The Hugo Awards for Science Fiction and Fantasy were once again dominated by women, with American writer Martha Wells taking first prize for best novel.
Wells received two accolades at what is considered the most prestigious awards ceremony on the sci-fi calendar, winning Best Novel for Network Effect and Best Series for The Murderbot Diaries. Network Effect and its predecessors follow the adventures of a sentient killing machine known as the Murderbot, who develops human traits and would rather make friends and watch TV soap operas than fill its lineup. Wells’ latest novel sees Murderbot intervene between warring factions of humans controlled by aliens on a distant colony world.
This is the sixth year that a woman has won the award for Best Novel, with Wells following Arkady Martine last year, Mary Robinette Kowal in 2019 and – for the three preceding years – NK Jemisin.
We are a long way from the first Hugo list of winners announced in 1953, an all-male line-up in which Alfred Bester won for his classic The Demolished Man. It wasn’t until 1970 that the first woman won the award for best novel, when Ursula K Le Guin won the award for The Left Hand of Darkness. The award had previously been dominated by writers such as Robert A Heinlein, Fritz Leiber, Philip K Dick and, in 1966, Frank Herbert for his novel Dune, recently shot for the second time.
Announced this weekend at the annual Worldcon convention in Washington DC, the Hugo’s also saw Nghi Vo awarded Best Novel for her fantastic story inspired by Chinese and Vietnamese culture, The Empress of Salt and Fortune, while Two Truths and a Lie, a mystery mystery about a half-memorized Sarah Pinsker TV show, won the award for best novel.
This year, more awards went to T Kingfisher – the pen name of American writer and children’s book designer Ursula Vernon – for best short story with Metal Like Blood in the Dark, which appeared in Uncanny magazine. The Best Related Work category was won by Maria Dahvana Headley for Beowulf: A New Translation.
Worldcon, the traditional host of the Hugos, is a traveling convention, with a new location each year. While next year has been chosen as Chicago, the 2023 convention was awarded this weekend to a bid from the city of Chengdu in China, which has raised some concern due to the country’s rights record. of man.
Jeannette Ng, double Hugo winner, born in Hong Kong and living in Durham, UK, tweeted that his previous acceptance speeches “Would have had me arrested in China”. Ng had said that John W Campbell, whose name was previously awarded for Best New Writer, was a fascist who set the tone for “the science fiction that still haunts the genre to this day.” Sterile. Man. White, âand called for aâ free Hong Kong. âThe award was later renamed the Astounding Award.