Since I managed to see four of the nominees in this category in my normal watching habits, fitting USS Callister and a short track didn’t seem like much of an ask. It’s also worth noting that I nominated three things in this category: Badwater from Alice Isn’t Dead, Michael’s Gambit and Dance Dance Resolution from The Good Place. Given one of these got nominated, it’s clearly going to be top of my list, right?
This year the graphic story category returns to an sff focus after last year’s slate dominated by Avengers. Previewing the category, we have sequels to three comics I really liked (Bitch Planet, Monstress, and Saga), one sequel to a comic I thought was OK (Paper Girls), and two new entrants (including our only superhero entry written by an author whose previous Hugo nominee I rather liked).
This is the award for best new writer, regardless of output length (or quantity), and year after year it ends up my favourite category by delivering works that I think are better than any of the nominees in the main ballot. This year I will be thwarted however, as the three shorter pieces in this category are all in regular competition. On the upside, this makes this category an easy ask, as I’ve also already read Under the Pendulum Sun, leaving me with just three novels to cover.
Novellas are almost exclusively short novels, self contained and fully fleshed out. I was expecting good things given that one is a sequel to a novella I liked last year (A Heart Shaped Door), another by an author I liked last year (Sarah Gailey), and a third is the sequel to a 2016 winner (Binti).
Novelettes tend to be long short stories (7500-17500 words). The little bit of extra space gives more flexibility and can lead to greatness (last year’s Tomato Thief springs to mind), but far to often they fall into the uncanny valley where the length makes them flabby without gaining the depth of a longer work.