I'm a few weeks late here, but since I'm still working on my DS9 retrospective, I figured I'd post the most recent Hugo shortlist - and my snap reactions - for your perusal. If I skip anyone, it's most likely because I'm not familiar with the author:
Among Others by Jo Walton (Tor)
I'm partway through the Farthing/Ha'Penny/Half a Crown alternate history series, which I kind of like. Thus, I harbor relatively positive feelings for this author.
A Dance With Dragons by George R. R. Martin (Bantam Spectra)
This means I'll have to read the other books in that series, doesn't it? I've been meaning to all along, but I'm not sure I can finish by July 31.
Deadline by Mira Grant (Orbit)
This is a continuation of the trilogy launched by Feed, which was nominated for a Hugo last year. As I recall, I was impressed with the construction of the story but not impressed with the author's anti-Christian polemics. Still, I'll give this one a shot. Perhaps Grant has toned it down.
Embassytown by China Miéville (Macmillan / Del Rey)
Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey (Orbit)
A space opera! Good!
Countdown by Mira Grant (Orbit)
“The Ice Owl” by Carolyn Ives Gilman (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, November/December 2011)
“Kiss Me Twice” by Mary Robinette Kowal (Asimov's, June 2011)
I voted for Kowal's short story last year, but it was a pretty reluctant vote. Here's hoping this novella will be stronger.
“The Man Who Bridged the Mist” by Kij Johnson (Asimov's, September/October 2011)
I hated the Kij Johnson story that made the short list last year, but hey -- it certainly isn't kosher to judge an author based on one example of her output.
“The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary” by Ken Liu (Panverse 3)
Silently and Very Fast by Catherynne M. Valente (Clarkesworld / WSFA)
“The Copenhagen Interpretation” by Paul Cornell (Asimov's, July 2011)
“Fields of Gold” by Rachel Swirsky (Eclipse Four)
“Ray of Light” by Brad R. Torgersen (Analog, December 2011)
YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY! I'm doing the dance of joy here! I promise to be fair and give the other authors on this list a chance to impress me, but the probability is pretty high that Torgersen will get my final vote.
“Six Months, Three Days” by Charlie Jane Anders (Tor.com)
“What We Found” by Geoff Ryman (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, September/October 2011)
Best Short Story
“The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees” by E. Lily Yu (Clarkesworld, April 2011)
“The Homecoming” by Mike Resnick (Asimov's, April/May 2011)
“Movement” by Nancy Fulda (Asimov's, March 2011)
“The Paper Menagerie” by Ken Liu (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, March/April 2011)
“Shadow War of the Night Dragons: Book One: The Dead City: Prologue” by John Scalzi (Tor.com)
I haven't read that last one, but I understand Scalzi wrote it as an April Fools joke. Could be fun.
John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer
Award for the best new professional science fiction or fantasy writer of 2010 or 2011, sponsored by Dell Magazines (not a Hugo Award).
Brad R. Torgersen (Again: YAAAAAAAAAAAAY!)
E. Lily Yu
As I did last year, I will be focusing on the literary awards exclusively. Hopefully, Chicon will be giving us free copies of these books and stories so I don't have to spend money hunting them down.