Wednesday 29 July of this year will mark the commencement of the World Science Fiction Convention 2020, hosted this year in Wellington. Not only is this a significant event for the world of science fiction and fantasy, it is also a significant event for the literary world as Worldcon hosts one of the most important literary awards in science fiction and fantasy: The Hugo Awards.
Although a strange time, with the ongoing global pandemic that is Covid-19, WorldCon is going ahead with the guests and presentations all being done digitally. Although this may not be what people have bargained for, it still presents us with a great opportunity to celebrate some of the best Science Fiction and Fantasy over the past year.
So on that note, let’s start with the coveted Hugo Award 2020 Best novel finalists. This year is guaranteed to have a new name associated with the Hugo Award for Best Novel. You never know, you might find your new favourite author or the next Ursula Le Guin.
A fantastic novel by fromer Hugo Award Best Novel finalist, Charlie Jane Anders, set between two polar opposite cities on a planet of extremes. This novel has shades of Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness. (read Fee's review of The city in the middle of the night)
A fast paced fantasy novel by New Zealand author, Tamsyn Muir. Her first nomination, and an exciting opportunity for a New Zealand author to be elevated to the pantheon of international Sci-fi/Fantasy royalty.
A modern take on the classic military sci-fi genre. The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley is interesting conceptually as it engages with interplantery war in a creative and modern manner.
Another classic sci-fi genre reimagined. A memory called empire is a delightful love letter to classic space operas. Written by Arkady Martine (an author destined to write sci-fi on account of sharing a name with one of the primary protagonists of Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars), A Memory Called Empire is a novel all fans of space operas will enjoy.
Middlegame by Seanan McGuire is a conceptually delightful fantasy novel. Set in contemporary America, it tells the story of an America run by a secret organisation of alchemists.
A fantasy novel set in the early 20th century. The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow tells the story of magical book that can open doors into other possibilities. A beautiful story of the infinite possibilities of literature that serves as a love letter to the medium of the novel. (read Renee's review of The Ten Thousand Doors of January)
- 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 015 015, 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 Related Work
- Becoming Superman, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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)
A full list of all the categories and finalists can be found at the Hugo Award 2020 official website.
Winners of the awards will be announced on the 1st of August, 2020.