The Puppy-Free Hugo Award Voter’s Guide

The Hugo Awards

Update: Includes changes announced after initial nominations were announced. The only puppy-free slate changes are in the Best Novel and Best Novelette category. Ineligibility changes at File 770. Withdrawal changes at File 770.

Update 2: I’ve added those who withdrew after the final ballot into their respective categories below (because some people will be ranking choices after No Award and may wish to take these names into account). Also, for reference, here is the full ballot.

Follow, or don’t, your choice. If you are voting the strict ix-nay uppy-pay slate, here’s the options in each category:

Best Novel

Ancillary Sword, Ann Leckie (Orbit US/Orbit UK)
The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison (Sarah Monette) (Tor Books)
The Three-Body Problem, Cixin Liu, Ken Liu translator (Tor Books)
(in whichever order, followed by No Award)

Best Novella

No Award

Best Novelette

The Day The World Turned Upside Down by Thomas Olde Heuvelt, Lia Belt translator (Lightspeed Magazine, April 2014)
No Award

Best Short Story

No Award

Best Related Work

No Award

Best Graphic Story

Ms. Marvel Volume 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)
Saga Volume 3, written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples (Image Comics)
Sex Criminals Volume 1: One Weird Trick, written by Matt Fraction, art by Chip Zdarsky (Image Comics)
(in whichever order, followed by No Award)

Best 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)
(all other nominees were part of the Sad/Rabid Puppies slate. Suggest following the above two, either order, with No Award)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

Doctor Who: “Listen”, written by Steven Moffat, directed by Douglas Mackinnon (BBC Television)
Orphan Black: “By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried”, written by Graham Manson, directed by John Fawcett (Temple Street Productions, Space/BBC America)
(all other nominees were part of the Sad/Rabid Puppies slate. Suggest following the above two, either order, with No Award)

Best Editor, Short Form

No Award
Withdrew: Edmund R. Schubert

Best Editor, Long Form

No Award

Best Professional Artist

Julie Dillon
(followed by No Award)

Best Semiprozine

Beneath Ceaseless Skies, edited by Scott H. Andrews
Lightspeed Magazine, edited by John Joseph Adams, Stefan Rudnicki, Rich Horton, Wendy N. Wagner, and Christie Yant
Strange Horizons, Niall Harrison, editor-in-chief
(followed by No Award)

Best Fanzine

Journey Planet, edited by James Bacon, Christopher J Garcia, Lynda E. Rucker, Pete Young, Colin Harris, and Helen J.Montgomery
(followed by No Award)
Withdrew: Black Gate, edited by John O’Neill

Best Fancast

Galactic Suburbia Podcast, Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts (Presenters) and Andrew Finch (Producer)
Tea and Jeopardy, Emma Newman and Peter Newman
(followed by No Award)

Best Fan Writer

Laura J. Mixon
(followed by No Award)

Best Fan Artist

This is the only puppy-free category (as it wasn’t on their slate)! Congrats to the nominees!
Ninni Aalto
Brad W. Foster
Elizabeth Leggett
Spring Schoenhuth
Steve Stiles

John W. Campbell Award (not a Hugo)

Wesley Chu
(followed by No Award)

You’re free to comment, but if you’re going to send hate comments, I’m just going to block you from commenting ever.

Note: After posting this, Rick told me later about this File 770 post, which analyzes the issue differently and compares the Sad/Rabid Puppies slates.


Sir Pterry declined his nomination in 2005. Many of the comments are interesting too, including the one that J. K. Rowling and Terry Pratchett trailed just behind John Scalzi and Charles Stross in 2008.


  1. says

    Steve Stiles! Steve Stiles! Steve Stiles!

    Huh. That’s odd. Steve Stiles just appeared behind me. Guess I shouldn’t have posted this looking in the mirror.

  2. Mike Kerpan says

    I can see doing this for the written categories, but for the BDP (both short and long) categories, at least, I would vote normally. There was significant overlap with the Puppy Lists, but the end result seems to match pretty closely with what non-Puppy lists would look like. Is there anyone who thinks that Guardians of the Galaxy or the Game of Thrones wouldn’t have made it without the puppy invasion?


    • says

      Hard to say until we see the nomination breakdown after the awards are presented. I agree that both clearly could have made it on a puppy-free slate, but whether or not they actually did is unknown by anyone other than the Hugo administrators.

      • Sandy Pettinger says

        How will you know even then? Names (or membership numbers) are not on the nom. forms when they’re counted. They stay with the forms only until they’re validated as an eligible member, then are removed for actual counting.

        • says

          You might be surprised how long small block voting has been going on in Hugo nominations. In fact, I was having a conversation with a former Hugo administrator about it last night.

          The thing is, it’s usually only in a category or two, and usually either not enough to add a single nominated work, or just enough to add a single nominated work.

  3. Michael Harper says

    I agree with almost all, until we get to the long form dramatic. James Gunn is a friend, so I’d vote for Guardians of the Galaxy on those grounds, plus it’s a fun movie. Bugger the Puppies. I don’t have a single fuck to give who is on whose slate. I vote for the work, not the person. By the same token, I cannot abide Vox Day, and I’d drop a planet on his house if I could. Man’s a misogynistic pig, and that’s an insult to swine. I’d prefer it if the Puppies went away and we got back to the real focus, the work itself.

    • says

      I don’t vote for (or against) friends because they’re friends. I may be more likely to have read (or seen in this case) someone’s work because they’re a friend. Because of that, I’m more likely to nominate a friend.

      I certainly know a lot of people on the ballot. Been shooting with Eric S. Raymond, even. Know Chris Garcia and Spring from Basfa and a billion conventions. Gunn and Laura J. Mixon were writing workshop mentors.

      But even I’m not voting the strict ix-nay uppy-pay list, as there are works/people among the remaining 24 I wouldn’t vote for on any final ballot (because they don’t fit my definition of a Hugo).

      • Jon Baker says

        On the BDP nominations, I think more instructive is to compare against the Nebula nominee lists, since even after Sasquan, we won’t see who voted for what. And the BDP lists are pretty similar for both forms between the Nebulas and the Hugos. Unlike the short fiction categories, where there is no overlap between the SP lists and the Nebula lists; usually at least half the stories appear on both nominee lists.

    • says

      A bunch of progressive-hating writers decided to nominate works as a bloc.

      I do not support bloc voting of slates. I don’t care who proposes bloc votes. I myself tend to only propose items (at least in recent years, when I’ve had more people listening) that I believe would otherwise be completely overlooked.

      As, for example, James Mickens’s “The Slow Winter” was one piece I put forth last year. It wasn’t nominated.

      • vinnie says

        I don’t think of it as a block. I haven’t read them all. I will not vote a block. I will vote what I like(not this year. I was to late to sign up) I will vote for good stories. That is all.

  4. says

    Thank you so much for posting this. I wasn’t aware of this puppy issue until last night, and it upset me. The list I had then was incomplete I see now, so I need to make a new post on my blog. So, thanks again!

  5. says

    Anyone who votes “No Award” without reading all of the works presented is doing more to damage the integrity of the Hugos than any slate ever published by anyone.

    That said, looking at the data from last year shows that the voting pattern is anything BUT a Block. If it were a block, you’d think that all the suggested items across all the categories would get similar numbers of votes, but they did not. Not by a long shot. We’ll have to wait until August this year to know for sure, but I expect it will be similar, given the number of voters who said they only voted for those items they had actually read (as it should be).

    • says

      Anyone who votes “No Award” without reading all of the works presented is doing more to damage the integrity of the Hugos than any slate ever published by anyone.

      I disagree.

      One can feel, for example, that the category should not exist. Some hard-core lit fans have voted “No Award” for dramatic presentation categories for years. And it’s pretty well documented that Best Fancast was created to keep “those” people out of the fanzine categories. There are other examples.

      In my case, I personally feel that slates voted edit: nominated en masse should not be awarded Hugos. Many people, including John Scalzi feel differently. Also note: if this were a progressive slate consisting of a lot of my friends (not all of whom are progressive), I’d still feel the same way.

      I actually will at least try to read all the nominees I have access to, though I won’t pay for any of the puppy choices. I have actually been intending to read The Dresden Files (I loved the TV series), but I haven’t gotten around to it. The distinction is that this year, I’m going to read the puppy slate nominees after voting closes.

      Personally, I’ve only used “No Award” a couple of times, and the only case I can recall specifically was about site selection. Why vote then? Because voting affects membership price in the resulting convention.

      I have traditionally not voted in the Graphic Story category—not because I think it’s not a worthy category, but because it’s one that doesn’t speak to me. This year, like last year (when Randall Munroe won for an xkcd comic), I’ll have a go at it.

      That said, looking at the data from last year shows that the voting pattern is anything BUT a Bloc.

      It’s notable, for example, that Vox Day came in sixth after “No Award” last year.

      There were fewer Sad Puppies on the final ballot, so it may also be that some people who’d had a Supporting membership in the prior year’s convention (making them eligible to nominate, but not vote in last year’s convention) didn’t vote.

      At the time of the final voting, preferential balloting does work against people when they manage to get nominations in bulk. Voters have to rank them, and different people will rank them differently.

      • Craig says

        Just curious: Did you no-vote Scalzi’s slate when he & Stross were co-promoting?

        It’s a misnomer that either of them had a “slate.” They both had open threads where people could recommend works, including their own. Both authors also did the stereotypical author thing of letting people know what they had published in the last year that was eligible. I find those posts helpful because I often read work published in prior years.

        Dr. Mauser’s point is not about the final voting I believe, but the nominations count. Chaos Horizon has the analysis, but basically while there looks like there may be a strong correlation between nominations for LC and Toni Weisskopf, there isn’t nearly as strong a correlation for other things on the supposed SP 2 slate, with some on it receiving only about a third of the nominations of LC (without looking at the raw ballots, I don’t think you can tell if that third is a third who consistently copied the slate, or different groups whose taste overlapped at the high end).

        Ah, I wasn’t really aware we were cross-talking about different years. (I’ve been very tired and jetlagged, and I’m always exhausted at cons even without an 8-hour time difference.)

        This nomination effort was labelled a ‘hate slate’ because Correia liked a middling story by Vox Day, and people on Correia’s personal ballot were vilified just because they were on Correia’s ballot. Correia was himself vilified online and in the Guardian to the point that people were calling his wife to see if she needed to be rescued from him. An SFWA member said she hoped all Larry’s fans would “die in a fire”.

        I would never call it a hate slate, and I don’t support such language from any side about any side. Last year, I was co-head of programming for Westercon, where Larry Correia was one of our honored guests. Our programming assistant, Kate, had Larry do a favor for her at a previous con, and he earned her eternal loyalty.

        If people had reacted calmly last year (especially in terms of even just reading the pieces NOT by LC or Vox on the merits, and NOT playing the online slander game), this year plays out very differently. Even if LC still loses by a bunch and Vox still gets no awarded. But they didn’t. And we are where we are.

        Larry Correia withdrew his name from the nomination pool, btw.

        Being where we are is to me not good, especially since next year is likely a re-escalation whatever occurs. With people on all of the various sides, as always, taking the worst behavior of anyone on the “other side” and claiming it is emblematic of the whole group, while bad behavior from someone on their side is minimized to the individual, and minimized again as being somehow different. So each side pulls away into a separate camp.

        I don’t know what will happen, but it will be an interesting business meeting.

        On a completely different note, I’ve been planning to de-emphasize “science fiction and fantasy writer” from various aspects of my web site. It’s not that I will write any less SF/F, nor am I planning to leave SFWA. It’s just that, overall, I write less SF/F than non-SF/F, I’ve been paid less for SF/F than other genres. The training I received in SF/F was, however, key to making that income, so being an SF/F writer has been helpful in other ways. But a more accurate term is just “writer.”

        I can’t help but feel that that shift to more correctly label reality would be seen as a triumph by other parties, even though that has nothing to do with it.

        • Craig says

          I was referring to the reaction to SP2, and how it influenced this year, for pretty much the whole post. SP2 is similar to the Stross/Scalzi (a few nominations of works the poster liked), though SP3 is a level beyond.

          In particular, what I was trying to say is that I suspect the reaction to SP2 generated at least a touch of “If you think that’s what a slate looks like, let me show you what a slate really looks like” towards what we have this year.

          And, again, exacerbated by people (on all sides) reacting against the worst of those not on their side were endemic of all of them.

          In all of this, if my post came off as if I was implicating you as bearing any responsibility for the overreaction of others, I apologize. While i don’t always agree with you, I do find you generally try to be fair in disagreement, which is more than most (sometimes including myself).

          • says

            Ahh, okay, I get your point now. Sorry, I totally missed that.

            I know we don’t always agree, Craig, but I do respect you. I’m not always fair in the moment, but I try to be thoughtful.

            One of the things learning to be a writer has taught me is more empathy for people whose starting assumptions aren’t the same as my own. It probably also doesn’t hurt that I’ve politically been all over the map at various points in my life, and went through quite a few religious phases as well. So I’ve seen a lot of perspectives.

      • says

        Actually, Larry Correia was nominated this year, but declined the nomination. He didn’t want this to be about him, so he opened up a slot for someone else for best Novel.

        I wonder though, about your decision re Butcher. What if, after the voting closes, you read Skin Game and realize that it was really, really good, and you should have voted it as your first choice? (Or maybe second). It’s not like he went out and ASKED to be on Brad’s list (or Vox’s). So why punish him, and make yourself a lessened-information voter?

        The fact that a lot of people looked at Brad’s list does not mean they were COMPELLED by it. Every nominating member is an individual actor, and responsible for his or her own choices, and if last year is any indication, or the comments people have placed on various threads about the list, they were more a herd of cats than sheep. After all, how else could it be that each had 9 items that failed to make it?

        But my biggest objection is to the other people who are specifically trying to sink authors just because they were suggested. (And remember, these slates came with a strong admonition to not just cut and paste ’em in, but to choose what you really think should be nominated, and that one should read them first before nominating).

        It’s one thing to abstain from a category. No Award is something very different. And the reason they’re giving for it is illogical.

        Anyway, next year the torch will be passed yet again, it won’t be Correia or Torgerson handling things. Correia did emphasize politics specifically to force the other side to admit they were the other side. Torgerson chose to cover a broad spectrum, liberal, conservative, libertarian, and apolitical (Butcher has only ever said that his politics are between him and the voting booth), which proved that the other side was motivated by blind hatred. That they revealed their elitism was merely a bonus. But there’s no blindness worse than willful blindness. If authors are sunk below No Award without having been read, that is a crime against the award.

        Think of it as someone in a Jury voting someone the Death Sentence because they didn’t like his looks, or politics, regardless of the evidence of his guilt or innocence. If someone is going to take his or her responsibility as a Hugo voter seriously, they are obligated to evaluate every candidate on the ballot, purely on the basis of it’s SFnal merit.

        • says

          I wonder though, about your decision re Butcher. What if, after the voting closes, you read Skin Game and realize that it was really, really good, and you should have voted it as your first choice?

          I’m a writer, and I’ve been an editor, and I’ve been through the grad school regimen, I’ve been through Clarion. While I haven’t read The Dresden Files series, I did start reading the first chapter of the first book…and put it down in the middle of the first chapter and never got back to it. So it didn’t grab me, probably for writerly reasons I could tell you more about if I bothered to re-read it and refresh my memory.

          Usually, volumes deep into a series don’t hold up well when read on their own. So, in order to be fair to Mr. Butcher, I’d have to read the preceding 14 volumes, which is more than I’m willing to commit to at this point in time.

          • Anthony says

            Dr. Mauser says “they are obligated to evaluate every candidate on the ballot, purely on the basis of it’s SFnal merit.” I’d agree. That, however, doesn’t mean “read every work all the way through”. If I couldn’t get through the first chapter of a novel, and put it down, I’d consider that a fair evaluation of the novel.

            Also, evaluate it on its merit. If Book 14 of a series of which I’ve read none of the previous books doesn’t hold up on its own, I would not feel compelled to read Books 1 – 13 to evaluate whether Book 14 was good in context. If you think your book needs that kind of context, nominate the entire Wheel of Time series.

            • says

              The entire Dresden Files is now no longer eligible because it no longer meets the special rule (where if no book of a series receives a nomination, then the whole finished series is eligible).

              Also, this is book 15, not 14.

              As an editor, I learned to reject on page one a good half the time. Sometimes, it was the first sentence. I know that sounds harsh, but it really has to be like that to get through all the incoming manuscripts.

              Also, some sentences really are that bad. (I once received two manuscripts in a row with unintentional flying trees in the first sentence. What are the odds?)

              • WomanWhoWeaves says

                The first book of the The Dresden Files is definitely the weakest. It really hits its stride at about book 3. Even the author often recommends that people start there and then go back and read the first two if they like that one. I have been reading the series since 2006 when I consumed the first 5 (or was it 6?) on a business trip.

                • says

                  That’s useful specific guidance, thanks.

                  Edited to add: a friend DMed me on Twitter said that she found the books a slog until the 4th book. She and I have fairly similar reading tastes, so I may start there when I get around to it.

                • proxieme says

                  I’ve got to agree with the above (and your friend’s Twitter rec). Book 1 is not good. Books 2-3 are passable but weak. The series finds its stride by 4.

          • BryanP says

            The first couple of books in the series are decent, but not great. It gets much better. While they are very different, I would say the same about the first couple of Discworld books or early Bujold.

            • says

              It’s not unusual for a writer to improve, so that doesn’t surprise me.

              I kind of like first novels. They’re like lumpy gravy: promising at points, and disappointing in others.

              • Sunscour says

                OK, sorry for the zig to the side….. lumpy gravy,… Now I know what to have for dinner!!
                Breakfast for dinner!!!
                Sorry, back to the discussion at hand…..

                • says

                  Sunscour wrote:

                  OK, sorry for the zig to the side….. lumpy gravy,… Now I know what to have for dinner!!

                  Take off every ‘zig’! You know what you doing. Move ‘zig’. For great justice.

                  (Sorry, I have 1989 flashbacks from time to time. Check out that crazy action at the Berlin Wall, folks.)

          • says

            Deirdre wrote:

            Usually, volumes deep into a series don’t hold up well when read on their own. So, in order to be fair to Mr. Butcher, I’d have to read the preceding 14 volumes.

            No, you don’t. Unless you’re uncommonly bothered by passing chunks of unexplained back-reference, Skin Game can be enjoyed on its own merits pretty much the way Mirror Dance or Memory can be enjoyed more than well enough without having started with Shards of Honor and The Warrior’s Apprentice. I’m reading Skin Game now, and think it entirely accessible even though I’m doubtless not quite getting some fine points without having plowed through novels 1-14 to get there.

            Fair use extends far enough to let me quote Butcher’s opening. You be the judge:

            There was a ticking time bomb inside my head and the one person I trusted to go in and get it out hadn’t shown up or spoken to me for more than a year.

            That’s a lot of time to start asking yourself questions. Who am I? What have I done with my life?

            Who can I trust?

            That last one is a doozy. It haunts you in moments of doubt. Sometimes when you wake up at night, you wonder if you’ve put your faith in the right people. Sometimes when you find yourself alone, for whatever reason, you review every little thing you know about someone, searching your memory for small, subtle things that you may have missed about them.

            • says

              What I meant by “fair” was that I’d generally vote a work in a series higher when I’ve read the preceding volumes. I’m expecting that most of the nominators have read at least most of them.

      • Marc DuQuesne says

        “In my case, I personally feel that slates voted edit: nominated en masse should not be awarded Hugos. Many people, including John Scalzi feel differently. Also note: if this were a progressive slate consisting of a lot of my friends (not all of whom are progressive), I’d still feel the same way.”

        Here’s another obvious slate that should be taken into account

        Knocks out 2 of the novels, leaving just The Three-Body Problem. Takes out all of the remaining Professional Artists and Semiprozines.

        • says

          “If you’re unfamiliar with any of the items, I highly encourage you to check them out.”

          Sorry, no evidence it led to bloc voting, nor was it a call to bloc voting. Also, it’s the first I’ve heard of it. I have ADoI on my RSS feed list, but got really behind on that sections of feeds.

          Though, in general, I’m not in favor of saying what one voted nominated for until after nominations close.

            • says

              I’ve been in the middle of writing a post on voting slates and blocs, disinformation campaigns, and asymmetric information warfare.

              In part, the purpose of the post was to head off at the pass some of what I foresee might occur next year, and how to evaluate some random person’s voting suggestion vs. a slate vs. an intentional disinformation campaign. I see Aidan’s as being in between the first two, though it does fall into at least a grey area, especially given the prior Hugo nomination.

              However, it’s a good example for me to use, so thank you for that.

              I’ve been traveling for several days, am not home yet (currently in Everett, WA, land of Boeing) and probably won’t post that until Friday morning at the earliest.

    • Bill Stewart says

      Last year, the Puppies Slate wasn’t a block nomination; their tactics didn’t work well, so this year they changed them. Last year they nominated a few works which got on, but didn’t try to game the nomination process, only invited their followers to vote for them, and didn’t win. This year they picked a slate to nominate, and voted in a block to do that, crowding out not only the works by other people but also the 80-90% of the Puppies’ suggestions that didn’t make it onto the slate.

        • says

          That’s really interesting, because I’ve heard other people make the counterproposal that the next puppies slate should list a surplus of candidates for each category, I suppose to spread the votes out more. (Said proposal being made by the anti-SP side of things, so I can’t be sure where their actual intent lies). The SP2 slate was smaller, although more consistently conservative, and it got a lot more backlash.

          Oh, BTW, yamamanama down below there is a known internet stalker. He’s been hitting all the SFF boards with his personal hate-on for Beale. (Which has been bad enough the police have already visited him a few times for his violation of Massachusetts anti-harassment laws. He’s not supposed to be on the net without supervision, but he doesn’t obey that restriction) He’s widely known for his use of dozens and dozens of different nicks to get around bans. He’s also been conducting a decade-long online harassment campaign of a Filipino woman now living in Australia. Congratulations, you’ve attracted Andrew Marsdon. You’ve hit the big time.

          • says

            On the first, if it had been kept to open threads where people could recommend works (e.g., on Torgersen’s blog), then I’d have no problem with the nominations. That’s the approach that John Scalzi and Charles Stross have taken in the past.

            Thanks for the heads up.

            • says

              I hope you’re not taking Mouser’s warning seriously.

              Yes, the thing with Vox is personal; Vox stalked my friend and posted some videos she made on his blog in an attempt to humiliate her.

              • says

                Apologies for getting you caught in the “I accidentally disabled part of the Stop Spammer Registrations plugin and now I have a problem” issue earlier. Scripting the solution when exhausted? As the saying goes, “Now you have two problems.” (That should be fixed now.)

                I’m very sorry about your friend being stalked.

                I try not to characterize people too generally, but: Vox is a provacateur. He likes to provoke people into responding on his turf, then he’ll ask a pointed question re: the issue at hand. One that frequently, the sort of people he provokes will either waffle about answering or lose their cool. He loves the former, because it feeds the rhetoric.

                • says

                  Yeah. I’m pretty sure he went after my friend to provoke me.

                  He actually did call the cops on me. And the place I volunteer at.

                • says

                  It’s the same mechanism that the WBC uses, just with different social currency.

                  I’m sorry that happened. Truly.

                  (For those who don’t know the WBC strategy:

                  1. Provoke people until the WBC’s denied civil rights.
                  2. Sue the people who deny them their civil rights.
                  3. Win $ or get a quick settlement.
                  4. Use that $ to fund the next trip.
                  5. Lather, rinse, repeat.

                  It’s both brilliant and horrifying.)

    • Bill Stewart says

      Also, by nominating in a block, the Puppies have crowded out works they probably haven’t read. For instance, Jo Walton’s “What makes this book so great” was probably the most likely to get “Best related work”, but the most of the Puppies hadn’t read it (and probably hadn’t all read all the works in the slate before they nominated them.)

      • says

        I’m always concerned with people nominating things they haven’t read. There have been a couple of times when, due to deadlines, I’ve nominated a book I wasn’t quite finished with.

        I don’t expect people to have read the entire field.

        Personally, the thing I regret not having read before nomination time was Michael Bunker’s (self-published) book Pennsylvania (aka “Amish in space”). It does open with a bit of an “As you know, Bob,” but it works despite that.

      • says

        Bill, unless you have some kind of telepathy, and insider information, I don’t see how you can claim to know what the voters read or didn’t read in order to make the accusation. Indeed, a number of commenters posted that they only nominated those items which they read, which is as it should be.

        I also don’t see where you get the idea they “Gamed” the nominations, or how that was different from the previous year. Each individual ponied up their Membership fee, submitted their nominations, and the committee counted them. What changed? (Except, perhaps that there were more people participating.)

    • yamamanama says

      If there was integrity to the hugos, Vox “I consider women’s rights a disease to be eradicated” wouldn’t have a nomination.

    • Cat says

      When the Sad Puppies were collecting suggestions for their slate at Brad Torgersen’s blog, 41 people suggested (among other things) 35 books. 4 books got three mentions each. 4 books got 2 mentions each. The other 27 books got one mention each. Even among the Sad Puppies, whose tastes could be expected to align more closely than tastes would among all Hugo nominators, the most popular books were getting less than 10% of the mentions. By the time Hugo nominations close, people have maybe added a few more books to their list, and the most popular books are getting perhaps 15 or 17% of the nominations–as Ancillary Justice did last year. That’s what normal nominations look like.

      Brad curated these 27 books down into a list of 5. If they got 100% of the Sad Puppy nominations, a slate boosts your nominating power more than 10-fold. Even if all they did was guide Sad Puppy reading, all the Sad Puppies had read the same five books–and perhaps five other 2014 books each, but those don’t overlap much (maybe 10 percent, see above.)

      There were at least two works published in 2014 that are exactly the kind of thing that the Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies would love. The Heinlein bio, and Ken Liu’s The Three Body Problem. Both works were well known in their respective areas and would have had a decent shot at the Hugo Ballot. Larry Correia (Sad Puppy) admitted in a comment on his blog that he would have put the Heinlein bio on his slate if he’d known about it in time. Vox Day (Rabid Puppy) admitted in a comment on File 770 that he would have put The Three Body Problem on his slate if he’d known about it in time.

      The slates took three places in the Best Novel category and all five places in the Best Related Work category, shutting out non-slate works. Including the Heinlein bio and Three Body Problem. Because slates don’t just hurt “those poopy-heads whose tastes differ from mine.” Slates hurt all non-slate works, including works that the slate makers would have loved to have on the final ballot.

      For this reason I will be reading all works in the Hugo packet, but any work that was on a slate will be going below “No Award” on my ballot. Slates are inherently unfair, and I will not vote to give a Hugo to a work that got an unfair boost from a slate, period.

      • says

        Even among the Sad Puppies, whose tastes could be expected to align more closely than tastes would among all Hugo nominators, the most popular books were getting less than 10% of the mentions.

        Exactly. Which would have been fine.

      • says

        “What if they published a slate and nobody came?”

        Just a though I’d like to throw out there. A lot of people get discouraged from voting on the Hugos because nothing they nominate shows up on the ballot. If that goes on year after year, you get the situation where most of the actual attendees, those who have paid a couple hundred dollars to BE THERE don’t even bother with the voting. The Hugo electorate shrank to the point where a small Clique were able to put their favored authors on the ballot with certain regularity.

        Torgerson put up a list of recommendations, and it could have gone nowhere. But it gave a lot of fans hope that their nominations might actually be recognized, and thus you get the success rate seen here. Remember that SP2 didn’t do nearly as well (although it was hailed as the apocalypse by those self-same clique voters).

        I take the intense increase in the size of the Hugo Electorate as a sign that fans who previously felt disenfranchised are returning because they think their vote can make a difference (And that also includes those who have hopped on the unfortunate and destructive “No Award for Everything” bandwagon.)

  6. Sam Lubell says

    I don’t think people or works should be penalized for appearing on the Puppy slate – if they are good works that are worthy of the Hugo. This is especially true of Best Dramatic Presentation where I strongly doubt the people responsible for say Guardians of the Galaxy have heard of the sad puppies slate (or probably even the Hugos) let alone agreed on being included.

    But in future years the best way to dilute the impact of any slate is to encourage more people to nominate. There were over 10,000 members of LonCon, but nominations in most categories other than best novel and dramatic presentation can be decided by a few dozen votes.

    • says

      Again, I’m not suggesting you (or anyone) should vote any particular way. I’m just offering the puppy-free voting guide.

      There are many, many people who do fine work in the field of science fiction and fantasy who are never nominated for a Hugo award.

      I agree that ultimately, more people nominating is the long-term winning strategy.

      • says

        You’re not suggesting it, but you certainly are FACILITATING it. Which, ironically enough, is very much like offering up a slate.

        And the strange thing is, Sad Puppies had as a goal getting people on the ballot who have done excellent work who have never been nominated, so going by our second paragraph, you should be supporting the effort.

        And your third line, well, just look at how many new memberships have been brought in by this, (both for and against). It’s a good thing. Which makes it very interesting to see the old-guard types squawking about all the newbies they feel are not entitled to vote.

        • says

          Which, ironically enough, is very much like offering up a slate.

          Damage control after the fact is not the same thing, not at all.

          It’s not that I don’t believe newbies are entitled to vote. They are.

          Had the puppies instead opened up threads for consideration and discussion without a slate, as both John Scalzi and Charles Stross did, the results would have been significantly different. And, frankly, more interesting.

          • says

            “Damage Control” is a revealing choice of words. But it’s not after the fact, since you’re making ballot suggestions for the final ballot, which hasn’t been cast yet.

            You’re not the one saying the newbies shouldn’t vote. That would be the implication Teresa Neilsen Hayden laid out, along with the implied threat against the authors who didn’t distance themselves from the list. As a former editor at TOR, and someone married to a current editor there, that’s a rather chilling thing to have out there.

            So what I’m saying there is that in that comment, other than the first line, you’re saying “No” all the while agreeing, at least in the abstract.

            • says

              I’m going to actually write a follow-up post about why I used the term “damage control.” In the absence of further context, I can certainly see your point. (And, frankly, you were right to call me out on it.)

              • Tom West says

                Actually I think damage control is exactly the right term. With the idea of slates, SP3 has essentially introduced party politics into what were essentially elections of independents. This fundamentally changes the nature of the voting awards, possible permanently.

                So, I consider what SP3 has done to be damage to the Hugos. I have no trouble believing that the introduction of competing slates may indeed remove the importance of the works (as opposed to what the slate ‘represents’) from the awards.

                Thus, “damage” is right. Personally, I think we need to make it so clear that the introduction of slates is counter-productive so that it kills the idea before it takes permanent root in the awards process, that it’s worth sacrificing a year’s worth of Hugo awards, despite the fact that some deserving works/editors may not get voted upon.

                “Damage control” it is.

                (And yes, one can argue that it’s all politics, and SP3 only differs by degree, but the guy taking the full-strength firehose to the neighborhood watergun fight has probably permanently ended the event as well as sent a few children to hospital. “But my opponents have been soaking people with water for years!” doesn’t quite justify it.)

            • Greg says

              Dr. Mauser:

              “Anyone who votes “No Award” without reading all the nominees…”

              Nonsense. And pretty expertly refuted in the two Making Light threads:
    , but I’ll quote Abi Sutherland here: “My Hugo nominations and votes are reactions to that broadening-out of my mental universe. As such, they’re intimately, intensely personal. And that’s part of the visceral reaction that some fans are having to the Sad Puppies’ slate: it looks like the institutionalization of a private, particular process in the service of an external goal. It comes across as a coarsening and a standardizing of something that should be fine-grained, unpredictable, and unique to each person participating. It seems like denial of variety and spontaneity, like choreographed sex.
              And it ruins the nature of the Hugos as the strange, unpredictable product of all of these solitary musings. It removes the mystery, the quirkiness, the weirdness and the wonderfulness. Then it’s just an election, with partisans and campaigning and slogans and crap. Surely we have enough of those already.”

              Slates for the Hugos are bad in any regard; it’s even more egregious said slates are put together with the desire not to reward the best science fiction but to punish people with whom you disagree, as Vox Day/Theodore Beale has made clear numerous times.

              “The fact that a lot of people looked at Brad’s list does not mean they were COMPELLED by it.” First off, let’s remember it’s Brad’s AND Vox Day’s lists; Brad is of course the far less offensive member; it is curious this downplaying of Vox’s involvement.

              I mean… it was clearly Brad’s intent to set up a slate and to have people vote according to the slate. That’s why he called it a slate. To suggest (with no evidence) that slate-voters carefully considered non-slate items after Brad posted the slate—with no evidence of any such open-minded behavior–with this seems ridiculous, if not disingenuous.

              “(And remember, these slates came with a strong admonition to not just cut and paste ‘em in, but to choose what you really think should be nominated, and that one should read them first before nominating).” Yes. I’m sure that admonition was sincere, and that it was followed to the letter. /sarcasm

              I’m also curious as to why you didn’t quote Teresa Nielsen Hayden directly, as she tends to be precise with her words. Did she, in fact, call for newcomers not to actually vote in the Hugos? Let’s see the direct quote.

              • says

                A number of people commented on Torgerson’s and Correia’s blogs that they deviated from the slate, either because they only voted for the works they had actually read, or they had some substitutions of their own.

                Fans are not so easily herded.

                As I pointed out in another comment, Torgerson could have posted a slate and gotten maybe ten people to vote it. Everyone had their own choices to make when they filled out their ballot. There has to be a REASON so many people decided to go with it. So ask, why did so many fans feel disenfranchised before, and skipped the whole vote, but now decided to participate?

                Fact is, we don’t know how many people actually followed the list. People have made some speculations, but until the data is released, there’s no way to tell (And even then, the data is only aggregated, we do not have access to individual ballots, nor should we.).

      • says

        That is very true. I simply forgot to send in my nominations on time, but had originally planned on nominating a couple of Norwegian fantasy books that are brilliant. The Hugos are supposed to be a World award, but in reality it’s very Anglo centered. But that’s another topic for another time.

          • says

            Jeg kan anbefale Ravneringene-serien av Siri Pettersen (bok nummer to, Råta, kom ut i 2014) og Kaoshjerte av Lise Grimnes. Grimnes ble tildelt Kulturdepartementets debutantpris for boka si, og ble nominert til Bokbloggerprisen 2014.

            Ellers snakkes det om at det er gullalder for norsk fantasy for tiden, og det er virkelig mange godbiter der ute. Hvis du kan lese nynorsk, anbefaler jeg Song for Eirabu av Kristine Tofte, som består av to bøker.

  7. BryanP says

    The annoying thing is that some of what has been nominated through this is pretty good. Marko Kloos and Jim Butcher are entertaining writers and decent guys to boot. I’ve been reading Marko’s blog for many years before he published a book and he holds pretty much none of the views I’ve seen attributed to people like Vox. But now he’ll be viewed as such by most of the older fans who won’t bother finding out.

    • says

      Thank you for sharing your opinion. I can only say that I saw the Guest of Honor interview with Jim Butcher on Friday, and he seems a personable enough person.

    • says

      If you hate slates, what choice do you have but to reject everyone who got on this ballot because Vox Day or Brad Torgersen ran cynical campaigns to put them there? That sucks for people like Marko, but I don’t see how they could fully enjoy a Hugo win under these circumstances anyway.

        • says

          What happened to the idea of voting on the Hugo purely on the merits of the work?

          Blacklisting a work just because someone you don’t like liked it and endorsed it seems really, really unfair.

          • says

            That’s the height of irony, calling an response to an unfair play unfair.

            If you don’t like that, you can go elsewhere. My position was clear from the top, it’s not like it should be a surprise at this point.

  8. Bill Stewart says

    I think it’s important to rank-vote the Puppies nominations, even though it’s below No Award, because there are still differences in quality, and because some of them might win. So (having not read the novels, but having read some of their predecessors), I’m guessing my vote for those will be
    No Award
    Skin Game (Puppy-nominated)
    (some other puppy nominee, probably the one from Tor rather than the self-pub one.)

  9. Steve Barish says

    It’s ironic that I became aware of your site by someone posting a link to it, complaining. I’m a two-time SP nominator and voter (by way of disclaimer), and for what it’s worth, you’ve made some great points in your comments and in your original post.

    When I say I’m a two-time SP participant though, it’s not because I decided to offer support to the slate or the organizers on a blanket-basis. No, it’s because Larry Correia (whose work I enjoy and whose blog amuses me) first made me aware of precisely how Hugos are selected and by how few people. It’s astonishing that after 30 years as a voracious reader and fan that I didn’t already know that. Judging by the drop off between WorldCon attendees as nominations, I’m probably not alone though. Correia motivated me to join LoneStarCon here in my home city and it was great. I nominated my own works and voted my own conscience, as I did this year. There was some (albeit small) overlap between my slate and Torgersen’s. But several things I thought were deserving were left off.

    I do plan to read everything in the packet before voting. Honestly, three years ago the packet was the primary reason to join. But I’m well aware from reading the Haydens’ blog, Scalzi, Davidson and any number of others that bloc voting has existed for a very very long time. The first guy I heard talk about it was Harlan Ellison…before a lot of folks voting for Hugos today were even born. Harlan’s tirade (it’s still on the Internet) didn’t change anything and I doubt SP will either. What will?

    Participation. Lots and lots of participation. If the slew of best selling authors that organized SP3 couldn’t get more than 2,000 people to nominate, even with the alleged Gamergate influence, then I strongly think the critique they make about participation and inclusiveness is spot on, including themselves. So rather than just voting “No Award” on principle, my hope is people will read the packet, vote their conscious (whatever the outcome) and convince 10 people each to join up for next year.

    The law of large numbers will work the rest out in time.

    • says

      Thank you for your comment, Steve.

      I am not quick to point fingers at GamerGate on this. Yes, some pseudonymous person invoked GG, but I’m also aware that GG has already been the target of at least one disinformation campaign. (Apparently the Twitter SJW auto-block list, which I was on, was not actually a GamerGater, just someone who had a vested interest in making them look bad.) I also do not assume that all members of a group have the same motivations. As I’ve said elsewhere, I’m a feminist member of Anonymous (specifically, Chanology), and I’m aware that not everything is as it seems. For good reason.

      I’d actually hoped that more people who were members of LonCon would nominate, and I’m sad that didn’t happen. There really needs to be a “get out the nomination” initiative that works even anywhere near as well as the resources for the Campbell eligible (first, the Campbell eligibility site, then later the super-mega-EPUB-of-doom). And no, even though I have the technical skill to do this, I’m not volunteering.

      • Eggo says

        “Gamergate” seems to be the new bogeyman–the evil misoggynists responsible for everything evil in the world.
        I checked their usual hangouts, and it looks like they found out they had an evil plot to manipulate the hugos at the same time everyone else did. Not a big surprise, considering how blatantly clickbaiters fabricate stories to generate controversy.

    • Nick Gardner says

      “Participation. Lots and lots of participation. If the slew of best selling authors that organized SP3 couldn’t get more than 2,000 people to nominate, even with the alleged Gamergate influence, then I strongly think the critique they make about participation and inclusiveness is spot on, including themselves.”

      Look at the numbers of nominating votes. There were 4x the number this year than there were in 2009. I’d call that a highly significant increase in people participating.

    • says

      I don’t know, honestly. I for one enjoy Worldcon, I’m going to continue to nominate the things I think are worthy, even though my nominations frequently don’t make the ballot.

    • says

      BankerPup asked: So what does this mean for the future of the Hugos? Can it return to something less toxic? How?

      Through an amendment ratified at the next two Business meetings to ensure that the gentleman’s agreement that Torgersen and Beale just stomped into a greasy road stain is no longer necessary, so that similar gaming of the rules, irrespective of why, cannot succeed after 2016’s ballot. Here’s a comment I made over on Philip Sandifer’s rather hand-wringing blog post. [Please note: Views expressed are solely those of one easily confused Norwegian-American fan, and not those of any other person or group, unless my orbital mind-control lasers belatedly come online.]

      Post follows:

      Oddly enough, my wife Deirdre and I were at the UK natcon this past weekend, even though we’re both Bloody Yanks. There was an evening panel discussion to tell any less-connected Eastercon attendees the backstory behind Sasquan’s ballot announcement (which we had watched live the prior evening). A certain amount of eye-rolling and bafflement from Brits was evident. The predominant sentiment among frequent Hugo voters present seemed to be of the ‘Take off and nuke them from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure’ variety (i.e., No Awarding most categories). Geri Sullivan and I were among those who politely differed and averred that voting strictly on perceived merit remained the wisest measure for the same reasons as usual. (The game-theoretical question can and should be argued, though.) There’s plenty of time for voters to discuss and decide what they want to vote for: Sasquan’s voting cutoff is likely to be about 4-6 weeks before the Aug. 19-23 convention dates — to ensure adequate lead time for engraving inscriptions — thus probably around the end of July.

      Various ideas were discussed at the panel, as they are being discussed elsewhere, to close the long-acknowledged nominating process vulnerability that, by gentlemen’s agreement, nobody violated by driving a huge voting-slate truck through the process until Torgersen and Beale did so, this year. (Morose-canine spokescritters thus harp on absence of rule-breaking, which is true but irrelevant to the point under discussion.)

      The leading candidate for ‘Fine, if you lot won’t honour a gentleman’s agreement that’s held with only insignificant infractions since 1953, we the electorate will make sure this sort of gaming cannot succeed again irrespective of ideological hobbyhorse’ measures, so far, seems to be Mike Scott’s, which please see.

      It would have to be adopted by parliamentary vote among attendees at the WSFS Business Meeting in Spokane in August, and adopted a second time by Business Meeting attendees at the 2017 Worldcon (August/September at a site to be selected from one of: Washington DC, Japan, Montreal, or Helsinki). Business Meeting voters must then be attending — not just supporting — members of that year’s Worldcon.

      Rick Moen

  10. says

    Instead of citing abstract reasons to NOT vote the strict puppy-free slate^W voter’s guide, I will offer the (I think) very sympathetic example of fanzine site Black Gate, which Mr Beale included in his Rabid Puppies 2015 recommendations and made it onto the ballot. John ONeill, speaking for the all-volunteer Black Gate staff, Gets It. As you should read. Excerpt:

    Since the Black Gate nomination was for the entire site (which is run by a group of nearly 40 volunteers, many of whom are thrilled by the nomination), we did not decline. That’s a choice that will doubtless expose us to some (perhaps deserved) criticism. I’ll have more to say about all this later.

    For now, I’ll just say that I think that an organized campaign to bring new fans into the voting process, while simultaneously urging them NOT to read broadly and make up their own minds, is a Spectacularly Bad Idea. Among other things, it badly damages the Puppies’ cause.

    The stated goal of the Puppies slates is to make a very public point, and that point has now been made in a spectacular fashion. Yet there is already excited chatter [link] about Sad Puppies 4, which hopes to have even more success next year.

    The only way this will be interpreted is as an attempt to seize complete control of the Hugo ballot (which is already 71% owned by the Puppies), and silence all other voices. Whatever point the Puppies are attempting to make has already been lost. The authors they wished to celebrate by placing them on ballot will be badly hurt in the coming backlash (which is already beginning) [multiple links].

    There will be a response, and it won’t be pretty. Last year, I don’t believe a single one of the Sad Puppies who made the Hugo nominating ballot placed above “No Award.” My guess is that virtually the entire awards slate will be rejected out of hand by Hugo voters, who do not take kindly to being dictated to.

    I’m not yet familiar with Black Gate (though I’ll soon fix that). But, for the sake of discussion, imagine that it’s staffed by hard-working, talented fanzine authors who are eminently worthy of award consideration — entirely aside from the fact that Mr Beale also likes them. Isn’t placing them below No Award shooting them and yourself in the foot?

    In fact, imagine also a variant scenario. Imagine the above group of talented volunteers but also that Mr Beale actually doesn’t like them a bit, estimates that they’re likely to make the shortlist for Best Fanzine, and wishes to give them the kiss of death by blessing them on his Rabid Puppies 2015 slate. Is it actually in your interest to give Mr Beale control over whom you will be voting down?

    As an exercise in game theory, the 2015 ballot furnishes several ways to lose, and putting everything a slate recommended beneath No Award is one of the easiest and surest.

    There’s also a second entry I’d like to discuss here:

    Both Sad Puppies 2015 and Rabid Puppies 2015 (and the just-announced final ballot) include a friend of mine and Deirdre’s, and occasional co-author of mine: Eric S. Raymond, for The John W. Campbell Award. For those who don’t know, the Campbell is an award given annually to the best new writer whose first professional work of science fiction or fantasy was published within the two previous calendar years. Being sponsored by Dell Magazines rather than WSFS, it’s (as the awards announcers say) ‘not a Hugo’, but is awarded at the same time as Hugos, and voted by WSFS members.

    It’s pretty clear that Eric is on the ballot because the Puppies’ bloc voting got him there. His qualifying work is a short SF story called ‘Sucker Punch’ in the 2014 military SF anthology Riding the Red Horse, Volume I, edited by Tom Kratman and Theodore Beale (‘Vox Day’), by the obscure publisher Castalia House that Mr Beale owns and bankrolls.

    I’ve just read ‘Sucker Punch’ and Eric’s related non-fiction essay in the same volume. I’m impressed. They’re quite good, IMO.

    It’s important to remember that the Campbell is not for the qualifying work, but rather the new-to-SF author in question, to recognise his or her fresh potential as an arrival in the field. And I don’t yet know whether I consider Eric 2014’s best new science fiction or fantasy author on the basis of his one qualifying short story, though I doubt it — as does Eric: He wrote that ‘Sucker Punch’ strikes him as ‘competent mid list work’ (but he decided to defer to the voters rather than decline the nomination). But, my point is, he’s worthy of consideration, and I’ll try to fairly compare his qualifying work alongside those of the other four nominees.

    If he were published by Jack the Ripper, I’d still give him and the other four Campbell nominees that respect.

    I hope that between now and the voting deadline most Hugo (and Campbell) voters will work past the understandable annoyance at ideologue bloc voters and consider nominees on their merits. Otherwise, yet more blameless people will be hurt, topping bad with worse.

    Rick Moen

    • SorchaRei says

      Vox Day has said that he thinks people like me should be exterminated. Not discriminated against. Killed. He feels the same about lots of other groups of people.

      Eric Raymond is a fine writer, but I have to question his judgment in allowing himself to be published by such a person, just as I would question the judgment of someone who chose to be published by the KKK Annual Newsletter or the Let’s Round Up All White Christians And Sterilize Them PAC.

      • says

        I completely understand your perspective on this. Sigh.

        Three years ago, when I wrote this Writers of the Future post, I’d intended to follow it up with a post about what I’d learned about “clubs” of published authors in the SF/F community.

        Essentially, your gateway method to publication is your club in oh so many ways.

      • says

        SorchaRei, I would not presume to argue with any of the two points you make in passing about Mr Beale and Mr Raymond, but — and I hope you will take this in the intended spirit — neither of those points, as stated, seems to have any bearing on any part of the Hugo ballot discussion.

        It’s possible you were trying to say ‘Beale thinks people like me should be exterminated, and therefore X’ or ‘Raymond showed questionable judgement, and therefore Y’, but you didn’t state what X or Y are.

        You may (or may not) be one of the many Internet denizens who favour high-context modes of expression, in which nearly everything is stated through implication, and connections between premises and conclusions (in particular) are seldom made explicit. FWIW, I’m very much not, and confess to being painfully direct — as is my wife Deirdre, whose blog you are writing to.

        You’ll have to pardon my cynical surmise that being coy about one’s implied conclusions happens, more often than not, because the speaker knows he/she would lose an audience able to clearly see that conclusions X and Y don’t follow — quite possibly an unfair suspicion, but one you left open by being suspiciously vague.

        You might merely mean you intend to vote emphatically no against any author willing to be published by someone advocating the killing of ‘Rabbit People’ or whichever particular object of Bealean rhetorical overkill you are thinking of. Nobody here, of course, is going to argue with your personal voting choices, but their relevance to the rest of us appears to lie, IMO, somewhere between unclear and very doubtful.

        To put it another way, as Deirdre knows, I’m greatly happier when any jet we’re boarding is an Airbus than a Boeing, because, even 47 years after the fact, I prefer no dealings with the Fortune 50 company that negligently killed my father, PanAm Captain Arthur Moen, with a defective-from-the-factory B-707 and then tried (with spectacular lack of success) to threaten my mother into not suing them and beating them up in Federal court — but would never expect my personal grudge to sway anyone else.

        Rick Moen

      • says

        SorchaRei wrote:

        He feels the same about lots of other groups of people.

        This reminded me of an example of a larger point I wished to make. SorchaRei, please don’t think the bit that follows is aimed at you. It very much is not. The quoted sentence merely reminded me of it.

        In other forums such as (I noticed most recently) Philip Sandifer’s blog, one sees characterisations of Mr Beale such as Sandifer’s claim that Beale ‘has called for acid attacks on feminists’. As my bullshit detector was twitching a bit, and having some time to waste, I checked.

        The truth was that Mr Beale gotten into an online contretemps with demogogue-asshole atheist blogger PJ Myers, posting a list of answers to Myers’s rhetorical question ‘How does letting women die rather than giving them an abortion benefit women?’ Answer #3 was ‘Because female independence is strongly correlated with a whole host of social ills. Using the utilitarian metric favored by most atheists, a few acid-burned faces is a small price to pay for lasting marriages, stable families, legitimate children, low levels of debt, strong currencies, affordable housing, homogenous populations, low levels of crime, and demographic stability. If PZ has turned against utilitarianism or the concept of the collective welfare trumping the interests of the individual, I should be fascinated to hear it.’

        In other words, Beale nowhere advocated throwing acid on anyone. He claimed that someone adhering to a strictly Benthamite utilitarian ethics — such as he ascribed to Myers and to which Beale is firmly opposed — would find such a violent deed easy to justify. This wasn’t an argument for acid-throwing. It was a stab at Myers’s (alleged) personal morals.

        As Deirdre said, Beale specialises in being a provocateur, and I imagine him being delighted when his ideological opponents screw up and cannot be arsed to look up the word ‘utilitarian’, even if they’ve never heard of Jeremy Bentham and couldn’t distinguish among consequentialism, deontology, and virtue ethics if their lives depended on it.

        But, crissakes, it took me all of two minutes to check the assertion of fact and find it to be obvious codswallop.

        Which gets me to my larger point: The massive reaction now getting underway to make sure that buggering the Hugo ballot with about 200 slate-voters each waving a pair of $20 bills cannot succeed after 2016 is not opposition to conservatism. It isn’t hostility to MilSF. It isn’t a desire to bury Golden Age ‘Campbellian’ SF. it isn’t an intrigue of intersectionalist elitist East Coast socialists. It sure isn’t an effort to drive away newcomers.

        It’s ‘Get your stupid US-local culture war out of our Hugo awards process.’ Really. Fandom has little that unites it other than a desire to keep the crap out. It’s not opposition to the crapmongers’ politics; it’s dislike of time-wasting crap without caring what category of manure it is.

        Rick Moen

        • King's Rook says

          Mr. Moen, Beale is not a strict utilitarian, by any means, but he IS opposed to feminism and women’s education, and he’s spoken fairly approvingly about violence against women connected to those things — for example, the attack on Malala Yousafzai by the Taliban. See:

          [Moderation note: I’m allowing this, but I’d rather the diversion onto Beale’s ideology stopped here. I’d rather we kept this to the Hugos.]

          • says

            King’s Rook, I note without objection to what you say that you’ve changed the subject.

            I inquired into the factual accuracy of the ‘[Beale] has called for acid attacks on feminists’ claim that we hear ad-nauseam (not just from Philip Sandifer) but that nobody seems to bother to check. And the point is, it’s easily shown to be bollocks.

            Moreover, though ‘opposed to feminism and women’s education’ is IMO repugnant, ‘has called for acid attacks on feminists’ is criminally insane. The one is not at all like the other.

            As to ‘not a strict utilitarian’ (emphasis added), the man is some sort of Christian Dominionist, nei? While I suppose it’s not impossible to be both a Benthamite and a religious Christian, a Benthamite Dominionist make only barely more sense than a noonday midnight. Thus Beale’s jibe about Myers’s ethics.

            The point is that, if you bother to read what Beale actually wrote and have even basic cultural literacy, you can see based on two minutes of checking that the Sandifer claim can see that it’s a total crock. And Beale’s general views on feminism and women’s eduction are irrelevant to the question.

            (Not that it matters, but FWIW I joined National Organization for Women in 1976 when I turned 18 years old. Also, I happen to consider both Beale’s religico-fascistic mediaevalism and PZ Myers’s asshole militant-secularism equally unappealing.)

            But, again, I will stress the overarching point: Worldcon fandom as a whole doesn’t give a damn about USA culture wars. It’s not opposition; it’s eye-rolling apathy, especially from the significant fraction of Worldcon fandom who live outside the USA. It’s noxious, it’s irrelevant, and nobody cares.

            Rick Moen

        • says

          For the record, I wrote ‘PJ’ in a jet-lagged state, no doubt thinking of Pamela Jones of Groklaw fame, whom everyone addressed as ‘PJ’. No, I did not bother visiting Pharyngula again, and copy/pasting the correct initials PZ ( = Paul Zachary).

          I did notice the error immediately after posting, but figured the intended reference would be obvious, especially as I type ‘PJ’ in some places and ‘PZ’ further down.

          As the LiveJournal gossip posse has recently noticed, no, I am extremely unimpressed by PZ Myers. As an unreligious liberal, I find that he makes unreligious liberals look like colossal jackasses by association, which I do not appreciate at all. Also, as past Chair of Bay Area Skeptics, I particularly was annoyed at his recurring attempts to assert non-sequitur arguments that the skeptic movement is obliged to join his loudmouth assault on religion, and among the few significant public services the man has produced is when he finally declared himself ‘not a skeptic’.

          (When he addresses evolutionary biology, he does do a fine job. If he would avoid mouthing off about ideology, that would fix the problem.)

          Rick Moen

    • BankerPup says

      Rick Moen, I see the situation as a lose-lose for all the slated nominees. One can’t assess the nominees objectively knowing others would likely have been nominated in the absence of the slate action. It may not be the nominee’s fault s/he appeared on a slate, but what’s the value of winning if one was being used by a few people who chose a confrontational strategy to press their point?

      • says

        BankerPup wrote:

        Rick Moen, I see the situation as a lose-lose for all the slated nominees. One can’t assess the nominees objectively knowing others would likely have been nominated in the absence of the slate action.

        Many have been expressing this view — and not just for the slated nominees but also for the non-slated ones. Notably, I saw Tom Galloway, a serious con-runner and prominent longtime fan in both SF and comic who has neither time nor interest for stupid culture-war misbehaviour, stating frankly that this year’s massive bloc-voting has so destroyed the credibility of the awards that he intends to No Award (IIRC) all but two categories. Tom Galloway! That’s not quite like Walter Cronkite telling you your war policy is stupid, but it’s close. I’m pretty confident in guesstimating that way more than 200 other frequent Hugo voters feel the way Galloway does. (I do not happen to share his view, FWIW.)

        (And no, Mr Chandler, I’ve heard all those advocacy arguments about how the massive bloc-voting is alleged to be nothing new, as if immensely greater scale weren’t important, so don’t bother.)

        Anyway, BankerPup, point taken. Black Gate’s blog, for example, nicely voices those people’s mixed feelings about getting nominated.

        Rick Moen

        • BankerPup says

          Rick Moen, thank you for responding. I went to Black Gate and read what everyone had to say.

          At this point I see a lot of problems for WSFS, WorldCon and the Hugos. I hope things resolve in a way that works for the greatest number of sf/f fans and writers.

  11. says

    Admin note: I’ve had an exhausting day discussing the Hugos, possible constitutional changes, and then an hour and a half phone call, and my brain is so fried I’m not sure I can spell my own name.

    There’s one comment in the moderation queue; those of you who are new/moderated commenters, I’ll probably not look at comments until the morning UK time.

    This page has had over 10,000 views already, and I’ve only got a handful of pages that have ever had that many views. (My normal monthly volume is 45,000 views.)

    • Elaine says

      Thanks for publishing this list. I hadn’t realized how extensively the slate had gamed the list until I read it. I was already an attending member to Sasquan, though I didn’t nominate anyone. I will certainly vote. I was very happy to see that the one friend who made the short list (fan artists) did not have any slate nominees.

    • JG Bradley says

      In my opinion, slate voting in the Hugos has been common since at least Ellison’s rant. Sad Puppies 3 merely brought their slate into the light of day. Uncouth but both torgerson and correia own that character trait. Transparency is a good thing generally.

      As previous posters have mentioned, there has been more participation in the Hugos nomination in the last three years. As a fan of SF/F, this gives me hope that the trend of descending readership will reverse itself.

      If taint of association with wrong-thinkers drives your punishment of those associators, we, as a largely American and British audience, have seen the result of that; it’s called McCarthyism.

      The fact that the Oscars best pictures bears a closer resemblance to the most commercially successful films than the Hugo does to the bestseller list is a travesty. The Hugo used to be an incentive for me to read a book. It hasn’t been in ten years. The most recent Hugo winner I made it ten pages in and put it back on the shelf. It didn’t make the bestseller list despite winning the nebula as well. I found it boring, and other people voted with their wallets as well.

      I understand the distinction between providing a slate of approved thought works and damage control. I submit that the sad puppies’ organizers may as well. That concern, based on my reading of their blogs, inspired the sad puppies effort.

      The Hugo was becoming irrelevant. More people will talk about it now than in years.

      No vote based on disagreement with methodology is a reasoned stance to take. I submit however that those slates have existed for years in secret. Sci fi has the rigor to withstand holding these debates in the light of the sun. My .02

      • says

        In my opinion, slate voting in the Hugos has been common since at least Ellison’s rant.

        You are incorrect.

        Lobbying for a specific person or work to be nominated has been common. (Edit: by “common” I don’t mean something that happens to either a broad audience or happens every year.) It’s one of the reasons it’s disallowed for Nebula nomination and voting (and will disqualify the person/work). VD’s made big gestures quoting me over on Black Gate. The only thing I’m embarrassed by in that quotation was that I was exhausted and misspelled bloc.

        But lobbying for a person/work is not the same thing as a slate.

        The important distinction: a slate is a proposal to change a ballot, whereas the other stuff that’s happened has been a proposal to change a slot on a ballot, generally passed among a few friends at most.

        The one time I know of where a bunch of supporting memberships were sent in to vote en masse for a single work, that led to rules changes.

        • Jg Bradley says

          Thank you for the response.

          You have made a universalist response that “you are incorrect.” Would not be the first time, but it may not accurately describe historic reality.

          If I am, though, why have so many authors complained about cliquish ness and politically correct censorship?

          The Hugo needs transparency and inclusiveness. The battle of ideas should not be one sided.

          The puppies’ point is that previous slates were either de facto or covert, e.g. Whisper campaigns.

          This claim is based off of anecdotal experience and observed results. It may be utter caca, but saying in a universalist manner that it is incorrect does not satisfactorily prove it’s wrong.

          I will admit that I don’t know what would.

          • says

            I know what the puppies claim, but that doesn’t mean I believe the claim has merit.

            I’m still working on a post that covers some of the cultural differences (and I don’t mean liberal/conservative, but rather fannish culture). I’m hoping to get it posted later today, but I’m working on a short story for a while before re-tackling that post.

          • says

            One thing I have lost, which I’d appreciate a link to if anyone happens to know where it is, is a comment that Kevin Standlee and I responded to questioning whether certain things on a previous ballot (including John Scalzi and Mary Robinette Kowal) could be explained by something other than secret leftist bloc voting.

            Unfortunately, I seem to have lost that link.

          • says

            Jb Bradley wrote:

            You have made a universalist response that “you are incorrect.”

            I’m not sure why I’m bothering, here, as I tend to be the nice guy in our family and Deirdre is more than capable of dispatching your rhetoric with breathless efficiency, but:

            Welcome to the English language. As you better acquaint yourself with it, you will find quite a large number of figures of speech, such as ‘You are incorrect’, which English-learners should understand to mean ‘Your antecedent statement was incorrect’, not ‘You personally are an avatar of the universal principle of error’.

            You are best advised, as a person brand-new to this language, to avoid bristling in public and taking theatrical umbrage at ordinary figures of speech, as listeners are likely to pigeonhole you as attempting passive-aggressive kickback against arguments you cannot rationally address.

            Rick Moen

            • Jg Bradley says

              I appreciate you coming to the defense of your family member.

              I attempted to characterize a flat, “you are wrong/incorrect.” You disagree with that characterization. That’s cool.

              Saying I bristle and don’t know how to use the English language … I will say I am not the one who lowered the tone of the conversation.

              Have a nice rest of your week. Please note this site is on the front page of Google for the sad puppies hugo search phrase. That is information with no hidden messages. I would guess you will have more visitors

              • says

                Jg Bradley wrote:

                Saying I bristle and don’t know how to use the English language … I will say I am not the one who lowered the tone of the conversation.

                I have a low sense of humour, my good man. One of my many and grievous faults.

                Truth to tell, i was intending to double back to this thread and tell you I take back the snark, but the cynic in me suspects we-all are being treated to classic sea lioning, so please go right ahead and hurl that handkerchief in distress.

                I appreciate you coming to the defense of your family member.

                Deirdre has never needed my defence (let alone my defense). And, as I believe I already advised you, I’m the gentler one.

                Rick Moen

                • Jg Bradley says

                  I could bring out the flamespray. I’ve only ever seen the point of that in crisis.

                  I actually was not aware of the meme sealioning. Seems like an excellent way to devalue the opinion of someone who disagrees with you but is being polite.

                  It is, however, an implicit request for a guest to leave, and so I will.

                  Mrs. Moen, I very much appreciated your post handling the MZB issue. I thought it was handled in a graceful and kind way.

      • says

        Jg Bradley wrote:

        torgerson and correia own that character trait.

        A small note in passing: Brad’s surname is Torgersen. As a historical note, suffix ‘-sen’ is typically Dano-Norwegian, while ‘-son’ is more typically Swedish. (This no bright line, just a general tendency.)

        it’s called McCarthyism

        Care for some Sriracha to pour on that?

        Rick Moen

  12. says

    I think I’m changing my mind and joining the No Award brigade after all. (Plenty of time to ponder the matter, though.)

    It’s on grounds of pure, classic game theory.

    (Again, disclaimer: I am speaking here for myself, alone, not other featherless bipeds, shadowy conspiracies, SF conventions, etc. Except I do speak for the Elder Gods.)

    A comment elsewhere is what changed my mind:

    I’ll be voting for No Award before any of the puppy Slate nominees, because that is the best way I have of discouraging this sort of shenanigans. Hopefully, next year, people should see being placed on the slate of the sad puppies as a poisoned chalice which needs to be firmly declined.

    This includes both the few works which I would have given a decent placing on my ballot, had they gotten there through less odious means, and many nominees which I find of little or no merit.

    Premise: The Sad and Rabies-enabled Puppies efforts were, in my view and that of a large number of Hugo voters, an unprecedented, stupendously huge violation of a 62-year-old gentleman’s agreement to not manipulate the Hugo nominations using slate voting. (Comments attempting to compare this to piddly past alleged conspiracies involving one engineered nomination for, e.g., a Scalzi or Kowal work, will be ignored.) This gaming of the system was made possible by a known weakness in the nomination process that everyone knew better than to exploit.

    Observation: The next two WSFS Business Meetings WILL close that vulnerability with an objectively impartial tweak to the nomination rules, ensuring that no group of uniform slate votes by (say) a motivated 15% of nominators can, any longer, crowd out of an entire voting category (like, Best Novella) all non-slate nominees — as happened in 2015. Details are being worked out as I write this, I’m quite sure. (This isn’t any elitist conspiracy. If you want the same equal vote as everyone else, buy a Sasquan attending membership, come to Spokane this August, attend the Business Meetings, and vote. Then do the same at the 2016 Worldcon if you want the same say there.)

    Anything voted by the next two Business Meetings takes effect only starting late 2016, so that means both the 2015 and 2016 Hugo elections will be vulnerable to the slate-voting crowd-out effect that, e.g., pushed The Three-Body Problem off this year’s ballot. The vulnerability can be exploited not just by the Puppies but also by anyone else with bad judgement, poor impulse control, and the ability to motivate about 200 suckers to spend $40 and nominate a slate.

    Conclusion: 2015’s voting needs to send a powerful deterrent message, otherwise 2016 will be polluted the same way, by one or more interest group. And the place to do that is to strongly motivate nominees to publicly refuse and repudiate slate endorsements. ANY slate endorsements. That includes the SJW Party, the Yngvi Is a Louse Party, and Gracie Allen’s Surprise Party.

    All. Slates. Without. Exception.

    And the game theorist’s way to do that is to No Award all of the Puppies’ 2015 nominees. Because then, in 2016, anyone told ‘We want to put your novel The Apotheosis of Admiral Heinlein on our voting slate’ is going to immediately say ‘Gods, no. Please don’t. If nominated by you guys, I will decline any resulting final ballot listing. Please don’t give me the kiss of death.’

    So, I think I’m aboard with that, because it’s the only way to swing self-interest into play and make slate voting just not work.

    Rick Moen

    • BankerPup says

      Rick Moen, Mike Scott’s proposal may not work. If multiple slates are in play, won’t the final list of nominees still be dominated by those from the slates?

      • says

        Rick just pulled that trick he can (and I cannot) and fell instantly asleep.

        I’d actually planned to address this in my forthcoming horrifically overdue post with a slide demonstrating the concept and answering that point.

      • says

        BankerPup, in all honesty, both Deirdre and I are currently way, way too brain-fried from interrupted sleep and jet lag to work out an example and test whether multiple nomination slates are still likely to bugger the final ballot under Mike Scott’s proposal. (We’ve been a third of the way around the planet from home all this week, and sleep was already a bit problematic when some yoyo decided to trigger a false fire alarm in our hotel at 5:30am, a couple of days ago.)

        I suspect that, under real world conditions, making the threshold number of nominations to qualify (hence also the number of nominees per category) be a fixed percentage of all nominations less those for the top candidate (Scott’s idea) is enough dilution of the slate effect to prevent even a tangle of slates from knocking all other nominees out of the category.

        Remember, a sufficent game-theoretical objective (in deterring slate promotion) is to prevent total domination of a category. Six lackluster Best Novella nominees from two ideological slates would be annoying but the point is that their tactic would be futile (hence deterred), if Scott’s rules widened the category to eight nominees and thus admitted two excellent candidates alongside the six mediocre ones.

        Anyway, as I also made a point of saying, the nice bit is that these are early days and options can be drafted and (ideally) scenario-tested until mid-August. Which reminds me: Security expert and author Bruce Schneier has just started a discussion on Making Light of voting systems and how to make them more difficult to game. Should be interesting.

        Rick Moen

    • Craig says

      Rick: Let’s say you’ll No Award everything on a slate, and you manage to get, say, 500 people to agree that any slate is an automatic no award from them every year no matter what. Enough people that the risk of No Award is very likely if you get Slated. 100% chance next year’s public slate from Vox has John Scalzi on it so that five hundred people either break their given word or punish his enemy for him. Then what? Next year’s slate has 4 or 6 possible nominees instead of 5. Then what? Is 5 really a magically evil number? If it is, some of the categories this year didn’t have 5; are they magically OK because 4? If not 4, what is the magic number, and why is X OK and X+1 not?

      There are very few winning scenarios here. Massive No Award does not create any of them that i can see.

      Also: keep in mind, for people like me, going to a worldcon would cost me $2K, minimum. Even though I’ve wanted to go to a worldcon for, oh, probably 30 years, since I was reading Niven praising Cons, it is not something I can afford, nor is it something I’m likely to ever afford; something that most all the people I know in RL cannot afford. Saying “If you want the same equal vote as everyone else, just spend $2000 you don’t have to spare, then do the same next year”…. not the intent, I’m sure. But going to Worldcon isn’t a trivial decision for a lot of people.

      • says


        Most Hugo voters aren’t information-poor. So, where author X has asked a person to remove him/her from a slate and the slate-publsher ignores the request, that will be known. Likewise, innocent authors unaware of such a listing will get told by fandom. The alleged phenomenon of nominees never having heard of their slate listing until Hugo Adminstrators call them to tell them they’ve been shortlisted was a one-time exploit, like (and sorry about the inflammatory comparison) hijacking a jet with box-cutters to slam it into a building instead of making it go to Havana.
        Mike Scott’s proposal doesn’t rely on magic slate sizes. Read it and judge for yourself. (A better proposal may emerge before the 2015 Business Meetings. This is still early days.)
        I didn’t claim ‘All fans can afford to attend Sasquan.’ Nor did I claim taking time away from real life is an easy decision for everyone. I merely said membership is equally open to all without ideological bias or secret handshakes.

        That said, if it always costs you US $2k to attend a Worldcon, you’re doing it wrong. There are outlying expensive cases like Yokohama was for everyone living outside East Asia, or Melbourne for everyone outside Australia / New Zealand, but the classic starving-student method for getting to (say) a Worldcon within 1500 miles of you has always been to carpool or Greyhound-bus to the host city and then couch-surf at some acquaintance’s house or use crash space as an extra body in a hotel room, or stay in a nearby-ish motel. Motivated and intelligent fans also avoid the need to pay the at-the-door convention membership price by presupporting bids, voting for Site Selection, and then paying the very modest ‘conversion’ fees to upgrade from supporting to attending — which nets to a great deal less money.

        E.g., for the 2012 Chicago Worldcon, nobody in his/her right mind paid the US $230 at-the-door full membership rates. Being cheap, instead I presupported the bid early (which cost $20) around 2009, paid about $50 as a site-selection voting fee (in 2010), and was (if memory serves) automatically converted to attending when the bid won. So, about $70 by participating in presupporting and site-selection voting, instead of needing to spend $230 at the door. Of course, not all bids you presupport will win, so strictly as an economic proposition you donate a $20 bill here and there, but over time, by participating early you save a lot of membership money, and the bids benefit by having early support money when they need it most.

        (I don’t couch surf, being now a 56-year-old sysadmin who can afford a decent hotel room of my own, but there was a time in my feckless youth when I’d have gladly done Worldcon on Less Than Thirty Altairian Dollars a Day.)

        The economics of Worldcon memberships has been covered for newcomers better elsewhere, but that should give some sense of it.

        Rick Moen

        • says

          And the fact that I couldn’t even type ‘’ correctly reflects it being 2:30am in my current location and the fact that I’m still jetlagged after a week in this burg. (This morning, we’ll be flying home and will possibly be even more ragged. But I hope the foregoing was reasonably clear.)

          • Craig says

            Rick: not American. Options here are not nearly the same as what you suggest. Good advice for some, does nothing for me.

            The linked approach is… interesting. I’m generally fine with more nominees as a solution; anything that expands choice without limiting is good; anything that limits choice or encourages negative voting or gamesmanship is not good.

            • says

              Craig, thank you for the comment, but, FWIW, I didn’t automatically assume you were American. (A large percentage of Worldcon attendees are, of course, which I actively regret: Deirdre and I have been in the forefront of trying to keep the world in Worldcon, e.g., we were early and enthusiastic supporters of both Helsinki bids.)

              Traditionally, most of our Canadian neighbours[1] also have been able to do Worldcon on Less Than Thirty Altairian Dollars a Day with at least some venues, and not just the Toronto and Montreal ones, either. For example, carpooling from Waterloo ON to Boston MA and back for Noreascon4 wasn’t out of the question, and I met penurious young Waterluvians who did so. From there to Spokane, well, sorry. In that case, feel welcome to root for the Montreal in 2017 bid. ;->

              Anyway, again, I never said Worldcon was practical for everyone, merely that the difficulties aren’t pointed at anyone in particular and anyone who arrives with a valid attending membership gets to vote at the Business Meeting.

              [1] For clarification: I’m not trying to be cute, here, with British/Commonwealth spelling and occasional diction, but was raised in the British school system and was an airline brat, ergo have always travelled quite a bit.

      • says

        Well, the distinction there is that we know Scalzi wouldn’t want to be on that slate, so I’d be inclined to vote for him on that basis.

        While I like Scalzi personally, even though he falls into a few rhetorical traps I dislike, I can’t recall offhand putting Scalzi first on any recent ballot. I loved Redshirts in a lot of ways, but I have a distinct prejudice for landing the perfect ending.

        Here were my nominations in the novel category this year, which is more of a reflection of what I read than anything else:

        The Three-Body Problem Cixin Liu
        The Stone Boatmen Sarah Tolmie
        Artemis Awakening Jane Lindskold
        The Dark Defiles Richard K. Morgan
        The Mirror Empire Kameron Hurley

        I remember shuffling names several times; there were eight books I’d have liked to nominate. As it happens, I haven’t yet read any of the nominees.

        I was only halfway through Three Body at the time, but I nominated it because I believed it was exactly the kind of book that might get overlooked (as a work in translation).

  13. Anne Fenwick says

    I wanted to comment on why people who are eligible to nominate don’t/didn’t since I find myself in that category. It’s mainly because my participation in the field is too unfocused to come up with nominees. I’m pretty sure I will be delighted to vote for The Goblin Emperor, but I didn’t read it until after nominations had closed. I read a lot, but not systematically Hugo eligible work, and in fact, my to-read list is so long, I’m more likely to be late than otherwise.

    I’m not deeply attracted to work shorter than novels, though I will read them if someone puts one in front of me. That’s unfortunate for me in the current situation, because I have a very small overlap with the puppies tastes.

    I unconscionably fail to notice the names of those professional artists whose work graces the covers of books. As for editors – I really do apologize Deirdre, because I gather you are one – I know editors are absolutely vital, but as a reader I have no clue how to assess their work or separate it from the work of the author. In fan-related activities, I could just about vote for the ones I know, but I would never want to claim they’re the best in any meaningful sense. In ‘related work’ I’m learning what that means by looking at what sort of things get nominated, which is also unfortunate in the current situation. I agree that Jo Walton’s What Makes This Book Great was fantastic, but although I’d read it and liked it a lot, it hadn’t occurred to me that it was eligible for an award.

    I know quite a few people who are eligible to nominate and none of them are more driven or more competent than me. But I do hate this bloc voting thing, especially the political aspect of it.

    • says

      I am not currently editing, so no worries. I have previously been an editor for Abyss & Apex (which is on one of the slates, but not for a year I read for them) and BayCon.

      I used to feel blindsided by the dramatic presentation problem, for example. The television year isn’t the calendar year, so what’s eligible? Then, I simply kept a text file starting at the beginning of each year of things I liked, and it got a lot easier. I might miss a few things, but overall, it was better.

      For books, I keep two bookshelves in iBooks each year:

      • 2014 Favorites
      • 2014 Books Read

      For the “Favorites” shelf, I don’t separate what was published in a year vs. what was published in an earlier year; the list is typically short enough that I can do that toward the end of the year when I’m reflecting on which books really stayed with me vs. which I liked a bunch in the moment.

      As for not having read “enough,” first: this perspective tends to mean women are less likely to nominate or vote. Your opinion is just as important in this process as every other WSFS member.

      If you think a work was strong enough to be worthy of a Hugo, then by all means nominate it. No one can read/watch everything.

      Regarding other categories, if they don’t speak that much to you, then don’t nominate in them.

      • says

        I know everyone and his brother is trying to come up with fixes for the Hugo voting system. And that includes me. But I think I may be the only one who has addressed Best Dramatic Presentation Short Form in mine.

        I like to think my proposal is better than some of the esoteric math treatments, because from the voter’s point of view, it makes the marginalized voters feel like they have more input into what finally wins, and it will stop slates in their tracks while avoiding a false positive nuking something that was really, really popular.

        • says

          Others have been discussing various two-stage nominating processes. The Nebulas use them, but I don’t believe it’s feasible for the Hugos due to the volunteer nature of the thing.

          Nominating a series in BDP short eliminates awards for non-series work (e.g., the fairly recent awards for “F*ck Me, Ray Bradbury” and Chris Garcia’s Hugo Awards Acceptance Speech). Also, entire seasons of short works are eligible as long form already: Orphan Black, Season 1 didn’t make it on the nominee list last year, but was in the top 15.

          • says

            I think the volunteer nature of the thing makes it more feasible. As one commenter on my blog just said:

            “If it goes all-electronic, then it can be automated, and standardized: hell, there are enough Open Source Coders in fandom to develop a standard Worldcon Nominating and Voting Platform. Load it on a Linux Box, load eligible voters, it spits out emails for Initial Noms. Deadline hits, run the Reports, announce the Nomination Pool. Open Nomination Voting, run for announced period, cut-off and run report: formal announcement of Nominations. When Voter packet is ready. email download link to THAT as well. Open voting, get votes, roll credits, cut to commercial.

            Other than running reports, the only REAL work in that is sorting through the initial nominee candidates, for mis-spells, etc. . ..”

            Although he missed sorting out the ineligibles and declines, but you get the gist of it. It could even be hosted on a consistent server say, “” and each ConCom gets access to the data files in turn. (Much like how they pass on membership information from one year to the next so members can nominate the next year).

            But better than any algorithm, it harnesses the power of the other 90% of the Hugo Electorate to counteract a Slate, if necessary, rather than throwing their votes on the floor, like the current system.

            • says

              There is a curiously deep dislike of technology in SF/F fandom.

              Asimov never flew on a plane.
              One person I used to schedule for programming doesn’t use email. I hate phones, so there was a real personal capital cost to keeping in touch with him.
              And a small core of people don’t like email for things like ballots.

              I…don’t understand.

              But it does exist, there is a very real resistance to doing away with paper (though we recently allowed electronic as the default, see WSFS constitution 1.5.3 change), and some of the nominators live in places where a paper ballot can take a month to get to. For real.

              So that’s the fly in your ointment.

              • says

                I didn’t see going all electronic as a bridge too far, since I read that there were only three paper ballots this year. Although nothing stops the administrators from entering them by hand into the database.

                • says

                  There’s a difference between voting by ballot and not wanting to receive ballots by snail mail. There are far more than three people who received their ballots by snail mail, I’m betting.

                  Granted, these are two different problems to solve.

  14. says

    I accepted Sad Puppies support, I admit, but I had nothing to do with Rabid Puppies. How can you tell people not to read my works without knowing me or my writing?

    Strikes me as unfair. I nominated my own entries, and I’ll vote fairly and not boycott anyone sight unseen.

    • says

      Where did I say no one should read your work? Nowhere. I have said that I intend to at least try to read slate works—but only after voting closes.

      If you accepted being a part of a slate, you are part of the problem. (And are on permanent comment moderation here.)

        • says

          I’ve been active in fandom, helping run conventions, since 1977. I’ve been involved in Worldcon fandom since 1984, though there were quite a few years between then and 1999 when I wasn’t attending.

          You seem to think the sad puppy slate is acceptable behavior.

          I feel sad for you that you believe that is ethical, moral, desirable, or that it will win you any meaningful favors. Had you been in the room (as I was) at Eastercon when the names were announced, you’d have heard the reaction. Felt the anger.

          Because, you know what? You and your best buds don’t get to buy your way into Worldcon fandom and tell people they have to read your books.

          You may be able to buy a Hugo Award this year. Doubtful, but possible.

          You can’t buy our respect, though, and respect is what made the Hugos meaningful.

          With that, I’m kicking you off my blog. You can come back when you’re ready to join polite society.

    • says

      Lou, speaking for myself, I definitely hope to read your work, and look forward to doing so.

      I may be voting No Award for the entire Best Short Story category on good policy grounds, but that has nothing to do with my planning to read your short story, and hope that I’ll enjoy your work.

      Deirdre already pointed out error. Why are you claiming she said something she obviously did not? Is this a waste of your time and everyone else’s? I believe you owe her an apology.

      The policy matter is that this slate idiocy needs to get heavily discouraged, and I figure if authors like you get the clear message that slate nominations are the kiss of death for most Hugo voters, that ought to do it. You’re a bright fellow, right? I expect you know why frequent Hugo voters are annoyed as Hell at the slates, so you can do the math. (I notice that both the Sad and Rabid canines included your short story.)

      Frequent Hugo voters are patient people, so don’t expect them to simply smile and ignore the breaking of a 62-year-old gentleman’s agreement not to slate-vote and especially not to mass-vote everything but your group’s slate off of a voting category. If you don’t accept that and prefer to argue, I really don’t care to hear it.

      Of course, maybe you’ll be taking home a rocket, and nobody knows at this point how the vote will turn out. But you will absolutely not have my support.

      Rick Moen

  15. Callimachus says

    There’s a bit of irony in the fact that I fond my way here from Black Gate’s withdrawal announcement. I can’t help but feel sad for people who were put on a list without really being consulted, and then got nominated – probably experiencing a moment of incredible elation, before having it yanked from them. I understand your motivations for compiling this list, but I also feel sorry for those who were used by the puppies, and now face a really gut-wrenching dilemma. As if they were the puppies’ chew toys.

    The whole affair is just so so sad.

    • says

      I feel sad for all of them too. There’s honestly no good solution—except perhaps to read more writers. View more artists. Etc.

      I think I’m going to write up how I keep track of things I love in a given year in case that helps anyone.

  16. Brian Pettera says

    I’m voting this year and I’ll read all that I can and vote accordingly. I’m not really positive who’s on the SP slate and I see who is on yours but I’ll still vote on the merit of the writing as I see them. To me “No Award” is just another political front and is divisive and not constructive. As a side note I’m a casual FB friend of Lou Antonelli and always found him to be helpful, knowledgeable and balanced in his views as they pertain to writing and always a gentleman. I think you might be a little overly judgmental and dismissive to those who at first blush might disagree with you.He seemed polite in his posts and I think you should be respective of that.

    • says

      First, I don’t have a “slate.” I have an anti-slate: after one removes the two slates that bloc voted, what’s above is what’s left. That that’s not obvious to you, well, you are ill informed.

      You evidently believe it’s polite to go onto another person’s blog and snark at them, as Mr. Antonelli did.

      You evidently believe it’s okay to buy one’s way onto a ballot, and that’s polite, as Mr. Antonelli did.

      Or perhaps you’re incorrect about Mr. Antonelli’s politeness.

      You’re free to vote however you like, but you’re not free to comment here.

      (Any similar comments—from anyone—will be dustbinned and the commenters blocked. There are other areas of the Internet for y’all, and this is Not That Space.)

      • tejas says

        Did I just read a not so veiled attempt at mansplaining?

        I thought so.

        I find it interesting that you are the one being “dismissive”. Uh-huh.

          • says

            Deirdre wrote:

            I suspect someone was just bitter that there were consequences to his actions.

            We’re going to hear a lot of that between now and the voting deadline somewhere around the end of July. ‘It’s unfair to not read every nominated entry and vote strictly on the merit of the word.’ ‘We didn’t break any rules.’ ‘You aren’t mean enough to harm innocent authors, are you?’ ‘Why should I want to interfere with people saying they’ll vote for me?’

            Thing is, the authors who were pushed onto the ballot by the nominations slates aren’t actualiy entitled to anything. Frankly, as a working capitalist, I personally find this sort of special-pleading more than a bit unseemly.

            The Hugo voters are fully entitled to decide every aspect of voting, including deciding to rank No Award ahead of particular entries because they think the entry doesn’t belong on the ballot for for any other reason the voter sees fit. Including voters wanting to send nominees a message for this and subsequent years of ‘Gee, finishing below No Award hurt this time, didn’t it? Maybe next year I’ll disavow any and alll slates that include my works the moment I hear about them.’

            Although nobody knows which way the final vote will go, if the Puppy nominees end up getting clobbered by No Award the way I currently expect, I hope word then gets out that this was a stupid tactic that merely seriously pissed off the electorate, and that smart authors in the future will have nothing to do with any future attempts.

            We might have slow learners. In which case, oh well. Kind of like the old technical support joke: Q: ‘Doctor, doctor, it hurts when I do this.’ A: ‘Well, don’t do that, then.’

            Rick Moen

            • says

              Thing is, the authors who were pushed onto the ballot by the nominations slates aren’t actualiy entitled to anything.

              Exactly so. And, really, no one is entitled to have me read their book. Not even my very favorite authors. Yes, I probably will, but it’s not something an author should ever take for granted.

              I think hearing that there are people at the other end of every pebble in that process is startling to some of these folks.

    • says

      Brian Pettera wrote: To me “No Award” is just another political front and is divisive and not constructive.

      You’re absolutely entitled to be grossly mistaken. ;->

      It’s possible that your friend Lou didn’t realise that an enormous backlash of final-ballot voters were going to react to the slate exploit by No Awarding the affected categories, in part to put nominees on notice that they’d better distance themselves from slates in the future.

      Now, Lou will know that. A learning experience for him. I hope and expect that he’ll keep writing SF, and I hope he will win an award in some year that hasn’t been gamed.

      Rick Moen

        • says

          Ah, really charming.

          I must admit I idly wonder, at this point — speaking as a Norwegian-American — if Mr. Antonelli (being endorsed by Mr. Beale’s Rabid Puppy slate) happens to agree with Mr. Beale’s ringing endorsement of Norwegian mass-murderer Anders Behring Breivik at, in which Mr. Beale compares the 69 murdered children on Utøya, assassinated by Breivik during his 2012 killing spree, with Norwegian traitor Vidkun Quisling.

          But I am perhaps in a less than charitable mood.

          Rick Moen

          • says

            I’d assumed, based upon his surname’s position in the alphabet, that he was a ‘pity sex’ nomination.

            There were three ‘slate’ recommendations for the semiprozine category: ASIM, Abyss & Apex, and Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show. I cannot help but feel that OSC’s IGMS was probably, for reasons of hierarchy and politics, the first preference of the slate organisers, and that ASIM and Abyss & Apex were there perhaps merely to lend some semblance of impartiality to the Sad Puppies’ list of recommendations, and may have owed as much to their position in the alphabet — you don’t have to trawl far through Ralan’s to find us — as to their merits as purveyors of fine speculative fiction. (I mean no disrespect at all to Abyss & Apex through this conjecture, by the way, and would point you towards that magazine’s own gracious and measured response to the current imbroglio, which is well worth reading. As, indeed, is the magazine.) Like ASIM, Abyss & Apex made it through to the ballot; IGMS missed out.

            • says

              Ah, yes, that fits. I do feel considerable sympathy towards authors such as Mr. Antonelli caught in a no-win situation as they belatedly realise that slate endorsement — of which they might not even have been informed — was an anti-gift.

              Anyway, I certainly do plan to seek out Mr. Antonelli’s work, and wish him well.

          • Hampus Eckerman says

            One of the people at Utøya was my friend when i was younger. I remember the tweet when he said he was okay, he was not hurt by the bomb in the center of Oslo. We shouldn’t worry. He was on his way to a youth camp where there was no danger.

            And then his twitter went quiet.

            He survived, is still involved politically. His wife was one of the main targets of Breivik. Anyone who supports this kind of terrorism is a person I will oppose in anyway possible. And that goes for everyone who associates with this terror supporter.

            No Award it is. And good riddance to everyone who talks about “shunning” terrorist supporters as a bad thing.

            • says

              Hampus, first, I’m relieved to hear that your friend survived both the Regjeringskvartalet bombing and the subsequent murders on Utøya. Talk about escaping the frying pan and landing in the fire!

              We can both certainly agree in having about the lowest possible opinion of Mr. Beale’s rhetoric. You do realise, I hope, that there is also a studied art to it: He carefully cultivates deliberate outraged reaction as an attention-getting device, and often manages to guide what his enemies say and do for his own purposes. Once one gets over annoyance, there is much that is interesting to see in his tactics: To borrow a term from security engineering, he uses the Internet for force-amplification purposes, and it’s important to realise why he does that. He does it because otherwise he has really nothing to work with, no influence, no force projection of his own, and only a modest pool of money from Daddy Robert Beale, currently resident in prison for income tax evasion.

              Beale’s ‘larval quislings’ article was part of his fixation with Muslim immigration and childbearing trends in Europe, and you’ll see in his article a hilariously inept analysis of Storting politics, because he really has absolutely no idea what he’s talking about and merely is slotting Norway into his standard ‘Muslims are taking over Europe’ argument.

              I tweaked the nose of Mr. Beale the Dominionist Christian by reassuring him that, ‘by the God of Thunder, we Norwegians will never permit our beloved country to be taken over by a Middle-Eastern death cult’. (And then I said something about looking for my book about St. Olav, just to make sure my joke wasn’t lost on the inattentive.)

              Basically what I’m saying is, please don’t afford Mr. Beale an unearned significance.

              And I’d also advise not being too hard on people who ‘associate with’ Mr. Beale or any other, to use the proper Norsk word, troll. Science fiction is a small world where we all talk to each other, even if sometimes we don’t say much besides ‘Dude, really?’ for a while. Including Beale. I’ve seen much too much ‘othering’, and I personally want to see less of it, not more.

              Rick Moen


  1. […] That being said, if you’d like a quick and dirty example of how to vote “No Award,” then let me give you one. I’ll use the Best Novel category, and for the purpose of this example, I will use the assumption that you’re absolutely refusing to give any votes to the books that were on the slated ballots that campaigned their way onto the official one. I should note if you’re really determined to keep any and all dog shit off the ballot, then Deirdre Saoirse Moen has a great post explaining how. […]

  2. […] I will probably be following the guide that some people have suggested, voting “No Award” where all options are “Sad Puppy” nominations, and only voting for the candidates that are not part of the Sad Puppy slate, in the order that I think they most deserve. For a guide on how to do this, see here: […]

  3. […] The growing sentiment among many Hugo voters is to respond to this perceived threat by placing “No Award” ahead of every one of the Rabid Puppies and Sad Puppies on the ballot, which would deny the members of those slates a Hugo Award. A number of sites offer guidance on exactly how to do this, including Deirdre Saoirse Moen’s “The Puppy-Free Hugo Award Voter’s Guide.” […]

  4. […] Of the people I nominated, how many were included in the final short-list for everyone to vote on? Two. Just Two. Both in the Semiprozine category. None of what I nominated made it. Really? You can’t tell me that none of VanderMeer’s Southern Reach books made the cut? That The Three-Body Problem wasn’t on the ballot. UGH. The force with Sad Puppies was strong. Are there still deserving people on that final ballot that I will vote for? Yes. My ballot MAY look suspiciously like one suggested here. […]

  5. […] Speaking of science fiction and fantasy, the stacking of the Hugo ballot by the Rabid/Sad Puppies group ballot happened — Strange Horizons has a pretty good summary of the situation, and Mike Glyer’s round-ups are generally fairly complete. Here are some voices I particularly like, in no particular order. Basically the SFF bit of the internet blew up recently due to a group of reactionaries getting organised (and pulling in some GamerGate people) and near-controlling the ballots for one of the most significant annual awards. For an indication of the extent of the dominance by this group, see the Puppy-Free Hugo Award Voters Guide. […]

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