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Posted by2 months ago

For a few years now, I've been trying to read all of the Hugo award winners. It was an easy way to read great books and experience a wide variety. I like how it removed choice from the matter. Thought folks might appreciate my random awards/observations:

Favorite book(s): Dune, Ender's Game, Way Station, The Three-Body Problem, The Graveyard Book, Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, The Fountains of Paradise, and Dreamsnake.

Least-favorite book(s): The Yiddish Policemen's Union and Neuromancer

Most sexist book: (sci-fi books going back to the 30s have a lot of sexism): Conjure Wife - The premise is that all women are witches who use their powers to help their husbands' careers.

Most unique aliens: Giving this to author Vernor Vinge. Both A Fire Upon the Deep and A Deepness in the Sky both had really unique and strange aliens that the author really made you feel that strangeness.

Best series: Remembrance of Earth's Past - the series which The Three-Body Problem is in.

Finally, some general thoughts on sci-fi the genre. I've realized it's a silly genre. Sci-Fi spans a huge gamut of types of books. The only reason they're connected is because they're in space. For example, A Memory Called Empire easily could've been set in 15th century Europe without too much change. It's pretty much just a book about palace politics. I never would've read it if it were set in Earth's past. But, now that it's in space, I like it! I don't know why this matters to me and if it means I should give more genres a chance.

Overall, I really enjoyed working through this list and would recommend this approach to all sci-fi lovers. You're going to read some garbage books and you're going to read some amazing ones.

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Posted by1 month ago
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Posted by28 days ago

For the past few years I’ve created a Hugo Award prediction list using a regression analysis that weighs a given book’s performance in precursor book awards, the author’s past award and nomination history, and several other factors. Here is a brief description of my methodology

This past year I correctly predicted 5/6 Best Novel finalists and 4/6 Best Novella finalists (5/6 if you count Martha Wells's declined nomination) and have predicted 83% of the finalists over the last 5 years.

Since the winners of this year's awards have been announced, I have compiled an initial prediction list for the 2023 awards. These are obviously super early predictions and there are still plenty of eligible books that haven't even been published yet. As the months go on, I periodically update the predictions based on the changing data and post them on my blog.

Novels:

  1. Siren Queen by Nghi Vo

  2. Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher

  3. A Half-Built Garden by Ruthanna Emrys

  4. Fevered Star by Rebecca Roanhorse

  5. Last Exit by Max Gladstone

  6. The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi

Novellas:

  1. Where the Drowned Girls Go by Seanan McGuire

  2. A Prayer for the Crown-Shy by Becky Chambers

  3. The Sins of Our Fathers by James S.A. Corey

  4. Comeuppance Served Cold by Marion Deeds

  5. A Mirror Mended by Alix E. Harrow

  6. Spear by Nicola Griffith

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Posted by2 months ago

I'm really new to the world of Hugos voting and I've had this perception that it's hard for new authors to break into the top novel shortlist, but I've never actually looked at the numbers to back that up. So, mostly to satisfy my own curiosity, I took a look at the numbers to answer some of my burning questions.

Disclaimer: I am not a statistician; I just like spreadsheets. This is all for fun. I'm using stats from all of the main Hugo awards (so no retro Hugos) and while I checked for pennames in most cases, it's possible that I missed a couple.

How many Best Novel nominees come from new authors? On average, 40% of the nominees in a year are from authors who have never been previously nominated for best novel. For the vast majority of the Hugos, this equates to about 2/5 nominees being new. If you include nominations from the short fiction categories (novella, novelette, and short story), this number drops to 26%.

How many Best Novel winners come from new authors? 45% of winners come from authors who had never been nominated for best novel before. Including nominations for short fiction, this number drops to 25%. In other words, 75% of best novel winners had been nominated in one of the 4 big fiction categories before their win.

How common are repeat winners? 16/48 authors have won the best novel award multiple times. Robert A. Heinlein and Lois McMaster Bujold have the most wins, tied with 4.

Does a Best Novel win guarantee future nominations? On average, best novel winners go on to be nominated in the best novel category 2 more times. 35/48 authors have been nominated for best novel at least once more after winning the award.

Have any of these stats changed over time? Excluding the first few years of the award, where the data is spotty and there were no previous years to compare to, not really. The percentage of new nominees fluctuates year to year, but there's no clear trend. The average number of novel nominations after a victory similarly has no trend.

Bonus fun facts

  • The author with the most nominations before their first novel win is Connie Willis, with 12 (including short fiction categories). Excluding short fiction, it's Robert J Sawyer with 5.

  • Only two authors have a 100% win rate for Best Novel and have been nominated multiple times - Fritz Leiber and Neil Gaiman

  • Robert Silverberg has the most novel nominations without ever winning, with 9

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