MRK’s non-eligibility awards post

Normally I do my end of year wrap up post in December, because it’s a good time to collect everything in one spot for when nomination season rolls around. I didn’t do that this year because I’d decided to recuse myself from eligibility for the Hugo awards.

Why? Because I know how few nominations it takes to skew something onto the ballot for short fiction. There’s so much of it published that it a handful of people can make the difference in getting something onto a ballot.

This is, incidentally, why it’s important to nominate and not just vote for awards. Your nomination actually carries more weight than your vote.

With that in mind, here are the works of mine that are not eligible for Hugo nomination this year.


Short Story

  • “Doctor Faustus” — The Doll Collection (Tor)
  • “Like Native Things” — Asimov’s
  • Grinding Time” — Popular Science
  • Midnight Hour” — Uncanny Magazine
  • “Rockets Red” — Word Puppets

And I just want to say that this is really hard, because I think Of Noble Family is my best novel and “Midnight Hour” is… I think it’s one of the best things I’ve written. So, if I could ask you to at least read them? That would be lovely.

Now! Let’s talk about work that IS eligible. What are you excited about? Do you have an eligibility post? Then share it, please.

And nominate. Please, please nominate work that you love.

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20 thoughts on “MRK’s non-eligibility awards post”

  1. I’m really sad that I can’t nominate Of Noble Family for the Hugo. It was a perfect conclusion to Jane’s journey through these stories, and it really messed me up emotionally while I was reading it. Especially when you switched viewpoints. Even though I logically understood that things were probably going to work out, the viewpoint switch was amazingly effective at making it feel like the threat of death was very real.

    But I’m really glad to have this list now, since I have a harder time finding short fiction to read. I think it’s time for me to go track down those 5 short stories to read.

        1. Arrgh, the POV shift was bad. At first I reassured myself: “Just a scare tactic! Of course she changes viewpoints. So would I. Just a ploy.”

          Then it kept going. And didn’t change back. I remembered that I do not trust you to have a traditional happy Jane Austen ending. I finished reading in blind panic and probably gave up sleep for it. But it was well worth it. 🙂

          I read “The Midnight Hour” a while ago and loved it. You’ve reminded me that I should go read it again, and see if the friend I told to drop everything and read it in fact did so. Thank you for that treat!

  2. For short story I loved Ursula Vernon’s ‘Wooden Feathers’ and Seanan McGuire’s ‘Hello Hello”.

    Seanan’s novella ( I think, I’m not good with the short categories) Rollin in the Deep means that I will never look at mermaids the same way again.

    And after the events of last year, I made a habit of reading more short fiction, so I have to put a plug in for Uncanny in the SemiProZine category. I haven’t read as much of it as I would like, but nearly everything I’ve read has been very very strong, both the stories and essays.

    For best related work, I’d like to suggest Invisible 2 , the second essay collection edited by Jim Hines.

    For Best Novel, I’m having trouble coming up with anything to rival The FIfth Season.

  3. I’m still doing my nomination re-read, but I’m going to second The Fifth Season for novels and add Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear, which is both an awesome steampunk adventure novel AND a look at race, class and gender in the American west.

    Also, I just started Letters to Tiptree, edited by Alexandra Pierce and Alisa Krasnostein, and it will probably be going on my Best Related Work ballot. It’s a look at Alice Sheldon (who wrote under the names James Tiptree and Raccoona Sheldon), both by publishing her letter exchanges with other writers (Joanna Russ and Ursula LeGuin) before and after she was outed, and by letters written to her by current writers in the field.

  4. Aw, Mary! I’m bummed you recused yourself, but totally get why you did. I’m downloading the podcast of MIDNIGHT HOUR as I type this. I’m behind in your books (blush)….

    So much great stuff this year, so I’ll just suggest one novel (PLANETFALL by Emma Newman, Roc), one novella (THE LAST WITNESS by K.J. Parker,, one novelette (THE ASTRAKHAN, THE HOMBURG, AND THE RED RED COAL by Chaz Brenchley, Lightspeed #61), and one short story with an odd structure that IMHO worked quite well (BUCKET LIST FOUND IN THE LOCKER OF MADDIE PRICE, AGE 14, WRITTEN TWO WEEKS BEFORE THE GREAT UPLIFTING OF ALL MANKIND by Erica L. Satifka, Lightspeed #61). I’ve got a lot more on my short story and novel lists, but I need to read more novellas and novelettes. I think the items I’ve mentioned should be easy to track down, and I encourage giving them a read; they’re worth it!

    There are so many professional artists doing incredible SFF work, I don’t even know how to limit my list of 18 to 5 nomination slots, LOL. I’ll just mention three that I feel get overlooked: Goñi Montes, Vincent Chong, and Jon Foster. Seriously, how has Jon Foster not gotten a Hugo yet? Anyway, the SFF art world is incredible, folks.

  5. I actually do have an eligibility post this year, which is here. And relatedly, I’d also like to mention my wife Dara’s eligibility post for the Bone Walker soundtrack, about which we were VERY proud, and which is eligible for Best Related Work on the Hugos list.

    As to other people’s work I’m excited about: I really liked Nnedi Okorafor’s novella Binti. And there are quite a few really nice shorter pieces in the She Walks in Shadows female-focused Lovecraft anthology. 🙂

  6. I really really wanted to nominate “Midnight Hour”. That story comes back to me at random times. I had that on my list before you said no and erased it with a heavy sigh.

    This year, I’m all for “Cat Pictures, Please” by Naomi Kritzer and “Damages” by David Levine in Short Story. (Both free online) Also pretty much anything Ursula Vernon/T. Kingfisher has published.

    For novel, I’m stumping for “Radiance” by Valente. (warning: artsy)

    Oh and I just bought “Word Puppets”. I’d read them all but now in a handy format.

  7. Aww, Midnight Hour was at the top of my list. Best thing I’ve read this year. Still racing to read lots these next two months as I know I am behind.

  8. Thank you for this post (and to you and everyone involved for helping out with all those memberships). And I know I’m preaching to the choir, but just in case: seconding the need to nominate, even if and especially if you have the feeling you didn’t read widely enough, because experience has shown that women and marginalised folks recuse themselves from nominating on the basis of “I haven’t read widely enough” whereas men just go ahead and nominate (a bit like submissions. Different base confidence levels I’m assuming?).

    Also, my awards eligibility and recommendations post is here (for short fiction I try to focus on online/easily accessible things, and this year I also had a lot of time for novels):

  9. [I admit to being disappointed not to be able to nominate “Midnight Hour.” It’s the best thing of yours I’ve read and absolutely in my top 5 for 2015. But I also understand why you need to recuse yourself. So, not this year, but it’s inevitable that I will nominate your work some other year, because your work is just that good.]

    Like Aliette, I want to underscore that the system works best when lots of people nominate the work they love. It doesn’t matter that you haven’t read everything in the field. No one has, but we all have in the aggregate.

    Of the works I read this year that I want others to read:

    Cat Pictures, Please by Naomi Kritzer in the January, 2015 Clarkesworld

    Cassandra by Ken Liu in the March 2015 Clarkesworld

    The Universe, Sung in Stars by Kat Howard in the April 2015 Lightspeed

    Monkey King, Faerie Queen in the Spring 2015 Kaleidotrope

    The Proper Motion of Extraordinary Stars by Kali Wallace in the May 2015 Shimmer

    Midnight Hour by Mary Robinette Kowal in Uncanny Magazine. Yes, it’s been recused from nomination, but this is a list of stories I want people to read so it stays on this list.


    So Much Cooking by Naomi Kritzer in the November 2015 Clarkesworld


    The New Mother by Eugene Fischer in the March 2015 Asimov’s. (He’s also put the story up on the web )

    The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn by Usman Malik, April 2015


    The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu

    Sorcerer of the Wildeeps by Kai Ashante Wilson

    The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson

    As for my own work, my bibliography is always up-to-date:

    I will say that, though, that I feel “Hold-Time Violations” published in October, 2015 at is one of the best stories I’ve ever written.

  10. Seconding The Fifth Season, Binti & Sorcerer of the Wildeeps; I also found Genevieve Valentine’s Persona fascinating. And by the way, I’ve seen some people place Wildeeps not into the novel category but novella (quoted to be at 43K words) – does anyone know for sure?

    1. @Eppu: The Hugo cut-off is 40K, so it’s technically a novel. Wasn’t it one of the “novellas”? So some folks probably just presume that used the correct name for it. (Perhaps related: Sone folks feel 40K is too short a cut-off, given most novels are way more than 40K these days.)

      The good news is, for the Hugos, Administrators may move “wrong” nominations to the right category, if the nominator doesn’t already have 5 nominations in that category. They also can shift a work between categories, if it’s “within the lesser of five thousand (5,000) words or twenty percent (20%) of the new category limits.” These two rules (move nominations; move work) can work together to ensure people’s nominations aren’t lost due to the limit of 5 nominations per category. I don’t know what’ll happen with “Wildeeps” but just FYI, there’s some flexibility in the rules.

  11. One of the things I found interesting when looking at retro-Hugo nominations was that in the Dramatic Presentaion Long Form category, none of the feature SFF films I found were eligible because they all had run times of less than 90 minutes. (Which makes them “Short Form” by definition.) The only film works eligible (that I found) were two serials (one Buck Rogers and one other).

  12. Oh no! Midnight Hour was EASILY one of the best things I’ve read this year.

    I will second many mentioned earlier (Binti, House of Shattered Wings, etc)

    One of the other stories I’ve loved this year is by my friend K.M.Szpara: Nothing Is Pixels Here – Lightspeed ( I adore this story as well as the man behind it.

    Another favorite for this year is In Libres by Elizabeth Bear – Uncanny Magazine (

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