Thoughtful Thursday: The 2017 Hugos, Who Will Win? Who Ought To Win?

The WorldCon75 Committee announced that, when the Hugo voting closed, they had received 3319 ballots, the third highest turnout in the history of the award.

This year, in addition to the familiar categories, the Hugos added a Best Series category. I’m interested to see who wins, and what people even think of the category as a concept.

Best Novel finalists are: (click the links for our reviews)

What’s your prediction? Will All the Birds in the Sky sweep this year? The Obelisk Gate is highly regarded, but it is the second book in a trilogy and Book One won last year. Does that make a difference? Did voters lean toward hard SF this year?

And now, the new and challenging category, Best Series: (click the links for our reviews)

Well, that’s certainly a list. This is an odd mix; quite a bit of urban or contemporary fantasy, which seems to lend itself to series characters. At last year’s WorldCon, Max Gladstone said, somewhat jokingly, that his series must be urban fantasy. And space opera is well represented too.

What do you think? What series will win? Is “Best Series” even a good idea for a category?  Weigh in with your predictions, opinion and thoughts, and one random commenter with a USA mailing address will win a book from our Stacks.


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MARION DEEDS, with us since March 2011, is retired from a 35-year career with county government, where she met enough interesting characters and heard enough zany stories to inspire at least two trilogies’ worth of fantasy fiction. Currently she spends part of her time working at a local used bookstore. She is an aspiring writer herself and, in the 1990s, had short fiction published in small magazines like Night Terrors, Aberrations, and in the cross-genre anthology The Magic Within. On her blog Deeds & Words, she reviews many types of books and follows developments in food policy and other topics.

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20 comments

  1. Sandyg265 /

    I’m not sure that best series makes sense as a category since the books in a series are often of unequal quality. However if I had to choose one of those I’d pick the October Daye series.

  2. Since my #1 & 2 picks didn’t make the final ballot, I went with my 3rd choice, All the Birds in the Sky, but it’s anybody’s guess which will win. As for Best Series, this makes more sense than all of The Wheel of Time being nominated as Best Novel a few years back. I don’t think it should be an annual thing though, maybe once a decade. Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t 1966 the last time Best Series was a category? I had to go with the only one I’ve read entirely, The Expanse, with Vorkosigan as my second choice.

    • I think they may find out pretty quickly that it isn’t a category that lends itself to an annual vote. Once every five years might be about right. And really, I don’t know how I am supposed to compare THE CRAFT SERIES which I love, with THE EXPANSE, which I love, or with the VORKOSIGAN SAGA, which, of course, I love.

  3. Trey /

    My hope is Obelisk Gate wins.

    As to series, I love The Craft and Vorkosigan series, but both also exemplify some of the problems with series as a category. Basically, that the books can be very uneven from one to the other. I’m not sure the current implementation is the way to go either. I’d argue for completed series or a wide gap between award years.

  4. Nick /

    I also would hope that the Obelisk Gate would win. I believe the Fifth Season (book 1) won last year. It’s contains an incredibly unique writing style by using the second person with “you” like you are the main character. It’s intricate and beautiful and heartfelt and full of the right about of despair. Jeminsin is definitely worthy of another award for this series.

    • I think that book was very powerful and she is a great storyteller. I don’t know if voters feel that the same writer should win twice in a row. I guess we’ll know in two weeks.

    • Nnck, you must be pleased! She did win. And I was glad to see the Vorkosigan Saga win for best series.

  5. John Smith /

    Maybe “THE VORKOSIGAN SAGA” will win–although I’m not sure “Best Series” is a great idea. Judging by the photographs above, “All the Birds in the Sky” and “Too Like the Lightning” would win Best Cover Design!

  6. Rowan /

    Not sure how I feel about the “Best Series” category – I do think it important to recognize excellence through the arc of a series, but it’s incredibly hard to fairly judge such a category when the books within the series can vary widely in quality. And you can get series that are beautifully plotted over many books, but each individual book isn’t particularly great. That said, I’d like Naomi Novik’s Temeraire to win.

  7. April /

    I agree with most posters above, Best Series as a category is a bit difficult to judge, for all the reasons stated above in addition to the different types of series – some must be read chronologically, some are only loosely connected, some work better when read in the reader’s order…not to mention that three of them are three of my favorites – how would I choose? I couldn’t. I like them for different reasons.

    For the other, shrug, I haven’t read any of them so I have no opinion on which is better than the rest.

    • April, I think you hit on a big sticking point; some series take multiple books to tell the story and must be read sequentially, while others are a “series” because they share a character or a world. Makes it even harder to vote for a “best of.”

  8. Sethia /

    All the birds in the sky is going to make a deep of it! I also agree best series should be a every five year category.

  9. Sethia /

    Sweep of it (auto correct😑)

  10. I wasn’t much impressed at all with All the Birds, I liked Too Like the Lightning for its ambition and a few other aspects, but thought it had issues, and the first book by Cixin Liu didn’t have me super eager to continue. Apparently I’ll have to keep reading.

    Series, as everyone has noted, is tough. I’d go with the Expanse of the one’s I’ve read (looking forward to starting the Craft series at some point),

  11. mary henaghen /

    I thino All the Birds will sweep. I also think some recognition of a connected body of work is a very worthy endeavor, but the kinks of the process definitely need to be work out. Annually is too often, for sure.

    I’d love the October Daye series to be honored, but I know it is a real underdog in this category.

  12. I’m leaning towards All the Birds in the Sky and The Expanse.

    • I’m happy to see that I was right with “All the Birds in the Sky”. But it looks like “The Expanse” came second after The Craft Sequence by Max Gladstone.

      • Oops! Looks like I didn’t check the winners correctly. My apologies.

        • Best Novel took me by surprise. Not in a bad way, I just didn’t think she would win two years in a row. And Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan series won.

          The Expanse won best Drama, short form, which makes me happy.

  13. Nick, if you live in the USA, you win a book of your choice from our stacks.
    Please contact me (Marion) with your choice and a US address. Happy reading!

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