The 2021 Hugo Award Finalists Announced In Another Banner Year For Genre Entertainment
Awards season is upon us once more, with the announcement of the finalists for the 2021 Hugo Awards. This year’s list includes some of our favorite books, graphic novels, movies, and shows from 2020. Let’s take a look at the finalists for the 2021 Hugo Awards, which take place in December at the 79th World Science Fiction Convention. You can take a look at our list of winners from the 2020 Hugo awards, and get some context for one of the entries for best essay this year.
Image via Simon & Schuster
The category for best novel at the Hugo Awards is always stacked, and this year is no exception. Notably this category follows the trend set by previous awards, with women authors dominating as finalists for the 2021 Hugo Awards. Queen of the Hugo’s – N.K. Jemisin – could certainly pick up this award yet again. But our bet is on Black Sun, one of our favorite novels of 2020.
The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin
Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
Network Effect by Martha Wells
The Relentless Moon by Mary Robinette Kowal
Image via Tor/Forge
Another strong category for the 2021 Hugo Awards is the novella – a format that has really taken off in the past decade. There are some long-time Hugo favorites in this category like Seanan McGuire and Sarah Gailey. But we think this race comes down to Tochi Onyebuchi or P. Djeli Clark. Don’t discount Nghi Vo however, her novella The Empress of Salt and Fortune got rave reviews in 2020.
Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire
The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo
Finna by Nino Cipri
Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi
Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey
“Burn, or the Episodic Life of Sam Wells as a Super” by A.T. Greenblatt (Uncanny Magazine by May/June 2020)
“Helicopter Story” by Isabel Fall (Clarkesworld by January 2020)
“The Inaccessibility of Heaven” by Aliette de Bodard (Uncanny Magazine by July/August 2020)
“Monster” by Naomi Kritzer (Clarkesworld by January 2020)
“The Pill” by Meg Elison (from Big Girl (PM Press))
“Two Truths and a Lie” by Sarah Pinsker (Tor.com)
Best Short Story
“Badass Moms in the Zombie Apocalypse” by Rae Carson (Uncanny Magazine by January/February 2020)
“A Guide for Working Breeds” by Vina Jie-Min Prasad (Made to Order: Robots and Revolution by ed. Jonathan Strahan (Solaris))
“Little Free Library” by Naomi Kritzer (Tor.com)
“The Mermaid Astronaut” by Yoon Ha Lee (Beneath Ceaseless Skies by February 2020)
“Metal Like Blood in the Dark” by T. Kingfisher (Uncanny Magazine by September/October 2020)
“Open House on Haunted Hill” by John Wiswell (Diabolical Plots – 2020 by ed. David Steffen)
Image via Harper Collins
This category is R.F. Kuang’s to lose, her immensely popular Poppy War series is highly acclaimed. However, we are pulling for our personal favorite The Daevabad Trilogy by S.A. Chakraborty.
The Daevabad Trilogy by S.A. Chakraborty
The Interdependency by John Scalzi
The Lady Astronaut Universe by Mary Robinette Kowal
The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells
October Daye by Seanan McGuire
The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang
Best Graphic Story or Comic
This is a tough category, because we want to give the late great Octavia Butler all of the awards. But we’re pulling for the incredible Monstress by Marjorie Liu to win this one.
DIE by Volume 2: Split the Party written Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans, letters by Clayton Cowles (Image Comics)
Ghost-Spider vol. 1: Dog Days Are Over Author: Seanan McGuire Artist: Takeshi Miyazawa and Rosi Kämpe (Marvel)
Invisible Kingdom vol 2: Edge of Everything Author: G. Willow Wilson Artist: Christian Ward (Dark Horse Comics)
Monstress vol. 5: Warchild by Author: Marjorie Liu by Artist: Sana Takeda (Image Comics)
Once & Future vol. 1: The King Is Undead written by Kieron Gillen, Illustrated by Dan Mora, colored by Tamra Bonvillain, lettered by Ed Dukeshire (BOOM! Studios)
Best Dramatic Presentation – Long Form
Another tough choice in a year that saw so many movies post-poned. It’s honestly a little weird not to see anything from the MCU on this list of finalists. But I’m personally going with the last movie I saw in a theater: Birds of Prey.
Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) written by Christina Hodson and directed by Cathy Yan
Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga written by Will Ferrell and Andrew Steele. Directed by David Dobkin
The Old Guard by written by Greg Rucka and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood
Palm Springs written by Andy Siara and directed by Max Barbakow
Soul by screenplay by Pete Docter by Mike Jones and Kemp Powers. Directed by Pete Docter, co-directed by Kemp Powers, produced by Dana Murray
Tenet written and directed by Christopher Nolan
Best Dramatic Presentation – Short Form
The Doctor (JODIE WHITTAKER), Ruth Clayton (JO MARTIN) – (C) BBC – Photographer: Ben Blackall
We actually cannot make a choice between all of these great episodes of television. All of them deserve to win. Give everyone an award.
Doctor Who: “Fugitive of the Judoon.” Written by Vinay Patel and Chris Chibnall, directed by Nida Manzoor
The Expanse: “Gaugamela.” Written by Dan Nowak, directed by Nick Gomez
She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: “Heart” (parts 1 and 2). Written by Josie Campbell and Noelle Stevenson. Directed by Jen Bennett and Kiki Manrique
The Mandalorian: Chapter 13: “The Jedi.” Written and directed by Dave Filoni
The Mandalorian: Chapter 16: “The Rescue.” Written by Jon Favreau, directed by Peyton Reed
The Good Place: “Whenever You’re Ready.” Written and directed by Michael Schur
Best Editor – Short Form
Mur Lafferty and S.B. Divya
Best Editor – Long Form
Sheila E. Gilbert
Diana M. Pho
Best Professional Artist
Image via the FIYAH CON Website
Beneath Ceaseless Skies
Best Video Game
Image via Thunder Lotus Games
In a year that saw many of us turn to video games for escapism, there is one clear winner in my eyes. The beautiful, haunting, compelling Spiritfarer is our pick. But the award will probably go to either Hades or The Last of Us.
Animal Crossing: New Horizons (Publisher and Developer: Nintendo)
Blaseball (Publisher and Developer: The Game Band)
Final Fantasy VII Remake (Publisher Square Enix)
Hades (Publisher and Developer: Supergiant Games)
The Last of Us: Part II (Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment / Developer: Naughty Dog)
Spiritfarer (Publisher and Developer: Thunder Lotus)
Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book
Image via Simon & Schuster
The frontrunner for this category is clearly Tracy Deonn for her incredible debut novel Legendborn. No other title on this list got as much buzz, adoration, and acclaim as that title did.
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger
Legendborn by Tracy Deonn
Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko
A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher
Astounding Award for Best New Writer
Image via Tor
This is a tough one, because there are so many authors on this list whom I love. But I’m going with A.K. Larkwood for her incredible debut novel The Unspoken Name – one of my favorite fantasy novels of 2020.
Lindsay Ellis (1st year of eligibility)
Simon Jimenez (1st year of eligibility)
Micaiah Johnson (1st year of eligibility)
A.K. Larkwood (1st year of eligibility)
Jenn Lyons (2nd year of eligibility)
Emily Tesh (2nd year of eligibility)
For the full list of finalists for the 2021 Hugo Awards, check out the official website. Which finalists are you rooting for in the 2021 Hugo Awards? Join the conversation with Comic Years on Facebook and Twitter today to share your thoughts.
Emily O'Donnell is a writer and photographer with roots in some of the earliest online fandoms. She cut her genre teeth on the Wizard of Oz books at the tender age of 6 years old, and was reading epic adult fantasy novels by the age of 10. Decades later, she still consumes genre fiction like there is no tomorrow. She is delighted to be living through the golden age of sci-fi and fantasy popularity. She is unashamed of the amount of fanfiction that still lingers online under her name.