Hugo Nominations (for 2019 published works)

Here are the 2020 Hugo nominees (for works published in 2019) organized by category. I’m reviewing them as I read/watch them. I probably won’t get through everything, but I’ll give it a good try!

If you see links, especially on images, they generally go to Amazon in case you wish to purchase them. However, the short stories are available to read for free, so the links go to their online publication location.

Best Dramatic Presentation – Long (Movies)
Best Dramatic Presentation – Short (TV Episodes)
Best Series
Best Novel
Best Novella
Best Novelette
Best Short Story
Best Series
Best Graphic Story
Lodestar Award for Young Adult

Best Dramatic Presentation – Long (Movies)

Avengers: Endgame

Earth’s heroes will finally understand how fragile our reality is—and the sacrifices that must be made to uphold it—in a story of friendship, teamwork and setting aside differences to overcome an impossible obstacle.

I wasn’t quite happy with part 1 because of the massive cliffhanger, but this conclusion was an absolutely perfect ending to the 22 films that made up the journey. It had all the mechanics of a great story, plus plenty of heart to go with it. And though I was sobbing in a few places, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve always felt the Marvel movies have been consistently good, but this one knocks it out of the park.

Captain Marvel

Marvel Studios’ Captain Marvel takes you on a spectacular adventure from the 1990s, tracing the path of Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) as she becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes. When a galactic war reaches Earth, she meets young agent Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) at the center of a maelstrom, leading to her ultimate destiny as an Avenger!

Ok, the cat was just awesome! I really enjoyed this story. It’s not as epic as Endgame, but it was definitely entertaining. I also liked seeing a young Nick Fury before he got the scar. Bonus: you find out how that happened.

Good Omens

Aziraphale and Crowley, of Heaven and Hell respectively, have grown rather fond of the Earth. So it’s terrible news that it’s about to end. The armies of Good and Evil are amassing. The Four Horsemen are ready to ride. Everything is going according to the Divine Plan…except that someone seems to have misplaced the Antichrist. Can our heroes find him and stop Armageddon before it’s too late?

This was a real hoot! I’m a huge David Tenant fan anyway and the humor in this one is awesome. I loved the ending. Great story, great acting, great everything. Note: I haven’t read the book yet, so I don’t have any beef with the changes they made. Your mileage may vary.

Russian Doll, Season One (Netflix)

On the night of her 36th birthday, Nadia meets an untimely end … then suddenly finds herself back at the party her friends threw for her.

This starts off like Groundhog Day with a twist – a woman keeps dying and turning to the start of her birthday party. However, it slowly morphs into an interesting puzzle to find out what’s going on and how it can be fixed. It delves into the character’s background and explores her ‘stuckness’ in her own life as well as the life of another person as they realize they are intricately tangled together. I really enjoyed this series of episodes and am happy they’ll do a season two, though who knows whether that will star the same people.

Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

In STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER, the riveting conclusion of the landmark Skywalker saga, new legends will be born—and the final battle for freedom is yet to come. WARNING: SOME FLASHING-LIGHTS SCENES IN THIS FILM MAY AFFECT PHOTOSENSITIVE VIEWERS

I really enjoyed this final wrap. It’s sad that Space Mom died, but they integrated what footage they had very seamlessly. Also, I was really upset with the second movie’s fight choreography, so I was quite happy to see that get nailed in this one. Not only do the fights look good, but they have some fun moments. Rose got sidelined which is a downer, but I liked the development of Kylo and Rey. This is my favorite of the three.

Us (on HBO)

The visionary behind Get Out returns with an original nightmare, pitting an endearing American family against a terrifying and uncanny opponent: doppelgängers of themselves.

This started off interesting when a family is attacked by their duplicates. But then it got flat out weird. Parts of it made me giggle with glee, other parts left me scratching my head as I tried to figure out a rationale for their behaviors. Then came the twist, which was awesome, but came with more inconsistent character motivation and behavior. The end game of the duplicates was also bizarre. I mean, I get where it came from, but it seemed so underwhelming. There are a few dark humor moments and the movie is in general entertaining, but if you like having a rationale for stuff, this one might give you fits. I really liked Get Out which was directed by the same person, but this one didn’t work quite as well for me. On the plus side, it makes an interesting commentary on how we might be our own worst enemy, and how privilege affects quality of life.

Best Dramatic Presentation – Short (TV Episodes)

Doctor Who: “Resolution” — xmas special with Dalek squid thing – was really good

The Expanse: “Cibola Burn”

The Good Place: “The Answer”

The Mandalorian: “Redemption” – final episode of the season was good. Who can say no to Baby Yoda?

Watchmen: “A God Walks into Abar” – this is a flashback to the first time the main character, Detective Angela Abar, meets the blue guy, Doctor Manhattan. Right away, he asks her for a date, and the entire rest of the conversation is about her saying no and him telling her why she should say yes. While you might roll your eyes if this was with a normal guy, it turned out really cute as he tried to explain how experiences time – he loves her right now because he also loves her in the future right now. There are some serious plot holes, but this conversation was pure genius.

Watchmen: “This Extraordinary Being” – Angela takes pills that lets her experience her grandfather’s past. In it we finally get to see his vigilante origin story. The series kept so many things a mystery up until this episode, so it was a relief to finally get some answers. Apparently, other people felt that way since this got nominated over the finale which I thought was slightly better. This series was weird in a good way and got me interested in seeing the Watchmen movie. If you like superheroes and haven’t watched this series yet, you should give it a chance.

Best Novel

The City in the Middle of the Night, Charlie Jane Anders (Tor; Titan)
The Ten Thousand Doors of January, Alix E. Harrow (Redhook; Orbit UK)
The Light Brigade, Kameron Hurley (Saga; Angry Robot UK)
A Memory Called Empire, Arkady Martine (Tor; Tor UK)
Middlegame, Seanan McGuire ( Publishing)
Gideon the Ninth, Tamsyn Muir ( Publishing)

Best Novella

To Be Taught, If Fortunate, Becky Chambers (Harper Voyager; Hodder & Stoughton)
“Anxiety Is the Dizziness of Freedom”, Ted Chiang (Exhalation)
The Haunting of Tram Car 015, P. Djèlí Clark ( Publishing)
This Is How You Lose the Time War, Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone (Saga)
In an Absent Dream, Seanan McGuire ( Publishing)
The Deep, Rivers Solomon, with Daveed Diggs, William Hutson & Jonathan Snipes (Saga)

Best Novelette

“For He Can Creep”, Siobhan Carroll ( 7/10/19)
“Omphalos”, Ted Chiang (Exhalation)
“Away with the Wolves”, Sarah Gailey (Uncanny 9-10/19)
“Emergency Skin”, N.K. Jemisin (Forward)
“The Blur in the Corner of Your Eye”, Sarah Pinsker (Uncanny 7-8/19)
“The Archronology of Love”, Caroline M. Yoachim (Lightspeed 4/19)

Best Short Story

“Do Not Look Back, My Lion”, Alix E. Harrow (Beneath Ceaseless Skies 1/31/19)
“As the Last I May Know”, S.L. Huang ( 10/23/19)
“And Now His Lordship Is Laughing”, Shiv Ramdas (Strange Horizons 9/9/19)
“Ten Excerpts from an Annotated Bibliography on the Cannibal Women of Ratnabar Island”, Nibedita Sen (Nightmare 5/19)
“Blood Is Another Word for Hunger”, Rivers Solomon ( 7/24/19)
“A Catalog of Storms”, Fran Wilde (Uncanny 1-2/19)

Best Series

Winternight, Katherine Arden (Del Rey; Del Rey UK)
The Expanse, James S.A. Corey (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
Luna, Ian McDonald (Tor; Gollancz)
InCryptid, Seanan McGuire (DAW)
Planetfall, Emma Newman (Ace; Gollancz)
The Wormwood Trilogy, Tade Thompson (Orbit US; Orbit UK)

Best Graphic Story or Comic

Die, Volume 1: Fantasy Heartbreaker, Kieron Gillen, illustrated by Stephanie Hans (Image)
The Wicked + The Divine, Volume 9: “Okay”, Kieron Gillen, illustrated by Jamie McKelvie & Matt Wilson (Image Comics)
Monstress, Volume 4: The Chosen, Marjorie Liu, illustrated by Sana Takeda (Image)
LaGuardia, Nnedi Okorafor, illustrated by Tana Ford, colours by James Devlin (Berger Books/Dark Horse)
Paper Girls, Volume 6, Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Cliff Chiang & Matt Wilson (Image)
Mooncakes, Wendy Xu & Suzanne Walker (Oni Press; Lion Forge)

Lodestar for Best Young Adult Book (Not a Hugo)

The Wicked King, Holly Black (Little, Brown; Hot Key)
Deeplight, Frances Hardinge (Macmillan)
Minor Mage, T. Kingfisher (Argyll)
Catfishing on CatNet, Naomi Kritzer (Tor Teen)
Dragon Pearl, Yoon Ha Lee (Disney/Hyperion)
Riverland, Fran Wilde (Amulet)