It took me until the last moment (well, last hour), but I submitted my Hugo ballot for this year. I had read most of the novels before the Hugo nominations were even in, and as a subscriber to Asimov's, I had seen quite a few of the nominees for shorter written forms, but it's still a lot of material to not only read but evaluate. If you're not acquainted with Hugo voting, bear in mind that it is an approval ballot, meaning that my top choice isn't the only one I am supporting. In fact, on all of the categories where I placed a vote, all of the entries placed ahead of "no award."


  1. Little Brother, Cory Doctorow (Tor)
  2. The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins; Bloomsbury)
  3. Anathem, Neal Stephenson (Morrow; Atlantic UK)
  4. Zoe's Tale, John Scalzi (Tor)
  5. Saturn's Children, Charles Stross (Ace; Orbit)

This is a bunch of my favorite authors, so I'm happy with the ballot as it worked out. Three of them are YA (or younger) books, which I appreciate as a sign for the readers of the future.

Two of them were a close pick for my top vote, which is even better. Little Brother got the edge for a few minor reasons. My wife was pulling for it because The Graveyard Book had already won a bunch of awards, but I hope that wasn't an influence on me. Doctorow wrote an important novel of its time aimed at kids, and it may not age well, but it is a bullseye right now.

The rest of the books were deserving nominees as well, but I doubt that I will read them again.

Anathem will get a lot of votes on literary pretentiousness, but to a large extent the book exists to give Stephenson a chance to play with inventing the language for his invented world, using Earth references to shade meaning; the plot doesn't even got started for 300 pages or so, at which point the other books are already winding down.

The Scalzi is a retelling of a story he's already written, but from the kid's point of view. There isn't a lot here that wasn't in The Last Colony. There were a bunch of places where the language didn't seem like a teenager to me, but those were all (first-person) narration. I had no trouble buying the dialogue.

Stross is the author I've followed most closely in the last few years, but Saturn's Children is as weak as he's gotten. Which isn't saying much, but it's a deliberate homage to late-career Heinlein, which isn't really the best of giants' shoulders to stand on.


  1. "The Tear", Ian McDonald (Galactic Empires)
  2. "The Erdmann Nexus", Nancy Kress (Asimov's Oct/Nov 2008)
  3. "True Names", Benjamin Rosenbaum & Cory Doctorow (Fast Forward 2)
  4. "The Political Prisoner", Charles Coleman Finlay (F&SF Aug 2008)
  5. "Truth", Robert Reed (Asimov's Oct/Nov 2008)


  1. "Alastair Baffle's Emporium of Wonders", Mike Resnick (Asimov's Jan 2008)
  2. "The Gambler", Paolo Bacigalupi (Fast Forward 2)
  3. "Pride and Prometheus", John Kessel (F&SF Jan 2008)
  4. "The Ray-Gun: A Love Story", James Alan Gardner (Asimov's Feb 2008)
  5. "Shoggoths in Bloom", Elizabeth Bear (Asimov's Mar 2008)


  1. "Exhalation", Ted Chiang (Eclipse Two)
  2. "Article of Faith", Mike Resnick (Baen's Universe Oct 2008)
  3. "Evil Robot Monkey", Mary Robinette Kowal (The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction, Volume Two)
  4. "26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss", Kij Johnson (Asimov's Jul 2008)
  5. "From Babel's Fall'n Glory We Fled", Michael Swanwick (Asimov's Feb 2008)
RELATED BOOK * Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded: A Decade of Whatever, 1998-2008, John Scalzi (Subterranean Press) * Rhetorics of Fantasy, Farah Mendlesohn (Wesleyan University Press) * Spectrum 15: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art, Cathy Fenner & Arnie Fenner, eds. (Underwood Books) * The Vorkosigan Companion: The Universe of Lois McMaster Bujold, Lillian Stewart Carl & John Helfers, eds. (Baen) * What It Is We Do When We Read Science Fiction, Paul Kincaid (Beccon Publications) GRAPHIC STORY * The Dresden Files: Welcome to the Jungle, Jim Butcher, illustrated by Ardian Syaf (Del Rey/Dabel Brothers Publishing) * Fables: War and Pieces, Bill Willingham, art by Steve Leialoha & Andrew Pepoy (DC/Vertigo Comics) * Girl Genius, Volume 8: Agatha Heterodyne and the Chapel of Bones, Kaja & Phil Foglio, art by Phil Foglio, colors by Cheyenne Wright (Airship Entertainment) * Schlock Mercenary: The Body Politic, Howard Taylor (The Tayler Corporation) * Serenity: Better Days, Joss Whedon & Brett Matthews, art by Will Conrad (Dark Horse Comics) * Y: The Last Man, Volume 10: Whys and Wherefores, Brian K. Vaughan (DC/Vertigo Comics)


  1. WALL-E (Andrew Stanton & Pete Docter, story; Andrew Stanton & Jim Reardon, screenplay; Andrew Stanton, directo; Pixar/Walt Disney)
  2. Iron Man (Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby and Art Marcum & Matt Holloway, screenplay; based on characters created by Stan Lee & Don Heck & Larry Lieber & Jack Kirby; Jon Favreau, director; Paramount, Marvel Studios)
  3. The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan & David S. Goyer, story; Jonathan Nolan and and & Christopher Nolan, screenplay; based on characters created by Bob Kane; Christopher Nolan, director; Warner Brothers)
  4. METAtropolis (edited by John Scalzi; Elizabeth Bear, Jay Lake, Tobias Buckell, John Scalzi, and Karl Schroeder, writers; Audible Inc.)
  5. Hellboy II: The Golden Army (Guillermo del Toro & Mike Mignola, story; Guillermo del Toro, screenplay; based on the comic by Mike Mignola; Guillermo del Toro, director; Dark Horse, Universal)
An easy top pick; Pixar is the top story producer in Hollywood again. Comic book adaptations had a good year. got nominated in audiobook form because that was out before the printed version, but its extensive infodumps will probably work better in text, despite very good actors' reading. DRAMATIC PRESENTATION: SHORT FORM * Battlestar Galactica: "Revelations" (Bradley Thompson & David Weddle, writers; Michael Rymer, director; NBC Universal) * Doctor Horrible's Sing-Along Blog (Joss Whedon, & Zack Whedon, & Jed Whedon, & Maurissa Tancharoen, writers; Joss Whedon, director; Mutant Enemy) * Doctor Who: "Silence in the Library"/"Forest of the Dead" (Steven Moffat, writer; Euros Lynn, director; BBC Wales) * Doctor Who: "Turn Left" (Russell T. Davies, writer; Graeme Harper, director; BBC Wales) * Lost: "The Constant" (Carlton Cuse & Damon Lindelof, writers; Jack Bender, director; Bad Robot, ABC studios) EDITOR, SHORT FORM * Ellen Datlow * Stanley Schmidt * Jonathan Strahan * Gordon Van Gelder * Sheila Williams EDITOR, LONG FORM * Lou Anders * Ginjer Buchanan * David G. Hartwell * Beth Meacham * Patrick Nielsen Hayden PROFESSIONAL ARTIST * Daniel Dos Santos * Bob Eggleton * Donato Giancola * John Picacio * Shaun Tan SEMIPROZINE * Clarkesworld Magazine, Neil Clarke, Nick Mamatas & Sean Wallace, eds. * Interzone, Andy Cox, ed. * Locus, Charles N. Brown, Kirsten Gong-Wong & Liza Groen Trombi, eds. * The New York Review of Science Fiction, Kathryn Cramer, Kris Dikeman, David G. Hartwell & Kevin J. Maroney, eds. * Weird Tales, Ann VanderMeer & Stephen H. Segal, eds. FANZINE * Argentus, Steven H Silver * Banana Wings, Claire Brialey & Mark Plummer * Challenger, Guy H. Lillian III * The Drink Tank, Chris Garcia * Electric Velocipede, John Klima * File 770, Mike Glyer FAN WRITER * Chris Garcia * John Hertz * Dave Langford * Cheryl Morgan * Steven H Silver FAN ARTIST * Alan F. Beck * Brad W. Foster * Sue Mason * Taral Wayne * Frank Wu