2016 John W. Campbell Award for New Writer

Wesley Chu, 2015 John W. Campbell Award for New Writer winner

When looking at getting 15-20 threads going each week, I decided to take a different approach and instead do a single discussion thread for each category. Sorry this is coming up on Wednesday, but let’s start discussion these fine writers!

Since it is early in the process and we don’t have voter packets yet, if anyone is familiar with any of their qualifying work, it would be great to hear about it so that the rest of us can hunt it down and get familiar with it. I definitely see a high chance of thread necromancy towards the end of the voting period for this one (which is why I included right at the beginning).

As always, keep in mind the Comment Rules, and let’s get to discussing this year’s Hugo finalists!


Pierce Brown * – Personal siteGoodreads

Sebastien de Castell * – Personal siteGoodreads

Brian NiemeierPersonal siteGoodreads

Andy Weir * – Personal siteGoodreads

Alyssa Wong * – Personal siteGoodreads

* Finalists in their 2nd year of eligibility.

5 thoughts on “2016 John W. Campbell Award for New Writer”

  1. Well, I’ve read Weir’s “The Martian”… as I suspect a lot of us have… and, really, it’s pretty damn good stuff; absolutely diamond-hard near-future SF, and Weir handles the pacing of the story well (and the pacing would be quite easy to get wrong, in this story’s context) and manages some neat touches of humour and characterization along the way. It’s a strong contender.

    But so is Alyssa Wong, who’s just won a Nebula with “Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers”, a *very* polished and unsettling short horror story. Her bibliography page indicates she’s written several other shorts, which have been well-received. Not a lot of output, but as a Campbell nominee she is, by definition, near the start of her career – and, on the showing she’s made thus far, it could be a career to watch.

    I’ve heard some good things about Sebastien de Castell, though I haven’t yet read any of his stuff. His ongoing “Greatcoats” series appears to be swashbuckling fantasy with some original touches. I’ll wait till I’ve actually read some of it, though, before I make any final judgements. Same goes for the remaining two – I’ll see what’s in the voters’ packet, and mull it over.


  2. I read Sebastien de Castell’s Traitor’s Blade 2 years ago. The main thing I remember about it is how well the story flowed. It’s swashbuckling fantasy in the vein of Dumas rather than Tolkien, and de Castell’s writing style makes for a really engaging, fast-paced read. The protagonist is instantly likeable and the witty banter is well balanced with bouts of darker flashbacks.

    But the second half of the story was a bit of a letdown for me, with some random turns of plot and a predictable ending. Still, I’ll be reading more of de Castell. Plotting is something that can be improved upon, but writing style and ability are more innate; he’s a very skilled writer with loads of potential.

    I’ll also link Jared Shurin’s eloquent review over at Pornokitsch (from 2015). (He was quite impressed).


  3. Andy Weir and Alyssa Wong were both on my nomination ballot. Very different, but it’s going to be difficult to decide which I like better.

    I haven’t read any of the others. Although I have heard good things about both Pierce Brown and Sebastien de Castell, and I’ve been meaning to read their trilogies.


  4. Alyssa Wong’s PDF in the Hugo packet appears to be Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers, but it actually has 3 more stories after that: The Fisher Queen, Santos de Sampaguitas and Scarecrow.

    Liked by 1 person

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