Revisiting the Hugos

Hugo Nominees: 1995

The 1995 Hugo Awards were presented at Intersection in Glasgow, the first Worldcon I attended. The best novel winner was Lois McMaster Bujold’s Mirror Dance (post) one of the best of the Vorkosigan saga. It’s a book about a clone finding family and identity, and a man who knows he cannot fail failing, it’s utterly dependent on the social and technological matrix of the characters and the planets that shaped them, but it’s a novel of character. It’s also the kind of book that makes you think. I think it’s an excellent Hugo winner. It’s in print, and in the Grande Bibliotheque (hereafter “the library”) in English.

There were four other nominees and although I was voting in the Hugos that year I have only read three of them.

Nancy Kress’s Beggars and Choosers is the sequel to Beggars in Spain, and I was disappointed with it. It seemed like just more story, rather than exploration of anything new. It’s in print as an audiobook but not as a book, and it’s not in the library.

Michael Bishop’s Brittle Innings is a fantasy about baseball. It had no UK publication and I couldn’t get hold of it in time to read it. I can’t imagine I was the only British voter with this problem, and I expect it suffered accordingly in the voting. I still haven’t read it — Bishop’s a really excellent writer who often gets too close to horror for my comfort, and it’s about baseball. It’s not in print and it’s not in the library.

John Barnes Mother of Storms was a terrible introduction to John Barnes for me, although he went on to become one of my favourite writers despite it. It’s a near future disaster novel about global warming and a hurricane, written in bestseller omniscient, with really nasty sex scenes. It is, unfortunately, deeply memorable. It’s in print as an e-book, and it’s in the library in French and English.

James Morrow’s Towing Jehovah is brilliant but weird. The enormous body of God is floating in the Atlantic and a tanker has to tow it away. It’s not at all the book you’d expect from that description either. Terrific nominee. I put it in second place after the Bujold and would have been happy to see it win. It won the World Fantasy Award. It’s in print and it’s in the library in French and English.

So, three men and two women, all Americans despite the Worldcon being in Scotland, one near future disaster novel, one baseball fantasy, one theological SF, one near future innovation novel, and one planetary SF.

What else might the nominators have considered?

SFWA’s Nebula was awarded to last year’s Moving Mars, because of odd eligibility rules. Non-overlapping eligible nominees were Jonathan Lethem’s Gun, With Occasional Music, Roger Zelazny’s A Night in the Lonesome October (post by Rene Walling) and Rachel Pollack’s Temporary Agency.

The World Fantasy Award picked the Morrow. Other non-overlapping nominees were The Circus of the Earth and the Air, Brooke Stevens, From the Teeth of Angels, Jonathan Carroll, Love & Sleep, John Crowley, Waking the Moon, Elizabeth Hand.

The John W. Campbell Memorial Award went to what I thought at the time and still believe to be the best book of 1994, Greg Egan’s Permutation City (post). The runner up was Brittle Innings. Permutation City hadn’t yet had a US release, and wasn’t eligible the next year when it did have one. It does seem like a real injustice that it didn’t make the Hugo ballot.

The Philip K. Dick Award was won by Robert Charles Wilson’s excellently strange Mysterium. There was a special citation for Inagehi, Jack Cady. Other nominees were: RIM: A Novel of Virtual Reality, Alexander Besher, Scissors Cut Paper Wrap Stone, Ian McDonald, Summer of Love, Lisa Mason, Tonguing the Zeitgeist, Lance Olsen.

The Tiptree Award was won by Nancy Springer’s Larque on the Wing. It was a year where they didn’t separate long and short form, the other winner was Le Guin’s short “The Matter of Seggri.” Other shortlisted works not previously mentioned were Amazon Story Bones, Ellen Frye, Cannon’s Orb, L. Warren Douglas, The Furies, Suzy McKee Charnas, Genetic Soldier, George Turner, North Wind, Gwyneth Jones, Trouble and Her Friends, Melissa Scott.

The Locus SF Award was won by Mirror Dance. The other nominees not previously mentioned were: Parable of the Sower, Octavia E. Butler, Foreigner, C. J. Cherryh (post), Heavy Weather, Bruce Sterling, Worldwar: In the Balance, Harry Turtledove,  Rama Revealed, Arthur C. Clarke & Gentry Lee, Caldé of the Long Sun, Gene Wolfe, The Dolphins of Pern, Anne McCaffre, The Engines of God, Jack McDevitt, Furious Gulf, Gregory Benford, The Stars Are Also Fire, Poul Anderson, Shadow’s End, Sheri S. Tepper, Necroville (US title Terminal Café), Ian McDonald, Tripoint, C. J. Cherryh (post) The Voices of Heaven, Frederik Pohl, Feersum Endjinn, Iain M. Banks, Half the Day is Night, Maureen F. McHugh, Ring, Stephen Baxter, Climbing Olympus, Kevin J. Anderson, Random Acts of Senseless Violence, Jack Womack (post),  Wildlife, James Patrick Kelly, End of an Era, Robert J. Sawyer, Solis, A. A. Attanasio, Pasquale’s Angel, Paul J. McAuley, The Jericho Iteration, Allen Steele.

Of these, Parable of the Sower, Foreigner and Random Acts would have been excellent nominees, and there are some other really good books there as well.

The Locus Fantasy Award was won by Brittle Innings. Other nominees not already mentioned: Lord of Chaos, Robert Jordan, Finder, Emma Bull, Memory & Dream, Charles de Lint, Love & Sleep, John Crowley, Five Hundred Years After, Steven Brust (post), Storm Warning, Mercedes Lackey, Summer King, Winter Fool, Lisa Goldstein, Merlin’s Wood, Robert Holdstock, A College of Magics, Caroline Stevermer, The Warrior’s Tale, Allan Cole & Chris Bunch, The Forest House, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Slow Funeral, Rebecca Ore, Shadow of a Dark Queen, Raymond E. Feist, Rhinegold, Stephan Grundy, The Dubious Hills, Pamela Dean, Exiles 1: The Ruins of Ambrai, Melanie Rawn.

The Mythopoeic Award was won by Patricia McKilkip’s Something Rich and Strange. The only nominee not previously mentioned was Robert Holdstock’s The Hollowing.

Was there anything all these awards missed? All I can see this year is Robert Reed’s Beyond the Veil of Stars and S.P. Somtow’s Jasmine Nights.

So this strikes me as a disappointing year — a couple of very good nominees, and certainly an excellent winner, but also some disappointing nominees and a large number of really good lasting books left out — Permutation City, definitely, but also Foreigner and Parable of the Sower.

Other Categories


  • “Seven Views of Olduvai Gorge”, Mike Resnick (F&SF Oct/Nov 1994)
  • “Cri de Coeur”, Michael Bishop (Asimov’s Sep 1994)
  • “Les Fleurs du Mal”, Brian Stableford (Asimov’s Oct 1994)
  • “Forgiveness Day”, Ursula K. Le Guin (Asimov’s Nov 1994)
  • “Melodies of the Heart”, Michael F. Flynn (Analog Jan 1994)

I remember I put the Le Guin first and the Flynn second, and I remember having a terrible time trying to find the F&SF and not actually finding it in time to vote. It was awful before the stories went up online!


  • “The Martian Child”, David Gerrold (F&SF Sep 1994)
  • “Cocoon”, Greg Egan (Asimov’s May 1994)
  • “A Little Knowledge”, Mike Resnick (Asimov’s Apr 1994)
  • “The Matter of Seggri”, Ursula K. Le Guin (Crank! #3 Spring 1994)
  • “The Singular Habits of Wasps”, Geoffrey A. Landis (Analog Apr 1994)
  • “Solitude”, Ursula K. Le Guin (F&SF Dec 1994)

For this year only, Novelette is my favourite category. “Solitude”! And “Cocoon”!


  • “None So Blind”, Joe Haldeman (Asimov’s Nov 1994)
  • “Barnaby in Exile”, Mike Resnick (Asimov’s Feb 1994)
  • “Dead Man’s Curve”, Terry Bisson (Asimov’s Jun 1994)
  • “I Know What You’re Thinking”, Kate Wilhelm (Asimov’s Nov 1994)
  • “Mrs. Lincoln’s China”, M. Shayne Bell (Asimov’s Jul 1994)
  • “Understanding Entropy”, Barry N. Malzberg (Science Fiction Age Jul 1994)


  • I. Asimov: A Memoir, Isaac Asimov (Doubleday)
  • The Book On The Edge Of Forever, Christopher Priest (Fantagraphics)
  • Making Book, Teresa Nielsen Hayden (NESFA Press)
  • Silent Interviews: On Language, Race, Sex, Science Fiction, and Some Comics, Samuel R. Delany (University Press of New England/Wesleyan)
  • Spectrum: The Best In Contemporary Fantastic Art, Cathy Burnett & Arnie Fenner, eds. (Underwood Books)

I’ve read all of them except the art book, and any of them would have been a splendid winner. I. Asimov isn’t as exciting as the Nielsen Hayden or the Delany, but it’s an excellent autobiography. But I didn’t vote in this category because I hadn’t been able to get hold of any of them.


  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: “All Good Things…”
  • Interview with the Vampire
  • The Mask
  • Star Trek: Generations
  • Stargate

No Award. Fire the category.


  • Gardner Dozois
  • Ellen Datlow
  • Mike Resnick
  • Kristine Kathryn Rusch
  • Stanley Schmidt

I voted for Gardner, as Asimov’s was my favourite magazine by miles at this time, and his Year’s Best was (and remains) one of the most exciting books of any year.


  • Jim Burns
  • Thomas Canty
  • Bob Eggleton
  • Don Maitz
  • Michael Whelan


  • Lady Cottington’s Pressed Fairy Book, Brian Froud (Pavilion UK)
  • Michael Whelan, Cover of Foreigner (by C. J. Cherryh; DAW; Legend)
  • Michael Koelsch, Cover of Gun, With Occasional Music (by Jonathan Lethem; Harcourt Brace/NEL UK)

I voted for the Foreigner cover, which I still really like.


  • Interzone, David Pringle
  • Locus, Charles N. Brown
  • The New York Review of Science Fiction, David G. Hartwell, Donald G. Keller, Robert K. J. Killheffer & Gordon Van Gelder
  • Science Fiction Chronicle, Andrew I. Porter
  • Tomorrow Speculative Fiction, Algis Budrys

That was the year Interzone had two stories I liked, one by Egan and one by Ryman. No wonder I emigrated.


  • Ansible, Dave Langford
  • File 770, Mike Glyer
  • Habakkuk, Bill Donaho
  • Lan’s Lantern, George “Lan” Laskowski
  • Mimosa, Dick & Nicki Lynch

And speaking about Glyer and Mimosa, I’ve been meaning to link to this very funny piece about Hugo Awards Ceremonies, and this seems like as good a time as any.


  • Dave Langford
  • Sharon Farber
  • Mike Glyer
  • Andy Hooper
  • Evelyn C. Leeper


  • Teddy Harvia
  • Brad W. Foster
  • Linda Michaels
  • Peggy Ranson
  • Bill Rotsler


  • Jeff Noon
  • Linda J. Dunn
  • David Feintuch
  • Daniel Marcus
  • Felicity Savage

Noon’s first novel Vurt had just come out to great acclaim. Noon has gone on to write more books that are published as mainstream, but which have SFnal or fantastic elements. I really disliked Vurt, so I haven’t kept up with his career especially as it has been mostly outside genre, but I understand that he looked like a nova at the time.

Dunn and Marcus seem to have written short work before and after nominations, without ever having a breakout or much attention — I hadn’t really been aware of them. Feintuch won in 1996, so let’s leave him for then. Savage had just published a well received first novel, Humility Garden, but nothing since.

Other people who may have been eligible: Jonathan Lethem, Kathleen Ann Goonan, Terry Goodkind, Maggie Furey, Jane Lindskold and J.R. Dunn. Not a very good year for the Campbell.


Jo Walton is a science fiction and fantasy writer. She’s published two poetry collections and nine novels, most recently Among Others, and if you liked this post you will like it. She reads a lot, and blogs about it here regularly. She comes from Wales but lives in Montreal where the food and books are more varied.


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