The 2017 Hugo Awards were given out in Helsinki, Finland, at the 75th WorldCon. These awards celebrated the best science fiction and fantasy of 2016. Nineteen of the awards were won or co-won by writers and editors of the female persuasion. (If my editor would let me get away with it, I would say “take that, Sad Puppies!”)
All the major writing, editing, and art awards were won by women. At least three of those women were POC.
- Best Novel: The Obelisk Gate, by N. K. Jemisin (Orbit Books)
- Best Novella: Every Heart a Doorway, by Seanan McGuire (Tor.com publishing)
- Best Novelette: The Tomato Thief, by Ursula Vernon (Apex Magazine, January 2016)
- Best Short Story: “Seasons of Glass and Iron”, by Amal El-Mohtar (The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales, Saga Press)
- Best Related Work: Words Are My Matter: Writings About Life and Books, 2000-2016, by Ursula K. Le Guin (Small Beer)
- Best Graphic Story: Monstress, Volume 1: Awakening, written by Marjorie Liu, illustrated by Sana Takeda (Image)
- Best Editor, Short Form: Ellen Datlow
- Best Editor, Long Form: Liz Gorinsky
- Best Series: The Miles Vorkosigan Saga, by Lois McMaster Bujold (Baen)
- Best Professional Artist: Julie Dillon
- Best Semiprozine: Uncanny Magazine, edited by Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas, Michi Trota, Julia Rios, and podcast produced by Erika Ensign & Steven Schapansky
- Best Fanzine: Lady Business, edited by Clare, Ira, Jodie, KJ, Renay, and Susan
- Best Fancast: Tea and Jeopardy, presented by Emma Newman with Peter Newman
- Best Fan Writer: Abigail Nussbaum
- Best Fan Artist: Elizabeth Leggett
- The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer: Ada Campbell
- Big Heart Award In Honor of Forrest J Ackerman: Carolina Gomez Lagerlof
- First Fandom Hall of Fame Award: Les and Es Cole
- The Atorox Award: Maiju Ihalainen
Why did so many of the awards (indeed, all the major awards except for Best Dramatic Presentation) go to women? Was it pure coincidence? Have we finally reached the point where women creators can be judged by their talent rather than their gender? Have we reached the point where C. L. Moore, Andre Norton, and James Tiptree, Jr. can write and publish as Catherine Moore, Alice M. Norton, and Alice Bradley Sheldon? Was it a deliberate attempt to silence the Sad Puppies and the Rabid Puppies by for voting for an African-American woman as best novelist and a Canadian woman of Mideastern heritage as best short story writer? Did we remember the Grandmother of Science Fiction was Mary Shelley?
As with the question of “how many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop,” the world may never know. But we’re putting these books and stories on our “must read” list, and recommend you do likewise.
Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as short stories in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress #30”, “Supernatural Colorado”, “Barbarian Crowns”, “Cat Tails””Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions, Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.