The 2014 Hugo Award: My Hugo Ballot, Best Novel and Campbell Award

With a little over 36 hours left in the Hugo nominating period, we come down to the last two categories on my ballot.  In recent years, I've found the best novel category less and less interesting, partly because I'm not interested in keeping up with novels as they're published (that's a great way to concentrate on a single genre and let all other kinds of books go ignored) so usually don't have an informed opinion when it comes time to make up my ballot.  At the same time, the Campbell award has grown in importance for me, as a reflection of the new voices emerging in the field (usually with short fiction).  So I end up nominating more with an eye towards the genre's (possible) future than on its present--though this year, in at least one cast, I think that they are one and the same.

Previous posts in this series:
Best Novel:
  • A Stranger in Olondria by Sofia Samatar (my review) - The farther I get from this novel the more special it seems, and the more surprising its assurance for a debut offering.  Already nominated for the Nebula and BSFA, I think that A Stranger in Olondria deserves to add a Hugo nomination to its laurels.

  • Mortal Fire by Elizabeth Knox (my review) - I've already singled out the story with which I was introduced to Knox's writing, and which acts as a prologue to this novel, in my short fiction post.  Mortal Fire is a very different beast from the story, less mysterious and spooky, but still a very clever variant on its YA tropes, and with an unusual, memorable heroine.

  • The Accursed by Joyce Carol Oates - A nomination without a chance of making it to the ballot, I know, but I couldn't let Oates's weird, baggy, Gothic horror pass without a nomination for an award in whose bailiwick it surely lies. 
John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer:
  • Sofia Samatar - It will probably come as no surprise that an author who appears twice on my ballot (three times if you count the fan writer category) should be up for this award.  Samatar has had one of the most triumphant debut years in recent memory, and it seems only right to recognize that with a Campbell nomination.  Second year of eligibility.

  • Carmen Maria Machado - Another person who has appeared several times on my ballot already, with her stories "Inventory" and "Especially Heinous." First year of eligibility.

  • Benjanun Sriduangkaew - I haven't singled out any stories by Sriduangkaew this year, but the pieces by her that I read--stories like "Annex" and "Silent Bridge, Pale Cascade"--showcased an exciting new talent.  First year of eligibility.

  • Tori Truslow - It's a bit rich, nominating someone for the Campbell based on a single story, but when that story has stuck with you as powerfully as Truslow's "Boat in Shadows, Crossing" has done, it makes a great deal of sense.  First year of eligibility.


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