Reviews of speculative fiction, YA, middle grade, and graphic novels, along with stray thoughts, links, and pictures.
This is part of a series of posts reviewing categories in this year's Hugo ballot. I'll be discussing the entries, the voter packet, and my ballot. I've nominated and voted most years since 2011, when I figured out that all I had to do was join Worldcon to get to do so. Not only that, but if you participate in one year, you still get to nominate the next year. This year, thanks to a rule change, we nominated up to 5 entries, and the final ballot included the top 6.
What consistently makes this category a challenge for me is the range of mediums that get included. Best professional artist tends to be mostly covers, with the occasional interior illustration or graphic novel. This year's Fan Artist category includes jewelry, illustrations, comics, and photography. Below are this year's finalists, listed in the order they appeared on the official announcement, with my notes on each.
Ninni Aalto - The 6 pages of Aalto's work in the packet include 2 comics and several sketches, including a delightful unicorn farting a rainbow. Her art displays both a sense of humor and love of that fandom. Not being at the top of my ballot is more an indication of how strong the competition in this category is than any commentary on her work.
Vesa Lehtimäki - Star Wars lego photography. Whatever you're picturing probably isn't as good as this. Very cool and will likely be high on my ballot.
Likhain (M. Sereno) - Rather evocative illustrations, this is also a strong contender, but not among my favorite.
Spring Schoenhuth - How am I even supposed to rank jewelry against the rest of these? Technique and subject matter wise, these are interesting, but I'm not in love with any specific piece.
Steve Stile - This is the weakest of the bunch for me. The illustrations aren't speaking to me, and the color choices are not to my taste.
So, in summary, I think Stiles will be at the bottom, but that's as sure as I am at the moment. My top two will likely swap back and forth between Leggett and Lehtimäki right up until the deadline, and the remaining 3 could really end up in any order depending on what mood I'm in at the moment. A very strong category with a wide range to consider.