Hugo Categories Highlight: The Big Two

Best Novel: Awarded for a science fiction or fantasy story of forty thousand (40,000) words or more.

John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer : The John W. Campbell Award is given to the best new science fiction or fantasy writer whose first work of science fiction or fantasy was published in a professional publication in the previous two years. For the 2016 award, which is presented at the World Science Fiction Convention (WorldCon), the qualifying work must have been published in 2014 or 2015.

I’m wrapping these two together because they’re the big hitters of the Hugos even though the Campbell isn’t a Hugo. They’re also, well… kind of obvious. The Campbell website even has a list of eligible authors.

It’s pretty clear what’s eligible and what isn’t in both cases – the Campbell site FAQ has a nice clear guide to what they consider professional and while you can disagree about whether it’s valid or not, it’s certainly clear what counts.

As for what to nominate, well, that’s up to you folks. I can guarantee that what shows up on my ballot will not be what bubbles to the top of the List, because I’m doing the List as a service to anyone who’s interested and trying to boost interest and involvement in the entire Hugos process. Also because I’m just weird.

Now the administrative stuff:

I will start closing comments on the Sad Puppies recommendation threads starting around 5pm US Eastern Time on Monday 29th February. This is so I don’t have new recommendations coming in while I’m trying to collate what’s there.

I expect to be done collating by mid-March: I will post the list here and on the site either the second or third Thursday in March (that’s the 10th and the 17th). Anyone who wants to should be able to get pretty close to the results I get by counting for themselves – I will not be removing any comments. I expect that mostly what I’ll be doing is checking whether or not this or that post is an accidental double that slipped through.

Here, the post will be the top 10 (or as close as I can get) for each category. I will link to the full list for anyone who wants to see it.

Obligatory warning message: It might be too late to sign up to nominate, but you can still sign up to vote!

Obligatory warning message 2: I wasn’t joking about the demon berserker kitten.

UPDATE: Yes, yes, I forgot to link the recommendation threads.

Best Novel

Campbell Award (this one needs a LOT more love. Please give the category more love.)

10 thoughts on “Hugo Categories Highlight: The Big Two

  1. Note that the Campbell isn’t a Hugo, and the eligibility questions for it aren’t decided by the Hugo administrators.

    (Historical note: During the late 70s, a number of non-Hugo awards were allowed on the Hugo ballot, starting with the Campbell, and followed by some fantasy awards, which, like the Campbell, had the rules set outside of WSFS. When the other awards starting looking like they would start overlapping with the Hugos, the Business Meeting passed a Constitutional amendment that prohibited anything but the Hugos and the Campbell from appearing on the Hugo ballot (we thought the Campbell should be a special case because it was similar enough to the “Best New Author” category that was used in the first set of Hugos in 1953 (Phil Farmer), and later in 1956 (Robert Silverberg), and it clearly didn’t conflict with any of the Hugo categories). And, while WSFS doesn’t control the award ceremony — that’s under the control of the convention committee, which can do anything it wants there — it does control what can appear on the Hugo ballot itself.)

    So eligibility questions there are referred by the administrators to the current editor of Analog, since that’s the sponsor of the award. And, while there is an unofficial site that’s done a very good job of figuring out who is actually eligible (and which the administrators often look to for information, since that site does good research), it’s still unofficial — the editor of Analog gets to make all the final decisions (where the administrators gather as much evidence as they can, and set it to Analog to make that call).

      1. Seconded – I did say the Campbell isn’t’ a Hugo, but that’s something that can’t be said often enough or loud enough.

            1. Correct. Since the Retros are authorized in the WSFS Constitution, then there is no Retro Campbell.

              Which is good, since the number of new writers who defined SF and Fantasy for the next many decades, and who started in 1939/1940, is really incredible, and I’d hate to be #6 on that list (who, for any reasonable choice, is likely to be one of the all-time greats in the field, and not on the ballot).

  2. I think you’ve already said this, but…

    PSA: Hugo Nominations are open! If you were a member of Sasquan or are a member of MidAmeriCon (or the 2017 WorldCon), you can nominate! Nominations will close March 31, 2016. Details over at

    Despite the website saying that PIN emails should be out by Feb. 8, I just got the reminder email today (and don’t have a PIN yet). If you haven’t got your email, contact

    Remember, only you can make the Hugo Nominations great!
    ‘nother Mike

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