The 2022 Hugo Awards are scheduled to be presented on Sunday evening, September 4, 2022, during a ceremony at Chicon 8, the 80th World Science Fiction Convention in Chicago, Illinois. It will be live-streamed.
I’ll be there in person. As a member of Chicon 8, I get not just to attend but to vote on the Hugos, using a ranked ballot. (A World Science Fiction Convention is a fan-run, fan-owned, participatory event, not one of those “expos” or “comic-conventions” where you get to walk around as a consumer in a specialized shopping mall. Extended rant available upon request.)
As usual, the ballot presents a tough choice. All these short stories are solid, and any one of them deserves to win. I need a criteria by which to vote, though, so I’ll judge based on how hard I think each finalist pushes the art form of short story. Your opinion may vary, of course.
6. “The Sin of America” by Catherynne M. Valente (Uncanny Magazine, Mar/Apr 2021) – A surreal horror story, almost an allegory, of exquisite detail and searing brutality. Because the story is hard to understand at first, intentionally and effectively, I won’t say more.
5. “Tangles” by Seanan McGuire (Magicthegathering.com: Magic Story, Sep 2021) – A dryad, a mage, and a search party walk into a forest … and they help each other. I’d enjoy seeing the characters again solving bigger problems.
4. “Mr. Death” by Alix E. Harrow (Apex Magazine, Feb 2021) – No spoilers, but this story is sweet, heartfelt, and lovely, which I didn’t see coming. A Junior Reaper of Death must take a toddler “across the river” to join the cosmos, and it’s just too hard.
3. “Proof by Induction” by José Pablo Iriarte (Uncanny Magazine, May/Jun 2021) – A father and son work together after the father’s death to solve a mathematics hypothesis, a process that isn’t emotionally satisfying for the son. The story was emotionally moving to me as a reader.
2. “Unknown Number” by Blue Neustifter (Twitter, Jul 2021) – A physicist has questions about how his life could have gone. The story is told as a series of text messages, which works well.
1. “Where Oaken Hearts Do Gather” by Sarah Pinsker (Uncanny Magazine, Mar/Apr 2021) – An online group debates and investigates the meaning of a traditional song. The storytelling format is untraditional and effective. This gets my first-place vote as a reward for experimentation. This was also my choice for the Nebula Award, which it won. Congratulations!