the Little Red Reviewer

reading and reviewing the 2014 Hugo Ballot

Posted on: June 11, 2014


The Hugo Voter’s Packet was released a little over a week ago.  For 24 hours, voters across the globe downloaded, unzipped, transferred to devices, and prioritized.


Out of sheer luck I have already read a few of the Campbell nominees, so down near the bottom you’ll see my links to my reviews of their novels. As I review more Hugo nominated works, I’ll link everything back to this post so it will all be in one place later. Ideally, by July 31, this post will be chock full of links.


Click here for the full  ballot, you see how much is on there? holy cow! Ain’t no way I can read all of that by the July 31 voting deadline. Many of these works are available online for free (no Worldcon membership? no problem!), click here for a clickable ballot over at SFSignal. Reading and reviewing wise, here’s what I realistically* think I can get through:

(it goes without saying, but images shown do NOT imply bias, they are just the covers I found quickly)


Six_Gun_Snow_White_by_Catherynne_M_Valente_200_311Best Novella


Best Novellette


Best Short Story


(edited post July 31st to add that I hardly got anything read past Best Short Story. Yeah, I suck)


Best Related Work**

  • Queers Dig Time Lords: A Celebration of Doctor Who by the LGBTQ Fans Who Love It Edited by Sigrid Ellis & Michael Damian Thomas (Mad Norwegian Press)
  • Speculative Fiction 2012: The Best Online Reviews, Essays and Commentary by Justin Landon & Jared Shurin (Jurassic London)
  • “We Have Always Fought: Challenging the Women, Cattle and Slaves Narrative” by Kameron Hurley (A Dribble of Ink)
  • Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction by Jeff VanderMeer, with Jeremy Zerfoss (Abrams Image)
  • Writing Excuses Season 8 by Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Mary Robinette Kowal, Howard Tayler, and Jordan Sanderson

girl geniusBest Graphic Story

  • Girl Genius, Volume 13: Agatha Heterodyne & The Sleeping City written by Phil and Kaja Foglio; art by Phil Foglio; colours by Cheyenne Wright (Airship Entertainment)
  • “The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who” written by Paul Cornell, illustrated by Jimmy Broxton (Doctor Who Special 2013, IDW)
  • The Meathouse Man adapted from the story by George R.R. Martin and illustrated by Raya Golden (Jet City Comics)
  • Saga, Volume 2 written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples (Image Comics)
  • “Time” by Randall Munroe (XKCD)


three parts deadJohn W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer not-a-hugo


An observant reader would notice I have left the very prestigious “best novel” off of my list of Hugo nominated works to read. Why would I do that? Time and interest.  Of the five nominated novels, I’ve read one of them, and I wasn’t a fan of it. the rest of the Best Novel nominees includes an author whose works rarely interest me; an author who does interest me, but I don’t much care for the universe in which this nominated novel takes place; a third book in a series I’m not that interested in; and the entire Wheel of Time saga. With Wot, do I read just the first book? just the last book? the first and the last? all of them? I read the first one years ago, and found it decent, but not good enough that I was interested in continuing.  Time and interest: two things I have a very finite amount of.


*definition of “realistically” subject to change

** Some of these I may read selections of.

29 Responses to "reading and reviewing the 2014 Hugo Ballot"

The big issue this year is the nomination for the ENTIRE Wheel of Time series. I don’t see how anyone could read all of those in time to vote….


I get that it is a huge issue. one I really don’t want to touch!! for anyone needing a cheat sheet, there are some read alongs floating around:

but me? I ain’t gonna read ’em.


Is the assumption out there that we have ALL read the entire WoT series already? Like you, I have one book under my belt.


I didn’t dig deep into the Novels folder in my packet, but I heard they put e-books of the entire series on it, so we could read it we chose. How anyone is going to read that entire series in only 2 months, that is one helluva committment.

i will assume that people who nominated it read the entire series. but hey, they’ve had 15+ years to read all of it.


I managed the first two, and part of the third, before the number of characters bent me under it’s weight and I stumbled to a halt. I did later read the prequel, is that also part of the nomination? Not that it matters, see my comment further below.


Interesting statements here about the best novel…I’m currently reading them (and post a review as soon as I am done). I can’t express a judgement so far, but I have to say I have far less doubts about the novella 🙂


I am looking forward to your Best Novel reviews. As negative as my personal thoughts are, I do hope there are some positive reviews floating around out there for the nominees.


I’m on my way, only two to go. Incidentally, I think I will skip WOT. Fantasy – at least of this kind- is not my genre anyway, and I have only read (tiredly) one of the whole set: so I guess I won’t be objective in my dislike. But on one thing I agree with you straight away: Hugo Award ballots have seen better titles than these ones…!


I found the novel nominations terrible this year. Ancillary Justice is the flavor of the month but I didn’t care for it. The WOT books lost me after the second one. There are so many other better fantasy novels out there. Tried reading the Larry Correia but found the writing terrible and gave up 25 pages in. Don’t know how this got on the ballot.
The Adjacent by Christopher Priest was much better than any of these.


to put it mildly, i was VERY surprised by the best novel nom’s. my guess is that Leckie or WoT will take home the rocket.


Ancillary Justice is, as Steve says, the flavor of the month and seems a shoo-in. Which is too bad, as a new writer who becomes the sudden darling needs to earn stripes before being the best of the field, but then the others are no great shakes either. If I were voting, I’d vote for the Stross.


All this reading …it’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it! I feel quite exhausted just reading all this let alone contemplating reading it all! I was thinking of Susan’s readalong when I read your comment about WOT – that is a huge undertaking to expect!
I love the cover for the Wonder Book! And, it reminds me I need to get back to reading Agatha.
Lynn 😀


Wonderbook is beautiful. My local bookstore got in a copy, and I flipped through it, it is informative, gorgeous, eye catching, I’ve never seen anything like it!

I’d lost interest in Agatha around vol 8, although i think my husband has read through 10 or 11. by #8 it had lost a lot of humor and sex jokes.


No “Best Fanzine”? For shame!


I’m most interested in your take on the Campbell nominees. It’s a very strong group this year.


Fanzine can be my extra credit. 😉

Completely agree about the Campbell nominees. that is going to be a very tough one to choose my favorite.


After some initial attempts, I’ve given up trying to read work based on Hugo nominations (and award nominations, in general). Too much of it, well… isn’t great, or isn’t of interest to me. I’m not trying to bad talk awards: it’s just that as a rule they aren’t reliable enough that I can use them as a guide without doing the same due diligence (reading reviews, reading initial chapters) that I do, anyway, to find stuff to read.


confession: I only started caring when I got into this whole blogging thing and started getting a WorldCon membership. I talk a talk, but i am such a newbie! And how many times have I gotten a book out of the library on the strength of the “hugo award winning novel!” sticker and been burned by a piece of shit? More times than I can count. When it comes to awards like this, I think I enjoy the journey more than the destination.


When you put it that way, it makes me want to read the nominees (or, you know… try to :-P)! Yeah, it’s a popularity contest, subject to all sorts of silliness, but it’s also a celebration of books and writers, a lot of fun, and a reason for a lot of community dialogue, so it is, as they say, all good!


Best Novel is probably the weakest of the categories I’ll be voting in, in terms of what’s there that I’ve got any interest in, though Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form) is probably right next to it… That said I’m looking forward to digging into the short fiction! And I agree, the Campbell ballot looks awfully juicy this year. I’ve only 1 out of those 5 authors, so I’m curious as heck to see what I make of the rest!


yeah, short fiction and Campbell is going to be the tough ones. The trick with Dramatic Presentation is that I don’t watch enough TV or go to enough movies to have seen any of this stuff when it originally aired earlier in the year.


I’m losing my mind (what there is of it). I was sure this had already happened, that Ancillary Justice had won best novel and so on. Maybe that was the Nebulas? Boyohboy am I now confused.

I’ll chime in on the WoT as a single book issue. NO, IT IS NOT. Only that portion first published in 2013 should qualify. WoT is no more a single book than Azimov’s FOUNDATION books were, or Niven’s Ringworld books, or any other multiple novel set you could think of. Technicalities be damned.


Oh, and I’m sending a strongly worded letter (paper, envelope, stamp and all!) for omitting your blog from consideration.


Yes, i’m pretty sure it was the Nebulas that Leckie recently won. It’s awards “season”, and they’ll all have run together in my mind by the end of the summer.

this whole WoT thing is setting a very dangerous precedent. I’m curious to see how it effects nominations in the next five years. Again, the journey and community discussion that fascinates me way more than the actual voting results!


“dangerous precedent” is right. I can’t even imagine how the thing got started.


I think I’ve only read one of the novels this year, but I thought it was the best of 2013 by a comfortable margin…. Too bad we disagree on that one. I love love love Leckie’s book, new author or no. Only The Cusanus Game came close of stuff published in 2013, and that’s a translation of something a decade old.
Gotta admit though, I lost faith in the Hugos (what I had at least) when KSR’s 2312 was bumped. This year’s numerous controversies/shady dealings has cooled me even further.


You are so much more organized then me. I just finally finished compiling all my want to reads for the Hugos. And just finished putting them each on my reading devices. Some luckily I’ve already read. But not enough by any means at all. Jeeeezuz.

Like you I doubt I’ll make it through them all but I’m gonna try. Now I’ll have to put out a blog post with me plans!! ahhhhhh


the big thing for me this year was that I’d read very little of what made it to the ballot, and I had to really pick and choose the categories I thought I could realistically get through and do write ups of.

organized? HA HA HA!!!!! not really. took me like three days to get everything on my devices.


Yes! I spent a few hours doing that. They are all there now. Agreed I really haven’t read enough of the nominees.

I have no doubt I can make it through the Novella, Novellettes and Short Story and Graphic Story. Now the Novel and Campbell cats are going to be harder. I’ve read two of the three Cambell noms and only one of the Novel I think. I really might have to vote based on partial reads which I’d hate to do.


[…] reviews of the best novella, novelette and short story nominations (for a good summary, see this one). And some others, at Tor for example, shared their views on some of the best novel nominations. I […]


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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.
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