A Roundup of 2019’s Major Science Fiction & Fantasy Award Winners

With the announcement of the 2019 World Fantasy Award winners at the World Fantasy Convention in Los Angeles yesterday, the long, long science fiction and fantasy awards season comes to a close. We finally know which novels, novellas, and shorter works have been deemed the year’s best—and, as usual, there’s hardly a consensus answer to that question.

What do all these awards tell us about the state of the genres in 2019? Though there’s a great deal of variety (and very little overlap) in the works honored by the various award-giving institutions, one novel does stand out—in a very competitive year, Mary Robinette Kowal’s The Calculating Stars was named Best Novel by three separate organizations, meaning that one of the year’s most enjoyable and buzzworthy SFF works is also the most awarded. (Which seems fair.)

Martha Wells also won multiple awards for the second novel in her Murderbot series, while on the short story front, P. Djèlí Clark was a repeat winner for “”The Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington.” And we have to give a special shout-out to Zen Cho, whose Hugo-winning Novelette was published by this very blog. Congratulations, though, to all of the year’s winners, many of whom have been favorites of ours, as well.

Here’s a round-up of the main categories in the year’s major SFF awards, beginning with Sunday’s World Fantasy Awards and then going backward to the year’s earliest awards from March.

World Fantasy Awards

The World Fantasy Awards are organized and overseen by the World Fantasy Convention, and distributed annually for the best fantasy fiction published during the preceding calendar year. This year’s winners were announced November 3.

BEST NOVEL: Witchmark, by C.L. Polk

BEST NOVELLA: The Privilege of the Happy Ending, by Kij Johnson (Clarkesworld)

BEST SHORT FICTION: “Ten Deals with the Indigo Snake” by Mel Kassel (Lightspeed) and “Like a River Loves the Sky” by Emma Törzs (Uncanny Magazine)

BEST ANTHOLOGY: Worlds Seen in Passing: Ten Years of Tor.com Short Fiction, edited by Irene Gallo

BEST COLLECTION: The Tangled Lands, by Paolo Bacigalupi and Tobias S. Buckell

Hugo Awards

Handed out by the World Science Fiction Society and voted on by the membership of the World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon), the Hugos honor the best achievements in science fiction and fantasy. The current prizes were awarded on August 18.

BEST NOVEL: The Calculating Stars: A Lady Astronaut Novel, by Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor)
(Read our review.)

BEST NOVELLA: Artificial Condition, by Martha Wells (Tor.com Publishing)
(Read our review.)

BEST NOVELETTE: If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again,” by Zen Cho (B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog)

BEST SHORT STORY: “A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies,” by Alix E. Harrow (Apex Magazine)

And the earlier awards…

James Tiptree, Jr. Award

This prize is for works of science fiction or fantasy that expand or explore an understanding of gender. The current prize was awarded on March 22.

WINNER: “They Will Dream in the Garden,” by Gabriela Damián Miravete and translated by Adrian Demopulos (Latin American Literature Today)

Compton Crook Award

Offered by the Baltimore Science Fiction Society, the award was given on April 15, and goes to the best first English-language novel of the year in the field of Science Fiction, Fantasy, or Horror.

WINNER: The Poppy War, by R. F. Kuang (Harper Voyager)
(Read our review.)

The Philip K. Dick Award

This award is handed out by the Philadelphia Science Fiction Society and the Philip K. Dick Trust. The winner was announced on April 19.

WINNER: Theory of Bastards, by Audrey Schulman (Europa Editions)

BSFA Awards

Offered by the British Science Fiction Association to honor science fiction works, the prizes were awarded on April 21.

BEST NOVEL: Embers of War, by Gareth L. Powell (Titan)
(Read our review.)

BEST SHORT FICTION: Time Was, by Ian McDonald (Tor.com Publishing)
(Read our review.)

Nebula Awards

This year’s Nebula Awards, given by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA), were awarded in May. The awards recognize works of science fiction and fantasy published in the United States.

BEST NOVEL: The Calculating Stars: A Lady Astronaut Novel, by Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor)

BEST NOVELLA: The Tea Master and the Detective, by Aliette de Bodard (Subterranean Press)

BEST NOVELETTE: The Only Harmless Great Thing, by Brooke Bolander (Tor.com Publishing)
(Read our review.)

BEST SHORT STORY: “The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington,” by P. Djèlí Clark (Fireside Magazine)

John W. Campbell Memorial/Theodore Sturgeon Awards

These awards are presented by the Center for the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas for the best science fiction novel (John W. Campbell Award) and best short science fiction story (Theodore Sturgeon Award) published in English, and were given on June 28.

NOVEL: Blackfish City, by Sam J. Miller (Ecco)
(Read our review.)

SHORT STORY: “When Robot and Crow Saved East St. Louis,” by Annalee Newitz (Slate.com)

Locus Awards

The winners were announced on June 29.

BEST SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL: The Calculating Stars: A Lady Astronaut Novel, by Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor)

BEST FANTASY NOVEL: Spinning Silver, by Naomi Novik (Del Rey)
(Read our review.)

BEST FIRST NOVEL: Trail of Lightning, by Rebecca Roanhorse (Saga Press)
(Read our review.)

BEST NOVELLA: Artificial Condition, by Martha Wells (Tor.com Publishing)
(Read our review.)

BEST NOVELETTE: The Hermit of Houston, by Samuel R. Delaney (Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction)

BEST SHORT STORY: “The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington,” by P. Djèlí Clark (Fireside Magazine)

Arthur C. Clarke Award

The British Science Fiction Association, the Science Fiction Foundation, and the Sci-Fi-London film festival hand out this award for a science fiction novel first published in the UK. The winner was announced on July 17.

WINNER: Rosewater, by Tade Thompson (Orbit)
(Read our review.)

Congratulations, once again, to all the honored authors. The real winners are, of course, we the readers.

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