The Hugo Award finalists for 2012, honoring excellence in science fiction and fantasy, have just been announced at EasterCon in the UK. In the best novel category, the finalists are:
Among Others, by Jo Walton (Tor)
A Dance With Dragons, by George R. R. Martin (Bantam Spectra)
Deadline, by Mira Grant (Orbit)
Embassytown, by China Miéville (Macmillan / Del Rey)
Leviathan Wakes, by James S. A. Corey (Orbit)
The Walton, Martin, and Miéville aren’t surprises, and given Mira Grant’s skyrocketing popularity Deadline also isn’t a surprise—she appears again in the best novella category. Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey, a pen name for the writing duo of Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, might be the dark horse, if one needs to be designated. Some may find the list slightly conservative given what was on offer in 2011—compare it with the Nebula Award finalist list—but quality-wise it’s very solid and three titles made my own year’s best list.
Other sections of the finalist list reflect a variety of constituencies and trends, with an emphatic exclamation point given to the extraordinary quality of the fiction being written by Ken Liu, who is up in both the novella and short story categories. Kij Johnson, Rachel Swirsky, and Catherynne M. Valente are among the other nominees, and in general the short fiction selections represent a very strong field indeed.