2021 Hugo Award Winners Announced

A rundown on the 2021 Hugo Award Winners.

Elizabeth Meade
8th February 2022
Hugo Award Winners 2021: Image Credit- @worldcon2021 on Twitter
If you love science fiction and fantasy, you have probably heard of the Hugo Awards. I have previously opined that it's misleading to frame award-winning works as "the best" in their respective genres and categories. However, it is nonetheless valuable to observe what World Science Fiction Society members, many of whom are science fiction and fantasy authors, thought was 'good' in the past year, regardless of whether one agrees with their opinions.

There are 18 categories alongside the Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book and Astounding Award for Best New Writer. (These are awarded by the World Science Fiction Society at the same time.) There are 5 nominees for each category, including the winner. Best Video Game is a one-time category for 2021, and the newest annual category is Best Series, created in 2017.

The 2021 winners (announced at DisCon III in Washington, D.C.) are as follows:

Best Novel: Network Effect by Martha Wells. This book is the fifth book in the Murderbot Diaries series, which won Best Series.

Best Novella: The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo, the first book in the Singing Hills Cycle.

Best Novelette: Two Truths and a Lie by Sarah Pinsker.

Best Short Story: "Metal Like Blood in the Dark" by T. Kingfisher. T. Kingfisher is the pen name of Ursula Vernon.

Best Series: The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells.

Best Related Work: Beowulf: A New Translation by Maria Dahvana Headley. This category honours a work that is not science fiction or fantasy itself, but is related to an existing work or the genre as a whole.

Best Graphic Story: Parable of the Sower: A Graphic Novel Adaptation, written by Octavia Butler, adapted by Damian Duffy, illustrated by John Jennings. Butler's original novel, Parable of the Sower, was nominated for a Nebula Award in 1995, and she won that same award in 2000 for Parable of the Talents. The Nebula Award is awarded by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

Even if you aren't deeply engaged with science fiction, you may have heard of many of the Dramatic Presentation nominees. Most modern nominees are popular film and TV programmes:

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form: The Old Guard, written by Greg Rucka, directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood. The Long Form Dramatic Presentation category honors "film, television, radio, live theater, computer games or music" that last 90 minutes or longer. Read Film Sub-Editor George Bell's take on the film here.

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form: The Good Place: Whenever You’re Ready, written and directed by Michael Schur. This show has been covered by Courier writers many times. Short Form works run less than 90 minutes.

Best Editor, Short Form: Ellen Datlow. This category honours anthology editors. Datlow has been active across several subgenres for years.

Best Editor, Long Form: Diana M. Pho. This category honours editors of novel-length stories. While she is not credited in book descriptions the way an author would be, she has a list of all that she worked on in 2020 on her personal website.

Best Professional Artist: Rovina Cai. Cai has designed covers and illustrations for a few award-nominated books. These include 2007 Best Novel nominee His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik and 2021 Lodestar nominee Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger. She also designed illustrations for Seanan McGuire's Wayward Children series, 5 books of which have been nominated for Best Novella. The first book, Every Heart A Doorway, won in 2017.

Best Semiprozine: FIYAH Magazine of Black Speculative Fiction, publisher Troy L. Wiggins, executive editor DaVaun Sanders, managing editor Eboni Dunbar, poetry editor Brandon O’Brien, reviews and social media Brent Lambert, art director L. D. Lewis, and the FIYAH Team. A semiprozine is a magazine that pays writers and editors, but is not the main source of income for its staff. This doesn't mean that semiprozines are lower in quality, it simply means they are not making as much money as professional publications.

Best Fanzine: nerds of a feather, flock together, ed. Adri Joy, Joe Sherry, The G, and Vance Kotrla. A fanzine is a magazine that does not pay writers or editors. (The Courier is a Newcastle University fanzine.)

Best Fancast: The Coode Street Podcast, presented by Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe, Jonathan Strahan, producer. The fancast category, created in 2012, is the second-newest annual category.

Best Fan Writer: Elsa Sjunneson. Sjunneson has been nominated for seven Hugo Awards, as well as the Nebula Award, and has won the British Fantasy Award and Aurora Award. Fan writers are anyone who is not writing for a professional publication.

Best Fan Artist: Sara Felix.

Best Video Game: Hades (Publisher and Developer: Supergiant Games) This game also won two Game of the Year Awards in 2020 for Best Indie Title and Best Action Game. Read Michael Duckworth's coverage of those awards here.

Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book: A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher.

Astounding Award for Best New Writer: Emily Tesh (2nd year of eligibility). Writers are only eligible for this award within two years of publishing their first work professionally. Tesh is the author of the Greenhollow Duology, including Silver in the Wood and Drowned Country.

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AUTHOR: Elizabeth Meade
(she/her) Head of Current Affairs (News, Campus Comment, Comment, Science). Chemistry major. Avid reader. Chaos theorist. Amateur batrachologist and historian. Rock fan. Likes cybersecurity and cooking. Wrote the first article for Puzzles. Probably the first Courier writer to have work featured in one of Justin Whang's videos.

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