Please see my Hugo disclaimer at the conclusion of this article. Let us instead jump right into my thoughts on the nominees.
Elizabeth Leggett: Leggett was on my final Hugo nominating ballot and I very much stand behind that nomination and I am quite glad she was able to pick up a Hugo nomination this year. Check out the link of her work at the top of this article, it's fantastic stuff.
Spring Schoenhuth: Schoenhuth's art is not the same sort of drawing / painting / art that we think about when we think of Hugo art. Schoenhuth does much more of the metal sculpture / jewelry style of art. What she does is excellent, though it isn't completely to my taste for genre art. It's not that I'm a traditionalist, it is more that I more appreciate cover art as science fiction and fantasy art.
No Award: While Foster and Stiles have been perennial nominees, and I had a very nice e-mail exchange with Foster last year when I was looking to highlight the art of all of the nominees (something I do not plan to do this year), I don't feel this art is truly among the best. It is art of a particular style, and I think it has fit the fanzines they have often been published in, but when you compare to Elizabeth Leggett, well, there is no comparison. I appreciated Ninni Aalto's work more than those of Foster and Stiles, but it still doesn't quite rise above and meet the levels of Leggett and Schoenhuth.
1. Elizabeth Leggett
2. Spring Schoenhuth
3. No Award
Standard 2015 Hugo Disclaimer:
In a typical year, I just jump right into whichever category I'm writing
about and letting my thoughts sort out the whole mess. This is not a
typical year, so I'd like to start by talking a little bit about how I'm
going to work through the various Hugo Award categories and how I am
going to vote. Simply put, I am going to read everything. If I feel the
work is strong enough to merit a ranked vote, I will vote for it in
whatever order feels most appropriate. If I feel the work is not strong
enough to merit ranking it above No Award, I will not do so. But at no
point am I making a blanket statement about Sad Puppies or Rabid Puppies
or that I've heard Thomas Heuvelt may have been campaigning for a
nomination or anything else that I am not aware of. The ballot is what
the ballot is and I will treat it as such.
I am also working with the same methodology as I have in the past, which
is to say that there are frequently works and writers on the ballot
that I simply and strongly disagree with. In most cases, I have still
ranked those works above No Award. I don't believe I have always done
this, and I know if I had participated last year, one novel would have
been below No Award because I bounced so hard off of the first book in
that series that I really can't understand how the second also managed a
nomination - and that writer is a Hugo favorite. Most stories compare
to works that have previously been on the ballot, so those works that
meet my low-bar criteria will secure my vote.
I may re-post this message on each article I write about the nominees, just so that we're clear in such a contentious year.