Revisiting the Hugos

Hugo Nominees: 1994

The 1994 Hugo Awards were presented at ConAdian in Winnipeg. The award for best novel was given to Kim Stanley Robinson’s Green Mars, a book I have not read because, as I mentioned in last week’s post, I couldn’t get on with the first book in the trilogy. Red Mars. This is a very unusual winner: I can’t think of another case where the middle book of a trilogy has won the Hugo without the first book also winning. As I haven’t read it, I can’t say how well it stands alone, but Hugo voters aren’t generally very tolerant of books that don’t. Green Mars is of course about terraforming Mars. It’s in print and in the library in French and English. (The library this week is the Grande Bibliotheque, my library of choice.)

There are four other nominees and I’ve read three of them.

Nancy Kress’s Beggars in Spain is an expansion of the novella Beggars in Spain. It’s near future SF about people who do not sleep—a girl who doesn’t sleep and her twin sister who does. It turns out that not sleeping has all kinds of advantages nobody would have imagined, as well as giving people twice as much time in the day. It’s excellent with well drawn characters and thought provoking ideas. Terrific nominee. It’s in print and in the library in English only.

David Brin’s Glory Season is set on a planet where men and women come into sexual heat in different seasons and most people are clones living in large groups of clone-sisters of different ages. It’s like Sargent’s Shore of Women and Tepper’s Gate to Women’s Country in having women living in civilization and men outside, but quite original in having the perspective of somebody who is a rare unique individual in a society of identicals. It’s in print and in the library in French and English.

Greg Bear’s Moving Mars is also a novel of terraforming Mars, and also a sequel to an earlier Hugo nominee, in this case Queen of Angels. The part of this book I remember best is the marvellous end, which overshadows all the earlier more ordinary set-up to the bit where they do, as it says on the cover, move Mars. This is another excellent nominee. It’s in print and in the library in English and French.

I have not read William Gibson’s Virtual Light because of truly disliking Neuromancer. It’s cyberpunk with the tagline “a mind can be a terrible thing to crash.” It’s in print and in the library in English only.

So, four men and one woman, all American, all SF, one cyberpunk, two terraforming Mars, one traditional near future one-invention SF, and one far future planetary. What else might they have chosen?

SFWA’s Nebula Award, being on a different schedule, went to Red Mars. Other eligible non-overlapping nominees were Kevin J. Anderson and Doug Beason’s Assemblers of Infinity, and Gene Wolfe’s Nightside the Long Sun.

The World Fantasy Award was won by Lewis Shiner’s Glimpses. Other nominees were Drawing Blood, Poppy Z. Brite, The Innkeeper’s Song, Peter S. Beagle, The Iron Dragon’s Daughter, Michael Swanwick, Lord of the Two Lands, Judith Tarr, Skin, Kathe Koja, The Throat, Peter Straub.

It seems to me that The Iron Dragon’s Daughter is a major significant work that should not have been overlooked by the Hugo nominators.

The John W. Campbell Memorial Award, in another “huh?” moment after seeming sane for the previous few years, was won by “No Award” with Beggars in Spain second and Moving Mars third. I’d love to know what they were thinking, and also how delighted Kress and Bear were to come second to “No Award.”

The Philip K. Dick Award was a tie between two excellent books, Jack Womack’s Elvissey and John M. Ford’s Growing Up Weightless (post). I think either or both of these would have been excellent Hugo nominees. Other nominees were: Bunch!, David R. Bunch, CrashCourse, Wilhelmina Baird, Icarus Descending, Elizabeth Hand.

The Tiptree was won by Nicola Griffith’s Ammonite. Honor books were: Coelestis, Paul Park, Dancing Jack, Laurie J. Marks, Illicit Passage, Alice Nunn, In the Garden of Dead Cars, Sybil Claiborne, Ring of Swords, Eleanor Arnason (post), The Robber Bride, Margaret Atwood (post).

Green Mars won the Locus SF Award, and it’s interesting that the top five are the five Hugo nominees—that doesn’t often happen. Other nominees not yet mentioned: Hard Landing, Algis Budrys, The Call of Earth, Orson Scott Card,  A Plague of Angels, Sheri S. Tepper, Harvest of Stars, Poul Anderson, Against a Dark Background, Iain M. Banks, The Hammer of God, Arthur C. Clarke, Powers That Be, Anne McCaffrey & Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, The Broken God, David Zindell, Brother Termite, Patricia Anthony, Godspeed, Charles Sheffield, Vanishing Point, Michaela Roessner, Chimera, Mary Rosenblum, Red Dust, Paul J. McAuley, The Gripping Hand, Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle, Nightside the Long Sun, Gene Wolfe, Timelike Infinity, Stephen Baxter.

Against a Dark Background is the standout book here, probably Iain M. Banks’s best book, and definitely the kind of groundbreaking book you’d expect to get some Hugo attention. It probably suffered from timing of UK/US publication, and that sucks.

The Beagle won the Locus Award for best Fantasy. Other nominees not yet mentioned:  To Green Angel Tower, Tad Williams, The Thread That Binds the Bones, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Strange Devices of the Sun and Moon, Lisa Goldstein, The Fires of Heaven, Robert Jordan, Deerskin, Robin McKinley (post), Dog Wizard, Barbara Hambly, The Hollowing, Robert Holdstock, Faery in Shadow, C. J. Cherryh, The Porcelain Dove, Delia Sherman, Winter of the Wolf  R. A. MacAvoy, The Far Kingdoms, Allan Cole & Chris Bunch, The Cygnet and the Firebird, Patricia A. McKillip, The Wizard’s Apprentice, S. P. Somtow, Bones of the Past, Holly Lisle, Dragon Star Book III: Skybowl, Melanie Rawn, The Robin & the Kestrel, Mercedes Lackey.

The Mythopoeic Award was won by Delia Sherman’s The Porcelain Dove.

So, was there anything they all missed? Loads of things this year. Steven Brust’s Agyar (post), Amy Thompson’s Virtual Girl (post), M.J. Engh’s Rainbow Man (post) Isaac Asimov’s Forward the Foundation, Colin Greenland’s Harm’s Way, Diana Wynne Jones’s Hexwood, Octavia Butler’s The Parable of the Sower.

This was a year where there were a lot of notable novels, and where my personal choice of five would be quite different from the Hugo list. On the other hand, the books on the Hugo list have lasted and are mostly still being discussed—and they do give a good snapshot of where the field was in 1994. And it would be easy to make a list of twenty things that were theoretically all good enough for a place on the Hugo ballot.

Other Categories


  • “Down in the Bottomlands”, Harry Turtledove (Analog Jan 1993) 
  • “An American Childhood”, Pat Murphy (Asimov’s Apr 1993)
  • “Into the Miranda Rift”, G. David Nordley (Analog Jul 1993) 
  • Mefisto In Onyx, Harlan Ellison (Omni Oct 1993; Mark V. Ziesing) 
  • “The Night We Buried Road Dog”, Jack Cady (F&SF Jan 1993)
  • Wall, Stone, Craft, Walter Jon Williams (F&SF Oct/Nov 1993; Axolotl)

Again, terrific novellas. I think I’d have voted for the Turtledove by a hair over the Williams.


  • “Georgia on My Mind”, Charles Sheffield (Analog Jan 1993) 
  • “Dancing on Air”, Nancy Kress (Asimov’s Jul 1993) 
  • “Deep Eddy”, Bruce Sterling (Asimov’s Aug 1993) 
  • “The Franchise”, John Kessel (Asimov’s Aug 1993) 
  • “The Shadow Knows”, Terry Bisson (Asimov’s Sep 1993)

And a great set of novelettes as well.


  • “Death on the Nile”, Connie Willis (Asimov’s Mar 1993) 
  • “England Underway”, Terry Bisson (Omni Jul 1993) 
  • “The Good Pup”, Bridget McKenna (F&SF Mar 1993) 
  • “Mwalimu in the Squared Circle”, Mike Resnick (Asimov’s Mar 1993)
  • “The Story So Far”, Martha Soukup (Full Spectrum 4)


  • The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, John Clute & Peter Nicholls, eds. (Orbit; St. Martin’s) 
  • The Art of Michael Whelan: Scenes/Visions, Michael Whelan (Bantam Spectra)
  • Once Around the Bloch: An Unauthorized Autobiography, Robert Bloch (Tor) 
  • PITFCS: Proceedings of the Institute for Twenty-First Century Studies, Theodore R. Cogswell, ed. (Advent:Publishers) 
  • Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art, Scott McCloud (Tundra Publishing)

A good set of books, but how can you compare them rationally when they’re not working in the same space?


  • Jurassic Park 
  • Addams Family Values 
  • Babylon 5: “The Gathering” 
  • Groundhog Day
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas

Rolls eyes.


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


  • Bob Eggleton 
  • Thomas Canty 
  • David A. Cherry 
  • Don Maitz 
  • Michael Whelan


  • Space Fantasy Commemorative Stamp Booklet, Stephen Hickman (US Postal Service) 
  • Keith Parkinson, Cover of Asimov’s Nov 1993 (illustrating “Cold Iron” by Michael Swanwick) 
  • Thomas Canty, Cover of F&SF Oct/Nov 1993 (illustrating “The Little Things” by Bridget McKenna)


  • Science Fiction Chronicle, Andrew Porter
  • 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 
  • Pulphouse, Dean Wesley Smith & Jonathan E. Bond 
  • Tomorrow Speculative Fiction, Algis Budrys


  • Mimosa, Dick & Nicki Lynch 
  • Ansible, Dave Langford 
  • File 770, Mike Glyer *
  • Lan’s Lantern, George “Lan” Laskowski 
  • STET, Leah Zeldes Smith & Dick Smith


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


  • Brad W. Foster 
  • Teddy Harvia 
  • Linda Michaels 
  • Peggy Ranson
  • William Rotsler
  • Stu Shiffman


  • Amy Thomson 
  • Holly Lisle 
  • Jack Nimersheim 
  • Carrie Richerson 
  • Elizabeth Willey

A pretty good list. Thomson is a good winner—Virtual Girl is a terrific first novel, and she has gone on to write other excellent books. I just wish she’d write more.

We talked about Richerson and Lisle last week.

I’m not familiar with Nimersheim, but it seems he was nominated on the basis of half a dozen short stories in anthologies. He has gone on to write more short stories, but he’s not had all that much visibility.

Elizabeth Wiley has just published her first fantasy novel A Well Favored Man, which was a lot of fun. She went on to write two sequels and then nothing else that I’ve seen, which is a pity.

Other potential nominees might have been Poppy Z. Brite, Patricia Anthony, Mary Rosenblum, Nicola Griffith, Charles Pellegrino and Sean Stewart.

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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