In the world of science fiction and fantasy literature, the Hugo Awards can be considered the literary equivalent to an Oscar. It has been quoted as “among the highest honors bestowed in science fiction and fantasy writing”, named after Hugo Gernsback, the founder of the science fiction magazine Amazing Stories.
Each year, the awards are given to the best in the genre. This past Sunday evening, history was made at the 2018 Hugo Awards, held at the World Science Fiction Convention in San Jose, California. Author N.K. Jemisin not only won the Hugo Award for Best Novel. That alone is a great accomplishment, but she did something more. She became the first author in history to win the Hugo Award for Best Novel three years in a row. The awards have each gone to an installment in her Broken Earth Trilogy. The first book, The Fifth Season, took home the award in 2016, followed by The Obelisk Gate in 2017 and now The Stone Sky in 2018.
The Broken Earth Trilogy tells of a futuristic Earth with one supercontinent, where it’s inhabitants endure a vicious, catastrophic climate change every few years. The books delve into not only the event itself but also the characters who try to survive. It paints the physical and emotional pain they suffer, as well as the discovery of individuals who summon magical powers from the depths of the Earth. In reviewing The Fifth Season, NPR stated the following:
“Jemisin brilliantly illustrates the belief that, yes, imaginative world-building is a vital element of fantasy—but also that every character is a world unto herself.”
The Obelisk Gate received praise from The Verge, which placed the novel on its list of best science fiction novels of 2016, calling it “an incredibly ambitious and important novel” and how it “continues to build on its predecessor’s brilliance”. Publisher’s Weekly called The Stone Sky “an impressive and timely story of abused, grieving survivors fighting to fix themselves and save the remnants of their shattered home.”
When Jemisin won her first Hugo in 2016, she became the first African-American to ever win the prestigious award. Now, she is the first person ever to win three consecutive Hugo Awards. This feat speaks volumes for an African-American woman who was born in Iowa City, Iowa and has lived everywhere from Massachusetts to Alabama to New York City. A student who climbed to the top of the education ladder by earning a Master of Education from the University of Maryland College Park. An individual who built a successful Patreon campaign with enough funds to allow her to give up her counseling psychologist profession and become a full-time writer.
Now, N.K. Jemisin sits atop of the literary world as a master genius of her craft, but do not assume that she is finished. Just last year, Deadline reported that TNT was looking into developing The Fifth Season into a drama series. There is now a whole new medium for Jemisin to make an impact in, and if her history is proof of anything, it’s that her star on the Sci-Fi universe is only bound to grow brighter and brighter.
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Source: Entertainment Weekly.