The Hugo nominations are out!! You can find a full list at the most excellent Sci Fi Signal , which itself has been nominated for two thoroughly deserved awards for best fanzine and best fancast.
I’m focussing on the best novel nominations here as they have thrown up some very interesting authors and books. Here’s a breakdown:
Among Others by Jo Walton (Tor)
Jo Walton won the Campbell award in 2002 and a number of other awards since including the Prometheus Award. By the amount of awards she has been nominated for she’s well due and the book itself has been receiving some great reviews.
Among others is presented as the diary of a girl, Morwenna Phelps, who has been sent to live with her father after her half-mad mother who dabbled in magic, tries to bend the spirits to dark ends, and Mori was forced to confront her in a magical battle that left her crippled – and her twin sister dead. The boarding school she lives in is devoid of all true magic and she is forced to tempt fate by doing magic herself.
A Dance With Dragons by George R. R. Martin (Bantam Spectra)
If you haven’t come across A Song of Ice and Fire yet then you must have been living under a rock…on mars…with your fingers in your ears and your eyes closed. It’s just brilliant and has redefined the fantasy genre. The audience that has been opened up by this great series is a massive boon to fantasy authors everywhere.
A Dance with Dragons is the fifth book of the series so I don’t want to spoil anything for those that haven’t read it. I don’t think it’s going to win though. The third book, A Storm of Swords, was runner-up in 2001 as was A Feast for Crows in 2006. I’m thinking that this is a another runner-up for Martin but he does have a successful show on HBO and a legion of loyal fans to console himself with.
Deadline by Mira Grant (Orbit)
Mira Grant is the pen name of Seanan McGuire, a multiple award winning author from America. She has previously won the Campbell award in 2010 and her novel Feed was nominated in 2011 for the Hugo award for Best Novel.
Deadline is the second novel in the Newsfelsh Trilogy (Feed was the first book) and is written from the point of view of blogger Shaun Mason who lives in a world that has gone through a Zombie Apocalypse. You really need to have read the first book in the series to make sense of this one, but you may have already done that after it was nominated last year. It’s been getting good reviews though not as good as Feed so it may not be winning this year.
Embassytown by China Miéville (Macmillan / Del Rey)
China Miéville has been a revelation since he burst on to the sci-fi scene a few years ago. Since his first novel King Rat was published in 1998 he has won three Arthur C. Clarke awards, a Hugo Award, a Locus and, sickeningly, many many more.
As this book has also been nominated for the Arthur C. Clarke award and is the firm favourite to win I’d set this as the favourite to win the Hugo Award as well. Christopher Priest who has just won the BSFA award this year, a competition that saw Priest up against Miéville, had some harsh words about the line up for Arthur C. Clarke award this year but Embassytown has been widely lauded by the critics.
Embassytown takes place in the title city, on the planet Arieka. Immerser Avice Benner Cho has returned to her childhood home, from her adventures in the Out. It is a planet on which humans and “exots” co-exist with the indigenous, enigmatic Ariekei — otherwise known as the Hosts. Few people can speak the language of the Hosts; those who can are genetically-engineered linguists known as Ambassadors. The relationship between humans and Ariekei has proceeded in relative tranquility for many years. Then one day an unexpected Ambassador arrives and the delicate diplomatic balance is tipped towards war. (taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embassytown)
Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey (Orbit)
James S.A. Corey is actually the pen name for a collaboration between writers Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck. Abraham has published a huge number of novels, short stories and even a comic book based on A Game of Thrones. He lives in New Mexico and occasionally collaborates with George R.R. Martin (which was probably obvious from the comic book…). Ty Franck, I can’t find much on at all…
Leviathan Wakes is the first book in the Expanse Series and has had very good reviews, including from…you guessed it…George R.R. Martin.
You can find a great interview with both authors on SF Signal.