The current undisputed Queen of the Hugos is Seanan McGuire. Last year she became the first woman to be nominated four times in one year. Now she’s the first person ever to get five. You might not spot that from the lists, but Seanan has an alter-ego: her Evil Twin, Mira Grant.
The novel category includes Blackout, the final volume of Mira’s Newsflesh trilogy – zombie books with serious science behind the virus that causes zombification.
All three books in the series have been nominees, but none has yet won. Mira also has a nomination in one of the three short fiction categories (novella, for works between 17,500 and 40,000 words). San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats tells how the zombie plague first started – at the San Diego ComicCon.
Under her own name, Seanan has two nominees in the novelette (7,500 to 17,500 words) category. In Sea-Salt Tears and Rat Catcher both feature her heroine, October Daye. If you think of a modern-day hard-boiled lady detective from San Francisco who just happens to be part-fairy, that’s Toby.
The fifth nomination is for a review podcast, the SF Squeecast, in which Seanan and a bunch of (mostly female) friends squee about their favourite entertainment.
Three of this year’s women nominees have careers stretching back over 20 years. Lois McMaster Bujold has yet another nomination for a novel in her incredibly popular Vorkorsigan saga. Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance will appeal to anyone who loves great character-driven books.
Nancy Kress is more of a hard SF writer. Her novella, After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall, is set in 2035 after a series of ecological disasters have driven mankind to the brink of extinction.
As for Pat Cadigan’s novelette, The Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi, well, goodness knows, but how can you not love a title like that?
All the ladies I have mentioned thus far are American, though Cadigan now lives in London. Our next nominee, however, is French-Vietnamese and lives in Paris. Aliette de Bodard is nominated for a novella, On a Red Station, Drifting, and a short story, Immersion. She is one of the rising stars of the field.
One of the joys of SF&F these days is the proliferation of fiction magazines that are free to read online. The best of them (I’m biased) is Clarkesworld, where Immersion was published.
Clarkesworld has a nomination in the Semiprozine category (meaning that the contributors get paid but the staff work for free) and two other nominated stories: a novelette, Fade to White by Catherynne M. Valente, and a short story, Mantis Wives, by Kij Johnson.
Valente is a truly brilliant stylist, while Johnson has an unerring ability to squick people out with calmly elegant prose (Mantis Wives is about eating your husband).
The Hugos, like the Oscars, have many other categories, and women do well in quite a few. Related work, which is mainly non-fiction, has two all-girl essay collections: Chicks Dig Comics: A Celebration of Comic Books by the Women Who Love Them and Chicks Unravel Time: Women Journey Through Every Season of Doctor Who.
Slightly more seriously, British critic Farah Mendlesohn and her husband Edward James get a nod for The Cambridge Companion to Fantasy Literature.
Women are much rarer in the comics, TV and movie categories, though The Hunger Games movie nets a nomination for Suzanne Collins. I heartily recommend Saga, a comic series by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples.
It features a young alien couple whose species are on opposite sides of an interstellar war. They and their new-born baby have to flee for their lives from both of their families.
Finally I should direct your attention to the fan podcast category. The SF Squeecast features Cat Valente, Lynn Thomas, one of the editors of Chicks Dig Comics and former Hugo winner Elizabeth Bear, as well as Seanan McGuire.
They won last year and will be hot favorites again. My vote, however, is going to Galactic Suburbia, in which three Aussie ladies – Alisa Krasnostein, Alex Pierce and Tansy Rayner Roberts – kick patriarchy butt in fine style.
A full list of nominees, including the odd few men, can be found at the Hugo Award website. The winners of the coveted rocket-ship trophies will be announced at this year’s World Science Fiction Convention (LoneStarCon 3, to be held in San Antonio, Texas at the end of August).
Guest post by Cheryl Morgan. Cheryl has four Hugo Awards, two of which came as a result of her tenure as non-fiction editor of Clarkesworld. She runs a small press and an ebook store, and would particularly like to direct your attention to her podcast series, Small Blue Planet, in which she interviews SF&F writers from all around the world. You can also follow her on Twitter.