I Have Voted for the Hugos
Posted on June 23, 2014 Posted by John Scalzi 47 Comments
Having caught myself up to my satisfaction with the nominees in all the categories, I went to the Loncon3 site and voted, taking care to place each nominee with the ranking I thought it or they deserved. I look forward to seeing how my own votes match the overall final choices.
If you are planning to vote this year for the Hugos, a couple of notes: First, please do try to vote in as many categories as you can. There are a lot of potential voters this year — it’s going to be the largest Worldcon by attendance in decades, it appears — and each category (as I understand it) has to garner votes equalling at least 25% of the overall voter tally in order to be verified. Do your reading and watching, and make the effort to be a good voting citizen. Two, if you’re curious about how the “no award” vote works with regard to the Hugos, for whatever reason, here’s a pretty good run down on what it is and how to use it effectively. Remember also that the Hugo vote is a preferential ballot — you rank the nominees, not merely just vote for one.
Also, don’t worry if you haven’t voted yet; you have until July 31st. I’m just voting slightly ahead of the curve this year. That said, don’t put it off until the very last minute, either — there’s nothing like hundreds of people trying to get their votes in at 11:50 on July 31 to make Loncon3’s servers cry. Read up, note your preferences, rank the nominees in each category, and then — vote!
(And yes, I will remind you a couple more times before voting closes. I’m helpful like that.)
So…care to share your ballot, either now or after the results have been released?
The 25% thing is such a weirdness. I imagine that the pros & cons is too off-topic a subject for this post, but I hope there’s someone thinking about coping with the deleterious effect a big interest in one category can have on the more obscure categories. Maybe a simple “Don’t care” or “I lack an informed opinion” vote option which could be a companion to how the “No Award” choice operates when chosen as #1 (a suggestion to delete/skip this award this year).
I’ve already noted that I don’t plan to publicly reveal any part of my ballot until after the awards ceremony, and I plan to stick by that.
There are some categories that I am really not able to vote for. I don’t know how to judge editors, I haven’t seen any of the movies, and I don’t listen to podcasts, for example. Would it be better for me to randomly toss a single vote into those categories to keep them viable, or just leave them blank?
Does this include voting for the retro-Hugos, particular given that I don’t think the packet has been released yet?
I have not yet voted for the Retro Hugos, no.
Vote for the categories you feel comfortable voting for. With regard to podcasts, etc, however, there’s no rush; you have time to try them if you like.
Happy – with instant runoff voting I think a single choice muddies the waters more than if you were to randomly order everything, but perhaps someone who has spent more time thinking about the statistics of it could weigh in on this.
There are going to be selections that I’m not going to be able to judge – the editors, both large and small, I think.
@Happy – IMO blank. I don’t think one should cast a ballot where one is not conciously making some sort of choice. For starters, the so-called random votes aren’t going to be evenly distrubted, unless everyone who did so did make use of a RNG.
If 76% of the fans who have chosen to involve themselves in voting don’t have an opinion on who should win in a particular category, I think that is a strong signal that the category is not considered important by the fans, and so I’m perfectly okay with the rule. (And perfectly okay with people urging fans to vote as many categories as they can.)
My views on voting no award differ substantially from the linked article.
My views are:
1. Don’t vote no award above anything you have not read.
2 If you have read everything rank everything, with no award possibly above some of them.
If all your choices above no award are eliminated then you can still influence the award to the least bad of the rest. On one occasion the order of my final two choices below no award made the difference between a win and a tie.
So THAT’S why I lost a Hugo by one vote in 2007!
The on-line Hugo voting system allows you to revise your vote at any time until the voting deadline. This allows you to vote for some caegories now and add your votes in other categories later. Ihave voted for novels and will vote for other later.
Pretty impressed you were able to make it through The Wheel of Time already.
I need to get my reading more organized so I can take advantage of @Geoff’s point about revising voting – updating voting as you go along. I think I need to read shorter works first and then novels. I really like the first link @scalzi includes as it has a great explanation for how to use the no award in regards to works you don’t want to give a vote to.
I am working my way through the novel category right now. As I read a new novel, I update my ballot, with how the new work ranks WRT to already read works. So even if I don’t make it through Wheel of Time, the rest will be ranked. I started with reading the shorter works, and the novella, novelette, and short story categories are already voted. I will probably try to get to some of the other categories down ballot before I start on WoT.
I’ve discussed how I read for Hugo voting purposes, here. You may assume I’ve read enough of each fiction nominee to know where I will place it on the ballot. I’ll also note that the first time I read a Wheel of Time book was over a decade ago.
Read through the short stories, novellas, novelletes. Was a bit disappointed to be honest – the shorts don’t really have much hard SF in at all, there is one beautiful/sad story that isn’t SF/F IMO, a “Team America fuck yeah”, two “Jeebus fuck yeah”, some other largely non-speculative stories. Doesn’t seem to be a vintage year – though I’ve got to hope there are better stories out in the wild. I did like the horror story though.
Already read two of the novels, no way am I slogging through WoT, I abandoned it at book one or two back in the day. Parasite extract was a pleasant surprise though.
I’m not putting anything below No Award, that way lies voting for something you don’t want to win.
And I’ve no awarded the editors – to be honest, as a reader, I don’t think you can read enough to have an opinion on long-form editors. Also, one of novella, novellete, short story should go – just short, novella, long works better for me.
I am still plugging my way through the written material. Which isn’t to say I’m not enjoying it, because I totally am! I don’t force myself to finish anything that doesn’t hook me, but so very much of it does hook me. But there is still so much to read, and still so much art to look at, even setting aside the evaluation of a certain 14 volume series that I’m saving for last.
It’s unlikely that between now and August I’ll do all of that AND suddenly develop an interest in consuming my media in audio form rather than written. I’m the kind of person who wants subtitles on for every tv show and would prefer reading a transcript to watching a TED talk. I just don’t think podcasting is for me.
Point taken on the random voting. I’ll just stay out of the categories I don’t feel able to judge.
Who does have an informed opinion of long form editors? Other editors? This category has always mystified me.
What is the purpose of the 25% rule? There are categories where I don’t really have interst, yet those creators and their fans deserve to have informed voters
This is an excellent explanation of how Hugo voting, including using “No Award”, with worked examples.
… of how Hugo voting works…
(Spotted the typo the second after posting. Gah!)
It was a two vote win, or a tie had I placed them in the opposite order. Right year though!
Wait, so why is the “no award” thing such a big deal this year?
@ B Lucerne. Because we area bunch of liberal hippies and opposing free speech. Or something.
Nevermind, I don’t want to know and I don’t want to start political b.s.
I think this bears noting: you do not have to vote for everything at once. You can keep changing your ballot until the end of the voting period.
So, for example, I have voted for the novels and both dramatic presentations so far. I’ll fill in other categories later.
It is important to vote in as many categories as you can this year, because of some of the politics involved in some of the categories.
The 25% rule may come into play this year. If any Hugo category does not receive votes from at least 25% of the ballots cast, then that category will NOT BE AWARDED. Regardless of what people vote for.
For the editors–download the Hugo packet for the editors, which includes basically a resume for the editors (long form) or a magazine (short form). Editors influence content in a longer work and choose what will be published. In a magazine they select the stories.
So again, please, if you vote, do your research and vote as many categories as you can.
Alright, fine, I’m voting this year, so I probably should know – what’s this politics/free speech stuff about?
@ B Lucerne
I’m guessing that John would prefer that we not-rehash all of the sturm and drang surrounding the Hugos this year in this comment section. I think these are the relevant Whatever posts where it was all hashed out the first time. I may have missed some. Hello moderation queue.
That’s only from Whatever. Of course a whole stack of other blogs and fanzine sites also contain relevant content.
I started to write a tl;dr, but I will refrain.
Thanks, and sorry. Haven’t been on Whatever for very long.
My husband and I are splitting a ballot this year. He’ll be voting in some categories (such as novel, as he’s read the Wheel of Time and I haven’t), and I’ll have the votes in the others. (We may have some overlapping categories, in which case we’ll discuss our rankings.) I’ve read all of the short fiction and the Campbell nominees and was pleased with the quality of work in general, though I concur that there are a couple of entries that didn’t ping my meter as actually being science fiction or fantasy.
We should be able to turn in a nearly complete ballot that way. Next year, though, we’re attending, so we’ll have individual ballots.
Oddly enough, some of the ones that I ranked low are ones that I would like to see more from that universe. Those ones just got blown out of the water by other entries.
Must. Start. Reading…
Argh. I am 1.5 books from voting. Grrrrr…
I’m doing the Hugo thing for the first time this year (somehow it escaped my attention until now that Hugo voting is something “regular” sff readers can do).
I figure it’s a good way to get introduced to some authors I wouldn’t have otherwise. I mostly read novel-length stuff so the short fiction has been interesting. It’s very different from what I’m used to.
I’m slowly working my way through the ballot (the “being able to update it” thing is wonderful!). I didn’t know about the 25% rule so I’m going to have to re-evaluate a couple of the categories that I had decided to ignore (like the editor ones) because I don’t feel like I know what to look for there.
One of the artist categories (fan artist I think?) had a couple nominees that weren’t in the packet, but I am soooo glad I looked for them elsewhere. Found some really cool work!
For those considering the Hugo Artists, here is a post containing links to eligible work or the artist site.
Thank you for sharing that link. I am a first time Hugo voter and apparently I didn’t get the details of how the system works. That article really clarified things for me and I will go back and change the vote in one of the two categories that I already voted on, accordingly.
If any authors or anyone who is in the publishing in industry is reading this thread, several of us lay people are having trouble figuring out how to vote for best editor long form. There isn’t alot to go on in the packet. Just because a book is good, doesn’t really mean the editor was that pivotal to it. My understanding is that authors struggle more with different books. So certain books may not need as much editing. What do you look for? For short form we have sample stories and alot of the short form is picking good stories.
Can someone in the profession give us some advice?
The people who post in these types of threads are the ‘real SF fans’. For some reason non-SF related posts where John goes off on some political post get alot more attention. Maybe John could email Larry Correia and they could work out some minor things to argue about, play it up by fighting on twitter than spin it in a lefty/righty way to get these threads pumped up. Not that I believe in conspiracy theories or anything…. Its just marketing.
Wonders if John will ‘baen’ me for saying that people who are more interested in SF topics are the real SF fans…
The long form editor category was a very contentious one when it was introduced. For one thing, at different houses and at different times the job gets split up in different ways. The acquiring editor, who buys the manuscript, may or may not be the same person as the one who does the content editing. So which are you voting for? And how do you know? And how clean was the manuscript? Was it extensively modified and hauled into salable form by a dedicated editor slaving away, or did it only need a once over lightly? And there are big-name authors who are not really edited at all — look at late-era Heinlein for an illustration. Their editors may not really be allowed to edit for fear of driving off the author to another publisher.
It’s a category I often vote No Award in, just because only someone who has seen original manuscripts and finished manuscripts worked on by all the nominees could really tell what they had done. However, Ginjer Buchanan retired this year after a very influential 30-year career and less respect than she deserves, imho, so since the category exists, this year I am planning to vote in it.
Do you think it would be a good idea if they standardize the hugo packet for long form editors? For example…
the authors who worked with the editor in that year can do a short write up explaining how they took their original manuscript and improved it. the editor can then provide original manuscript vs final manuscript (with the authors approval). This way we can see how much the editor helped?
I think editors deserve an award. From what I see on author blogs, authors often credit them alot. However, I don’t think editors are as piviotal in every book. I think in some cases authors need more help than others. I have seen authors state that they struggle with certain stories more than others.
The shorts that I’ve read so far are all Sad And Poignant And Quietly Delightful. There’s sort of a Death By Newbery Medal / Oscar Bait / True Art Is Angsty feel to them. (Not going to link to TVTropes directly; I wouldn’t want to be directly responsible for devouring anyone’s day.) I’m sure I might have fallen in love with any of them if I’d encountered them in the wild, but the cumulative effect of reading them one after another is kind of depressing.
The Best Graphic Story category is *much* more promising. I have two front-runners, and will have a hard time deciding between them; I adore them both.
@ B. Durbin:
That is a *wonderful* idea; wish I’d thought of that. … I may enlist a friend about that. I sort of despair of getting through the novels between now and August.
If 76% of the fans who have chosen to involve themselves in voting don’t have an opinion on who should win in a particular category, I think that is a strong signal that the category is not considered important by the fans, and so I’m perfectly okay with the rule.
I think this would be a more reasonable position if the suite of awards was more homogenous, or if the selection of media out there was smaller. As it stands, however, fanzines need to be interesting to at least 1 in 4 voters in a more popular category like novels. There has to be enough people interested in graphic storytelling, or people who listen to podcasts.
If the goal is big-tent inclusiveness for SF/F then I don’t see why a more niche category has to be declared irrelevant just because another category gets bigger. That would be kind of a bummer if it happened across the board in an ongoing way. I think it’s even more of a drag if we have a one-off year where a fluke surge denies a group of nominees any chance of a win because of things that have nothing to do with them or their medium.
@ Not the Reddit Chris S.: You wrote “Was a bit disappointed to be honest – the shorts don’t really have much hard SF in at all, there is one beautiful/sad story that isn’t SF/F IMO”
Are you referring to “If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love” by Rachel Swirsky as the short story that isn’t SF/F? If so, I respectfully disagree–fiction that is comprised of someone’s fantastical speculation qualifies as speculative fiction to me. Your mileage may vary.
I don’t see why a more niche category has to be declared irrelevant just because another category gets bigger.
Eh. But for that year, it *is* irrelvant, in the larger scheme. And it’s just “no award” for this year, next year it might bounce back.
The other thing is to consider the flip side – once you get down to things that only interest less than a quarter of the voting fans, you’re talking about a whole lot of stuff. Why should we be either a) hanging on to something that just doesn’t get the traffic any more or b) not including all those other things that are AT LEAST as interesting?
Line’s got to be drawn somewhere.
I’m one short story away from reading all the fiction I’m going to read in order to vote. Read into that what you will, no pun intended. So far I really haven’t had to make any tough calls as far as voting order goes. The closest call I’ve had to make is the top two novels and even there the deciding factor was one of them has been one of my favorite authors for years.
I figured best professional artist was a done deal but I surprised myself by swapping 1 and 2 based on what was in the hugo pack. The guy that’s normally my favorite is #2 this year.
I’ve spent more time this year thinking about the down ballot nominees than all the other years combined for me. This year the hardest category seems to be best fan writer. I read a new column and it changes…
@LunarG – yes, that’s the one. I think our mileage does differ. It’s a great story, but, for me….not Hugo material. I can see why you may disagree.
I would like, once again, to lobby for Robert E. Howard’s PIGEONS FROM HELL for Best Retro Novelette, just because I like the title.
John, you’re an inspiration to us all! I’ve been reading the Hugo Voters Packet exclusively since it became available and have made it through all of the professional fiction categories (novels, novellas, novelettes and short stories) except Wheel of Time.
I’d only read the first five books in the series when originally released in paperback and it was so long ago (1990 to 1993) that I didn’t remember them very well, so I’ve had to re-read them all from the beginning. Despite my best efforts, I doubt I’ll be able to read all 14 in their entirety before the voting deadline but am making a sincere effort. If I can’t finish them, hopefully I’ll have formed a strong enough opinion to rank the series fairly against the other nominees.
I also haven’t read all of the Campbell Award nominees yet and haven’t read the retro nominees (at least not recently), although I’m going to try to do so.
I don’t plan to vote in the categories I’m not familiar with or interested in such as related works, dramatic presentations, and some others.
So far, there’s only one category where I intend to vote “No Award” as my top choice.
The only category where I have a serious problem with ranking is “Best Novel” because there are several strong contenders and it’s the most important award. I’ll be very interested in seeing how my votes stack up against the final tally.
Largest Worldcon ever, which is mildly terrifying if you’re helping organise it… And yes I voted!