The 2011 Hugo Award winners were announced at Worldcon in Reno, Nevada, last night.  The winners are as follows:

Best Novel
Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis

Best Novella
The Lifecycle of Software Objects by Ted Chiang

Best Novelette
“The Emperor of Mars” by Allen M. Steele

Best Short Story
“For Want of a Nail” by Mary Robinette Kowal

Best Related Work
Chicks Dig Time Lords: A Celebration of Doctor Who by the Women Who Love It, edited by Lynne M. Thomas and Tara O’Shea

Best Graphic Story
Girl Genius, Volume 10: Agatha Heterodyne and the Guardian Muse, written by Phil and Kaja Foglio; art by Phil Foglio; colors by Cheyenne Wright

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form
Inception, written and directed by Christopher Nolan

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form
Doctor Who: “The Pandorica Opens/The Big Bang,” written by Steven Moffat; directed by Toby Haynes

Best Editor, Short Form
Sheila Williams

Best Editor, Long Form
Lou Anders

Best Professional Artist
Shaun Tan

Best Semiprozine
Clarkesworld, edited by Neil Clarke, Cheryl Morgan, Sean Wallace; podcast directed by Kate Baker

Best Fanzine
The Drink Tank, edited by Christopher J Garcia and James Bacon

Best Fan Writer
Claire Brialey

Best Fan Artist
Brad W. Foster

John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer (not a Hugo Award but presented at the same time)
Lev Grossman

As usual, there has been discussion all over the Internet about who should have won or been nominated.  I always feel like I’ve never read enough books to really comment on them since a) I haven’t read a great many of the nominated works or authors and b) I’m sure there are lots of great books published for any given year that I just haven’t had the opportunity to read yet.  So I usually refrain from commenting too much, but with that in mind, here’s some thoughts.

Out of the novels nominated this year, I have read The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin and Feed by Mira Grant and enjoyed both of them to different degrees (loved the former, liked the latter). While I’ve read several of the Miles Vorkosigan books by Lois McMaster Bujold, I haven’t gotten caught up to Cryoburn yet. I haven’t read anything by Connie Willis or Ian McDonald. From this list, I was rooting for The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, but not having read the winner I can’t really say whether or not I would have wanted it to win instead.

Looking over books read that were published in 2010, it’s hard to say which ones I would have picked myself, especially because I’m never sure what criteria to base selections off for something like this. Favorite books? Most memorable books? Best written books, best plotted books, most creative books? Books that are all around strong in a number of factors such as writing, characterization, world, ideas and/or creativity, and plot?  This would be why I just do a “favorites” list at the end of the year – it’s much easier than figuring out “best read” and what exactly that is supposed to mean anyway!  If going by all around as my criteria for what constitutes a winner, I would have loved to have seen The Habitation of the Blessed by Catherynne M. Valente considered for this award. Also, while I was very glad to see N.K. Jemisin on the list of nominees, I would have chosen The Broken Kingdoms over The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms myself (both were released last year and I thought the second one was stronger).

I was glad to see Lev Grossman win the Campbell since I enjoyed both The Magician and The Magician King (the latter of which would not have been out at the time of his nomination), but I have to admit I haven’t read any of the other authors to compare. With all the praise I’ve been hearing for Lauren Beukes and her novel Zoo City, though, I think I just may have to remedy that soon!

How did you feel about this year’s winners?  Who do you think should have been nominated for/won in these categories and why?