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.
Another category with strong competitors, and I'm going to make some truly absurd criticisms to try to figure out what order to list them in. Below are this year's finalists, listed in the order they appeared on the official announcement, with my notes on each.
Galen Dara - The packed includes covers from magazines, anthologies, and novels, along with some game art. All of it is gorgeous. So hard to pick a winner, but the range of subjects covered may prove an advantage.
Julie Dillon - The packet includes 9 entries, two of which I don't love. The rest are gorgeous, and I have been a fan of her work for years. But I don't think she'll be quite at the top this time. Because I don't love everything, that's how hard this is.
Chris McGrath - Great art, but a little too 'all the same' to lead the pack. Not just in color and style, but 5 of 9 covers provided in the packet can be described as 'woman faces camera, man faces away and slightly down.'
Victo Ngai - Also quite good, and with a wide range of subjects, but not my favorite.
John Picacio - Good, but not my favorite. And I know I've liked his work more in previous years.
Sana Takeda - I loved this art in Monstress. Wonderful, gorgeous, but not as much range as some of the others since it's all from the same book.
In summary, it's going to be a coin toss for me between Takeda and Dara, with everyone else only slightly below.