Tag Archives: about: hugo awards

Hugo Awards, Pt. 2 – Thursday Thoughts #4

Thursday ThoughtsOn Thursdays, I take a break from reviewing books to share my thoughts on all things books, fandom, and random. All opinions are my own. Yours may differ. Feel free to respectfully disagree and discuss in the comments.

What’s in a Ballot

During the nomination period, I wrote about the Hugo Awards here in this space. I explained what they are, why I’m interested in them, and some of the drama surrounding the awards that hit a head last year. While many of us wanted to believe we could be spared some of the same issues this year, I know I knew it was unlikely to happen.

The finalists were announced in April. While the ballot doesn’t look as bad as last year (there aren’t nearly as many categories that were swept by the slate), there are some really troubling nominations. In the Best Related Work category, for example, not only are there several works not deserving of award consideration, but some of them are outright attacks on people.

In some categories, the slate included some deserving works. I’ll be honest that I didn’t look at the slate until after the finalists were announced. And there were maybe three nominations I made that were also on the ballot. So it’s not all bad, right?

Don’t Be Fooled

Let’s face it: the real reasons that the Rapid Puppies slate exists are that Vox Day feels he is deserving of an Hugo Award and it bothers him that so many people he despises (John Scalzi, women in general, etc.) get the recognition he wants. Yes, he will say his crusade is to stop people from being nominated because of who they are and instead focus on the merit of their work. And yet, his name shows up several times on the ballot he created. And most of the works are published by Castalia House, where he is both a writer and an editor. So even if we accept that his crusade is about “merit,” it’s very clear that to him “merit” means “me and my people.”

No Award?

I expect that we will see No Award at least a couple of times this year. I don’t think we’ll reach (or beat) the record of 5 non-awards in a single ceremony. But what is truly frustrating is that this crusade doesn’t do anything to help the awards. The people who support the slate say they’re trying to fix a broken system. But what it does is not only rob some deserving individuals of recognition on the ballot, it also robs fandom and the World Science Fiction Society from celebrating great works together. None of us want to see a category with No Award. That’s no fun. But the members have shown that they will use it when they feel nothing on the ballot is worthy of consideration. Or when they are forced to consider works that are, quite frankly, abhorrent.

Hope for the Future

I mentioned in my last post on this topic that some rule changes were put forward at last year’s WorldCon. Those changes were debated, refined, and approved. But any changes to the constitution must be ratified by a second convention business meeting. Those items will be on this year’s agenda, and I am excited to say I will be there in the room advocating for much-needed reform.

What I like best about the reforms suggested, though, is that they aren’t necessarily focused on just minimizing the impact of a slate. What they actually do is give each individual member as much of a voice in the final ballot as possible, not just favoring the most popular works. The fact that it also makes it far less likely for a slate to sweep a ballot (unless other members also feel those works are deserving), is just an added benefit.

What’s Next?

Well, voting is open and I’ve been catching up on some of the things on the ballot that I haven’t seen/heard/read. Voting closes at the end of July and we’ll find out the results in August. (And again, I’m very excited to be attending my first ceremony in person at MidAmericon II in Kansas City.)

You’ll probably see some reviews in the coming weeks for some of the books that are finalists that I’m still catching up on. A few have already been here on the blog. And maybe we’ll have a Thursday Thoughts roundup with my final ballot once I have it all sorted and submitted. 🙂

Hugo Awards – Thursday Thoughts #1

Thursday Thoughts

On Thursdays, I take a break from reviewing books to share my thoughts on all things books, fandom, and random. All opinions are my own. Yours may differ. Feel free to respectfully disagree and discuss in the comments.

The Hugo Awards

Those who’ve followed the blog for a year or longer know this. I am a Hugo Awards voter, and I get excited about the awards season. That means I do discuss them on the blog. And since we’re currently in the nomination period, why not start tis series with the Hugos as a topic?

What are the Hugo Awards?

The Hugo Awards are a fan-driven honor for science fiction creators. They honor both fans and professionals in several categories. The World Science Fiction Society (WSFS) presents the Hugos. All WSFS members may nominate and vote. Membership is available to each years Worldcon, at both attending and supporting rates.

Members spend the start of each year looking at the previous year in science fiction and fantasy. And many members take the time to recommend nominations to others. Usually nominations close in March, with the finalists announced in April. Voters then spend the next several months checking out any finalists they missed before. A committee collects and tallies the votes. The awards ceremony takes place at Worldcon with a livestream available online.

Wasn’t there some major drama last year?

There is drama surrounding the Hugos every year. I think most awards have this to some extent. With the ability to vote being so open, many people feel more ownership of the awards. And when the awards don’t turn out the way they want, some people feel particularly scorned.

Some vocal fans haven’t liked the ballot’s more recent increased diversity (creators and stories). They’ve organized a group to stuff the nominating process with a specific slate. Last year this led to many of those nominees becoming finalists. And because many Hugo voters did not appreciate this, they made use of a seldom-used option: No Award. If voters feel all or some finalists aren’t worthy of the award, they can include “No Award” on their ballot. Since the rule started in 1959 through 2014, No Award was only voted 5 times. Last year that number doubled as it was voted in 5 categories in a single year.

There’s much more to the whole story. It generated a lot of thoughtful commentary (including a series of posts by George R. R. Martin). If you wish to go down that rabbit hole, it’s not difficult to find it. And I want to stop there to focus on this year’s awards.

What’s the scoop for this year?

There were proposals made last year to change the nominating process. Amending the WSFS constitution needs approval two years in a row, so nothing’s changed yet.

We’re currently in this year’s nominating period (through the end of March). I’m already close to having my ballot completed, and when it’s done I will share it here. Every novel and novella on my ballot gets a review here. Some shorter fiction doesn’t, because I find reviewing short stories to be a challenge. The categories like editor don’t lend themselves to review. And I don’t review movies or tv shows here. So anything that doesn’t have a review will include a brief statement of nomination.

If you’re a fan of science fiction and fantasy, I encourage you to consider thinking about the Hugos. The deadline to be a member to nominate this year passed. But the Hugos happen every year, so you haven’t missed out forever.

On the Quest to Find the Best Science Fiction & Fantasy of 2014: The Locus Awards

I’ve shared before that I don’t feel this year’s Hugo Awards ballot truly represents what readers and fans see as the “best” of Science Fiction & Fantasy in 2014.  This is certainly a personal opinion, but of the dialogue that has occurred online since the ballot was announced is any indication, I’m not even close to alone in this assessment.  In light of this, I’ve been looking for other sources to find great recommendations that might help guide me in finding some of the “best” works that I’ve yet to read. I’ve looked at blogs, I’ve taken recommendations from friends and readers, and I’ve even read some additional works just to see where I think they rate.

One source that I think closely resembles what the Hugo Awards ballot may have looked like if it hadn’t been gamed is the list of Locus Awards Finalists.  Like the Hugos, the Locus Awards are also fan-driven, with nominations open to anyone (though additional weight is given to nominations by subscribers of the Locus Online magazine) but some of the categories are different, providing some unique lists and, in some cases, space to recognize additional works (see that Locus subdivides Best Novel into separate Science Fiction and Fantasy categories, where the Hugo does not).

Interestingly, there are only two works on this list that I personally nominated for the Hugo:

  • The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison (is on the Hugo ballot)
  • City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett

Despite this, I look through this list and feel far more comfortable with its composition. The nominees here make sense.  Many of them are works I’ve heard of or when I look into them further, I can understand why they were nominated.  There are no questions of quality for me here and nothing close to the questions surrounding integrity that exist on the Hugo front.  I’ll definitely be pulling several titles from this list to read in my spare time (ha!) over the next few months and will be looking forward to seeing who takes home these awards in June.

The Best SF/F of 2014…

Due to the ridiculousness of what happened yesterday with the Hugo Awards ballot, I just wanted to take a moment to say that I still look forward to discussing and celebrating excellent science fiction and fantasy works during the voting period, regardless of the slate of nominees.  I’ll be featuring a number of works here on the blog and am certainly open to hearing from others about things they enjoyed that missed making the ballot, as well.

My Final Hugo Nominations Ballot

The nominating period for the 2015 Hugo Awards has closed.  While we anxiously away the announcement of the final slate on April 4, I figured I’d share my final list of nominations that I submitted into the mix.  Everything on here is something I would recommend checking out, so it seems in keeping with the spirit of this blog, regardless of which of these end up on the final ballot.

Continue reading

Some Tenative Hugo Nominations, Part 2

As the deadline for Hugo nominations is rapidly approaching (one week!), I’m continuing to think about my ballot and what should end up on it.  Last week, I looked at the dramatic presentation categories.  This week, I’ve been wrapping my thoughts around the written fiction categories and I figure I’ll share what that list is shaping up to be.  Some of these have been reviewed here and some of them have reviews forthcoming.  But since my goal here is mostly to share where my thoughts are and give others some nominees to think about (rather than advocating for any specific works to end up on the final ballot), I’m sharing them here without comment.

I’ll be back next week with my final complete ballot and then will be ready to play the waiting game!

Continue reading

Some Tentative Hugo Nominations, Part 1

A few weeks ago, I discussed my excitement for the Hugo Awards nomination period.  As the nomination deadline draws nearer (March 10), that excitement is only continuing to build as I’ve been building and refining my personal slate of nominations.  Today, I want to explore the dramatic presentation categories and my current list.  It’s unlikely these will change much at this point, while I’m still continuing to read some last minute novels and novellas that have been recommended for consideration.  (I also recognize these aren’t books, but bear with me.)

Continue reading

The Hugo Awards: Nominations are Open!

The 2015 Worldcon (World Science Fiction Convention), to be held in Spokane, Washington, USA in August, has opened nominations for the Hugo Awards and the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.  The awards are given annually and are sponsored by the World Science Fiction Society (WSFS).  One of the wonderful things about these awards is that any member of Worldcon can nominate and vote on the awards in all categories.

The Hugos are awarded in the following categories:

  • Best Novel (40k words or more)
  • Best Novella (17.5k words to 39,999 words)
  • Best Novelette (7.5k words to 17,499 words)
  • Best Short Story (less than 7.5k words)
  • Best Related Work
  • Best Graphic Story
  • Best Dramatic Presentation – Long Form (90+ minutes)
  • Best Dramatic Presentation – Short Form (<90 minutes)
  • Best Editor – Long Form
  • Best Editor – Short Form
  • Best Professional Artist
  • Best Semiprozine
  • Best Fanzine
  • Best Fancast
  • Best Fan Writer
  • Best Fan Artist

The John W. Campbell Award is presented and awarded along with the Hugos, but its rules are not governed by the WSFS,

Eligible works are generally those released during the last calendar year (so we’re looking at 2014 releases here), but you can see the full eligibility details for more information.

Are you someone who enjoys science fiction and fantasy in its myriad forms?  Do you have opinions on what was clearly the best of the best in 2014?

To be eligible to participate in nominations, you must meet at least one of the following criteria by January 31, 2015:

  • Attending or Supporting member of the 2014 Worldcon (Loncon 3);
  • Attending or Supporting member of the 2015 Worldcon (Sasquan); or
  • Attending or Supporting member of the 2016 Worldcon (MidAmeriCon II)

Supporting memberships to Sasquan are available for USD40.  To be eligible to vote in this year’s awards (after nominations are completed and the final ballot is determined) you must be an Attending or Supporting member of Sasquan.

I’ll be sharing some of my thoughts on a few categories over the coming weeks as we approach the nominating deadline of March 10.  I don’t think I talked about the Hugos on the blog at all last year, so I’m excited to do so this time around.