2018 Hugo Awards: Artist Categories

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  Hugo nominations closed yesterday, but I’ll continue with my thoughts on the remaining categories.

There has been some sort of Best Artist category since the beginning of the Hugos.  Although in the initial year of 1953,  both Interior Illustrator and Cover Artist awards were given.  During the 1990’s, awards were also given for Best Original Artwork.

Best Professional Artist:

An illustrator whose work has appeared in a professional publication in the field of science fiction or fantasy during 2017.

I try to keep track of impressive artwork I come across in my reading during the year, but Rocket Stack Rank’s page for 2018 Professional Artists was a big help in jogging my memory.  Here are my choices with links to their websites and the example I included on my ballot:

Here are some other artists from my long list with examples from 2017:


Since 1967, there has also been an award for Best Fan Artist:

An artist or cartoonist whose work has appeared through publication in fanzines, semiprozines, or through any other public non-professional display (including at conventions) during 2017.

For this category, I already had one artist in mind, I found two more at the Hugo Award Eligible Art(ists) tumblr, and another two at the Hugo Nominees 2018 Wiki.  Here are my picks with some of my favorite examples of their work:

There were a few artists whose work I liked from 2017 technically puts them in this category because it was published in semiprozines.  But for the most part, I decided to relegate this less “fannish” work to my long list:


The Hugo Awards Study Committee formed at last year’s Business Meeting was actually expanded from an initial resolution for a committee to look at the artist categories.  The Hugo Administrator Decisions Report, available as a PDF from the 2017 Hugo Awards page, clearly shows that voters are struggling with the definitions of these awards.  Four artists (two in each category) who qualified for the final ballot were ruled ineligible.  Two artists (one in each category) who made the final ballot nearly qualified as finalists in the other category.

One issue is that the pro category specifies illustrator, thereby excluding the sculptor who would otherwise have made the ballot last year.  Whereas, the fan category allows other types of artists.  Indeed, five-time finalist Spring Schoenhuth creates SFF-related jewelry.  I think we need to be consistent in the type of art allowed across both categories.

However, the real problem is defining what is considered professional versus fan art.  I think work for semiprozines is for all intents and purposes professional.  In fact, I’d like to get rid of the weird semiprozine beast altogether and open that category to any magazine that’s not a fanzine.

Another way to go would be honoring specific individual works instead of the artists themselves.  Although I believe that the former Best Original Artwork category was discontinued for lack of voter participation.


Who are your favorite artists?  And how do you think these categories should be defined?


2018 Hugo Awards: Best Editor

The Hugo Award for Best Professional Editor was first award in 1973 when it replaced the Best Professional Magazine category.  In 2007 it was split into Short Form (editors of short fiction) and Long Form (editors of novels).


Best Editor, Short Form:

The editor of at least four (4) anthologies, collections, or magazine issues (or their equivalent in other media) primarily devoted to science fiction and/or fantasy, at least one of which was published in 2017.

I did some number crunching on the editors from the magazines I read last year to find out which had the most stories I liked and the least I disliked.


Best Editor, Long Form:

The editor of at least four (4) novel-length works primarily devoted to science fiction and/or fantasy, published in 2017 that do not qualify as works under Best Editor, Short Form.

For this category, I simply figured out the editors of my Best Novel choices and nominated them.

  • Jennifer Hershey
  • Will Hinton
  • Brit Hvide
  • Sean McDonald
  • Devi Pellai


A few years back, Kevin Standlee blogged about an idea for removing the editor categories and semiprozine and proposing three related but easier to vote on categories of publisher, anthology/collection, and professional magazine (including both pro and semi-pro, not fanzine).  However, the timing hasn’t been right to actually bring this to the Business Meeting since then.  Perhaps this will be the year since Kevin is one of the members of the Hugo Award Study Committee which will be offering suggestions.

I think I could get behind those changes.  It’s much simpler to find out who published what books as opposed to who edited them.  [ETA:  I see they very briefly had a Best SF Book Publisher category in 1964 and 1965.]  I don’t read too many anthologies or collections currently, but professional magazine would essentially be the same for me as short form editor.  What are your thoughts?

2018 Hugo Awards: Best Dramatic Presentation

The Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation was first presented in 1958.  Beginning in 2003, it was split into Long Form (more than 90 minutes) and Short Form (90 minutes or less).

At last year’s Business Meeting, there was a proposal to split these categories into four categories:  Long Form, Episodic Form, Short Form, and Series.  (See section D.8 of the meeting minutes archived at WSFS.org for details.)  It was referred to a committee which will be looking over all the Hugo categories.  As with similar proposals for Best Novel and Best Related Work, I’d like to see categories clarified and changed rather than adding more.


The first of the two existing categories is Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form:

Any theatrical feature or other production, with a complete running time of more than 90 minutes, in any medium of dramatized science fiction, fantasy, or related subjects that has been publicly presented for the first time in its present dramatic form during 2017.


So far I have the following two movies on my ballot:

  • Blade Runner 2049
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi


I’m hoping to look at a few more things before the ballots are due:

  • Get Out, Logan, and Wonder Woman, three of the finalists for The Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation (presented at the Nebula Awards), are all available on HBO right now.  [Update 3/12/18: added Wonder Woman to my ballot.]
  • Beauty and the Beast and Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 are both available on Netflix.  [Update 3/10/18: added Beauty and the Beast to my ballot.]
  • A 2016 Japanese anime called your name. (Kimi no Na wa.) was not generally released for U.S. or English-language viewing until after last year’s nominations were closed.   Therefore, the 2017 Business Meeting accepted a proposal to extend its eligibility for this year.  It’s now available to rent for online streaming.
  • Coco, Oscar winner for Animated Feature Film, is also available to rent for online streaming.
  • The Shape of Water, Oscar winner for Best Picture and Ray Bradbury Award finalist, will be available for rent on March 13.  [Updated 3/13/18: added to my ballot.]

Any other must-sees that I should squeeze in?


The other current category is Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form:

Any television program or other production, with a complete running time of 90 minutes or less, in any medium of dramatized science fiction, fantasy, or related subjects that has been publicly presented for the first time in its present dramatic form during 2017.


My dance card is almost full for this category:

  • Doctor Who, “Twice Upon a Time” (2017 Christmas Special)
  • Game of Thrones, “The Dragon and the Wolf” (Season 7, Episode 7)
  • The Magicians, “Lesser Evils” (Season 2, Episode 9)
  • Orphan Black, “To Right the Wrongs of Many” (Season 5, Episode 10)

Right now I have two more episodes of The Expanse to watch, and I’m pretty certain one of the season’s episodes will capture that last slot.  [Update 3/8/18: Added The Expanse, “Caliban’s War” (Season 2, Episode 13) to my ballot.]


There are so many other shows I’d like to eventually check out or catch up on:

  • American Gods (Starz)
  • Black Mirror (Netflix)
  • The Good Place (NBC)
  • The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)
  • Outlander (Starz)
  • Stranger Things (Netflix)

Anything else I’m forgetting?  Maybe I’ll get to it before next year!

2018 Hugo Awards: Best Graphic Story

Following Best Related Work on the Hugo Ballot is Best Graphic Story:

Any science fiction or fantasy story told in graphic form appearing for the first time in 2017.

A relatively new category, it was first awarded in 2009 as a special category.  The 2009 Business Meeting approved it as an ongoing category provided it be re-ratified in 2012.  At that time, they decided it had enough interest and viability to become a permanent category.

One thing to keep in mind is that graphic novels are often collections of previously published single issues.  In that case, the year of eligibility is the original publication date of the final issue, not the publication date of the graphic novel itself.


Here’s what I’m looking at for Graphic Story:

Ladycastle by Delilah S. Dawson, Ashley A. Woods, and Becca Farrow
This caught my eye over on the 2018 Hugo nominee spreadsheet.  Dawson is an author whose books are on my TBR (as Lila Bowen).  The premise sounds fun, but I haven’t actually seen it mentioned anywhere else.  I may check it out anyway since I can access it from hoopla with my library account.

Bitch Planet, Vol. 2: President Bitch by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Valentine De Landro, and Taki Soma
This was recommended by nerds of a feather and others.  I would need to go back and read Vol. 1.  I picked up both recently in a Humble Bundle from Image Comics.

Octavia E. Butler’s Kindred by Damian Duffy and John Jennings
Having just finished Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia E. Butler (and nominating it for Best Related Work), this should be a good follow-up.  It was also recommended by nerds of a feather.  [Update 3/15/2018:  added to my ballot.]

My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, Book One by Emil Ferris
I read this because it’s on the BooktubeSFF Awards shortlist (and my library had it).  Designed to appear as though the protagonist is drawing her own story in a lined, spiral-bound notebook, the title comes from her love of horror comics.  But the real monsters here are all ostensibly human.  I’ve already added it to my Hugo Ballot.

Monstress, Volume Two: The Blood by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda
Monstress, Volume One: Awakening was last year’s winner, and I really loved it.  They’re both also included in the Humble Bundle from Image Comics.  [Update 3/13/18:  added to my ballot.]

Everyone’s a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too by Jomny Sun
Another one shortlisted for the BooktubeSFF Awards (and I was able to get it through interlibrary loan).  It’s very cute and fun with more serious underlying themes, but I’m waffling about whether to nominate it or not.  [Update 3/13/18:  added to my ballot.]

Paper Girls, Vol. 3 by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang
Paper Girls, Vol. 1 was a finalist last year.  I would need to read Vol. 2 first.  All three are available on hoopla via my library.

Saga, Volume Seven by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
Saga, Volume One was the winner in 2013, and subsequent volumes have been finalists almost every year since.  Saga, Volume Eight is also eligible this year.  [Update 3/16/2018:  added to my ballot.]

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 7: Damage Per Second by G. Willow Wilson, Mirka Andolfo, Takeshi Miyazawa, and Francesco Gaston
Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal was the winner in 2015, and Ms. Marvel, Vol. 5: Super Famous was a finalist last year.  Ms. Marvel, Vol. 8: Mecca is also eligible this year.

Any other suggestions? (Preferably not too far into a series.)