Quick 2016 Hugo Finalist Thoughts (With a Link to Even More Hugo Thoughts)

Thoughts on this year’s Hugo finalists (the list of which you can find here):

* First, as part of my new gig at the Los Angeles Times, I wrote an analysis of this year’s ballot there, so head on over there if you want to see it (Note it’s geared toward a general audience, so there a lot of explanatory stuff in there folks here will likely already know). As I’ve already written substantially on the Hugos there, what I write here will be brief.

* Overall, the nominations in several categories look pretty decent to me – Best Novel is particularly not bad at all! At least a couple of categories are a tiresome shitshow, however, thanks to the Puppies, again.

* Which we knew might happen again, remember? Fixing the slating issue was a two-year process. This is year two. Keep working on it, folks.

* The Puppies are once again trying to troll a bunch of people (the Best Related Category is one particularly obvious troll) and while I don’t mean to downplay the basic craptasticness of their actions, I’m finding it all that difficult to get worked up about it. I mean, I know the Puppies are hoping for outrage? Again? But as noted, we’ve seen this act before, and this time it’s just boring. Yes, yes, Puppies. You’re still sad little bigoted assholes screaming for attention. Got it, thanks.

Bear in mind I’m a direct target for their nonsense; at least two of the finalist works go after me in one way or another. I’m very specifically someone they’re trying to get worked up (and to tear down). And yet I just can’t manage it. I’m pretty much over the Puppies. There’s only so many times a toddler can throw a tantrum before you just shrug. You still have to clean up after the toddler, mind you. But you don’t have to let the toddler dictate the terms. Pity these particular toddlers are grown humans.

Aaaand that’s about all the energy I’m willing to expend on the Puppies this year: A tiny bit of pity, and then consideration of the things on the finalist ballot worth my time – which, fortunately, there are several, and would have been no matter what the Pups did.

131 Comments on “Quick 2016 Hugo Finalist Thoughts (With a Link to Even More Hugo Thoughts)”

  1. Just as a note, I’m paying very close attention to this thread, and I have a hair trigger on the Mallet, so a) behave, b) if it becomes more trouble than it’s worth, I’ll gladly close it.

  2. Well, pissing on the Puppies and all other Trump-voting MRA types is always fun.

    Guess we’re see you all at WorldCon – Tammy’s one of the GoHs, so we’re going. :)

  3. I’m pretty much with you on the resigned shrug. They were, at a minimum, going to get one more year to pee on things. They have used it: I’m not surprised. I will once again ignore the parts of the ballot that do not, in my opinion, merit my time and attention, and in the meanwhile I will encourage everybody who’s at Worldcon to attend the business meeting and vote for the E Pluribus Hugo proposal, which would limit the power of slates without disenfranchising anybody.

  4. Hey, John, thanks for sharing your thoughts. One thing I did think was interesting is that the Sad Puppies definitely didn’t slate this year…and one of your works showed up on their “for your consideration” list. It made me smile to see the File770 summary showing you and NK Jemisin represented on their site.

    Rabid Puppies are, as always, just in it for the chaos and for Beale’s ego. They are boring. And hopefully the changes to voting rules pull their teeth for next year.

  5. So can we quote you on this, John? Is this the last you’ll mention the puppies?

  6. Ultragotha:



    I didn’t say it was the last time I’d mention them, although I kinda hope I am mentioning them less this year. Just that they don’t get a rise out of me.

  7. This comes into the ‘totally predictable but would love to have been wrong about it’ category; EPH may not be perfect but it’s a major improvement on the slate…

  8. The Puppies deserve all of a heartfelt “meh,” but I feel sad for the people who got knocked off the ballot by their shenanigans. I wish that we didn’t have to wait until the release of the entire voting breakdown before we could see the full list of people and works that were put up for nomination, if only to use as a “recommended further reading/watching” list.

  9. Ariela:

    Yes, but there are other awards in the genre, including the Nebula, the Locus, the Clarke and the Campbell/Sturgeon, among others, and a lot of very good works are finalists in those. The Hugos, as much as I love them, are not the only award game in town.

  10. I think the Sads have become a non-story. They don’t appear to have influenced the ballot at all. The only items from their list that made it onto the ballot are either (1) on the Rabid Puppy slate, or (2) works which it’s been clear for a while from online discussion that quite a lot of fans admire and intended to nominate (ex. Folding Beijing, Ancillary Mercy, Binti, etc.).

    Unfortunately, the Rabids’ gaming the system has again flooded the list with finalists that would never have made an awards ballot any other way (ex. Space Butt Raptors, SJWs Always Lie, VD as “Best Editor,” etc.). And I agree–this is too pathetically childish to merit anything more than an exasperated shrug, and it mostly services as a reminder that WSFS needs to ratify EPH this year.

  11. A minor detail, but are you aware there is a typo in your linked L.A. Times piece?

    4th paragraph, 1st sentence “though” is used but doesn’t make sense. I assume it should be through.

  12. I read almost no short SFF fiction this year, and I didn’t remember what I did read, so I wasn’t able to help out in those categories. But I was pleased to see that the Best Novel list is chock full of goodness, even though I voted for only two of the final nominees. A third was one that I dropped from my list at almost the last minute in favor of a novel I had enjoyed more, and it was a tough decision. It was a good year for very fine reading.

  13. @Ariela

    I doubt people would care as much if the Hugos weren’t capped at 5 works as finalists (ignoring ties). I know the first year Sad Puppies was on my radar (as ‘Larry Correia wants a Hugo’), I was a lot more willing to give works the benefit of the doubt, because at most it was a single work. Drown out whole categories and I’m less inclined to care about Puppies feeling disenfranchised. (Though I do like that EPH minimizing slates without disenfranchising voters — get a lot of people feeling the same way, and you’ll probably get something on the ballot, even if it blocks them dominating the ballot by coordination.)

  14. Elena:

    I’ll let them know.

    Laura Resnick:

    Yeah, it basically confirms what everyone already knew, with regard to that relationship. Well done, Sad Puppies!

  15. The Sads have provided more evidence that recommendation lists aren’t slates. I recall them being rather confused about that in the past. Hopefully the Rabids will lose interest and wander off and the Sads will jettison their baggage and keep on putting out recommendations.

  16. The most annoying part of this, to me, is that for years I’ve used the Hugo nominations as a guide to the best SF I’ve missed in the previous year and a dependable shopping guide. That’s gone now.

    I did search out and read as much as I could of last year’s work this time, since this year I was also nominating, but I don’t always have that kind of time.

  17. Forget puppies and Real Life politics. I want to know when the Hugo’s will nominate works I’d like to actually read. Non of the works listed (especially the novel category) seem interesting to me. Ann Leckie never made it through the Amazon Sample despite all the hype. I like John Hemry’s Lost fleet series for example and Empires with war and politics.

    I know Marko Kloos was nominated last year and withdrew but he was about the only guy I’d ever heard of (and read) at that point.

    I will confess to not following the Hugo’s closely. What Amazon says is far more relevant and important to me then the Awards. Amazon recommendations also show ‘upcoming’ books which allows me to expand my collection.

  18. Yeah, sort of hard to gin up much more than determination to vote again this year. And there’s some good news among the bad, as many people note above. I’m delighted with most of the novel nominations. Sad about short fiction and related work, but glad to see the Sads recede and reveal the Rabids for the zeroes they are. Oh, and thank you to the Rabids for sustaining the motivation to pass EPH!

  19. Thanks for linking the Hugo nominees.

    Just picked up “There Will Be War Volume X”, seeing as there are two nominated novelettes in it. Always looking for more good stories.

  20. @Rachel Swirsky: Oh, this year I found every list I could :) But I’ll check it out, thanks!

    Also, file770.com is down. I think people want to talk about something or other…

  21. Limiting “slates” would not have helped the Hugos this year, as there weren’t any Sad Puppy slates. All of the Puppy recommendation lists that I see are longer than the nomination list. Which means any Puppies nominating off the list would have to choose their favorites. Just like you!

  22. Beale seems to have been playing some kind of make-their-heads-spin game by including the completely uninvolved, and even outright SJWs, on his slate.
    I guess he’s planning to call us hypocrites if we vote for them – because slate! – or claim it as his own victory if they win.
    As for me, I’m happy enough to have a ballot containing choices I can vote for not to mind.
    He is not the boss of me – if he wants to claim that votes for Glyer or Gaiman and the like are puppy victories, let him.
    That’s just him playing idiot mind games with himself off in his corner – who cares?
    There are some perfectly fine non-puppy works – some of them are things I myself nominated too – that made it to the ballot because he put them on his slate – rather than yet more of his more puppy-like heads-asploding crap.
    The more credible nominations, though, probably would be on the ballot anyway, so why should we let him spoil their chances?
    I’m sorry for the many good candidates forced off the ballot, but this year was always going to be a sacrifice.
    Sadly, a couple of categories are clearly Noah territory – and there were some great related works out there.
    Luckily, lots of categories offer okay choices.
    Noah can take the rest.

  23. Happy to see several things I nominated make the final cut. Will definitely be purchasing a supporting membership again to vote & nominate for next year.

  24. Is there any way to award the Sads (Especially Larry Correia) “Participation Hugos?”

  25. Novel looks pretty good – IMO Fifth Season should win, but I also loved Uprooted and Ancillary Mercy. Seveneves is dreadful and goes below No Award, not read the other finalist.

    Anything on VD’s sad little slate goes below No Award.

    Slow Bullets was mediocre (though I am a huge Al Reynolds fan, this isn’t close to his best work), Trail of Her Dead is an embarrassment – it would have been dated and cliched cyberpunk if it came out in 1989, but now it just looks very very sad indeed. Might be in with a shout for a Rory though.

    Hopefully EPH will pass and this is the last time Castallia House ends up on the ballot.

  26. John:
    No doubt. I do try to follow the other awards. But the Hugos are nice in part because they put work from categories people might not otherwise seek out in front of a built-in audience. Only the Locus casts nearly as broad a net as the Hugos. Graphic novels, artists, and podcasters in particular get short shrift in other awards, not to mention fan work. They have their own awards in their own fields, but I like the crossover exposure. I know even in the Hugos they tend to get less attention than everything else, but I’m still somewhat bitter when even that small amount gets borked.
    I’m an artist, so I follow the Chesley, but I have yet to run into anyone who wasn’t in the business who recognized the name.

  27. Robert Dye:

    My understanding is that Mr. Correia is well out of the current Sad set-up, so I’m okay with us not doing random potshots at him at this point.

  28. I was glad to see several items I nominated that weren’t slated or “recommended” end up on the ballot, and those will be going in the #1 or #2 slot for the most part on my ballot. There will definitely be things on the list going under No Award. I think that TD has proven his point: An organized group of bullies can overwhelm a small number of regular folks who are voting for what they read and liked. I’m planning to be in Kansas City in August and will be one of the many making sure that EPH gets ratified this year.

  29. Well, as someone who primarily just reads novels and watches films, I’m fairly satisfied. I’ve read 4/5 Best Novel nominations-haven’t got to Seveneves yet. A bit surprised to see Aeronaut’s Windlass on the list; I enjoyed it quite a lot, but nothing about it suggested Best Novel to me. All worthy novels, though.

    Sorry to hear that the related categories and such have again been tinkered with. Hopefully the problem will be solved going forward.

    And as a side note, I love the byline for your article: “Critic at Large” has a nice ring to it!

  30. It’s being proposed on Metafilter that Chuck Tingle should return the favor and write Vox Day into his next epic of butt-hurt. There certainly would be an audience for that.

  31. @Not the Reddit Chris S.:
    I note that EPH won’t keep Castallia House off the ballot; if anything, if there are dedicated, bullet-voting slaters, it could easily *increase* the odds that they get a work on the ballot. What it should do is reduce their ability to dominate a category by getting 3-5 entries into it.

  32. gregory: Seveneves is basically the biggest astronaut/colonization buzzkill in the history of books, so I can see why you’d be disinterested if you like tales of derring-do in space. To avoid spoilers, I’ll just say there is no invitation to suspend disbelief regarding the ease of life in space. Nonetheless, highly recommended if you like space sci fi.

    zlynx: Sad Puppies, sure – however “all of the Puppy lists” being non-slates is incorrect. It took exactly one google query to locate a list from Vox Popoli, that, behold, has five nominees in each category, and which (tellingly) exactly matches several categories (I got bored an stopped cross-checking, so feel free to call me out on “several”). Other commenters have already pointed out that the Sad Puppies have demilitarized. The Rabids, on the other hand…

    “But Vox says RIGHT IN THE POST it’s not a slate!” Good one.

  33. “There’s only so many times a toddler can throw a tantrum before you just shrug. You still have to clean up after the toddler, mind you. But you don’t have to let the toddler dictate the terms. Pity these particular toddlers are grown humans.”

    Yes this.

  34. File770 is usually a good place to discuss – all sorts of things, most not Puppy related. However, it seems to have gone done, about five minutes after it posted something about how the Puppies success gaming these years nominations….

  35. Sorry about that. Quite right.

    Still, it might be amusing to give some of the folks still involved in trying to game the system “Participation Hugos,” which was really where I meant the joke to hit.

    How on earth did “John Scalzi is Not Very Popular (And I Myself Am Quite Popular)” fail to make the ballot? The audiobook is one of the funniest things I have ever heard. When you got to the part with him pleading with you toward the end, I was trying to drive the NM highways with tears in my eyes from laughing so hard.

    Shame it was overlooked.

  36. @Cheradenine – I’m actually OK with EPH if it stops categories being swept by VD and his cohorts. As he controls about 15-20% of the voters I’m OK if he gets 1-2 things on the ballot, I can easily ignore them.

    So so kind of Teddy Boy to allow some decent candidates on the ballot this year. That’s actually worse in my mind than stuffing it full of self aggrandizing crap (like last year) as he tried to set himself up as the gatekeeper this year, which has worked in most categories.

  37. @zlynx

    You remind me of that one villain in a Babylon 5 episode who was asked how they’d made Earth a utopia, and who then responds “when we re-wrote the dictionary.”

    Teddy Beale published a list that included lists of exactly five things to be voted for without exception, which seems to have swept the more down ballot categories. It’s a slate, and just insisting that it can’t be doesn’t change the reality.

    Now run back to trying to Make Sci-Fi Great Again.

  38. John,

    I described your twitter feed to someone who doesn’t read twitter, as “Amusing for the way he takes down bigoted misogynist assholes, from a position of white male privilege. He uses his position to take on trolls who deserve it, and he’s funny doing it.”

    So clearly I’m a fan, and this bored-weary-shrug feels perfectly timed. The puppies did their damage, and hurt real people, and without minimizing that, they deserve no more attention, and none of the communities energy.

    A toddler have a tantrum needs and deserves someone who loves them to help them get through it, the puppies don’t.

  39. @Robert Dye

    Well, Scalzi said he didn’t want people nominating his works for awards this year, so that might have muted the response (and he wouldn’t have accepted even if we had all done so).

  40. If you have to make the Hugos a platform for an unpopular political stance, you’ve massively screwed up and need to rethink.

  41. Last year, as a Sasquan staffer, I noticed that the volunteer Hugo administrators really worked their tails off and did an exemplary job under trying circumstances. If you encounter Dave McCarty, Will Frank, and company in Kansas City, I’d suggest a smile and a hearty thank you, if not offering $BEVERAGE_OF_CHOICE.

    And I’ll see everyone at the MAC2 Business Meeting for the E Pluribus Hugo second ratification vote (and any other items), where Jared Dashoff is stepping into Kevin Standlee’s well-worn shoes as Chair. (You’ll see Kevin in the back as Assistant Videographer, his idea of going on holiday.)

    Go, EPH.

  42. How on earth did “John Scalzi is Not Very Popular (And I Myself Am Quite Popular)” fail to make the ballot? The audiobook is one of the funniest things I have ever heard. When you got to the part with him pleading with you toward the end, I was trying to drive the NM highways with tears in my eyes from laughing so hard.

    Hey, -I- nominated it!

  43. (Shorter version of thoughts I just posted on FB …)

    Personally, I expect far less noise than last year simply because the shock is much less the second time. Sadness and frustration, degenerating rapidly into sad resignation.

    I do put my hand up to being wrong in that I anticipated a much reduced puppy presence in the finalists due in part to the very large turnout. It’s noticeable that the puppy presence correlates with categories which have a lower turnout and ESPECIALLY a flatter distribution of nominations (lots of candidates getting modest numbers of votes). Novel for instance is a clean category while Related Work is completely corrupted.

    My sense now is that I don’t think EPH and 4/6 (the nomination changes that are on track to be in place for next year) will change things much. I think they are too easily worked around in general, but also these more vulnerable categories are just that – even if the new rules dilute the puppy vote concentration effect, there’s not enough natural concentration of votes among the “regular” nominees to restore a sensible ballot.

    I don’t know what this means, given there is no realistic chance of rapprochement, and that Vox Day is quite happy to pile up nominations (and no doubt to slap “Hugo Finalist” on his blog, books, etc) AND to rejoice in the angst of the Worldcon community twisting in the wind.
    I suspect unfortunately that only a truly radical change would provide a quick fix, and such changes would never get voted in. It is surely possible that if the current situation carries on for a couple more years, and EPH doesn’t improve things, that the awards will simply be seen as fundamentally broken and the reputation built over 50 years will degrade permanently.

  44. On the one hand the Gene Wolfe study was an epic labor of love to analyze all of Wolfe’s stories and it probably does not warrant the same scorn the other Castallia works in that category are getting. Draft pieces of it have been showing up on urth.net for years now and it contains some insight and a gigantic amount of effort in tracing allusions and references across hundreds of tales.

    On the other hand, I get the feeling that the author is not exactly abashed at being associated with Vox; so I have a hard time getting worked up on his behalf.

    Net result, like a lot of others here, I have a big MEH for the pupsters this year.

  45. It looks as though VD swept a number of categories. Although part of his ability to do that seems to have involved putting things on there that rational people might nominate.

  46. @Colin Harris
    I think EPH will make a big dent in this.
    And that Beale may have a hard time keeping the needed troops in place merely for spoiling down-ballot categories.
    (Unless they are all on salary or such.)
    I think there’s a further fix needed, in tightening up the categories somewhat.
    As is, it is Really Hard to properly research an entire ballot, and some categories seem redundant.
    Maybe once this particular fire gets, if not put out, at least dampened significantly, a bit of consolidation and rethinking could produce simpler categories with increased participation in nominations.

  47. Colin

    Actually, I don’t do sad resignation. I do getting seriously pissed off with having to plough through stuff which any self respecting slush pile would have ejected, so I have self awarded myself most of July and half of September cruising in the Med and the Aegean to compensate for ploughing through the garbage in order to give an honest opinion thereon.

    Glenlivet also helps, but not everybody likes Speyside malts…

  48. I think they’re always going to have a problem keeping people from flooding short stories simply because there are so many and focused recommendations can easily overpower the category. With novellas, novellettes and related works, not enough people read and nominate them to keep up.

  49. cabridges
    Many thanks for the File770 link. That will be one very useful list. How strange that one can’t access the site …

  50. gay raptor erotica and episodes of my little pony that resemble a Kurt Vonnegut story, sounds pretty good this year.

  51. Can’t wait for VD and his crowd of jerks to fade back into obscurity. Still, there are several categories that look quite good, especially Best Novel!

    Also, I’m tickled pink that a My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic episode got nominated. I don’t expect it to win, but it’s still a big nod to the show and its fans. :)

  52. re: MLP: The nature vs. nurture aspect of the cutie mark has always fascinated me from a philosophical standpoint (see the nominated episode, but also, for example, the Cutie Pox). Add that to a Harrison Bergeron message as well as a little realization about who exactly is running these Brave New World type dystopias… (I hope it wins!)

  53. cabridges: “I think they’re always going to have a problem keeping people from flooding short stories simply because there are so many and focused recommendations can easily overpower the category. With novellas, novellettes and related works, not enough people read and nominate them to keep up.”

    Thus, it would be good if people read and recommended. A lot of us have been doing this for years — I expect it’s what les chiens tristes mistook for a cabal, in the same way they pretend not to understand the difference between a recommendation list and a slate. People seem to be doing that more which is great. (No, it probably won’t solve the whole problem.)

    (BTW, novellas, from last year — everyone should read “New Mother,” the amazing novella of E. J. Fischer’s that is a Nebula finalist and won the Tiptree Award.)

  54. I can only hope that “Pounding Vox Day In The Butt With My Hugo Award” by Chuck Tingle gets a nomination next year.

  55. Rachel, yes, The New Mother is great. Even though only 2 of my short fiction nominations made it thru the rain of puppies, I sure enjoyed doing the reading. Ursula Vernon’s Pocosin was my favorite story.

  56. I ask this in all seriousness…. My Little Pony?
    My daughter watches and I don’t mind it, but it seems out of place for this kind of recognition. Am I missing something regarding its importance or level of interest.

    If Phineas and Ferb were a nominee I’d understand.

  57. Yes, it’s hard to research an entire ballot. I didn’t even try. But the categories I did research and nominate in included novelette, short story, related work, and best fan artist. The ones I didn’t included dramatic presentation (long and short form) and graphic story (both of which lots of other people had time and interest for).

    The problem isn’t people nominating in only some categories; as long as you’re nominating honestly, meaning your own opinions based on actually reading/watching/etc. the work in question, it not a problem that you only care about dramatic presentations, or love novels but think short fiction is a waste of time, or what-have-you.

  58. @Erick My Little Pony fans are legion, with passion for the show that rivals any other. If Doctor Who can make it on the ballot every year I’m not surprised to see MLP. I don’t know that any of the episodes are important enough — for that matter, I don’t know that most Doctor Who episodes are important enough — but they’re undeniably popular.

  59. I am looking forward to whatever Chuck Tingle inevitably writes about being pounded by a Hugo. The romance community accepts him as one of our own, the weird one that can be relied upon to liven up any funeral or wedding, but one of ours.

  60. @Erick: Am I missing something regarding its importance or level of interest.

    It’s a good children’s show that’s fully enjoyable by adults, too. This particular double episode is a time travel / alternate universe one, where (because of timeline tampering by a previous antagonist) we see a number of “bad future” variants of the show’s setting, showing what might have happened if this or that particular villain had not been defeated in earlier episodes.

    Also, it’s got huge online fandom, which includes a lot of SF and fantasy fans.

  61. @Erick Yes, you are definitely missing something regarding both its importance and level of interest. MLP is amazing. Subversive, feminist, turns all sorts of tropes on their heads. On top of that it’s hilarious, interesting, and action-packed.

    I love it when my son notices something odd (like, how come there are so few boy ponies) and we can point out that it’s just the reverse of all the other shows he watches but doesn’t notice because he’s so used to it.

    It may not be as powerful if you haven’t watched a lot of the material it is making a statement about. The lesson learned is so often exactly the opposite of the bad lesson you were expecting. (Like the one where Rarity learns not that she should stop working so hard and hanging out with aristocratic customers because she’s neglecting her friends, but instead that her friends will support her work and want her to do well!)

    The nominated episodes really are reminiscent of important dystopian literature. They touch on the nature of equality vs. specialization.

  62. @nicoleandmaggie: The nominated episodes really are reminiscent of important dystopian literature. They touch on the nature of equality vs. specialization.

    Agh! For some reason, I’ve been thinking about the S5 finale the whole time, not the premiere!

  63. So I looked at the details of the SP4 recommendations list today in comparison to the “problematic categories.” Fair disclaimer – I’m a self-identified Sad Puppy affiliate, and like all of us take exception to being lumped together with Vox Day and his movement to piss all over everything. An honest and fair evaluation of some of these problematic categories would definitely show Mr. Scalzi has a point – there were in fact several recommendations by SP4 that were at best humorously and more likely viciously suggested by fans simply looking to get a reaction. However, those titles do not appear (for the most part) in the short-list of 10 works compiled by SP4. Best Related Work is a great example, where only 3 of those on the SP4 list of 10 were eventual finalists, and none of the offensive titles (I haven’t read all of the works, and did not vote in this category personally) were actually on the short list. That pattern holds true in each of the categories where this kind of scatter showed up. I admit, I’m biased (but no more so than Mr. Scalzi, just in a different direction), but to me it looks like the scatter between the average Sad Puppy and the average “traditional member of Fandom” isn’t as wide as has been previously speculated. (Traditional member of Fandom, because I’m really trying to be nice here, because just yelling “asshole!” at the top of your lungs seems unlikely to convince anyone of anything, or heal a fractured group of fans). While I’d love to have the raw data to analyze, it sure looks like there are at least 3 groups: “TruFans” (possibly not monolithic); Sad Puppies (also not demonstrably monolithic); and Vox Day and his merry band of assholes. Categories like Best Novel, Best Novella, the Campbells, etc. demonstrate there is a lot of overlap between the Sad Puppies and the people maligning them…I state without proof that alignment of people who have different tastes, different views, different politics, different everything but still love SFF *and* recognize this is an important award squelched the malignant effect V.D. attempted to have on the process.

    SP4 was pretty damn transparent, and all the data is out there for you to look at. I’m not claiming there weren’t poo flinging monkeys in the group this year, but they were pretty dramatically outvoted by rational peers.

  64. Some of these have got to be tongue-in-cheek, right? I mean, askthebigot.com can’t be a REAL website, right?

    It must be nice to have that much free time, I guess.

  65. Deep thoughts by Nortally: I have seen John read in person twice. He does not look like the man who would kick a puppy. It’s HARD to find new authors that I really like, and it’s easy to overlook people because the shelves of the libraries & bookstores overflow. Here’s the thing: Rolling Hot, Imager, Old Man’s War. Each of these books introduced me to a new author and reading them was VERY EXCITING. They made me want more. That doesn’t always work. The first Honor Harrington made me want more until suddenly I’d had enough. But that’s OK, I still enjoyed the first date. I’ve never been to a convention and was taught by my mother to pay more attention to the Nebulas than the Hugos & she was mostly right. But not about pot being a gateway drug.

  66. How on earth did “John Scalzi is Not Very Popular (And I Myself Am Quite Popular)” fail to make the ballot?

    Poe’s Law in action there, maybe?

    Parody and satire are breaking down under the strain of modern life.

  67. Robert Dye: Understand, Beale’s slate got 64 of its 81 recommendations on the final Hugo ballot, pushing out all sorts of things.

    To help spread the word, I’ve reposted Mike Glyer’s analysis over at ComicMix, along with links to our other pieces on Beale.

  68. Sad for the people splashed by Teddy’s shit. Tales To Terrify is a fine magazine, and I’m really happy to see something on the fancast lists which isn’t just panel discussion. Not that panel discussions are evil, but variety. Suspect it will place below Noah Ward because of how it got there.

  69. Last year, to save my sanity and preserve my love of reading, I gave myself permission to quit reading stories/works that were boring or I just didn’t like. With that rule still in place this year, I’ll try to read as many of the nominations as I can, but I expect that I’ll have more time for novels than I have in the past. I start with the shorter works, and move upwards, to maximize the number of works I can read in my limited time.

    I don’t think I’m passing judgement on anything yet, but I’ll have little patience with stupid stories.

  70. @Not the Reddit Chris S.: “Anything on VD’s sad little slate goes below No Award. ”

    This year, No Award’ing things ONLY because Beale slated them would be a mistake, IMHO, since he tried to “poison pill” some well-regarded, broadly-liked works and people. We are not robots; I urge people not to just vote everything he slated below No Award, as that would just be falling for his latest inane “strategy.”

    For example, I nominated several things that were ALSO on Beale’s slate. And there are other things I was looking forward to or were highly rec’d that I’m not going to just dismiss out of hand. Within reason! Again – I’m not a robot; Beale doesn’t control my ballot, and unlike last year (where he just slated dreck), I urge people not to be robots, either.

    @Steve B.: Huh? There’re Sad Puppies (minimal rec list versus past years’ slates), Rabid Puppies (as you say), and then EVERYONE ELSE. Everyone else is not “a group” – it’s thousands of individuals. One day, perhaps, Sad Puppies will understand that. (Yes I’m still annoyed at SP3, but SP4 obviously is different – pointless, but different.)

    @Various: There’s one Best Novel finalist I suspect is only a finalist due to the Rabid slate. I’ve read a lot of “meh” about the Butcher “Spires” book, even from Butcher and Dresden fans.

  71. Kendall:

    I also nominated things that were on the Puppy lists and likewise will not be holding Beale’s endorsement (for whatever reason) against them, or other things I find of sufficient quality to consider. The stuff that’s on the slate that’s shit I will punt off my final ballot, again, regardless of how it made it onto the slate.

  72. I’m just shocked that Asimov’s didn’t have any nominations. I’ve been a subscriber and fan for 30+years — am I too old school? They usually have a nomination and win.

    (Yes, Sheila Williams was nominated for Editor, but no stories/novellas).

  73. @Various @Kendall

    The puppies definitely see Jim Butcher as one of their own–pulpy fiction, casually sexist heroes, and a dislike of the “PC”. That’s why he’s been nominated the last 2 years. He’s been on the slates and been unwilling to decline the nominations, despite the controversy.

    I enjoy his work like I enjoy twinkies, but they’re hardly works of real interest or substance. Definitely not Hugo material and my opinion of him has been honestly diminished by his association with that group. Now I read Seanan McGuire’s October Daye series when I was a good urban fantasy with a supernatural PI.

  74. SPN fan here. I just took a five-minute journey through

    My fave is nominated! Awesome!
    Wait, why *that* episode? Should be “Baby.” [that’s the episode shot from the car’s POV. Had a tighter script, too.]
    oh. Rabid Puppies.

    Hmph. They’ve dragged my show into their mess. Bunch of jerks.

  75. I wrote up a response to this year’s second capture – basically, I hope this disproves the opposition argument that all we really need is a bigger turnout and that will solve everything. No, one party vs. unorganised candidates always leads to the one party victory.


    I also have some thoughts on how to vote this year, mostly centred around punishing promoters and organisers of slates.

  76. I think the challenge for fans now will be to vote for the best-quality works and try to ignore which were on slates and which were not. In particular, although Best Novella and Best Novelette each have a single unslated work, people should give serious consideration to the possibility that one of the works from the slate was actually the best story in each category.

  77. I have no intention of voting for anything or anyone other than on merit; last year that took out the vast majority of VD’s slate but I voted for Sheila Gilbert, of Daw, who provided a sample chapter of every book she had edited in the qualifying period in the Hugo packet, as a service to our community and her authors.

    I ended up buying some of them because of those sample chapters, and I nominated her for this year’s Best Editor Long form. I’m completely open to looking at other finalists, but I do expect them to provide evidence of what they edited; last year Baen refused to disclose which books had been edited by which editor, which immediately took them out of contention. How can I judge the merits of an editor who refuses to tell me what books they edited?

    Admittedly, GRR Martin was happy to assure us last year that we could rely on his judgement that the editors at Baen are wonderful, without such trifling details as identifying which books they edited, but I fear he may not have quite grasped the fact that at least some of us form our own judgements, on evidence.

    Evidence does not include ‘Because I say so’, even when the person saying so is very well known author. I’m hoping he may take it more seriously this year on the whole evidence bit…

  78. @Not the Reddit Chris S.: “Anything on VD’s sad little slate goes below No Award. ”

    Please don’t do this. I hope that no one will use this as their “rule” when voting.

    VD deliberately put worthy works on his slate just to try to provoke this exact reaction. People who automatically put anything on his slate below “No Award” on their Hugo ballot are allowing him to play them like a harp. Please don’t allow yourself to be manipulated in this way.

    If any of the works on his slate get a Hugo, VD is going to claim Victory. If all the works on his slate get No Awarded, he will still claim Victory. So just disregard his slate. Make him irrelevant.

    If there’s stuff you don’t want to read, then don’t read it. If there’s stuff you read that merits being placed below No Award, then fine, that’s where it goes. But please don’t No Award works you would otherwise rank on your ballot.

    I nominated several worthy works which also happened to appear on VD’s slate. I don’t care what he does. I am not allowing him to manipulation my Hugo nominating or voting. Make him irrelevant.

  79. where did people find the Sad Puppy and Rabid Puppy slates, and when were they published?

  80. It is nice that some of you are starting to differentiate between Vox Day and the Sads. Many Sads think that some types of SF were being overlooked. It would be nice if Mr. Scalzi could make the minimal effort to show a distinction between the groups. Labeling both groups as the same with third grade language is not the way to win friends and influence readers.

    Butcher’s novel is a good example of well-written, action oriented SF which is routinely overlooked by the traditional SF awards voters. I’m delighted it made the list of nominees. If the Sads see some routinely overlooked types of works being nominated while some of the worst overly politically correct stuff does not get nominations – then they have accomplished something very valuable for the Hugos.

    Seeing good shows get nominations (Supernatural, Grimm) instead of “Dr. Who all of the time” is also nice.

    The retro Hugos are an excellent idea. If it has actually stood the test of time for 50+ years the material is probably really good. I’m looking forward to reading the handful of books on that list that I have not already read.

  81. @JJ,

    I’ll rank anything that got on the ballot without VD’s toxic impact (I think the detailed nominations list will be out before the voting, so basically if something would still be on the ballot once you deduct the number of votes for VD as Best Editor (and/or Space Raptor Butt Invasion) as a proxy for the RP slate voter number), but anything else will be ranked below No Award – I’d still be ranking, so if No Award doesn’t get the category to begin with, I’ll still have a vote in there.

    The only caveat is that Seveneves and Trail of Dead go below No Award, as I thought that they were both terrible, but for different reasons. And I always No Award BELF as it’s too inside baseball for a fan to make a judgement on it, and I think the category should be dropped. I tend not to vote in BDPs as I don’t watch enough and am sulking that the Expanse didn’t make it.

    Your mileage clearly varies, which is fine, if we all agreed it’d be boring. As you say, VD will declare victory whatever happens. Someone said 64 of 81 slots are on his slate – who made a toxic smug troll sat in Italy the final arbitrator of what is good in SF this year? It’s basically the same as saying “You can choose whatever you want to eat, so long as it’s on the McDonalds’ menu”. That’s my issue with his slating this year – even though there are some reasonable entries, it’s still more limited and less diverse than it would be without his malicious influence.

    Does anyone know where the campaign to get Trail of Dead on came from? I don’t think that’s a VD pick.

  82. Based on the notes on what made it from the the RP and SP slates/recommendation lists, I think it’s clear that the SP are functionally irrelevant to the whole nomination shebang – as they nearly were last year…

    His royal feculancy has besmeared the Hugo slate again.

  83. One thing to keep in mind is that the puppies who nominated last year mostly got to nominate again for free this year. (Worldcon membership gives you the right to nominate and vote for the current year, and the right to nominate, but not to vote, for the next.) So it’s not surprising that a lot of the nominators from last year were back again. It didn’t cost them anything. Next year, they’ll need to pay again in order to nominate, and I suspect that a lot of them will be a whole lot less interested in ponying up actual hard cash for another chance to tilt at windmills. The hard-core crazy core will probably be back, but the broader rank-and-file may not be so interested. (Many of the rank-and-file weren’t even aware of the Noah Ward option until last year’s results came out.)

    I was actually a little worried that if the puppies didn’t have an effect on this year’s ballot, the Worldcon members might say “meh, why bother” to EPH. As it is, I think EPH has pretty much been guaranteed to pass!

  84. Not the Reddit Chris S: I think the detailed nominations list will be out before the voting

    Nope, sorry, but the detailed nominations list doesn’t come out until after the Hugos are awarded.

  85. I thought Andy Weir wasnt elligible for a campbell because the martian was originally published somewhere else sevaeral years ago? This was on the web last year. Was there some decision about this?

    wertzone should have been nominated for best fanzine. His history of epic fantasy(about 50 long blog entried) is incredibly detailed. I have read fantasy for years and there was alot in there I didnt know.

  86. @stevie: there was a popular TOR editor who doed last year. He got many Hugo Nominations. After his death his authors stated that he never gave any feedback whatsoever. Best Editor should be dropped. What editors do is not transparent enough for fans.

  87. @Bex: AskTheBigot.com is a real site, and Moira Greyland’s guest blog discussion of her mother, Marion Zimmer Bradley, and father and convicted child molester, Walter Breen, is a real thing. I’m not convinced it’s Hugo worthy, but that’s up to the voters. It’s not particularly long, I didn’t read the 735 comments, but I assume that they are not part of the nomination anyway.

    I do plan on at least reading some of each nomination, assuming I have time. I don’t have high hopes for most of the RP slate except for the ones that made a lot of other recommendation lists.

  88. @Guess the rules for a Campbell are different from the Hugo. Andy Weir is eligible (2nd year) for a Campbell because of the rules which define professionally published very specifically making his earlier self-publishing not count against him for the Campbell while it did count against the book The Martian from the Hugos.

  89. Well said, John! I followed this issue avidly mainly from your blog and Twitter last year. It was the first year EVER that I voted for Hugos. So thanks for inspiring me to get involved to thwart puppy nonsense. And yet, sadly my efforts in nominations of great writers Like Alyssa Wong (who is at least up again for the Campbell), Monica Byrne, and Kameron Hurley were not rewarded, I agree, the list is not bad. Though I was entertained by your joust with the puppies last year, I am in agreement that it’s old and boring now. NEXT TOPIC. I am sure you will keep us all informed if there’s something MAJOR. Plus, great LA Times article. Boffo!

  90. I’m actually surprised Vox Day hit with serious effect for the second year running, and I’ve had to upgrade my assessment of him.

    If the No Award impulse carries the 2016 balloting, Vox Day wins by virtue of provoking further serious damage to the prestige of the Hugos. Even if this outcome is avoided, Vox Day still remains in the game, playing with House Money.

    John’s LA Times piece did not mention Vox Day by name, but every other article I’ve read on the controversy certainly has. If anything, Vox Day has learned how to exploit his own notoriety with remarkable effect. The media loves controversy and Vox Day can now custom generate it seemingly at will. Then he feeds off the controversy, growing stronger.

    For someone so “hated” for expressing unpopular political beliefs, he certainly has demonstrated an astonishing freedom of action to do exactly what he says he intends: undermine Worldcon and the Hugos (and at virtually no cost to himself). Book sales through Castalia House are also probably increasing–a fiscal gain that should further reinforce his currently confrontational course.

    Hate Vox Day if you must, but the man has strategic talent and the will to use it. That makes him a worthy competitor, and a dangerous one at that. Maybe he will “slip up” again, but for now, he’s on a roll. . .

  91. Pedro:

    “If the No Award impulse carries the 2016 balloting, Vox Day wins by virtue of provoking further serious damage to the prestige of the Hugos”

    Well, no. Choosing “No Award” doesn’t damage the Hugos at all, and in fact it makes the point that the voting population of the award would rather let the award sit than to give it to finalists it (collectively) believed were not worth consideration. This strengthens rather than weakens the award in general, because not just any crap thrown on the ballot by manipulation of the nomination system is guaranteed to win. In fact, that’s why the “No Award” option is there: Because the award has standards.

    I certainly do understand why people who wanted crap thrown on the ballot by manipulation of the nomination to be guaranteed a win wish to argue that a “No Award” vote weakens the prestige of the award. But they’re wrong.

    In any event, as Beale’s MO is to declare victory no matter what, a fact that is known about him, saying that he wins if people do [insert whatever people will do] actually means very little. Of course he’ll declare victory. So what? Meanwhile, I don’t want things I think are shit to win a Hugo. So I’ll vote accordingly and use “No Award” when appropriate.

    “Hate Vox Day if you must, but the man has strategic talent and the will to use it.”

    Again, no. He’s just an asshole who’s willing exploit a loophole that other people with better ethics choose not to. If you think that counts as “strategic talent,” that’s your choice, although I might suggest you read more widely. But the reality is, he’s just an asshole.

  92. “Hate Vox Day if you must, but the man has strategic talent ..”

    By that token, every two year old has *awesome* strategic talent, by throwing themselves on the ground and screaming.

  93. @slfisher: The Rabid Puppies list was published on Vox Day’s blog, with the final list coming out on March 21, but he had started posting his selections category by category starting February 1. The complete list can be found by searching “rabid puppies 2016” in your preferred search engine.

    The Sad Puppies list was published on sadpuppies4.org, under the heading “The List.” It was published on March 17.

  94. @Airboy

    We always knew theres was a distinction between the Rabids and Sads, just as there is a distinction between the muppet and the hand of the person operating it, even if they are occupying a very similar space. That the Sads were the useful cover for the Rabids was known last year, and now that we’ve seen just how much support the Sads have this year (very little) it allows us all to ignore the useful shields and focus on the man whose hand controls the rest of it, as it were. (And I’d say my analogy is perfectly in keeping with the tone of some Puppy picks this year…)

    I’m not sure MLP counts as more mainstream genre than Dr. Who, outside of one’s selected corner of the internet. Not being a regular on Deviant Art, I would have preferred CQB or one or two other Expanse episodes to MLP, but I’ve heard some good things about MLP, so eh, why not?

    And Butcher certainly used to write action oriented sci-fi. I liked Book 7 of Dresden very much. Pity he’s hasn’t hit that level in a while, and Aeronauts was much more White Knight than Dead Beat.

  95. Pedro,

    You’re really over valuing who Teddy Beale is, what he’s doing, and what he’s capable of doing. He’s an internet gadfly, and an only moderately onerous one at that. He has no significant media connections or outlets (his largest impact having been a columnist at World News Daily, who dropped him years ago), and a following of a few thousand to his blogs. There are teenagers with Instagram accounts with broader impact and appeal. So he got a few email interviews. I was once on NBC Nightly News. So what?

    the man has strategic talent and the will to use it.

    To do what, exactly? Take over modern publishing? Run for political office? Amass great wealth? Change the culture? No. He’s using this amazing talent to mess around with a genre-specific literary award. One that, one might add, is open to the general public to participate in, but (much to far too many people’s surprise) has a very small number of participants.

    He’s not a serious person. If this were a serious endeavor for him, well, that would actually be even more sad and eye-roll worthy. But it’s not. If nothing else, he’ll eventually get bored with this game and move on to some other one, and people will talk about “The Beale Years” when some jerk on the internet decided to manipulate the finalists. Some teeth were gnashed, some long overdue rule changes were initiated, life went on.

  96. For those interested, File 770 is back up (though any entry before April 22 had to be reconstructed).

    I can’t attend Worldcon this year, but I guess I’ll be getting another supporting membership for voting rights.

    Has anyone heard how the RPs chose their slate? I’m honestly puzzled over how “Full Frontal Nerdity” got on the slate for Graphic Story — yes, the only semi-regular female character is a demoness, but she’s also one of the smarter people in the comic.

  97. I looked over the final ballot last night without knowing what was on either Puppies Rec List or Slate. I was generally very pleased; noting to my wife that the Short Story and Related Work looked problematic but that I thought the puppies mostly failed on the rest. This morning I went over to File 770 to read others reactions and found out how many of what I thought unobjectionable nominations came from the puppies.

    My reaction turned out to be pretty much what Mr. Scalzi wrote his was. Boredom, as with a toddler (though that is not the image I had until I read his post above.)

    Last year I read nearly everything (there were some pieces I could not finish) before voting and only voted no award if nothing was, in my opinion, Hugo worthy. I will do the same this year. No Award was a common vote for me last year. This year I expect it to be different. I think that both puppies lists have enough plausible entries that I am not going to let the fact of VD using some for a shield keep me from voting any I like. I will be ignoring the puppies as best I can and reading and voting what I like.

    On a side note. Three of my novel nominations made the final. I don’t think I have ever had that happen before. And one of those was a puppies. Seveneves. Another note. Turns out that Mike Williamson’s Long Time Before Now was on the RB list. That was another nominee of mine. I was not surprised it did not make it. But check it out. Its very, very good. Pay attention to the team Mr. Williamson sent back in time. I can’t really imagine that VD read the book, or if he did that he understood what Mr. Williamson had done.

  98. There’s a lot of worthy genre stuff on TV these days. I would probably would have gone with Continuum, iZombie, Jessica Jones and Ash v Evil Dead, in that order. Maybe a shout out to Dark Matter. On the other hand, I support My Little Pony for a nom, even though I have not seen it, because it’s not Dr. Who and Dr. Who has been way over-represented in past years. Even if you think it’s great, how likely is it that it is the only show on TV for a decade?

    Supernatural: I would have loved Supernatural to have won in the first five seasons, when it was one of the best shows on TV. I guess a little delayed love note here is not a horrible result. I would have gone with the car-POV or the 200th meta-episode myself.

  99. youngpretender

    Yeah, Windlass is not Jim Butcher’s best work. There are some interesting ideas in the worldbuilding, but they don’t ll seem to fit together. There are some interesting characters, but there are way too many of them overall, for my tastes. (And the whole “The sentient cat is a flaming racist against humans because cats amirite, hee hee” got grating toward the end.) But mostly there are some serious flaws in the execution. For instance, it’s clear Butcher went and read some C.S Forester and Patrick O’Brien as research (or read some of it at some point in his life, anyway), but it’s like he knows the words, but not the music. He managed to suck all the life and excitement out of that last battle scene.

    I also agree that the Dresden books are not on an upswing of late. I think he held back too much in Changes, Ghost Story was very experimental and didn’t always work, Cold Days was a solid if unexceptional entry with a lot of series exposition, and I almost bounced off of Skin Game completely in couple of places.

    But, if the end of Dresden is truly in sight, I’m hopeful he can tighten it up in the last laps. And he’s only one book into the Cinder Spires. Perhaps that will improve as he gets a better handle on the genre. I’m really not sure why the Puppies have latched onto him, though. If he’s on the same page socially, he’s very quiet about it (very un-Puppy-like in that regard), so he’s not much of an ally in their little culture war. He’s hugely successful for a genre author, but hardly a superstar, with very little household name recognition. On the other hand, he’s hardly the first artist to be nominated for an award – or even win said award – for a middling work produced years after their truly award worthy stuff. (Just ask Mr. DiCaprio.)

  100. Has anyone heard how the RPs chose their slate?

    No, but they seem to have chosen a mix of generally popular-with-voters works that might have made it without a slate, like the Stephenson and the Bujold, works that are popular (but not usually Hugo-nominees) like the Butcher and King, self-promotion of Day/his publishing house, and some ones that are just curveballs (like the Tingle).

    Again, whatever happens, Day will declare victory, but I knew that pre-nomination.

  101. The EPH and 4/6 proposals may dampen the effect of slate voting but it will not solve the problem. As the tally for last year’s nominating shows, the puppy slates still would have commanded two Best novel nominees, and as many as three or four in most of the other categories even if EPH had been used to choose the finalists. VD has proven he can get sufficient numbers to do this, and he will, because he lacks the talent and skill to be successful at anything else but trolling the Hugos. At some point, probably years down the road from the looks of it, Worldcon will have to get serious about eliminating slate voting and it will have to be “unfair” and “biased” against people who vote slates. To extend John’s “temper tantrum” analogy, if your child is screaming and crying and throwing their toys around the room, you don’t tell them it’s okay to keep doing it while you sneak the lamp out of the room so it doesn’t get broken. If you want to correct the problem, you take their toys away and send them to their room. Yes, the child will claim that is unfair and resent you for taking away their God given right to scream and cry and throw their toys around, but the behavior will stop and they will have no choice but to find something else to do.

  102. I expect stephen king, alastair reynolds, brandon sanderson , file770 , and neil gaiman as well. If mike glyer doesnt withdraw he is a hypocrit. Neal Stephenson might wirhdraw also.

  103. Airboy,

    “Seeing good shows get nominations (Supernatural, Grimm) instead of “Dr. Who all of the time” is also nice.

    The retro Hugos are an excellent idea. If it has actually stood the test of time for 50+ years the material is probably really good.

    Thank you for this. It’s just beautiful.

  104. Glyer is exactly the sort of nominee who should be under no burden of withdrawing — he’s popular enough to have been nominated many times (and win 3 times) before, and there were many, many non-puppies declaring that they were going to nominate him. It was entirely probable that he would have made the list absent any puppy backing.

    Similarly, although Seveneves is hardly Stephenson’s best work, and I’ve seen both negative and positive reactions to it from non-puppies, there were plenty of non-puppies who said they were going to nominate it and its profile is such that it would be a natural for “popular author, lesser work” nomination (see also, in the past, Bujold, Willis, Asimov, et al.).

    In both cases, choosing not to withdraw despite a placing on the RP list is not hypocrisy, but being unwilling to respond unthinkingly to an internet gadfly.

  105. @Guess

    I think the idea that any of those authors owe anything to a small band of alt-right white supremacists (or those willing to carry water for them, which amounts to the same thing) is so ludicrously laughable that it qualifies as performance art. I also think that Glyer got his Fan Writer nomination without training wheels, so why should he have to withdraw? I think those “demands”, while sounding very good on your home subreddit, don’t make the cut elsewhere.


    It needed some editing. After a certain point, I knew how thin and handsome they all were, I knew how pushy some of them were, I knew that they were trying to go all steampunk Patrick OBrein, I knew that Captain McBlackcoat was too honest for your bs politeness, etc. Editing could have shaved a hundred pages without it losing a single scene.

  106. I’m glad that “Heaven Sent” made it on the ballot–unlike the pro forma Who nominations of the past couple of years, THAT is an outstanding episode. Excellent acting and direction. I’m so sad that Steven Universe didn’t make it to the ballot in any way, though, and also that tons of great related works were buried in canine effluvium. But I’m going to take this as an opportunity to talk more about the things I love, both that I nominated and that I’m noting for next year, and I hope others will do the same.

  107. Gary C,

    Short of closing the nomination phase (i.e. having the finalist short list chosen by some select committee or jury, appointed by Worldcon) I don’t see a better method of addressing slate/bloc voting than the EPH or 4/6 variants. Teddy put many popular, well regarded works on his list this year. How do the vote tabulators determine which of the votes for those works were the result of slating, and which were sincere honest support? A checkbox?

    I’m not sure I see a need either. Look, if someone manages to muster up 15-40% of the nominators, and get them to agree to nominate specific works, then they absolutely deserve to control 1 or 2 out of the 5 finalist slots, regardless of their motivation. So any system that limits thigs to that is really the best solution. The other 60-85% are free to frown on such shenanigans, and are under no obligation to reward those works (and in fact, the “No Award” option is a nifty option to express such displeasure).

    And I’m not all that sympathetic to the argument that other stuff got pushed off the finalist list because of slating. Under ideal circumstances, every year in every category of any award, something worthy didn’t make the cut. Such is life.

  108. Arbitrary and purely aesthetic side note re: the Jim Butcher chat – I have read just about everything he’s published, and not a single one of his books should get anywhere near a Hugo. That would be like going on a crusade because Simon R. Green’s never won an award outside of (apparently) Bulgaria. Or, to take it another direction, that’s like saying “I can’t believe The Tenant of Wildfeld Hall hasn’t been lauded as a classic. All anyone talks about from that year are Vanity Fair and The Communist Manifesto.”

    If there was a “better class of pulp” Hugo, then sure. There’s no shame in a better class of pulp, but anyone willing to argue that it’s “award-worthy” needs to give their favorite author a serious re-read. If that’s Hugo snobbery, so be it; but to be clear, it’s an opinion of a single person who has never nominated anything for a Hugo, never attended a ‘con, and wouldn’t know a “trufan” if one came up with a flashing button on their lapel. “Oh, help, the monolithic cult of opinion doesn’t like my book enough because REASONS” doesn’t pin me down in any way.

  109. Looking at the Retro-Hugos… my, there were some awesome works published in 1940! That was a good year for sci-fi. As for Bob Heinlein being all over it… well, that would have been the period when he was keeping the lights on by selling short stories, after he got disabled out of the service. He was a damn good writer, though, compared to some of the other prolific pulp writers of the period, because his stuff has stood the test of time.

    However… I actually think that some of the others who stood the test of time as well were better, like Theodore Sturgeon. “It” is a superb horror story. “Darker than you Think” is a pretty awesome fantasy by Jack Williamson–I’m not sure that even the paranormal romance genre or “Jupiter Ascending” has given us a vampire were-pterodactyl protagonist.

  110. I had a ‘what the hell’ moment and went to AskA Bigot.com and if you value a belief in humanity, avoid it. Reads like it’s sponsored by Vox and comments filled by the same cretins. Were there so few good candidates for that category that (some 1600 fewer votes than best novel, I see) that all the drek managed to dominate?

  111. @John: “He’s just an asshole who’s willing exploit a loophole that other people with better ethics choose not to. If you think that counts as ‘strategic talent,’ that’s your choice, although I might suggest you read more widely. But the reality is, he’s just an asshole.”

    If I had to directly deal with the impact of his behavior, I would feel the same way about him as you do. But I don’t have to deal with him, so perhaps I can see his game a bit more clearly than those actually participating in the drama (that would be you).

    Vox Day has clearly structured the Rabid Puppies slate to increase the chance that enough aggrieved fans will default to “No Awarding” worthy authors on account of his “endorsement.” That would be a catastrophe if it happens. And that risk is what I had in mind when I wrote, “If the No Award impulse carries the 2016 balloting, Vox Day wins by virtue of provoking further serious damage to the prestige of the Hugos.”

    Your more recent post on the Hugos clearly addresses this issue. My guess is that others will follow your lead. Good luck . . .

  112. @bex and @Bruce: I’m afraid that the Moira Greyland post is not on the Puppies slate because they’ve suddenly become sensitive to victims of sexual abuse.

    Read the essay in full: at the end of the bitterly sad details of her horrible experiences, she wraps up by explaining, carefully and concisely, how — since the two criminal pedophiles who were her abusive parents identified as gay, and tried to force her to identify as gay — all gay people are criminal pedophiles. Moira Greyland now opposes gay marriage, since it will by definition lead to more children being sexually abused. Apparently gay = pedophile in Ms. Greyland’s world. People are converted to gayness by being abused as children, and all gays want to make more helpless children into gays by abusing them.

    I understand why she feels that way, I support her need to deal with the abuse she suffered; but this does not make her condemnation of me and everyone like me true, or right. The sickness I felt reading the first part of the essay was very different from the sickness I felt reading the end of it.

    I’m deeply sorry. But that blog post is on the Puppies slate because it’s homophobic propaganda — carefully wrapped in the terrible story of a victim of sexual abuse, making it much harder to say “no” to it.

  113. It’s a shame that MLP was nominated by the Puppies – because that two parter was really good. The Puppies tried to force an idealogical moral onto the episode which doesn’t really fit! The inclusion of that on the slate is pretty ironic, actually, considering the show was created by a feminist (Lauren Faust) and is a fairly feminist show, espousing an openness to who girls/women can be and often subverting “girly” tropes. (Plus, mostly male fandom defies traditional gender roles.)

    Another feminist cartoon that I hope will be nominated someday (that the Puppies will almost definitely NOT nominate) is Steven Universe – with its fantastic worldbuilding, great soundtrack, beautiful background design, and perfect blend of comedy, slice-of-life, fantasy, action, and adventure, as well as its LGBTQ and feminist themes.

  114. I think the Sads have become a non-story. They don’t appear to have influenced the ballot at all.

    Except for related works, which you subsequently mention. But I think they flooded that category pretty effectively. Which is a shame since it kept AE’s “John Scalzi” satire off the list. I didn’t have a lot of items to nominate this year beyond it, some of Harry Connelly’s stuff, and Nice Dragons Finish Last.

  115. Scalzi: “In any event, as Beale’s MO is to declare victory no matter what …”

    Which is, to my mind, one of the defining characteristics of immaturity in an adult, and a sign of an ego that is both undeservedly huge and very fragile.

  116. Guess: People like King, Gaiman, Butcher, etc. are also perfectly entitled to withdraw their works from consideration because Beale’s slating tactics insured a uneven field.

    Neil Gaiman is well within his rights to say, “I believe Sandman: Overture is Hugo-worthy, but I don’t think I should win because Scott McCloud’s The Sculptor was pushed off the ballot. It’s not a fair competition.”

    Similarly, and to Pedro’s point, voters are more than entitled to say, “While Seveneves is worthy of nomination, I’m voting No Award for the entire category because the nomination process was corrupted.” Saying “Vox Day wins by virtue of provoking further serious damage to the prestige of the Hugos” is misattribution– it’s Beale himself who damaged the Hugos.

    Beale’s claim of “You’re pushing worthy authors off!” is self-serving, because he pushed them on us in the first place— just because his actions insure someone other than him benefits is no reason to reward him for swinging a wrench at Nancy Kerrigan’s kneecap.

  117. @Glenn Hauman: Similarly, and to Pedro’s point, voters are more than entitled to say, “While Seveneves is worthy of nomination, I’m voting No Award for the entire category because the nomination process was corrupted.”

    From my outsider perspective, No Awarding entire categories strikes me as a rather damaging thing to do, kinda like burning down the village in order to save it. Good luck with that. . .

  118. Don Whiteside: Except for related works, which you subsequently mention. But I think they [Sad Puppies] flooded that category pretty effectively.

    Actually, all five of the Best Related Works finalists were on the Rabid Puppies slate; two of them were also on the Sad Puppies list–but I don’t think that that qualifies as “flooding” the category, and it pretty much agrees with what Laura Resnick has to say about the two groups. Are you mixing BRW up with a different category maybe?

  119. Beth is absolutely right. I suspect Greyland’s essay may even get a few votes from people who think it’s just a fuller version of the story Deirdre Saoirse Moen broke the year before.

    I have a lot of sympathy for Moira Greyland’s pain, but I don’t want her to get to hurt others with it. That would just be compounding the evil her parents did. (Which ironically is exactly what she says she’s trying not to do, and I think she believes it.)

  120. Harold Osler: I had a ‘what the hell’ moment and went to AskA Bigot.com and if you value a belief in humanity, avoid it. Reads like it’s sponsored by Vox and comments filled by the same cretins. Were there so few good candidates for that category that (some 1600 fewer votes than best novel, I see) that all the drek managed to dominate?

    Just the opposite, I think. There were so many good Related Works this year that it diffused the vote: three different volumes of Modern Masters of Science Fiction, Letters to Tiptree, Women of Wonder, Felicia Day’s autobiography, Invisible 2, The Wheel of Time Companion, at least three different scholarly works on Tolkien, Lewis, and the Inklings, and a whole bunch of other worthy works that I’ve not even included in this list.

    Greyland’s piece is worth reading despite the fact that it’s hosted on a site devoted to rabid bigotry. It is not, however, a “Related Work”. The fact that her parents were big in the Science Fiction world does not make it a Related Work. The fact that she now equates being gay with being a pedophile, while understandable, is wrong, so very badly wrong — and the way that the Rabid Puppies are trying to use child abuse as a bludgeon against Hugo voters is despicable.

  121. JJ

    I agree; it’s immensely sad. The fact that slimeballs are using her to abuse others suggests that she is still being abused, and that too is immensely sad…

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