When I was younger and discovering science fiction, one thing I looked towards for guidance was the Hugo Award. I used the award lists to plot my reading and discover what had been judge the best by sci-fi readers. I decided last year when I started this blog that I would take an active role in fandom and bought myself a voting membership for the Hugo Awards. I was excited to participate in an award that had honored so many of my favorite novels. And diligently read, hoping that some of my picks would make the list.
I also looked over the recent nominees – looking for titles that piqued my interest, and I admit I was puzzled by some of the nominees last year. But I figured fans voted for them, and the cream always rises to the top. As it did, with Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice.
I didn’t know that a subset of sci-fi authors were attempting to game the system to promote their own political agenda (or to mock and deny others’ political agenda). As I read more about the “Sad Puppies” I immediately saw the holes in their arguments – claiming it was about parity while using their posts to denounce the politics of the winners, claiming shadow conspiracies where none existed.
And this year, the year I proudly filled out my first ballot in hopes that the best sci-fi I read this year would be nominated, they succeeded in breaking the system.
Make no mistake, this isn’t a case of simple fans voting for their favorite works, this is an organized movement from a specific ideology with the intent of promoting its own agenda, or at least trolling the awards for LULZ.
One of the nominees, a racist, misogynist fucktard living in tax exile, even trolled me because I dared to say that a novel about prostitutes and transgender characters could actually be a fun story.
What a way to make my first foray into participatory fandom…
I’m honestly torn. There are some authors I respect that managed to get onto the Sad Puppy slate, and I’m not sure how I’m going to approach their nominations. And I don’t want to give the impression that everything is crap in this year’s ballot. There are some amazing works, like Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Sword, and G. Willow Wilson’s reinvention of Ms. Marvel. But in general, my reaction towards the nominations veers towards Hannah’s , from the nominated comic Rat Queens.
I want to be clear, I fully believe everyone, and that includes gamergaters, MRAs, racists and homophobes, have the right to nominate and vote for whatever they want.
But I do take issue both in the way the nominating process was framed as a political struggle for the heart and soul of sci-fi fandom, and frankly because I believe that most of the voters for the Puppy slates did not actually read the works they nominated. I can’t prove that one, but I know how long it took me to read and pick the works I chose, and I find it suspicious that they were able to read a full slate in six weeks.
For a more detailed analysis of the impact of the Sad and Rabid Puppies on the Hugos, I recommend Jason Sanford’s blog. He has several detailed posts that break it down nicely. I won’t link to the frothing rants supporting the Puppies, you can find those on your own.
EDIT Here are a few other links with more background and analysis of the nominations. I am updating these as I find them:
- John Scalzi’s take.
- A wonderful analysis from io9.
- Sad Puppy slate member Matthew David Surridge on why he turned down his nomination.
- And File 770 breaks down just how effective each slate was.
- Django Wexler explains how the Sad Puppies gamed the system without breaking the rule and offers an unusual alternative.
- Sad Puppy target Jim C. Hines weighs in.
- Two members of the Sad Puppy nominee for best semipro zine, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine, Simon Petrie and Sue Bursztynski weigh in. Apparently they were not consulted about being included on the slate and have mixed feelings about their nomination. Those looking to block “No Award” vote should read these posts, as well as Sue’s comment below.
- Campbell nominee Wesley Chu is looking forward to seeing his friends at WorldCon and drinking all the Scotch.
- Elizabeth Bear comes out against slate voting, but is confident it won’t kill fandom.
- Chuck Wendig examines the controversy with his usual amount of profanity and insight.
- Matthew Foster examines the convoluted history that lead to Sad Puppies 3.
- Tor editor Lee Harris weighs in.
- Bookworm Blues laments the award no longer being about art.
Anyway, here are the nominations, just remember that you can vote for No Award. After I read the awards packet I likely will be.
- Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
- The Dark Between the Stars by Kevin J. Anderson (Tor Books)
- The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison (Sarah Monette) (Tor Books)
- Lines of Departure by Marko Kloos (47North)
- Skin Game: A Novel of the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher (Roc Books)
- Big Boys Don’t Cry by Tom Kratman (Castalia House)
- “Flow” by Arlan Andrews, Sr. (Analog, Nov 2014)
- One Bright Star to Guide Them by John C. Wright (Castalia House)
- “Pale Realms of Shade” by John C. Wright (The Book of Feasts & Seasons, Castalia House)
- “The Plural of Helen of Troy” by John C. Wright (City Beyond Time: Tales of the Fall of Metachronopolis, Castalia House)
- “Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium” by Gray Rinehart (Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show, May 2014)
- “Championship B’tok” by Edward M Lerner (Analog, Sept 2014)
- “The Journeyman: In the Stone House” by Michael F. Flynn (Analog, June 2014)
- “The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale” by Rajnar Vajra (Analog, Jul/Aug 2014)
- “Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus” by John C. Wright (The Book of Feasts & Seasons, Castalia House)
Best Short Story
- “Goodnight Stars” by Annie Bellet (The End is Now (Apocalypse Triptych Book 2), Broad Reach Publishing)
- “On A Spiritual Plain” by Lou Antonelli (Sci Phi Journal #2, Nov 2014)
- “The Parliament of Beasts and Birds” by John C. Wright (The Book of Feasts & Seasons, Castalia House)
- “Totaled” by Kary English (Galaxy’s Edge magazine, July 2014)
- “Turncoat” by Steve Rzasa (Riding the Red Horse, Castalia House)
Best Related Work
- “The Hot Equations: Thermodynamics and Military SF” by Ken Burnside (Riding the Red Horse, Castalia House)
- Letters from Gardner by Lou Antonelli (The Merry Blacksmith Press)
- Transhuman and Subhuman: Essays on Science Fiction and Awful Truth by John C. Wright (Castalia House)
- “Why Science is Never Settled” by Tedd Roberts (Baen.com)
- Wisdom from my Internet by Michael Z. Williamson (Patriarchy Press)
Best Graphic Story
- Ms. Marvel Vol 1: No Normal written by G. Willow Wilson, illustrated by Adrian Alphona and Jake Wyatt, (Marvel Comics)
- Rat Queens Volume 1: Sass and Sorcery written by Kurtis J. Weibe, art by Roc Upchurch (Image Comics)
- Zombie Nation Book #2: Reduce Reuse Reanimate by Carter Reid (The Zombie Nation)
- Saga, Volume 3 written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples (Image Comics)
- Sex Criminals, Vol. 1: One Weird Trick written by Matt Fraction, art by Chip Zdarsky (Image Comics)
Dramatic Presentation (Long Form)
- Captain America: The Winter Soldier screenplay by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely, concept and story by Ed Brubaker, directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo ((Marvel Entertainment, Perception, Sony Pictures Imageworks)
- Edge of Tomorrow screenplay by Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth, and John-Henry Butterworth, directed by Doug Liman (Village Roadshow; RatPac-Dune Entertainment; 3 Arts Entertainment; Viz Productions)
- Guardians of the Galaxy written by James Gunn and Nicole Perlman, directed by James Gunn (Marvel Studios, Moving Picture Company)
- Interstellar screenplay by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan, directed by Christopher Nolan (Paramount Pictures, as Warner Bros. Pictures, Legendary Pictures, Lynda Obst Productions, Syncopy)
- The Lego Movie written by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, story by Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman, Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, directed by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller (Warner Bros. Pictures, Village Roadshow Pictures, RatPac-Dune Entertainment, LEGO System A/S, Vertigo Entertainment, Lin Pictures, Warner Bros. Animation (as Warner Animation Group))
Dramatic Presentation (Short Form)
- Doctor Who: “Listen” written by Steven Moffat directed by Douglas Mackinnon (BBC Television)
- The Flash: “Pilot” teleplay by Andrew Kreisberg & Geoff Johns, story by Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg & Geoff Johns, directed by David Nutter (The CW; Berlanti Productions, DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Television)
- Game of Thrones: “The Mountain and the Viper” written by David Benioff & D. B. Weiss, directed by Alex Graves ((HBO Entertainment in association with Bighead, Littlehead; Television 360; Startling Television and Generator Productions)
- Grimm: “Once We Were Gods” written by Alan DiFiore, directed by Steven DePaul (NBC; GK Productions, Hazy Mills Productions, Universal TV)
- Orphan Black: “By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried”written by Graham Manson, directed by John Fawcett (Temple Street Productions, Space/BBC America)
Best Editor (Short Form)
- Jennifer Brozek
- Vox Day
- Mike Resnick
- Edmund R. Schubert
- Bryan Thomas Schmidt
Best Editor (Long Form)
- Vox Day
- Sheila Gilbert
- Jim Minz
- Anne Sowards
- Toni Weisskopf
Best Professional Artist
- Julie Dillon
- Jon Eno
- Nick Greenwood
- Alan Pollack
- Carter Reid
- Abyss & Apex, Wendy Delmater editor and publisher
- Andromeda Spaceways In-Flight Magazine, Andromeda Spaceways Publishing Association Incorporated, 2014 editors David Kernot and Sue Bursztynski
- Lightspeed Magazine, edited by John Joseph Adams, Stefan Rudnicki, Rich Horton, Wendy N. Wagner, and Christie Yant
- Beneath Ceaseless Skies, edited by Scott H. Andrews
- Strange Horizons, Niall Harrison Editor-in-Chief
- Black Gate edited by John O’Neill
- Elitist Book Reviews edited by Steve Diamond
- Journey Planet edited by James Bacon, Chris Garcia, Alissa McKersie, Colin Harris and Helen Montgomery
- The Revenge of Hump Day edited by Tim Bolgeo
- Tangent SF Online edited by Dave Truesdale
- Adventures in SF Publishing Brent Bower (Executive Producer), Kristi Charish, Timothy C. Ward & Moses Siregar III (Co-Hosts, Interviewers and Producers)
- Dungeon Crawlers Radio Daniel Swenson (Producer/Host), Travis Alexander & Scott Tomlin (Hosts), Dale Newton (Host/Tech), Damien Swenson (Audio/Video Tech)
- Galactic Suburbia Podcast Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts (Presenters) and Andrew Finch (Producer)
- The Sci Phi Show Jason Rennie
- Tea and Jeopardy Emma Newman & Peter Newman
Best Fan Writer
- Dave Freer
- Amanda S. Green
- Jeffro Johnson
- Laura J. Mixon
- Cedar Sanderson
Best Fan Artist
- Ninni Aalto
- Brad Foster
- Elizabeth Leggett
- Spring Schoenhuth
- Steve Stiles
Campbell Award for Best New Writer
Award for the best new professional science fiction or fantasy writer of 2013 or 2014, sponsored by Dell Magazines (not a Hugo Award).
- Wesley Chu *
- Jason Cordova
- Kary English *
- Rolf Nelson
- Eric. S. Raymond