My Hugo Nomination (and Other Hugo-Related Thoughts)

Various things in the real world have kept me from posting my thoughts about the Hugo awards this year, so here is me catching up.

* As will come as no surprise to anyone anywhere, I am delighted to be nominated for Best Novel this year, and am also delighted to be in the category with Kim Stanley Robinson, Lois McMaster Bujold, Seanan McGuire (aka Mira Grant) and Saladin Ahmed, all of whose books in the category are terrific. What I always say is that if there is no one in your award category you would be pissed to lose to, then you’re doing well. I am doing very well this year.

* And very specifically, I am delighted that Redshirts was nominated. One, it’s the first book of mine outside the Old Man’s War universe to get a nod, which provides me a certain psychological sigh of relief. Two, as far as I can see, it’s only the second explicitly comic novel nominated for a Hugo, the other being Connie Willis’  To Say Nothing of the Dog (which won the Hugo in its year, to say nothing of the Nebula). I think it can be understood as read that Connie’s brand of written comedy and my own are somewhat different, however.

In short, I’m not sure that anything quite like Redshirts has ever made the novel ballot before, and, well. That makes me happy. I like writing books that do surprising things. To be clear, I think it was nominated because it also does other things than comedy (it’s got layers, man), but Redshirts went out the door as a comedy, and that’s what it is, in both the popular and formal sense of the term.

So, yeah, I’m not gonna lie. I’m really proud that this book made this year’s Hugo cut.

* And, oh, look, here’s the annual kvetching about the Hugo slate (that link goes to an article of links, with commentary, by Cora Buhlert). At this point, I would be shocked and frankly a little appalled if there wasn’t any sort of kvetching about the Hugos (or any award) when they came out, so the annual uproar doesn’t bother or annoy me much (with one exception I will detail in a moment). What I end up doing is sorting the uproar by genre and quality, along the axes of dismissiveness, outrage and calls for action (noting whether those calls for action are for other people because the original poster can’t be bothered). This years’ editions are pretty standard, with one or two tall poppies; I do like the one whose headline asks if we can stop talking about the Hugos and then goes on to talk about them for two thousand deeply exasperated words. Dude, that’s a headline foul right there.

(Actually, what I would really like to do at some not-too-distant point in the future is compile and curate these rants and kvetches about the various Hugo and other award slates and put them into a single volume, entitled Have We Lived and Fought In Vain? And then I would like for that compilation to win the Best Related Work Hugo, the announcement of which would be accompanied by the muffled sounds of certain aggrieved heads exploding. That would be fun.)

Look, people. The Hugos are the longest-running continuously-awarded accolade in the science fiction and fantasy genre, given out by a group of mostly mostly North American, mostly English-literate people who identify specifically with the science fiction and fantasy genre, some of whom are professionals in the field and are therefore in a position to promote the award as a genre standard. It is tied to the longest-running literary genre convention in the world, at which people who identify with the genre (many of whom are professionals) gather to socialize and do business. Which is to say the award self-selects to be voted on largely by North American English speakers who have a personal and/or professional interest in the North American science fiction/fantasy genre of publishing. As such, its nomination slate to a greater or lesser extent reflects the current state of what North American English speakers who identify with the literary genre are reading and thinking about.

That’s what it is, that’s what it does, and (short of a massive, organized insurrection promulgated by people with enough commitment to their cause  to buy their way into nominating works over a number of years, and to both attending the Worldcon and participating in its business meetings for the multiple years it takes to amend the WSFS constitution) that’s what it’s likely to continue to do for a while at least. This is because, for better or worse, the North American English science fiction/fantasy publishing industry remains the primary driver for the worldwide economic and social engine of science fiction and fantasy literature. This puts its fans and professionals in an enviably influential position. Mind you, this is not about what one person or group would think is right, or correct, or desirable, or anything of that sort, merely about what is. Also, I think most people in the genre know this about the Hugos (most people outside the genre don’t really care).

The annual arguing about the Hugo lists is healthy, in my opinion — people care enough about the genre to ask why the works and creators they see as good (or at least important) aren’t represented. I think arguing that the Hugo nomination process is broken because what you want on the ballot isn’t there yields little return, however, especially if one is not clear what the process is and who votes. It’s also worth noting that the Hugos do evolve as the nominators change over time — ask yourself whether this year’s entire slate, with who is on it and how the works were brought to the public, would have been probable or even possible ten years ago.

People will always complain about the Hugo slates, because they are too [x] and not enough [y] or whatever — and often they might even be right (in my opinion). But declaring the Hugos “over” by fiat via pique is really unlikely to have an effect on either the actual influence of the award in the genre, or the desirability of gaining a nomination or win to those who work and live in the genre.

It annoys people when it’s said, but it’s actually true, so let’s say it again: change the Hugos by nominating, voting and participating, or (much more slowly and far less reliably) actively making your case to the people who are nominating, voting and participating. As a pro tip, explicitly or implicitly disparaging their intelligence, taste or standing to make choices when you try to do that is unlikely to persuade them to decide anything other than that you’re probably an asshole.

* On a personal note, I see that Seanan McGuire is getting a fair ration of crap from various quarters because she’s on the ballot a remarkable and record-setting five times, including in the Best Novel category, and twice in Novelette. What I’m seeing heavily implies that McGuire’s on the list because she has an apparently mystical ability to drive hordes of fans to nominate her for everything no matter what.

Hey, I have an alternate theory, which goes a little something like this: Seanan McGuire is a very talented writer! Who writes things that people like! Including the people who nominate for the Hugos! Seems the simpler explanation, all things considered.

Mind you, I don’t want to discount the theory that McGuire may have hypnotized, beguiled or blackmailed an impressive  number of people to get on the ballot — I’m sure those who want to suggest that have their reasons — but I will note immodestly that many of the same people who seem to think McGuire holds fans in a mystical thrall also seem to think I have my own coterie of fans ever ready to do my dark bidding, at least when it comes to Hugo ballots. Well, if that’s the case, how come I’m not on the ballot more? I was also eligible in Short Story, Best Related Work, Best Dramatic Presentation (short form) and Best Fancast — and yet all I got was Best Novel (yes, I know. Poor me). I even “campaigned” for those slots! Some thrall I have, apparently. And yet, if I may be immodest again, I’m pretty sure McGuire’s ability to enthrall is not greater than my own. Maybe at Worldcon we’ll have a thrall-off and find out. That could be fun! And perhaps bloody. I hope the folks in San Antonio have liability insurance. And tarps for the seats.

But in the meantime, I think the best explanation for why she’s on the ballot five times is the simplest: She’s good at what she does, she works hard at what she does, and enough people who love science fiction and fantasy and also vote for the Hugos decided that her work this year deserved to be recognized. It’s not that hard to believe if you actually read her work.

She’s having a career year, people. Celebrate that.

108 Comments on “My Hugo Nomination (and Other Hugo-Related Thoughts)”

  1. As a disclosure and a warning, Seanan McGuire is a pretty good friend of mine, so if you choose to comment on the part of the entry in which I discuss her and her nominations, you want to be very careful about how you do it, since I will Mallet the fuck out of anything I think disparages her personally. I want to be very clear about that, and that I will err on the side of having a hair-trigger on the matter. Please don’t doubt me on this.

  2. Well, the Seanan has mind control might also explain the Veronica Mars Kickstarter’s success as well as her Hugo nominations. On the other hand, given she published four (!) novels this year and didn’t end up taking up four Hugo slots, it could just be my default theory of ‘Seanan does not sleep, because she could use that time for new projects and/or trips to Disneyland’. Also, I’ve yet to hear of the NSF trying to clone/build her a dinosaur and/or robot and/or unicorn army(1), so I feel pretty confident it’s good old-fashioned writing talent and not mind control.

    (1) Look, if I had mind control powers, I’d sure be using them for scientific funding.

  3. If I weren’t planning on coming to San Antonio for Worldcon anyway, I would totally show up just to see the thrall-off.

    (I’m also reasonably happy with the Hugo slate this year, despite not a single one of the things I nominated making it onto the ballot. Other people have tastes different than mine! And that’s okay.)

  4. The only possible issue I can even consider seeing eye to eye with regarding Seanan (who I am a HUGE fan of) is the fact that some of her books were written as Mira and not everyone may realize the two are the same people and that may have subtly influenced voting. Fair enough. Not likely, but fair enough.

    That said, to me the number one reason she has 5 nominations, is HOLY CRAP LOOK HOW MUCH STUFF SHE DID LAST year. I’m still in awe of the amount of quality work she puts out in such a time frame.

    One other notes – technically she’s involved in 9 Hugos, if you consider the fact that contributors and clients essays and works led partially to the nomination of editors, anthologies, etc. (I am of that school especially as regards anthologies and related works categories).

    BTW – I have to admit I was surprised when Redshirts got the nod, for the main reason you noted, comedic SF does not appear there, um, ever. I am not sure if this is an asset or detraction in the final voting…

  5. I think Have We Lived and Fought In Vain? is a brilliant idea. And I think conspiracy theories about Ms McGuire, or any other nominee for pretty much any people’s choice type award, are incredibly stupid.
    The annual bloviating irritates me. Everyone on the list deserves to be there. Maybe others might deserve to, as well, but thems the breaks. Better luck next year.

  6. The article you linked mentions it believes you could get nominated for best novel for your shopping list. I sense a challenge.

  7. HWL&FIV is in fact brilliant, and I for one will egg you on — er, encourage — you to write it.

  8. Congratulations on the nomination. I thought it was an OK book. I have to admit I don’t participate in con stuff. I didn’t even go to World Con when it was here in the Boston area.
    I do love the nomination lists, though. That tells me if I missed any good stuff in my past year’s reading. My observation is that the nomination list is often more valuable than the winners list. As proof I offer Clifton & Riley, “They’d Rather Be Right”, 1955. :)
    WRT big years/big award numbers: Willis got a lot of flack for winning a lot, so did Bujold. I suspect McGuire can ask them to form a club. I also suspect it will be a very nice club, with butlers, leather-upholstered ottomans, smoky old port, etc. Success surely is it’s own reward, but the perks are nice.

  9. I found this comment from the hugo kvetching link funny: “…and John Scalzi could probably get nominated for his shopping list at this point.”

    PLEASE write something SFish titled “Shopping List” so that we can nominate it. I’d love to see that quote come true.

    Also, I agree that Have We Lived and Fought In Vain? should happen. Best Related Work indeed.

  10. Well, on McGuire’s record setting number of nominations, I think it’s a record partly because in prior decades popular, talented writers didn’t have ways to directly rally their fans. Take the basic action of writing something really good that people like. Add the ability that social media gives to reach an audience directly (and via sharing, the ability to reach far more people with only one level of indirection, i.e. if Scalzi or Gaiman shares something from a writer ). Now, write not one thing but several things in a year that are each nomination worthy, tell your audience about it and… 5 noms. I actually think we’ll see more of this going forward – it just needs an author who’s prolific across several forms, good at what they’re doing and who can rally their fans.

    Is there anything wrong with rallying one’s fans? Um… no. Of course it has the possibility that Talented Writer A who has a large following online will get a nomination over Talented Writer B who is newer and doesn’t have a following like that. That’s one issue with fan created shortlists. But you certainly can’t blame Writer A for saying to her fans “Hey, Hugo nominations are open, here’s the list of my stuff that’s eligible, if you liked it, please consider nominating the works.” It’s on nominators to be honest and nominate only things they’ve read. There’s no way to enforce that, so it’s possible a writer would get nominations because a fan likes them and just nominates everything, regardless of whether they’ve read the work… but unless that’s prevalent in the nominating population, I doubt it’s an important factor.

    I’m starting to wonder, though, whether awards shouldn’t open up the number of shortlist nominations to 10 ala the Oscars. I can think of several worthy novels (Alif The Unseen being top of mind since I just finished it). Of course, make the list too long and it’s a longlist, not a short one.

  11. I am slightly confused on the “explicitly comic” thing – is Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance not explicitly comic? It’s farce, or perhaps romantic comedy – I don’t think it was trying to be serious any more (or any less) than Redshirts, and I think it succeeded just as well. Maybe I am confused about the definitions.

  12. It shouldn’t be hard to write a short story called “Shopping List”. Perfect title for a horror story.

  13. Thank you so much for noticing that most (not all) of the kvetchers appear to be saying, “Hey, you Hugo people? Change everything you’ve ever done to suit me because I’m Always Right,” and “Telling me I have to actually work to make change happen is Not Fair.”

    As the person who leads the committee that protects WSFS’s intellectual property (“Hugo Award” is actually a registered service mark of the World Science Fiction Society, as you know), the demand that the Hugo Awards be separated from Worldcon and WSFS and put in charge of some other system (presumably so the rules can be massaged in such a way that the “right” works win, where “right” = “stuff I personally like”) is an affront to me. It’s saying “I want to take your intellectual property and re-purpose it for my own ends, rather than try to do my own work.”

  14. One thing that I wondered about as my filled in my ballot this year is what I should I value in a Hugo?

    Is a thoroughly entertaining book using well-worn SF tropes and magic-like technology more Hugo-worthy than one dripping with cool SFnal ideas but with characters and plot that don’t much move me?

  15. I have nothing to say about Ms McGuire/Grant, other than I will start looking up her books.

    You, on the other hand, don’t pay enough. Come off it John, you live in a area where “walkiing around money” has been effecting elections for years. Time to pony up if you want that award. :)

  16. Also, I’m totally stealing “Hugo Kvetching” as a character name. I see him as a short, balding man of eastern European descent with a bad mustache and a dyspepsic personality.

  17. @rickg17: I think I’d be more open to the criticism that the rallying effect will disadvantage newer authors if the case in point was a bit different. Seanan McGuire is widely published at this point because she apparently writes night and day, but it was only in 2010 that she won the Campbell. To me, that signals that a newer writer who’s managed to attract intense interest can be competitive with writers who have longstanding, established brands.

  18. Well put with regard to Seanan. Rather than people being upset that she’s nominated so much (or even “upset” that she has a huge fan base), I’d like to see some attention on how much she does every year. Five nominations? Who among these voters actually completes five polished projects a year – let alone GOOD ones?

    I, for one, am impressed at her combined ambition and talent. It’s not often that those coincide.

  19. @eselle28,

    Oh certainly, one can be a newer author and have a large following on social media, established and not have much of a presence there, etc. The examples were illustrative, not meant to mean that other combinations aren’t possible.

    The funny thing to me about award kvetching is that the very concept of an objectively best X (Novel, novella, short story, etc) is silly. The Hugo’s are one of many lists that each capture a dimension of what’s out there and, especially since they don’t subdivide by genre, can’t possibly capture an objective Best. I look at award lists as resources for things that I might want to read and, especially in forms which I don’t normally read like short fiction, I’ve found some nice stuff. Best? meh. Good? Yes.

  20. Personally, I’m more kvetchy (if that’s a real word) about the Clarke Award shortlist — which is another all-male roster. Who knew that, apparently, no decent SF novels by women were published by women in the UK last year? FFS, Alif The Unseen was longlisted last month for the pretty high profile, mainstream literary award formerly known as the Orange Prize.

    Otherwise, I’m bored than pissed off about the delicate petals who think “self-promotion” is somehow tacky and, not to put too fine a point on it, SF fans are a pack of biddable electric sheep.

  21. I just hope the recognition incrementally increased the chances we’ll see a Redshirts movie sooner rather than later. I can’t wait to see casting rumors.

  22. John Scalzi: “Malkara: As the entirety of my shopping list is “1. Coke Zero. 2. Multivitamins” I sort of doubt it.”

    Tasteless beginning, unsatisfying ending … Yeah, not really Hugo-worthy. Still, if it was turned into a low-budget comedy, it might appeal to a certain market segment. I’ll have my agent call your agent.

  23. All I can say to this topic is:
    a) It should be no surprise to anyone that authors who constantly and actively engage with fans have a better chance at getting nominated for a fandom award.
    b) If someone thinks that an author can amass a horde of loyal fans without being good at writing, and consistently publishing great works, they are delusional.
    Both Seanan’s and Scalzi’s nominations are well deserved. Congratulations!

  24. “One thing that I wondered about as my filled in my ballot this year is what I should I value in a Hugo?”
    “Is a thoroughly entertaining book using well-worn SF tropes and magic-like technology more Hugo-worthy than one dripping with cool SFnal ideas but with characters and plot that don’t much move me?”

    When I fill out a Hugo ballot I think “Is this as good as some of the past winners that are generally considered classics?” Yes, a high barrier.

    I think “Flowers for Algernon” is just one incredibly well written piece of short fiction. YMMV.

  25. Most of the kvetching seems to come from conspiracy-minded folks who just have to have another conspiracy to complain about. Just see how many times you see “SMOF” mentioned in their rants, or how many times they complain that somehow the electorate for the Hugos doesn’t match the fanbase, or complaints about how “certain types of people” (and you can guess what types of people they mean) are stealing rightfully-earned awards Because of Reasons.

  26. Personally, I think that we should scrap the Hugos, and replace them with no holds barred wrestling, in a liquid suitable to the hosting convention’s location. For Chicon this would of course be having the Pizza Sauce poured on top of the nominees.

  27. Since I am not a writer and therefore have no personal investment, I find the annual Hugo kvetching mostly amusing. At times it can be enraging, such as the “Oh noes, Bujold has as many as Heinlein”, as if he was the last great master of the genre and it’s an insult for anyone to surpass him. I won’t be voting for Bujold, because I think this newest work was weak compared to what she’s done in the past, but she really did deserve every win she got. Same for Connie Willis, who gets similar criticism.

    Even harder to understand is the complaint that Seanan Mcguire gets noms because she has so many fans. Isn’t that how this whole thing is supposed to work?

    I read Redshirts when it first came out and it has rapidly made its way onto my “comfort reading” list – books I turn to when I am stressed or sick and just want to crawl back into a familiar world for a few hours.

  28. About twice as many people vote in the novel category as in the other shorter fiction categories. I don’t subscribe to SF magazines. Outside of reading the Hugo nominees after they have already made the ballot, most shorter fiction that I read is published in anthologies, or is written by people whose novels I have read.

    It seems to me that a novelist may have a edge in name recognition over other authors of shorter fiction. I guess you could call that “leveraging your fan base”; all you have to do is become a really good novelist to reap the accolades and wealth that accrues to the writers of short fiction.

    As a fan of Seanan McGuire’s Mira image, I saw the nominees and thought, “oh cool, I’ll read some Grant and sample some McGuire for the first time”. I can easily imagine that regular readers of the short fiction magazines and web sites might not see it in the same light if they feel that their informed opinion is being overshadowed.

  29. “(Actually, what I would really like to do at some not-too-distant point in the future is compile and curate these rants and kvetches about the various Hugo and other award slates and put them into a single volume, entitled Have We Lived and Fought In Vain? And then I would like for that compilation to win the Best Related Work Hugo, the announcement of which would be accompanied by the muffled sounds of certain aggrieved heads exploding. That would be fun.)”

    If you pull that one off, you deserve an army of mystical thralls ready do do your dark bidding. I’ll even volunteer my services as Quartermaster.

  30. “As a fan of Seanan McGuire’s Mira image”

    I see what you did there. I like the meta-joke aspect of it as well, given major plot point [redacted] in [redacted]’s conclusion.

  31. given major plot point [redacted] in [redacted]‘s conclusion.

    I hadn’t considered that. Cool.

  32. Inasmuch as I’m at best an online acquaintance of Seanan’s (I started reading her blog before she was published, and we have an IRL friend or two in common), I’m * deliriously* happy for her Hugo balloting success this year, and hope that she actually wins a whole pile of them.

  33. I don’t think anything is wrong with the nominated books themselves. It’s more that, as a list, they don’t offer much in the way of surprises, which is what I like about awards in general. I could have told you the day before that Blackout and the Bujold book would be on the list, simply because all of their priors were, and tradition usually holds.

    And why is obvious: if you are a fan of an author, you are going to read their new book. Because you can only read so many books in a year, that means that book will loom large in your mind at voting time, considering you can only judge it within the small pool of books you read, and of those, it was one you were already predispositioned to like, being a fan of said author.

    The same probably holds true for the Redshirts nomination. As an established brand, Scalzi’s book got more readers than most. It was good, so a lot of people who read it liked it and nominated it. If the same book had been written by someone else, would it have been nominated? I would guess no, but that is no knock on the book. Year Zero has a similar feel, and that isn’t on the list.

    I do think it would be nice, just to keep things interesting, if there was a rule limiting nominations for books in a series, but I’m sure many would feel that is unfairly punishing authors who are unlucky enough to write a good series that people like. But I also don’t think that book three of one series or book 15 of another being nominated for best novel does anything to distinguish the Hugo or the genre to the world of readers at large. No, there’s no way to predict what books will really be remembered, but I think the desire is always to recognize the Dunes or the Canticles for Leibowitz. As enjoyable and worthy nominees as they are, Blackout and Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance just can’t be those books.

    The award I am watching this year is the Nebula. Really pulling for The Drowning Girl, since I thought it was marvolously written and yet technically isn’t even a SFF book.

  34. I hadn’t heard of Seanan McGuire before your post today (yes, I’ve been living in a cave…at least when it comes to recent sci-fi & fantasy works), so looks like the Hugo award is doing a fine job at spreading awareness of talented individuals and impressive works in the genre

  35. Seanan McGuire writes kick ass material. Seanan McGuire engages the social media/blogosphere as hard as she works on her published pieces. Seanan McGuire earns fans. Seanan McGuire fans support her kick ass writing on a fan award. “Fandom” shits a brick – because “Our fannishness is more right and most equal so there”.

    Count me among those not impressed by the “self-promotion” criticism. It’s a bunch of poorly reasoned malarky nested in bullshit. I love nomination arguments predicated on what is Awesomest. But, it seems like you can’t have that conversation without some “True Fan” jackwagon busting out with the old ONE SMOF TO RULE THEM ALL line “well you’re just a bunch of sheeple following your no talent hack masters’ biddings.”

  36. The Victo Hugos, the ones that celebrate the existentialist angst of the fan community? Including “Les Miserables” for the best fan collaboration, and “The Hunchback of Notre Fame” for the best new writer?

    Never any controversy…

  37. And in more seriousness, I had no idea Seanan was writing as Mira Grant, and will now go buy all those books. My wife picked up Rosemary and Rue at publication and the rest of the series as they came out, though I’ve been a little slower getting through them. They’re certainly excellent work.

  38. Jeremy Preacher writes:
    I am slightly confused on the “explicitly comic” thing – is Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance not explicitly comic? It’s farce, or perhaps romantic comedy – I don’t think it was trying to be serious any more (or any less) than Redshirts, and I think it succeeded just as well. Maybe I am confused about the definitions.

    I would classify both Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance and Bujold’s earlier “A Civil Campaign” as farce and romantic comedy (with serious drama interleaved). The dinner scene in ACC…

  39. The criticism that I see, which I don’t think your comments today directly acknowledged, is that the Hugo’s have a substantial element of “author popularity contest” as opposed to the desired goal (popularity contest of author’s works). And while I think that is a valid criticism, I don’t see any reasonable way to avoid it. Short of people like yourself and KSM and Stephenson and Gaiman explicitly telling their fans not to vote for them, and that sounds like an awful idea.

  40. Are there are other novels which I feel should have made it to the shortlist? Certainly. I just… dude, I can’t even express the extent of my “how is this particular thing the target of complaint”.

    It could be interesting to have a separate category recognizing standalone novels, but I feel ooky about that idea, for reasons I’m not currently able to articulate.

  41. I don’t see any reasonable way to avoid it. Short of people like yourself and KSM and Stephenson and Gaiman explicitly telling their fans not to vote for them, and that sounds like an awful idea.

    Sure there is. If I recall correctly Gaiman asked to have his name removed from the Best Novel ballot once (think it was the year our host was nominated for Zoe’s Tale) but was convinced to let it stand. It strikes me as appropriate for an author to withdraw their work from consideration for an award for whatever reason they please, but telling qualified voters not to do so in the first place? Meh…

  42. When are you going to launch the Kickstarter for HWL&FIV? I would totally buy into that one. I love the sound of exploding heads in the morning….

  43. This is not intended to be snarky in the least. Is there really a ‘KSM”, or is that just a typo for Kim Stanley Robinson? I’ve spent the last 5 minutes trying to identify an author with those initials and have struck out. Course it just could be incipient dementia on my part.

  44. Make sure HAVE WE LIVED AND FOUGHT IN VAIN comes out a different year than my book about the Campbell, which will be called NOT A HUGO, which will totally win for Best Related Work.

    Unless it’s up against yours, in which is won’t win, and therefore I will complain about it, and then write ANOTHER book about that complaining – probably called NO MORE TALKING ABOUT AWARDS – and then NEXT YEAR it will win…

    It’s too meta. I will stop.

    Congrats, John, and for that matter, Seanan. She’s damn talented and prolific.

  45. When I saw there were less than 1200 people nominated books for Hugos, I was really surprised. I am guessing that far more than 1200 people attend Worldcon. I have never been to Worldcon so I wouldn’t know.

    The small number of people nominating probably explains why a lot of the same people keep getting nominated. People who like these books are the ones nominating. These are the books they look forward to reading and then nominate them. There are probably only a small number of people who read a vast number of science fiction books every year.

    This is not a knock against anyone who is nominated over and over again. It just explains it.

    For example, Robert Jordan has sold over 40m books in North America. I think he has 1 Hugo nomination. Hugo’s are voted by fans. So its not other authors who pass him over. It looks like his fan base is not well represented at Worldcon. If it was, given his sales he would be nominated for every book.

    I think this is separate from the Nebula Awards. Since that is from the SFWA, I would hope that authors who nominate actually read a significant amount of science-fiction and fantasy so they have a larger pool of books to draw on. Then again I could be wrong. It could be ‘hey you nominate me this year, I’ll nominate you when your book comes out next year’.

    Might be time to have an online SF award. Say you pay $40 to nominate. If you pay, you get an ebook of all books and short stories nominated. Then give the money to a few different charities or even give people a list of charities that they can donate the money to. You can subtract the cost to bundle the ebooks and administrate this from the proceeds. It would get expensive very quickly for authors to cheat this system if enough people vote.

  46. I’m a big fan of Bujold, and didn’t give Cryoburn a #1 vote last year because it just wasn’t her best work in the Vorkosigan universe IMHO, or as good as the ones I did give higher votes. I wouldn’t have voted it #1 even if Deadline hadn’t been on the ballot. There was a short story of Seanan’s last year that I didn’t think was the best thing in the category, so I voted for something else. But Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance my be my second favorite of Bujold’s books after ACC, and I nominated it, although it won’t get my #1 vote. The point I’m making is that I’m capable of deciding which books by a favorite author I consider worthy of a nomination and a vote.

    And I don’t remember the “Can we stop talking about the Hugos” guy complaining that Asimov, Ellison, and Heinlein were nominated year after year. Frankly, I think some of Seanan’s books are better than some of Heinlein’s books (even those that won, and accounting for current culture). I think each of us who noms and votes has different criteria in the fiction categories: I look for well written books with unique ideas THAT I ENJOY. Sorry, but I’m not a literary critic. If I didn’t like it, I won’t vote for it. (I thought CVA was unique because she surprised the heck out of me with how she got Ivan hooked up, and some of the change-ups for her other characters.) My criteria supports what many people here are saying about popularity vs best. *Shrug*

    I bought the audiobook for Redshirts because I liked Wil Weaton’s reading of Agent for the Stars, but I was disappointed with the audiobook Redshirts–he didn’t make any effort to provide different voices, and too much of it was narrated at a manic pace I found annoying. I also don’t like how he does the he said/she said from the writing (which you might consider changing in your writing, IMHO). But at the end I recognized that the story was good with some unusual twists. I just might have like it more if I’d read it instead of listening to it.

  47. I personally find nominating books harder than voting for them — a lot of this is because I’m not sure which ones are eligible. And a lot is because I’m not sure which books I’ve read. (I’ve started logging them, but it’s still not as easy as I’d like.) And that’s only the books — that doesn’t cover the shorts, the novellas, the fan artists, and so forth.

    This is why various authors — including Scalzi here — publish lists of what they’ve done that’s eligible. I wish there were a centralized list.

    As for the “online SF award”: supporting membership to WorldCon costs US$50, and they have been making electronic collections available of as many of the nominees as they can get permission to do so. And you then get to nominate for next year. It’s a bargain. (And the electronic version availability is, I believe, something else we can thank Our Mallety Host for.)

  48. I don’t know what people are whinging about. Looking at the slate, the only thing that comes to mind is that I now want to read Seanan McGuire.

  49. *checks Amazon* OH, that’s Seanan McGuire. I actually have one of her books on my Kindle (it was a Big Idea here some time last year). I obviously should get around to actually reading it.

  50. I actually think Redshirts is at its best in the three “Coda” stories. The main Redshirts narrative is entertaining, but it’s definitely a comic piece, with a frantic pace that leaves character development fairly stock and shallow. It’s in the three Coda pieces, where the pace is slower and the development more realistic, that the book shows actual depth and heart. Sans the Codas, I’d have been surprised to see it on the Hugo list.

  51. I think your thrall-off should end up seeing whose thralls can donate the most to a particular charity. Maybe Amnesty International or some anti-trafficking group.

  52. One of the things I really like about Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance is in it’s counterpoint to the rest of the series. Many of her characters face similar tests, and fail and succeed in similar (but different) ways. E.g., planning a relationship without actually mentioning the existence of the planning, or relationship to the other party. (Duv & Laisa, Miles.) And then there’s this inversion and no one really has plans past the next 5 minutes, except perhaps to run off and catch the shuttle to orbit.

    On the other hand, there’s this feeling that hits at the 1/3rd and 2/3rds points, where things seem to be going well and just about all good and happy for everyone and you just know that something is coming IN. THE. NEXT. CHAPTER. to make their lives far more interesting.

  53. I think LMB writes pretty classic romantic farce, for the most part. She’s done a really good job of merging that genre in with SF, because her characters are just so darn appealing. I really enjoyed the way she fleshed out Ivan in CVA. I agree with the poster up-thread who didn’t care for Cryoburn–I too think that was one of her weaker books.

    If I were a Hugo voter, I would have nom’d CVA. Don’t know that I would have voted for it, that depends on who else was on the list. Of this list, yes, CVA would be my pick. I wouldn’t have nom’d Redshirts, though, or some (any?) of the other books on this list, just because they are not necessarily my favorite authors, or the books weren’t to my taste.

    Frankly, when it comes to SF, I’m pretty lukewarm on Scalzi. I like his blog, but I read his books just to keep informed. And I might be the only person in North America who is bored by KSR’s books. Crazy, right? But I’m not narcissistic enough to believe that my personal preference = good (or bad, as the case may be.)

  54. @mintwitch – you’re definitely not alone on KSR. I really couldn’t get into the vari-colored Mars series. Just seem cliched and nothing out of the ordinary for me.

    As others have said, I need to go check out Seanan McGuire. I’ll keep an open mind, despite the filking ;)

    I’m happy for our hosts’ nomination, I enjoyed RedShirts but am not convinced it’s Hugo winning material – damn good fun though.

  55. Numbers: typically a Worldcon gets about 4000-5000 attendees, it varies,ones outside of the US have fewer people (typically) and US attendances vary. So 1200 represents about a quarter of those attending. Of that number, as I understand it, about 400 or so go to every Worldcon where ever it is. It’s a pricey thing to do, although a supporting membership will be $40 from 2015 which, assuming they are still able to send out the material is actually a bargain for the fiction you’ll get for consideration. Hat tip to a certain John Scalzi of Ohio for getting that feature off the ground.

    So, yes, out of all the fans of SF worldwide, it’s a small(ish) number. But many awards are selected by small numbers of people and unlike the Academy for the Oscars you have an option to take part in the Hugo voting.

    Nominations: So, a lot of the moaning I’ve seen has been focused on what, I could describe as ‘X is cool, I like X, X wasn’t nominated therefore that’s crap’ – the solution usually being that if you only had a wider nomination process then all would be well. The problem is, in order to get a decent ballot mix, you’d have to have some means of getting a manageable list of people to vote for, and that would probably end up with the same group of people as the current process. That’s just how these things work. Getting lots and lots more nominations doesn’t automatically mean that enough people nominate a particular work to get onto a ballot.

    Also, and this is important for the Fan awards. The Fan awards in particular are going to be, by design, awards for fans who are known by the majority of people who go to Worldcons and who probably attend Worldcons themselves so that people get to know who they are. That is not to say that even inside this group does this always result in results people like.

    Somebody pointed me yesterday to the Letters page of a hand typed, hand reproduced fanzine from the 1980s where this conversation was being repeated in the pre-internet age, complete with the same attacks on the ‘usual suspects’ and the same complaining about a hidden group of ‘SMOFs’ who run everything and keep the good candidates off the ballot.

    As they say: Plus ca change…

  56. Oh bugger, forgot my last point. There’s also been a complaint that Hugos are a bastion of lefty liberals, again, a certain John Scalzi of Ohio is used as an example, exclusively awarding their fellow political travelers. In light of yesterday’s news, I suggest people go and check how many Hugo awards Iain Banks has to his name compared to, say, Orson Scott Card.

  57. I will just say, for potential new fans of Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant, that the two novelette nominations will be most resonant if you’ve read the other books in her October Daye series, which starts with Rosemary and Rue.

  58. Jay Blanc – in Chicago, it’s not pizza sauce, it’s crushed tomatoes. I’m not sure if that counts as liquid enough for auctorial wrestling. If so, I would also nominate the neon relish you get on a proper Chicago Dog (no ketchup. I don’t know what Chicago has against liquid tomato products…) or possibly the viscous petroleum-derived “cheez” anaglogue that I order along with my crinkle fries at Portillos. Alternatively, a ball-pit full of Paczki might be a good idea too. And then I would have to become a published author.

    I’m excited about the Hugo noms this year, and have decided to spend this week’s book money on a Seanan McGuire book, because I haven’t read her yet. And really, I don’t see how you would look at your fellow-Hugo voters and assume they’re all tasteless numpties who are easily influenced by social media, unless that’s why you vote for who you do. As has been said many places upthread, how do you get fans who will nominate you for a Hugo in the first place if you don’t write well?

  59. I hope the thrall-off takes the form of a musical. Seanan McGuire is a talented filker, and your skills on the ukulele are not easily forgotten. But really, the two of you on stage in any form can’t help but be entertaining.

  60. I’d decided to spring the $50 for a supporting membership this year (first time in several years it was even feasible) and it turned out to be $60. I thought long and hard… and sprang for it. AND nominated.

    I consider it amazingly cool that I can in my own small way influence a Big Award!

    Didn’t nominate Seanan/Mira on the grounds that she’s still on my TBR. She does seem like a cool person, though. With principles about what happens to her characters. (Ahem.)

  61. I participated in Jo Walton’s re-read of the Hugo (and other) award nominations through 2000 last year on The posts are still there to be read. In each year, she looked at not only what got nominated, but what, due to whatever reasons, got missed. Not amazingly, the overall list was generally a good representation of that year, more so than the individual winner. The collection would make a great Best Related Work.

  62. I think Seanan contributes to at least one (if not both) of the nominated Chicks essay collections as well. She obviously was too busy writing to put out a new musical collection so that she didn’t make the Best Related Work category on her own this year. So, there’s room for her to expand her awards domination.

  63. Seanan can out-thrall John any day of the week, and he knows that.

    I don’t think anyone who’s involved in the genre deeply enough to nominate for the Hugos (which is a very small amount of people — maybe 1200 on a good day) doesn’t know that Seanan and Mira are the same person, and hasn’t known that since “Mira” first started publishing. I’ve never heard anyone refer to the “Newsflesh” universe as anything other than “Seanan’s zombie books” among gatherings of the fannish sort. I go to Worldcon, and regional/local cons, and have fannish friends online, so I opine this with confidence. So the voters know damn well that it’s her in all those categories. Heck, I’d bet some of those ballots came in with “Blackout by Seanan McGuire” written in.

    And while I love me some Miles V, and have since his first appearance, I didn’t vote for “Cryoburn” last year either. I read it, I liked it, but it wasn’t Hugo-worthy to me. “The Ivan Book” is better. As for Lois winning more than Heinlein, a) so what? b) a lot of RAH’s career pre-dated the Hugos, and there were years when he was ill and didn’t write c) there are more categories nowadays d) so f’ing what?

    People who know anything about SMOFs know that if you put 2 of them in a room, you’ll have 3 different opinions. Forming a cabal is pretty silly, plus then convincing everyone else in fandom? It’d be easier to herd cats.

    Lastly, I promise right here to vote for “Have We Lived and Fought In Vain?” for Best Related Work.

  64. @ mintwitch

    And I might be the only person in North America who is bored by KSR’s books. Crazy, right?

    Yeah, no, I’m with you. I love his mars trilogy and Antarctica, and Ice Henge was brilliant, but, for me, the last really entertaining KSM novel The Years of Rice and Salt.

  65. And here’s another thing: I went to one Worldcon and freaked out–I don’t like crowds. So I know I will never go again. It’s the ability to nominate and vote ONLINE that got me to buy a supporting membership (along with the e-packet of nominated works–thanks, John). And this year there were three hundred or so more valid nominating ballots than there have ever been before. Plus the Hugo award ceremony is streamed live on the Internet (barring last year’s screw-up). So, as I see it, the issue isn’t where Worldcon is held, it’s the money for the supporting membership. And there will be people who can’t afford it who want to nominate and vote. Maybe we should start a donations fund next year so people who can’t afford it can buy supporting memberships and expand the pool of nominating/voting members even more. I’d donate at least half the cost of a supporting membership to that fund.

  66. @mintwich and Gulliver – me 3 regarding Kim Stanley Robinson. I’ll admit to not having tried 2312, but that’s mainly because I have yet to find something of his that lived up to the Mars trilogy. Maybe I’m just not deep enough for his books.

    My main gripe with the Hugo slate is the same as it’s been the past few years – with the Short Form Dramatic category. I love me some Doctor Who, but it does not deserve 3 of the 5 nomination spots, especially (IMO) from this year. There’s plenty of good scifi to be had out there, but Doctor Who is currently the most visible and so gets a disproportionate amount of voter love.

  67. @Lola: It’s been done! Not on a large scale, I think, but at least one community has taken collection and scraped up enough to give some of its members the opportunity to vote when they otherwise might not have been able to afford the supporting membership.

    I doubt I would be able to attend a con either. I’ve always thought about it rather wistfully, as it seems to be a highlight of many people’s fannish experiences, but then I ask myself if — money aside — I would be able to handle the crowds, the noise, the packed hotels… and I sigh and put that dreamlet aside.

  68. I had never heard of Seanan McGuire before reading this post, and while I couldn’t care less who is nominated for what award, I’m excited to find a previously unknown (to me) author in a genre I enjoy. Thanks! And congratulations!

  69. When Mira Grant’s name appeared as one of the nominees I thought, well deserved! I have coworkers who don’t otherwise read SFF who read her books. Well done Seanan McGuire! To me as a bookseller, attracting non-genre readers is a sign of success :-)

  70. @Lurkertype: I think you’re correct. I only know a handful of people of people who don’t know the two sets of books are written by the same person, and they’re mostly friends who I’ve lent either Feed or Rosemary and Rue to. My guess would be that the vast majority of people who both are involve enough in Hugo voting to make nominations (my understanding has been that many people vote but don’t nominate) and who suggest Seanan’s work are aware that she writes under two different names.

  71. Huh. I didn’t know that Mira Grant was a pen-name for Seanan McGuire. I really liked the Mira Grant premise of the bloggers being the real news post-zombiepocalypse. I’ve never read any McGuire because I tend to shy away from the urban fantasy stuff. The covers of many urban fantasy look too much like “young adult paranormal romance,” which seems to be a huge (and growing) section in the local Barnes & Noble now. Any recommendation on the McGuire novels?

  72. Last year I bought a supporting membership ($50) mostly for the right to vote on the Hugos. It was well worth it since I received well more than $50 in books, stories, and graphic novels. I also was introduced to a lot of works I probably would not otherwise have read. My biggest regret was that I just couldn’t swing the extra cost to attend WorldCon. Incidentally, it was Seanan McGuire recommendation that encouraged me to buy the membership, but although I love her work, I did not give her a top vote in the novel category because I just didn’t think it was the best of the nominated works. This year I’m getting a supporting membership again. Attendance is entirely dependent on finances and time, but WorldCon is a lot of fun.

  73. as far as I can see, it’s only the second explicitly comic novel nominated for a Hugo

    Then you don’t know The Butterfly Kid, by Chester Anderson, which was nominated in 1968 and is a wacko slapstick hoot. Go read it, if you can find a copy.

  74. Jim, start with “Discount Armageddon” if you like humor. Ignore the cover art, it will make sense once you read the story. As far as the Toby Daye books, they are a darker urban fantasy than most young adult works, well written and definitely not comparable to paranormal romance. Good adventure fantasy with a strong female protagonist. Start with “Rosemary and Rue”.

  75. I’m at a bit of a loss as to why urban fantasy is such a no-no in Hugo circles. I finished my Masters degree last year, and suddenly realized that I could again read anything I damn well pleased. In the past few months I’ve devoured three urban fantasy series–in addition to Seanan’s novels–The Iron Druid books (Hearne), the Marla Mason series (Pratt) and the Urban Shaman books (Murphy). Most of the Pern books were classified as fantasy, and I honestly don’t see much difference between their structure and story-telling than the series I mentioned, except that they are in contemporary settings.

    But one thing I have noticed in all the books listed above–including Seanan’s books–is that relationships, including but not exclusive to love interests, are positive, with characters moving the stories whatever their gender and involvement with each other. While all of them have romantic elements, they are much more than romances. I plan to nominate some of them in the future.

  76. I have yet to read any of Seanan McGuire’s stuff. Since she’s clearly talented enough that a bunch of people would like to see her get a Hugo, I need to remedy that.

    (I don’t get why anyone would find having a bunch of fans nominate your work controversial in the slightest. Isn’t that the point of the Hugos?)

  77. @Mintwich, Chris, and others: I couldn’t get past the first KSR Mars trilogy book (Greg Benford’s books set on Mars are orders of magnitude more interesting and realistic IMNSHO), loved Antarctica (though perhaps mainly for the history), and thought the 2312 selection that ran here was, frankly, ridiculous. That’s a terrible W-L record and not even a very good batting average.

  78. Jim, I don’t really read a lot of urban fantasy, but I love the Toby Daye books. Like saruby said, they are NOT young adult paranormal romance, although there is some romance. What I love about them is the incredible worldbuilding and interesting characters. At this point in the series, I just plain enjoy spending time in that world with those characters, not to mention the ongoing story. There are all these little mysteries going on in the background, and I know that the clues are all there in the text because after one particularly amazing reveal, I went back to look at the first book and, sure enough, cryptic dialogue suddenly made sense. I highly recommend the series, especially because, as someone else pointed out, the two nominated novelettes are set in that world and will have more resonance with that background, especially “In Sea-Salt Tears,” which is my pick.

    (Also, the covers, by Pro Artist nominee Chris McGrath, are awesome.)

    Discount Armageddon is a lot of fun, and the sequel, Midnight Blue-Light Special, is GREAT.

  79. I’m hoping that all the people whining about Seanan create enough of a publicity buzz to get the Newsflesh movies a better chance of being made. We can just consider the naysayers to be stepping stones to getting Georgia Mason on the big screen. (And zombie giraffes, natch).

    Oh, and I’ll admit to being one of those oblivious folks who only recently discovered that Mira Grant was a pen name for Seanan.

  80. I have been planning to get around to McGuire’s Mira Grant books, if only because the covers are cool. I might take the internet haters as an impetus, just because. Thanks guys!

  81. The Newsflesh series by Mira Grant is truly excellent. I’m glad to see her nominated.

  82. “Sure there is. If I recall correctly Gaiman asked to have his name removed from the Best Novel ballot once (think it was the year our host was nominated for Zoe’s Tale) but was convinced to let it stand. It strikes me as appropriate for an author to withdraw their work from consideration for an award for whatever reason they please”

    I recall one specific occasion when Terry Pratchett had one of his books removed from the ballot 2005, I think it was. A Discworld book, natch, so possibly he felt i wasn’t sfnal enough to justiy being Hugo nominated.

  83. Seanan McGuire flew to the Midwest with a 15th century French pikestaff in hand (who knows how she got THAT on the plane?), whereupon she found my address, hitched a ride here, and crept into my house by night to hold me hostage at pikestaff-point until I nominated her for every possible category on the Hugo ballot.

    I hear she did this house by house, vote by vote, for MONTHS.

    I respect that level of commitment to a goal.

  84. My observation is that the nomination list is often more valuable than the winners list. As proof I offer Clifton & Riley, “They’d Rather Be Right”, 1955. :)

    While They’d Rather Be Right is probably the worst book to win a Hugo Award, we don’t actually know what the other nominees were that year, since the records concerning non-winning nominees from several early Hugo Awards appears to have either not been preserved or has been lost.

  85. OK, I give up – why is They’d Rather Be Right “the worst book to win a Hugo Award”? I’ve read it a couple of times and found some interesting bits in it (e.g., the meta-section on everyone believing that they are the most important 5% of society, including the writers of a certain book). And I’ve certainly read novels that were much, much worse.

  86. If Seanan really had mind control powers, the Dramatic Presentation Short Form category would be full of Phineas and Ferb episodes instead of Dr. Who episodes.

    However, assuming I am incorrect about the lack of mind control powers, would the thrall-off involve exploding heads like in the Scanners movies? (Did I just horribly date myself?) Because I would definitely want to see that (from the back of the room where it would be less messy).

  87. As a fan of Seanan’s, I would pay to see a thrall-off in action. Livestream it for a modest subscription fee, and I am THERE.

    That whole section of this post had me laughing gleefully.

    You raise a lot of good points, though. I haven’t been reading a lot of the kvetching, because it’s so self-centered and so repetitive, and because I’m happy for everyone on the ballot. I haven’t read everything and everyone that’s on there, but it seems a good sampling of what’s come out in the last year that’s decent. I’ll definitely be bumping up Redshirts on my to-read, if not just to see what Blackout is up against.

  88. There are arguably several other Hugo-nominated novels that may be characterized as “explicitly comic”; I would cite Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle and Robert A. Heinlein’s Job: A Comedy of Justice in addition to the Bujold and Chester Anderson novels already mentioned. Several others, including Poul Anderson’s The High Crusade, R. A. Lafferty’s Past Master and Charles Stross’s Saturn’s Children, could also be considered “comic” if you squint at them just right. However, Willis’s book may be the only really funny novel to win the Hugo to date.

  89. …someone said “thrall-off musical” and my brain just sort of collapsed in glee at the thought. *sigh* Sell DVDs? Plz? *adds kitten-eyes to go with the lolcattitude*

    However, as I said elsewhere, I am not a thrall! I am a tertiary minion. So there. (As in, I didn’t have the cash to buy a Hugo-voting membership, so all I can do is flail around and cross my fingers for people.)

  90. While They’d Rather Be Right is probably the worst book to win a Hugo Award, we don’t actually know what the other nominees were that year, since the records concerning non-winning nominees from several early Hugo Awards appears to have either not been preserved or has been lost.

    We don’t know, but Jo Walton did a bit of investigation into books published in 1954 for her series on Hugo Nominees.
    The list of books that came out that year that didn’t win is … gob smacking.

    And I love this bit:

    But the good news is, nobody has to argue about what the worst book to win the Hugo is. Ever. I’ve been in Hugo loser parties where people aren’t happy with what’s won, and then somebody mentions They’d Rather Be Right and we all cheer up, because at least it’s better than that.

    The whole series is well worth a read and is indexed here:

    If I had a membership in the 2012 Worldcon I’d have nominated that series as a Best Related Work.

  91. @David Goldfarb, I’ve only heard of “The Butterfly Kid” in reviews and such, but have never seen a copy. But everything I’ve read says it is flat-out funny.

    @Laura Resnick: Seanan and I have mutual friends, so it was easy for her to find my house. I think carrying the pikestaff on BART was her warmup for getting it on the plane. She has a great evil laugh, right?

  92. @Lurkertype: I happened to pick up a copy when it was reprinted by Pocket Books in 1980. I loved it then (the two sequels by other authors, not so much) and I re-read it last year and loved it again.

  93. My approach to nominations is to think about what works I have enjoyed during the year and to nominate them. When I vote I do my best to go read the nominations and vote for the ones I like.

    On Seanan’s mind control skills the children and I do watch Phineas and Ferb….

  94. I’ll admit that I’m not a fan of Seanan McGuire, but I have no problem with her popularity. I DO have a problem with the fact that she’s nominated twice in a single category. This ties in with the fact that Dr. Who got nominated three times in the dramatic short yet again. I know there’s not that many SFF shows on TV, but it seems a little silly that one show almost always dominates the final ballot.

    Personally, I’d like to see a rule change that an author or body of work can be nominated only once per category on the final ballot. I’m considering coming up with a proposal for LonestarCon and seeing what people think of it.

  95. I rather like the idea Benjamin mentioned, but how would it work if an author dominates a category? Would the organizers contact the author to ask which work they’d prefer to stay on the ballot? Or keep the one with the most votes and remove the rest?

  96. Hum, I seem to have a vague memory of being able to edit my comments once upon a time. I apologize for double posting; it just occurred to me that it might be a bit difficult to get a hold of someone like Moffat, so perhaps the latter method would be for the best.

  97. Can one be in thrall to more than one author? Will there be ribbons for badges? I’m asking for a friend who is already a Meerkat Minion.

    I find voting for Hugos a lot easier than nominating. In order to vote for best novel and short story/novelette/novella, I read everything on the ballot. In order to nominate, I feel as if I have to have read a broad swath of work that’s eligible. It hadn’t occurred to me to just nominate the work of any author whose twitter stream amuses me. Silly me.

  98. sojournerstrange, good question and I haven’t really started thinking hard about it yet. Just off the top of my head, I’d say it would probably be the one with the most votes.

  99. I’ll admit that I’m not a fan of Seanan McGuire, but I have no problem with her popularity. I DO have a problem with the fact that she’s nominated twice in a single category.

    And so is Joss Whedon in the Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form. You’d be OK with Drew Goddard (who co-wrote and directed Cabin In The Wood) effectively being disqualified because of his unfortunate choice of writing partner? Just to add insult to injury, it’s hardly his fault his film’s release was delayed over a year by MGM’s financial troubles.

  100. @A.Beth: Hmm, would that make me a secondary minion? I do have a voting membership, and that actually is Seanan’s fault, since she’s the one who pointed out at some point that if you’re unhappy with the nominations/awards, getting a supporting membership is the best way to do something about it. I hadn’t paid much attention until my wife & I went to Worldcon in Reno since it was within a reasonable drive of home (for California values of reasonable), but we’ve been supporting members ever since. I must insist on being a minion rather than a thrall, just out of professional pride, but certainly don’t know Seanan well enough to qualify as a primary minion. (I’m a lab tech/lab manager, hence professional minion)

  101. “And so is Joss Whedon in the Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form. You’d be OK with Drew Goddard (who co-wrote and directed Cabin In The Wood) effectively being disqualified because of his unfortunate choice of writing partner? Just to add insult to injury, it’s hardly his fault his film’s release was delayed over a year by MGM’s financial troubles.”

    Well, for one thing, a collaboration is different. Not too mention Whedon didn’t direct Cabin in the Wood. This is one of the finer points will need to be considered when drafting a proposal which I haven’t done yet.

  102. I do have to say that every time I read “Seanan got noms” I envision something epic involving candy corn. #omnomnomnom

    This was my first year eligible to nominate for the Hugos and I was amused to discover that I was one of only 14 people who voted on paper! I printed out the nomination forms and left them on my desk for several weeks so that whenever I thought of something I could scribble it down. (And I’m also a huge Seanan fangirl dork so this is all partially My Fault and I couldn’t be prouder)

    But stepping back, it means that nearly all of the nominations were submitted electronically – meaning that the people who nominated are already comfortable working and engaging online. Is it then any surprise that authors who actively engage with their fans online would be well-represented? I know I still referred to online sources when deciding what to nominate, including the “Here is what I did that is eligible” posts – mostly because I am incapable of remembering the differences between novelette, novella and short story.

  103. Jim Hines pointed out that one of the best pro editors (longform) has NO online presence whatsoever, and thus made the ballot strictly on quality of books edited. HWL&FIV, indeed. It’s almost like the voters were paying attention.

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