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Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Doctor Manhattan raising his hand and blowing up heads in watchmen

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Now is the best time to consume everything nominated for sci-fi’s biggest award

The 2020 Hugo nominees are here

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We’re all looking for meaningful distraction at the moment, right? Here’s a tip: A great way to get a nutritious dose of escapism is to read the Hugo nominees.

Every year, the Hugo awards present a slate of the best of the best of science fiction in prose, comics, and film, and that’s reason enough to make a reading and watching list out of them. But 2020’s Worldcon convention, which hosts the Hugo awards, is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for folks who would normally never be able to attend.

Wordcon has been an all-volunteer run sci-fi convention since 1939, and it is hosted in a different international location every year, chosen democratically by Worldcon attendees. It took years for the volunteers behind this year’s convention to gain enough support to bring Worldcon to Wellington, New Zealand. Unfortunately, after all that work, organizers have announced that the July 29 convention will shift to a “virtual con” due to coronavirus restrictions.

Worldcon’s globe hopping habits make it tricky to become a regular visitor, but New Zealand’s loss is the gain of every sci-fi fan who couldn’t afford to travel there. In 2020, you’ll be able to enjoy all that Worldcon has to offer from the comfort of your home, no plane ticket or hotel fees required. All you’ll need to buy is a Worldcon membership.

And then you can vote in the Hugos

baby yoda sitting in his floaty crib on the mandalorian Image: Lucasfilm/Disney Plus

Yes, you.

Anyone with a WorldCon membership can vote in the Hugos, whether you’re George R.R. Martin or just a fan — and George R.R. Martin has to purchase his membership every year just like everybody else. This year, you can grab a supporting membership for $75 New Zealand dollars (about $45.12 in US dollars), or an “attending” membership for $450 NZ ($270.71 US). (ConZealand staff are currently figuring out exactly what shifting to virtual will mean for the convention, so it’s possible these numbers may change.)

For less than $100, you can help decide who gets the biggest prize in science fiction and fantasy in 2020 — so you should probably get reading. Here are the nominated works in this year’s Hugos. They’re all works published in 2019, and many are available on streaming services, Comixology, ebook vendors, and even your local library’s digital offerings (and, in the case of short stories, often free online).

You can read the full list of nominees, including best editors, fanzines, artists, and all, at Tor.com.

Best Novel

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

Best Novella

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

Best Novelette

  • “The Archronology of Love”, by Caroline M. Yoachim (Lightspeed, April 2019)
  • “Away With the Wolves”, by Sarah Gailey (Uncanny Magazine: Disabled People Destroy Fantasy Special Issue, September/October 2019)
  • “The Blur in the Corner of Your Eye”, by Sarah Pinsker (Uncanny Magazine, July-August 2019)
  • Emergency Skin, by N.K. Jemisin (Forward Collection (Amazon))
  • “For He Can Creep”, by Siobhan Carroll (Tor.com, 10 July 2019)
  • “Omphalos”, by Ted Chiang (Exhalation (Borzoi/Alfred A. Knopf; Picador))

Best Short Story

  • “And Now His Lordship Is Laughing”, by Shiv Ramdas (Strange Horizons, 9 September 2019)
  • “As the Last I May Know”, by S.L. Huang (Tor.com, 23 October 2019)
  • “Blood Is Another Word for Hunger”, by Rivers Solomon (Tor.com, 24 July 2019)
  • “A Catalog of Storms”, by Fran Wilde (Uncanny Magazine, January/February 2019)
  • “Do Not Look Back, My Lion”, by Alix E. Harrow (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, January 2019)
  • “Ten Excerpts from an Annotated Bibliography on the Cannibal Women of Ratnabar Island”, by Nibedita Sen (Nightmare Magazine, May 2019)

Best Series

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

Best Related Work

  • Becoming Superman: My Journey from Poverty to Hollywood, by J. Michael Straczynski (Harper Voyager US)
  • Joanna Russ, by Gwyneth Jones (University of Illinois Press (Modern Masters of Science Fiction))
  • The Lady from the Black Lagoon: Hollywood Monsters and the Lost Legacy of Milicent Patrick, by Mallory O’Meara (Hanover Square)
  • The Pleasant Profession of Robert A. Heinlein, by Farah Mendlesohn (Unbound)
  • “2019 John W. Campbell Award Acceptance Speech”, by Jeannette Ng
  • Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin, produced and directed by Arwen Curry

Best Graphic Story or Comic

  • Die, Volume 1: Fantasy Heartbreaker, by Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans, letters by Clayton Cowles (Image)
  • LaGuardia, written by Nnedi Okorafor, art by Tana Ford, colours by James Devlin (Berger Books; Dark Horse)
  • Monstress, Volume 4: The Chosen, written by Marjorie Liu, art by Sana Takeda (Image)
  • Mooncakes, by Wendy Xu and Suzanne Walker, letters by Joamette Gil (Oni Press; Lion Forge)
  • Paper Girls, Volume 6, written by Brian K. Vaughan, drawn by Cliff Chiang, colours by Matt Wilson, letters by Jared K. Fletcher (Image)
  • The Wicked + The Divine, Volume 9: Okay, by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie, colours by Matt Wilson, letters by Clayton Cowles (Image)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

  • Avengers: Endgame, screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo (Marvel Studios)
  • Captain Marvel, screenplay by Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck and Geneva Robertson-Dworet, directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (Walt Disney Pictures/Marvel Studios/Animal Logic (Australia))
  • Good Omens, written by Neil Gaiman, directed by Douglas Mackinnon (Amazon Studios/BBC Studios/Narrativia/The Blank Corporation)
  • Russian Doll (Season One), created by Natasha Lyonne, Leslye Headland and Amy Poehler, directed by Leslye Headland, Jamie Babbit and Natasha Lyonne (3 Arts Entertainment/Jax Media/Netflix/Paper Kite Productions/Universal Television)
  • Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, screenplay by Chris Terrio and J.J. Abrams, directed by J.J. Abrams (Walt Disney Pictures/Lucasfilm/Bad Robot)
  • Us, written and directed by Jordan Peele (Monkeypaw Productions/Universal Pictures)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

  • The Good Place: “The Answer”, written by Daniel Schofield, directed by Valeria Migliassi Collins (Fremulon/3 Arts Entertainment/Universal Television)
  • The Expanse: “Cibola Burn”, written by Daniel Abraham & Ty Franck and Naren Shankar, directed by Breck Eisner (Amazon Prime Video)
  • Watchmen: “A God Walks into Abar”, written by Jeff Jensen and Damon Lindelof, directed by Nicole Kassell (HBO)
  • The Mandalorian: “Redemption”, written by Jon Favreau, directed by Taika Waititi (Disney+)
  • Doctor Who: “Resolution”, written by Chris Chibnall, directed by Wayne Yip (BBC)
  • Watchmen: “This Extraordinary Being”, written by Damon Lindelof and Cord Jefferson, directed by Stephen Williams (HBO)