Just for the curious, here are the works I nominated for the Hugo. There's some overlap with what actually made the ballot, though perhaps not as much as I would prefer.
Below is my ballot, in rank order of how I voted. Brief category commentary follows. I've linked to what reviews I managed to write up.
1. Boneshaker, by Cherie Priest (review)
2. The Windup Girl, by Paolo Bacigalupi
3. Palimpsest, by Catherynne M. Valente (review, sort of)
4. Wake, by Robert J. Sawyer
5. The City & The City, by China Mieville
6. Julian Comstock, by Robert Charles Wilson
I loves me some Cherie Priest. Big fan of Boneshaker and of Priest. I can flip-flop Bacigalupi and Valente's novels and be okay with that decision, too. Both are ambitious novels that didn't quite connect with my reader-brain to get excited by, but they are quality. Palimpsest, in particular, may be more rewarding on a second or third read, which makes me wonder if my vote should have gone the other way. I actually "enjoyed" Wake more than the Bacigalupi or Valente novels, but at the same time, it wasn't as "good" as either. That's more than a bit vague, but it'll do. I think it makes sense. I wish I had read the Mieville novel because I think I would have rated it higher, possibly as high as #2 (Boneshaker is tough to beat). I don't wish I had read Julian Comstock. I've read the original story and am fairly disinterested in an expansion.
1. The God Engines, by John Scalzi (review)
2. The Women of Nell Gwynne's, by Kage Baker (review)
3. "Palimpsest", by Charles Stross
4. "Act One", by Nancy Kress (review)
5. Shambling Towards Hiroshima, by James Morrow (review)
6. "Vishnu at the Cat Circus", by Ian McDonald
If I had to guess, I would say that Kage Baker will win this category. It's a combination of the story being quite good and Baker's passing earlier this year. I just don't think it is as good as what Scalzi did - and The God Engines was Scalzi stretching beyond his familiar writing style and still nailing the landing. Stross surprised me here. I'm not a big fan of his work, and how the prose connects to the storytelling is unremarkable, but Stross's "Palimpsest" (no relation to Valente's) has ideas that really draw the reader in. Alternate history and time travel has been done before, and the possible futures has, too, but it's just so damned interesting and smartly conceived.
1. "It Takes Two", by Nicola Griffith
2. "Eros, Philia, Agape", by Rachel Swirsky
3. "One of Our Bastards is Missing", by Paul Cornell
4. "The Island", by Peter Watts
5. "Overtime", by Charles Stross
6. "Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast", by Eugie Foster
Griffith and Swirsky are far and away ahead of the class here. Nicola Griffith is mostly known as a novelist, but I would very much like to see more short fiction from her. Swirsky is on the cusp of winning a crapload of awards and is one of the best emerging writers working today. The only thing preventing Swirsky from gaining wider recognition is that she has been working exclusively in short fiction - but a Swirsky story is worth seeking out.
Best Short Story
1. "Spar", by Kij Johnson (review)
2. "Bridesicle", by Will McIntosh (review)
3. "Non-Zero Probabilities", by N.K. Jemisin (review)
4. "The Bride of Frankenstein", by Mike Resnick
5. "The Moment", by Lawrence M. Schoen
"Spar" is not the sort of story that one gets excited about and exclaims how much one "loved" it. It's uncomfortable and there is a level of squick involved. But, it is one of the best short stories published in 2009 and it is very, very good. "Bridesicle" doesn't quite hit the mark like "Spar" does, but it is conceptually fascinating and well executed.
Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form
3. District 9
4. Star Trek
Part of me wanted to put Up as #1 based solely on the first ten minutes of the movie. Those ten minutes were good enough to win an Oscar, let alone the entertaining rest of the movie. Squirrel! I thought of this category in the sense of the actual story and storytelling, and not just the visual and visceral responses I had. Avatar was a marvelous experience, but if you actually think about the story - it's kind of weak. Moon is minimalist, but is an outstanding movie with a well-written and well thought out story.
Best Editor, Short Form
1. Jonathan Strahan
2. Ellen Datlow
3. Sheila Williams
4. Gordon Van Gelder
5. Stanley Schmidt
Call this Jonathan Strahan and company. Jonathan Strahan's name on a book is enough for me to take notice and often, buy a copy. Datlow consistently produces quality work. Williams, Van Gelder, and Schmidt? The editors of the Big Three? When you highlight one story or another, they are able to identify some of the best work of the year. But I can do that with a number of other editors who aren't on this ballot, too. When I look at their magazines as a whole, I'm disinterested. They don't publish enough fiction that I want to read. I've subscribed to Asimov's and let it lapse. I've done several trial issues of F&SF and it doesn't work for me. Stanley Schmidt is the one getting a slightly raw deal here, though. I'm not familiar enough with Analog to be able to speak about it, but I also did not want to throw a "No Award" in front of Schmidt.
Best Editor, Long Form
1. Lou Anders
2. Juliet Ulman
3. Liz Gorinsky
4. Ginjer Buchanan
5. Patrick Nielsen Hayden
This was one of the more difficult categories to vote for. Ulman edited some excellent novels in 2009, but Lou Anders IS Pyr and for its size, Pyr is publishing some of the best work year in and year out. 2009 was no exception. Gorinsky's best two or three books for Tor last edged out Ginjer Buchanan's books from Ace. While I would have considered Neilsen Hayden for Editor, Short Form (Tor.com is excellent), if the list I found is at all accurate, most of what he edited in 2009 was paperback reprints of previous Tor hardcovers. It's stuff that he already acquired and published and would have been a stronger list on first publication. PNH is a fine editor (again, love what he's doing with Tor.com's fiction), but this wasn't a Hugo year.
Best Professional Artist
1. Daniel Dos Santos
2. Stephan Martiniere
3. John Picacio
4. Shaun Tan
5. Bob Eggleton
Thanks be to the Hugo Voters Packet for highlighting the 2009 work of each artist. I admire Picacio's work and am always happy to see a new Picacio cover (his work on the Chadbourn editions from Pyr is outstanding), and I think that he is very much due to pick up a Hugo very soon, but I thought (in my uneducated fan perspective) that the 2009 work from Dos Santos and Martiniere was just a touch stronger. The Warbreaker cover from Dos Santos, especially, was a year's highlight.
1. Weird Tales
I like the fiction 'zines. What can I say? Weird Tales and Clarkesworld consistently publishes some of the finest fiction you're likely to find, and if there was a "Best Prozine" category (Editor Short Form, I know), I would honestly put Ann VanderMeer and Neil Clarke above any of the Big Three editors. I probably should have put "No Award" above Ansible.
Best Fan Writer
1. Frederik Pohl
2. James Nicoll
3. No Award
This is the first of the categories for which I wonder if I did the right thing. I'm familiar with the work of Pohl and Nicoll, and I think they are deserving of the slots, but I never familiarized myself with the other three nominees. Are they really worse than a No Award? Probably not, but I didn't feel comfortable ranking them, either.
1. File 770
3. No Award
Here you can repeat much of what I said for Fan Writer, except that the whole concept of a "Fanzine" I think is a touch outdated. I don't know if File 770 still publishes a print edition, but I follow it like a blog. StarShipSofa runs a podcast, and I think that's a perfect example of what the modern fanzine is.
Best Fan Artist
1. Brad W. Foster
2. Dave Howell
3. No Award
Unlike Fan Writer and Fanzine, my vote perfectly reflects how I feel about the nominees. Foster's work is head and shoulders above the other nominees and Howell's design of the Hugo Award base is outstanding. The other three? Honestly, they shouldn't be on the same ballot.
Best Related Work
Best Graphic Story
Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form
John W. Campbell Award
The Hugo for Short Form aside, these are the categories I semi-regret not voting for (as far as true regret goes for something like this). I'm a big fan of the John W. Campbell Award. I think it's a great way to recognize some of the Up-And-Coming or Newly Arrived talents. Except for maybe a couple of stories, I haven't read these writers. It's a shame, but I can't vote for what I don't know.
Likewise, I think the Best Graphic Story is a wonderful category that I made sure to familiarize myself with enough to nominate - but I've only read Fables: The Dark Ages and it wasn't good enough to actually vote for it blindly. Despite having the Hugo Voters Packet, which includes all of the nominees, I just never got around to reading them. Alas.