’t hard AT ALL to find awesome, award-worthy books and fanzines written by women – hear that, SF Fandom?

So, what do you think of our lists? Recommendations, suggestions and discussion very welcome.

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  • KMont
    March 7, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    I see many books on here I want to try! Unfortunately I can’t recall off the top of my head any I’d rec in addition, though you know I love me some womenz-written SFF (my brain, it’s just tired is all). Off to look up some of your recs. It’s a good day to buy books.

  • Kate Nepveu
    March 7, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    I am fairly sure that neither nor io9 count as semi-prozines, because I believe they have actual paid full-time staff and thus are professional not semi-.

    (Disclaimer: I write blog posts for as a freelancer.)

  • jo
    March 7, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    am i the only one thinking that tasteless the hugo award logo looks? ergh. who designed that phallic monstrosity?

  • KMont
    March 7, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    I didn’t think the hugo logo was phallic – it looks like a rocket ship. Are rocket ships phallic and tasteless? If so, there goes another once-safe childhood icon. Buy-buy, rocket ship.

    BUT, this led me to Google-search “Are rocket ships phallic?” (always a sure-fire safe search term) and I found this:

  • KMont
    March 7, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    Oh, and I bought Seraphina, ladies! Finally! Here’s to good reading times. *clinky clinky*

  • Linda W
    March 7, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    Great choices all around!

  • Renay
    March 7, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    WHAT. :O

  • Kristen
    March 7, 2013 at 9:14 pm

    Wow, I’m so honored to be on this list!

  • Shara (Calico Reaction)
    March 7, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    Even though I didn’t score a nomination, I’m really honored that you considered me, and that you gave me a shout-out! Thank you!

  • Nadine
    March 8, 2013 at 1:57 am

    I can relate to not having read enough short fiction. And I guess the amound of podcasts I do listen to explains why you guys always seem to read so much faster than I do…

    As far as artists are concerned, it doesn’t happen often that I google an author because I like the cover art on a book I’m reading. The last few times I did, it always turned out to be a Jason Chan cover – so I agree with you completely. Just give him a Hugo already. 🙂

  • Bookgazing
    March 8, 2013 at 4:38 am

    Yes, we may never be over this. Thank you so much 🙂 I’m excited to see where our noms match up too (Hunger Games, artists and fan writers, oh and Killing Moon obvs).

    Oh but because I know you still have two days left to ammend your ballot if you want to and you have so many other fanzine possible noms, Mary Sue is classed as professional: I also had it on fanzine and had to remove it. If anyone wanted to add yet another category, pro-web prescence would be great 🙂

  • Anonymous
    March 8, 2013 at 11:09 am

    Terrific list!!

    (also – I didn’t know you’d reviewed Under My Hat! Totally agree re those three stories – the Lanagan, the Hardinge & Klages – powerful and evocative stuff. I also loved the de Lint story & thought Delia Sherman’s was very tasty.)

  • celine
    March 9, 2013 at 4:51 am

    That last comment was from me!

  • Liz Bourke
    March 9, 2013 at 11:34 am

    I’m honoured to be mentioned in such company.

  • N. K. Jemisin
    March 10, 2013 at 8:16 am

    Just saw this — awesome! Thanks for the recommend! And of the books/sites/shows I’ve consumed that are on this list, I totally agree. (Though I’m woefully behind in my own reading.)

    Also, that “Rocketships are phallic objects” song made me cry laughing.

  • Kate Milford
    March 16, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    Wow, guys. Natalie, Ben and I are overwhelmed to have been mentioned up there. Thank you.

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    April 2, 2013 at 8:34 am

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  • Introducing Foz Meadows, A Dribble of Ink’s newest contributing reviewer! — A Dribble of Ink
    April 30, 2013 at 11:55 am

    […] of Ink, including yesterday’s essay on escapism and privilege in Fantasy and Science Fiction. The Book Smugglers, in discussing their choices for the 2013 ‘Best Fan Writer’ Hugo award, described Foz […]

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