Patterns in this year’s Hugo fiction

Here are some recurring themes and tropes that seem to me to be a lot more prominent than usual in this year’s Hugo-nominated fiction. (For some of these items, by “a lot more prominent” I just mean featured in two of the nominated works; but in those cases, I feel like even two is more than usual.)

  • A mix of fantasy and science fiction within one work.
  • Characters with nonbinary gender.
  • Trans characters.
  • Multi-person relationships, and/or people who have multiple parents.
  • Same-gender sexual attraction and interaction.
  • Fraught interactions between twins, especially having to do with life choices and gender-related expectations.
  • Resistance against cruel and powerful governments, including resistance from people closely connected to those governments.
  • Sentient machines (or cyborgs) that are enslaved by humans.
  • Sentient machines that enjoy popular culture.
  • East Asian-influenced cultures.
  • Metaphors for disability and for the way society treats people with disabilities.

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