Progressive values in science-fiction and fantasy

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at:, or follow me on Twitter.

Interesting to see this change happening now and not in, say for instance, 1975.

The three fiction longer-fiction categories were each won by a woman of color: N.K. Jemisin (Best Nove), Nnedi Okorafor (Best Novella) and Hao Jingfang (Best Novellette). Additionally, Michi Trota, one of the editors of Uncanny Magazine, noted that she was the first Filipino to win a Hugo.

Jingfang, who hails from China, won for her story Folding Beijing, and is the second Chinese science fiction authors in as many years to earn the award. Her Hugo is also the third ever granted for a translated work. Ken Liu, who translated the story for Uncanny Magazine, earned the second one last year for his work on The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu.

Nnedi Okorafor has earned a number of awards and nominations over her career, but her win for Binti is her first Hugo (it also won a Nebula Award earlier this year). This is a story that is expressly about a person of color from a society that’s expressly outside of what you typically see across science fiction.

Finally, N.K. Jemisin’s novel The Fifth Season earned the top award of the night, and it’s a book that is pointedly against the grain. As Jemisin noted in her acceptance speech (read by Alyssa Wong, who accepted for her):

“When it got nominated, I wondered how many of my fellow sci-fi / fantasy fans, in a year headlined by reactionary pushback against the presence and performance of people like me in the genre would choose to vote for the story of a 40-something, big-boned, dreadlocked woman of color waging an epic struggle against the forces of oppression.