Winners of the 2021 Hugo Awards will be announced at the 79th World Science Fiction Convention (WorldCon) which will be held December 15-19 in Washington DC (DisCon III). (Usually WorldCon is held in August but it was delayed this year due to COVID). The award ceremony takes place on Saturday December 18. The Hugo Award finalists, listed below, are chosen by a poll of readers.
There are no Retrospective Hugo Awards being presented this year because the 1946 Retros were presented in 1996. We’re covering only the categories you see below but there are lots more that you can find on the 2021 Hugo Award page.
Click the title links below to read our reviews and on the author links to visit our page for the author. We’ve included the cover art for our favorites.
Which, if any, of these finalists have you read? Who do you think will win the Hugo Award in these categories? Are there any titles you think should have been on this list but aren’t? Answer below for a chance to win a book from our stacks.
BEST SHORT STORY
- Badass Moms in the Zombie Apocalypse by Rae Carson, Uncanny
- Little Free Library by Naomi Kritzer, Tor.com
- The Mermaid Astronaut by Yoon Ha Lee, Beneath Ceaseless Skies
- Open House on Haunted Hill by John Wiswell, Diabolical Plots
- A Guide for Working Breeds by Vina Jie-Min Prasad, Made to Order
- Metal Like Blood in the Dark by T. Kingfisher, Uncanny
- The Inaccessibility of Heaven by Aliette de Bodard, Uncanny
- Burn or the Episodic Life of Sam Wells as a Super by A.T. Greenblatt, Uncanny
- The Pill by Meg Elison, Big Girl
- Two Truths and a Lie by Sarah Pinsker, Tor.com
- Monster by Naomi Kritzer, Clarkesworld
- Helicopter Story by Isabel Fall, Wyrm
- Finna by Nino Cipri, Tordotcom
- Ring Shout by P. Djeli Clark, Tordotcom
- Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey, Tordotcom
- Come Tumbling Down by Seanan McGuire, Tordotcom
- Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi, Tordotcom
- The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo, Tordotcom
- Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir, Tordotcom
- The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin, Orbit
- Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse, Saga
- The Relentless Moon by Mary Robinette Kowal, Tor
- Network Effect by Martha Wells, Tordotcom
- Piranesi by Susanna Clarke, Bloomsbury
LODESTAR AWARD FOR BEST YOUNG ADULT NOVEL
- Legendborn by Tracy Deonn, McElderry
- Elatso by Darcy Little Badger, Levine Querido
- A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik, Del Rey
- Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas, Swoon Reads
- Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko, Amulet
- A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher, Argyll
- The Daevabad Trilogy by S.A. Chakraborty (Harper Voyager)
- The Interdependency by John Scalzi Tor Books
- The Lady Astronaut Universe by Mary Robinette Kowal Tor Books/Audible/Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction/Solaris
- The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells Tor.com
- October Daye by Seanan McGuire Daw
- The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang Harper Voyager
THE ASTOUNDING AWARD FOR BEST NEW WRITER
(formerly the John W. Campbell Award)
- Simon Jimenez
- Micaiah Johnson
- Jenn Lyons
- Emily Tesh
- Lindsay Ellis
- A.K. Larkwood
I’ve read all the novels, except The Relentless Moon. And think that Piranesi and The City We Became were definitively a cut above the other nominees. I went back and forth on this, but ended up with Piranesi as narrowly the top choice.
Having said that, my personal favorite for best novel was The Ministry for the Future by Kim Stanley Robinson.
“Piranesi” is way up on my list of books to read, but I have not yet got to it. It sounds so good, I am betting it will win!
Have read none of the short stories or novelettes or series nominated. Have read one of novellas, one of the YA novels, and one of new writer nominees. And have read four of the best novel nominees–more than is usually the case, given that my tastes generally don’t correlate well with the Hugo award picks. Of those four, Harrow the Ninth and Piranesi were the ones I liked best. 2020 (like 2021 so far) was a bit of a letdown compared to the previous couple of years. Maybe related to the pandemic’s effect on the publishing industry?
Actually the series list on the Hugo webpage doesn’t match the one posted above. It contains the Murderbot Diaries, which I have read.
I did a project this year where I read all the Hugo nominees for best novel! Here’s a video where I talk about it: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=mjag3kMw8hk
I’ve read two of the novellas: Come Tumbling Down (fine) and The Empress of Salt and Fortune (probably objectively better but IMO also fine).
The Winternight trilogy is one of my favorite fantasy trilogies ever, but if it’s up against The Murderbot Diaries I’m guessing it’ll lose, sadly.
These are all strong contenders, but I think that Piranesi should win for best novel–beautiful, haunting prose, and a story that feels different than those that have come before.
This year, I read Come Tumbling Down, Harrow the Ninth, and A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking. A good start, but there’s a lot here I’ve missed! Adding things to my To Read list on my local library account
I’ve been very interested in “Empress of Salt and Fortune”.
I’ve read most of the finalists in most of the categories. I like The Murderbot Diaries for series, Black Sun for novel, Ring Shout for novella, The Inaccessibility of Heaven for novelette, and Open House on Haunted Hill for short story. Close contenders (for me): Poppy War for series, The Empress of Salt and Fortune for novella, and The Mermaid Astronaut for short story. I haven’t gotten to the YA yet, but I’ve heard great things about all of them. It’s difficult to guess what will win, because voters consider a lot of different variables when they vote. I nominated titles that are not on the list (The Four Profound Weaves, for example) but obviously more people voted for the finalists. I’ll be interested to read the stats when they come out :)
I read Piranesi and LOVE it–definitely hope it wins. Sadly, I haven’t read any of the other nominees yet, but I can well imagine that Jemisin is a strong contender. I have read the short story that was the basis for The City We Became, and it was brilliant.
I’ve read Ring Shout and The Empress of Salt & Fortune and both are definitely worthy of winning.
I’ve only read Legendborn, but Elatsoe and Cemetery Boys are on my to-read list. I think one of them is likely going to win.
For the Series: OMG how can anyone choose between Daevabad, Murderbot, and the Lady Astronauts?? They are all wonderful!
I’m a huge fan of “Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell”, so I’m really looking forward to reading “Piranesi”!
We have “Harrow the Ninth”. Seanan McGuire is always of interest. “The Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking”, “The Mermaid Astronaut” and “Badass Moms in the Zombie Apocalypse” have the best titles, and “Raybearer” has the flashiest cover.
No because just the titles of these books are so gripping. I’ve only read a few but I want to read them all!
Megan Clancy,if you live in the USA, you win a book of your choice from our stacks. If your address is outside of the USA, you will get a $5 Amazon gift card.
Please contact me (Marion) with your choice and a US address. Happy reading!