Voting for the Hugos

I’m saving my final Hugo ballot here as a reminder for myself of how I voted and a handy collection of links to all my separate posts about the finalists. What this is not is a call for other voters to vote the same way I did.

Some preliminary remarks:

  • There is a No Award option, and I intend to use it in many categories, either as the first choice or somewhere down the preferential steps. I think that if there’s something on the ballot I feel isn’t good enough to be year’s best in SFF, it should be placed under No Award or left off completely (in that case No Award should be the last thing you vote for).
  • There has been (and there probably will always be) some confusion about how the No Award option actually works when you write something under it and leave something off the whole ballot, and what is the best way to vote under this somewhat wacky (although undoubtedly very fair and robust) tranferable votes system. The details can be discussed at lenght (and Kevin Standlee is the man to go to if that interests you), but the best solution is to always assign a number for all the finalists. That maximizes your influence, even though the order of the last couple of candidates seldom makes a difference.
  • I’m not going to write all Rabid and Sad Puppy nominees below No Award, which would have been the solution that people like Steve Davidson of Amazing Stories, Deirdre Saoirse Moen and countless other big genre names have been advocating. I respect their reasoning but I can’t push myself to do that to Lego Movie, no matter what. I think that the best way to send the anti-slate message is supporting the E Pluribus Hugo rule change. Only attending members can vote for it in the Business Meeting though, so all I can do at the moment is rave about it in the Internet. Which is what I’m doing here.

Best Novel

  1. Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie
  2. The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
  3. The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu
  4. Skin Game by Jim Butcher
  5. No Award
  6. The Dark Between the Stars by Kevin J. Anderson

Ancillary Sword ended slightly ahead of Goblin Emperor due to the intelligent space opera sensawunda. Addison’s novel was a treat as well, even though the passive protagonist seemed to succeed in everything a little too easily. It’s a well-written feel-good book, whereas I — the sinister person that I am — would have wanted to see some feel-bad as well. The Three-Body Problem by Chinese author Cixin Liu was an interesting and enjoyably alien read, but the hard SFnal technical expositions were at times a little too much. Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden novel Skin Game is in every way adequate but not a memorable book. I don’t mind seeing any of the first four finalists win, but The Dark Between the Stars was too tedious and, frankly, badly-written, in my opinion.

Best Novella

  1. No Award
  2. “Big Boys Don’t Cry” by Tom Kratman
  3. “Flow” by Arlan Andrews, Sr.
  4. “The Plural of Helen of Troy” by John C. Wright
  5. “One Bright Star to Guide Them” by John C. Wright
  6. “Pale Realms of Shade” by John C. Wright

It’s a pity I didn’t have the time to write about these monuments to human achievement before the voting deadline, but I may go back and do that.

Best Novelette

  1. No Award
  2. “The Day the World Turned Upside Down” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt 6/10
  3. “The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale” by Rajnar Vajra 4.5/10
  4. “Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium” by Gray Rinehart 4/10
  5. “Championship B’tok” by Edward M. Lerner
  6. “The Journeyman: In the Stone House” by Michael F. Flynn 1/10

It was a tough call between No Award and Olde Heuvelt, but in the end I didn’t feel like he earns a Hugo only because the rest of the ballot was taken over by mediocre-to-weak Puppy works. There are so much better novelettes out there, even though “The Day the World Turned Upside Down” is superior compared to the other finalists.

“Championship B’tok” post seems to be missing, but that was just another case of a novel excerpt packaged as a novelette. Sheesh, why bother nominating something like that for Hugo?

Best Short Story

  1. No Award
  2. “Totaled” by Kary English 5/10
  3. “A Single Samurai” by Steven Diamond  3/10
  4. “On A Spiritual Plain” by Lou Antonelli 2.5/10
  5. “Turncoat” by Steve Rzasa 2/10
  6. “The Parliament of Beasts and Birds” by John C. Wright 0/10

Best Related Work

  1. No Award
  2. Letters from Gardner: A Writer’s Odyssey by Lou Antonelli 2/10
  3. “The Hot Equations: Thermodynamics and Military SF” by Ken Burnside 1.5/10
  4. “Why Science is Never Settled” by Tedd Roberts 1.5/10
  5. Transhuman and Subhuman: Essays on Science Fiction and Awful Truth by John C. Wright 0/10
  6. Wisdom from My Internet by Michael Z. Williamson 0/10

This was an awful collection of unrelated and uninteresting texts. In other categories (even the ones where I’m ready to leave the award on the shelf this year), I still feel that I got something out of the reading experience. Not here.

I seem to have contradicted myself when I first described Wisdom from My Internet as “the shittiest unrelated drivel in the history of Hugo Awards” and later Transhuman and Subhuman as “the crappiest Hugo Awards nominee I’ve come across so far”. It’s a close call, but Williamson takes the Worst prize.

Best Graphic Story

  1. Sex Criminals Volume 1: One Weird Trick 9/10
  2. Saga Volume 3 9/10
  3. Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal 8/10
  4. Rat Queens Volume 1: Sass and Sorcery 5/10
  5. No Award
  6. The Zombie Nation Book #2: Reduce Reuse Reanimate 4/10

Best Dramatic Presentation: Long Form

  1. Interstellar
  2. The Lego Movie 9/10
  3. Edge of Tomorrow 8/10
  4. Guardians of the Galaxy 7/10
  5. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (4/10)

I never came around to reviewing Interstellar — a great movie I saw last year and have only vague but extremely fond memories of — but I guess everybody has seen it and has an opinion already, so another Interstellar review is just a waste of web space. I think it’s probably the best science fiction movie of all time.

Best Dramatic Presentation: Short Form

  1. Orphan Black: “By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried” 8/10
  2. Doctor Who: “Listen” 8/10
  3. Game of Thrones: “The Mountain and the Viper” 8/10
  4. Grimm: “Once We Were Gods” 6/10
  5. The Flash: “Pilot” 5/10

This was a terribly close three-way race for the first place, but this time I decided to root for Orphan Black.

Best Editor: Short Form

  1. No Award
  2. Jennifer Brozek
  3. Bryan Thomas Schmidt
  4. Mike Resnick
  5. Vox Day

Too many important names are missing and that’s why I’m voting No Award.

Edmund R. Schubert has withdrawn, so I left him out. Brozek and Schmidt are first here because they had interesting things to say in an interview on Adventures in SciFi Publishing podcast. I don’t know much of author Mike Resnick’s editing chops, but I imagine he is not on the ballot because of them but due to what happened with the SFWA Bulletin some time ago.

Best Editor: Long Form

  1. Sheila Gilbert
  2. Anne Sowards
  3. Jim Minz
  4. Toni Weisskopf
  5. No Award
  6. Vox Day

Ranking novel editors feels a bit absurd, but here we go.

Best Professional Artist

  1. Julie Dillon
  2. Nick Greenwood
  3. No Award
  4. Alan Pollack
  5. Carter Reid
  6. Kirk DouPonce

Dillon is last year’s Hugo winner and very good at what she does. Greenwood’s work wasn’t bad.

Best Semiprozine

  1. Lightspeed Magazine
  2. Strange Horizons
  3. Beneath Ceaseless Skies
  4. Andromeda Spaceways In-Flight Magazine
  5. Abyss & Apex

All well worth reading, in my opinion. The first three are extremely good and on another day their order could have been different.

Best Fanzine

  1. Journey Planet
  2. Tangent SF Online
  3. Elitist Book Reviews
  4. No Award
  5. The Revenge of Hump Day

Journey Planet is easily the most interesting of these publications. Black Gate would have been able to put up a fight here, but they chose to withdraw because of Puppy-related embarrassment.

Tangent SF Online and The Revenge of Hump Day were probably on the Puppy ballots as a sort of payback for, respectively, the public outcry following Tangent’s umm… let us say fatherly review of the Women Destroy Science Fiction issue of Lightspeed and the disinvitation of Tim Bolgeo (the guy behind The Revenge of Hump Day) as a Fan Guest of Honor in Archon after accusations of racism. However, I chose to place Tangent second and well above No Award, because I think all venues in which short SFF fiction is discussed are important.

As far as I can see, Tangent’s short fiction reviews are quite good, even if the editor’s attitudes smell a bit aged. Take a look at their 2014 Recommended Reading List, for example. Tangent lists noteworthy stories in four categories (0, 1, 2 and 3 stars), and I couldn’t resist counting that together all the 14 Puppy finalists get four mentions and one star. In contrast, the five short story nominations I made myself (none of which made the final ballot, obviously) collect three mentions and eight stars. The Tangent seems like a useful resource for finding the sort of fiction I’d enjoy, and I plan to take a look at some of the three-star stories I haven’t read yet.

There was nothing terribly amiss with Elitist Book Reviews either, even though they seem to generally like books that I don’t and I found their practice of discussing recommended age and levels of offensive language, violence and sex amusingly over-protective. You don’t really have to be 16 to be able to read a curse word, do you? However, they’re number three.

Best Fancast

  1. Galactic Suburbia Podcast
  2. Adventures in SciFi Publishing
  3. Tea and Jeopardy
  4. Dungeon Crawlers Radio
  5. No Award
  6. The Sci Phi Show

The Australian Galactic Suburbia Podcast is the most interesting podcast here and I’ve listened to it occasionally since I discovered it last year. I like the opinionated hosts and sheer geek enthusiasm — may they live long and prosper. Adventures in SciFi Publishing is more like an actual radio news program and it covers a lot of ground with different guests. It’s quite professional thing for a fan effort. Other podcasts I don’t have much to say about and I don’t really enjoy listening to that sort of stuff, but I don’t hold that against Tea and Jeopardy or Dungeon Crawlers Radio. The Sci Phi Show is shameless Christian propaganda.

Best Fan Writer

  1. Laura J. Mixon
  2. Jeffro Johnson 6/10
  3. No Award
  4. Cedar Sanderson 3/10
  5. Dave Freer 1.5/10
  6. Amanda S. Green 1/10

I discussed this category in the Mixon post.

Best Fan Artist

  1. Ninni Aalto
  2. Elizabeth Leggett
  3. Steve Stiles
  4. Brad W. Foster
  5. Spring Schoenhuth

The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer

  1. Wesley Chu
  2. No Award
  3. Kary English
  4. Jason Cordova
  5. Rolf Nelson
  6. Eric S. Raymond

Wesley Chu is great author, and the only Campbell-worthy person in this bunch.

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One thought on “Voting for the Hugos

  1. Pingback: Pixel Scroll 7/31 Happy Hour at Paulk’s Tavern | File 770

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