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Hugos 2014: Venues


Another unusual thing about this year's Hugo nominees is where the short fiction was published.

As I noted last year, over 60% of the Hugo-nominated short fiction in every year from 2001 through 2009 was published in the Big Three print prozines (Asimov's, F&SF, and Analog). In 2010, that dropped to 18%, but it was back up to 50% or higher in 2011 and 2012. Then last year it fell to 8%: only one story, from Asimov's.

This year it was only 14%, which is to say two stories, both from Analog.

Meanwhile, Clarkesworld had one or two stories nominated each year from 2009 through 2012, and three last year, when it also won the Best Semiprozine category. It seemed like Clarkesworld was steadily becoming the most consistent venue for Hugo-nominated fiction.

This year upended all that. Clarkesworld had no stories nominated. Five of this year's short-fiction nominees were published in Tor.com, which had one or two stories nominated a year from 2010 through 2012, and none last year.

(Meanwhile, Strange Horizons, which hasn't had a Hugo-nominated story since 2007, has one this year. Yay, new editors! Yay, Sofia!)

I don't have any clear theories about what's going on with all these shifts in the venues for Hugo-nominated short fiction. The closest I've come so far is that Tor.com and Clarkesworld may be joining the general historical pattern of the Big Three, where they have some years with a lot of stories nominated and some with a few, but the majority of the nominations stay within the group. If you look at those two plus the Big Three as a new Big Five, they collectively account for over half of all the nominated stories from 2010 through 2014.

But there are also other things going on. Subterranean Press, for example, has been a steady presence on recent ballots, with stories from anthologies, collections, standalone novellas, and Subterranean magazine. (Arguably, they should count as part of a Big Six.) Night Shade, Pyr, Solaris, and Tachyon have had multiple nominees during recent years (though of those, only Tachyon has had three nominees in the past five years). And there've been a bunch of other highly regarded anthologies in recent years, from various publishers.

Here's a table showing the number of nominated stories from each venue/publisher from 2010 through 2014, for publishers with more than two stories nominated during that time:

Venue Stories
Analog 5
Asimov's 14
Clarkesworld 7
F&SF 3
Subterranean Press (all venues) 7
Tachyon 3
Tor.com 10

Earlier years, before Clarkesworld and Tor.com started appearing on the ballot, looked pretty different, but that's another topic for another time.


I suspect with Subterranean Magazine shutting down later this year that that will have an impact, eventually, though note that they'll still contribute from anthologies and collections.

What a difference nearly ten years makes, when the first online story appeared on the Hugo ballot in 2004. :p

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