We’ve covered the Hugo Awards here before, beloved patrons, especially the attempt of a number of disaffected, insular members of WorldCon (the body responsible for suggesting nominees and winners) who have attempted to topple the awards to suit their own agendas. This year’s awards had nothing to do with them.
Instead, this year’s Hugos were marked by an historic win for N.K. Jemisin, who won her third consecutive Hugo for the third book in her Broken Earth trilogy. With this win, she becomes the first ever three-time winner of the Hugos (The Fifth Season won in 2016, and The Obelisk Gate won in 2017).
As Vox pointed out in their coverage of the event:
The Hugos are voted on by WorldCon members rather than by committee, and thus they’re generally seen as a barometer of changing trends and evolving conversations within sci-fi/fantasy (SFF) culture. By voting for Jemisin’s trilogy three years running, the speculative fiction community has effectively repudiated a years-long campaign, mounted by an alt-right subculture within its midst, to combat the recent rise to prominence of women and other marginalized voices in the SFF space.
But perhaps the best part of the whole award ceremony was Jemisin’s acceptance speech, in which she acknowledged the roots of her writing, her role within a community of story-tellers, and her hopes for the future through sci-fi and fantasy writing. We quote from the speech here in part, but you can read the whole thing here:
I get a lot of questions about where the themes of the Broken Earth trilogy come from. I think it’s pretty obvious that I’m drawing on the human history of structural oppression, as well as my feelings about this moment in American history. What may be less obvious, though, is how much of the story derives from my feelings about science fiction and fantasy. Then again, SFF is a microcosm of the wider world, in no way rarefied from the world’s pettiness or prejudice.
But another thing I tried to touch on in the Broken Earth is that life in a hard world is never just the struggle. Life is family, blood and found. Life is those allies who prove themselves worthy by actions and not just talk. Life means celebrating every victory, no matter how small.
So as I stand here before you, beneath these lights, I want you to remember that 2018 is also a good year. This is a year in which records have been set. A year in which even the most privilege-blindered of us has been forced to acknowledge that the world is broken and needs fixing—and that’s a good thing! Acknowledging the problem is the first step toward fixing it. I look to science fiction and fantasy as the aspirational drive of the Zeitgeist: we creators are the engineers of possibility. And as this genre finally, however grudgingly, acknowledges that the dreams of the marginalized matter and that all of us have a future, so will go the world. (Soon, I hope.)
The Free-for-All is delighted to congratulate all the winners on their achievements! Here is a selection of the list of winners. You can read the full list via the WorldCon 76 website.
The Stone Sky, by N.K. Jemisin
World of the Five Gods, by Lois McMaster Bujold
Best Related Work
No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters, by Ursula K. Le Guin
Best Graphic Story
Monstress, Volume 2: The Blood, written by Marjorie M. Liu, illustrated by Sana Takeda
Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form
Wonder Woman, screenplay by Allan Heinberg, story by Zack Snyder & Allan Heinberg and Jason Fuchs, directed by Patty Jenkins
Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form
The Good Place: “The Trolley Problem,” written by Josh Siegal and Dylan Morgan, directed by Dean Holland
Award for Best Young Adult Book
Akata Warrior, by Nnedi Okorafor