This Year’s Hugo Awards Honor Diverse Authors, Shrug Off Sad Internet Campaign
N.K. Jemisin took the award for "Best Novel" for The Fifth Season.
The 2016 Hugo Awards were announced last night at MidAmeriCon II in Kansas City, MO, and after an attempt by an online group to once again derail the list of winners it was made even more satisfying when all four Hugo fiction categories were awarded to women, with three of them being women of color: N.K. Jemisin won “Best Novel” for her book The Fifth Season, while Nnedi Okorafor took the “Best Novella” category for Binti. Hao Jingfang was the winner in the “Best Novelette” category for “Folding Beijing”.
Additionally, Uncanny Magazine took yet another Hugo Award this year, for “Best Semiprozine”, and Jessica Jones won for an episode that had been nominated in the category of “Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form)”.
This year’s Hugo Awards were again the unfortunate recipient of attempts by online groups to fix the awards in favor of their nominated works–to effectively try and “take back” science fiction and fantasy from that they perceived to be a track towards a more inclusive, liberal genre. Both groups, the Sad Puppies and the Rabid Puppies, believe that science fiction needs to return to its more conservative beginnings–with their attempted skewing of the Hugo Award winners a byproduct. However, this year, the groups’ attempts were blocked by Hugo voters–and two categories were presented with No Award as a result, which is an option if voters do not agree with any of the nominated picks.
Several Hugo winners addressed the oft-dubbed “Puppygate” controversy in their acceptance speeches, including Neil Gaiman, but Jemisin’s was especially powerful. You can watch the video of the speech being read by Alyssa Wong below on Jemisin’s behalf:
If this year’s Hugo Awards prove anything, it’s that poor attempts of small internet groups to sabotage a genre that is becoming increasingly diverse will always be met with resistance. No one says it better than Jemisin, in her own words below:
Only a small number of ideologues have attempted to game the Hugo Awards. That small number can easily be overwhelmed, their regressive clamor stilled, if the rest of SFF fandom simply stands up to be counted. Stands up to say that yes, they do want literary innovation, and realistic representation. Stands up to say that yes, they do just want to read good stories — but what makes a story good is skill, and audacity, and the ability to consider the future clearly rather than through the foggy lenses of nostalgia and privilege.
You can read the full list of Hugo Awards here.
[UPDATE: This piece was updated to reflect the fact that three of the Hugo fiction award winners were women of color, not two as previously reported.]
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