The resulting list is bleak. I used to look to the Hugos as a recommended reading list, and I became a member of the *cons in order to have access to this reading list. Recent years have really shot me in the foot about that --- the stuff I enjoyed reading, I had read already on my own. And the other stuff turns out to be mostly weird, sci-fi fandom in-crowd hatemail from one group to another.
(Why do they do this? I wouldn't. My reaction to this toxicity is "meh", accompanied by a shrug and not really devoting much time or effort to it... probably as a combination of socialization and my own personality. It's an ultimate de-escalation. Participating in scifi fandom is a leisure activity for rich, literate people. It is super easy to opt out. I find it strange and incomprehensible that there are these internet mob leaders, each spending millions of words responding to each other and rallying their mobs and constructing elaborate facades of sophism to justify disembodied hate of an outgroup with which they share most traits and with whom they spend huge chunks of time interacting online. Rather than work myself into the lather of a long blog rant, I would just go outside. Or take a nap. Self-care. If I want to worry, I worry about the heat death of the universe. My outrage is better than your outrage.)
- Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie
- The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher
- The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
- Seveneves: A Novel by Neal Stephenson
- Uprooted by Naomi Novik
- Binti by Nnedi Okorafor
- The Builders by Daniel Polansky
- Penric’s Demon by Lois McMaster Bujold
- Perfect State by Brandon Sanderson
- Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds
- “And You Shall Know Her by the Trail of Dead” by Brooke Bolander
- “Flashpoint: Titan” by CHEAH Kai Wai
- “Folding Beijing” by Hao Jingfang, Ken Liu
- “Obits” by Stephen King
- “What Price Humanity?” by David VanDyke
Best short story:
- “Asymmetrical Warfare” by S. Algernon
- The Commuter by Thomas Mays
- “If You Were an Award, My Love” by Juan Tabo and Harris (psychologically gross and toxic take of Rachel Swirsky's "If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love" which was a Hugo nominee in 2014 and I guess had too much writerly emotion for some people's SFF taste)
- “Seven Kill Tiger” by Charles Shao
- Space Raptor Butt Invasion by Chuck Tingle
Almost nothing I nominated got onto the ballot. I'm most bummed about China Miéville's short story "The Dowager of Bees" from the collection Three Moments of an Explosion, which was utterly fantastic. But really, the amount of bumming I can suffer from an abstract awards nomination in a niche field is minimal. Sure, this varied my mood down, for a total effect of -ε. Breakfast has more of an effect and occurs more regularly.
I'll try to read the nominees again (see my previous efforts in 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012,2011, 2010, 2009 --- all still incomplete as I gradually retroblog what I thought of them). I have Seveneves in my queue and I'll definitely get to it; the other novel nominees are not very appealing, I have read their opening few pages and they did nothing for me. (This browsing long before they received Hugo nominations.) The extent to which the nominees have been controlled by a voting bloc suggests that I might not find much to hold my interest in the rest of the list. On the other hand, I am interested to see the result of what seems like an experiment by the voting block ("will people vote "no award" above popular authors if we endorse the popular authors who would be on the ballot anyway?").
But I'll try.
I have to keep my English limbered up. This fall I get to talk to captive audiences at length! (Read: teach classes!)
This post's theme word is standpat, "one who refuses to consider change," or "refusing to consider change in one's beliefs and opinions, esp. in politics." The standpats debated each other to a standstill.