The Hugo Ballot is Out!

The finalists for the 2014 Hugo Awards were announced over the weekend, and gee golly are there some exciting works on that slate. I’m especially excited to see Mary Robinette Kowal’s “The Lady Astronaut Of Mars” on the ballot (it was denied a place on last year’s ballot because it originally appeared as an Audiobook). It’s sharing the novelette category with Aliette de Bodard’s “The Waiting Stars,” which I’ve not read yet but am looking forward to checking out.

Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice, which is up for Best Novel, has been making a lot of shortlists this year, including the Hugo, Nebula, and Clarke awards. I’m also glad to see Sofia Samatar’s “Selkie Stories Are For Losers” up for the short story Hugo–it’s definitely worth a read if you haven’t seen it yet (Samatar is also in her second year of eligibility for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer).

And I’m excited that my fellow Writing On The Fast Track alum and all-around good guy Mike Underwood is up for Best Fancast for The Skiffy and Fanty Show. The team behind it includes several other wonderful people, including authors and diversity advocates Julia Rios and Stina Leicht.

If you’re interested in checking out these and the other wonderful & deserving works on this year’s ballot and voting for this year’s Hugo awards, supporting memberships to this year’s WorldCon are available for 40$US. In addition to voting rights, supporting Members get a copy of the Hugo Voter Packet, which contains digital editions of most of the works on the ballot. This works out to a pretty great bargain if you’re excited about even a few of the nominated works–plus you get to vote on this year’s Hugos.

You may notice that there are a few surprising names on this year’s ballot. Theodore Beale (aka Vox Day, a writer whose hate speech got him drummed out of the SFWA last year) and Larry Correia encouraged their fans to nominate a particular ‘slate’ that included several vocal conservatives. Some of their fans have since been heard crowing about how they’ve succeeded in making some kind of political point by getting these folks on the ballot.

It’s unfortunate that they’ve chosen to politicize the Hugo awards in this way. But I would remind folks that are thinking about buying a membership that the Hugo Awards use “Instant Runoff Voting,” a system which allows voters to rank the candidates in each category. The system allows people to rank “No Award” higher than any or all candidates on the ballot. Indeed, in 1987, that very thing happened in the novel category: No Award came in ahead of L. Ron Hubbard’s Black Genesis.

Since invoking Beale’s name tends to cause some of the cesspools of the internet to backflow into the tubes, this is your reminder that we have a strictly-enforced comment policy. So if you’re here from Beale’s fan club: run along. Your comment will go straight to moderation and no one will see it.  There are plenty of places online where you can contribute to a net reduction in the worth and dignity of humanity. This is not one of them.

9 thoughts on “The Hugo Ballot is Out!

  1. dtm0

    Aside from the opportunity to vote and rank some really distasteful stuff below “No Award”, (*) consider buying a supporting membership even if you don’t plan to vote but just love or even vaguely enjoy SF. For $40 you a get a ton of reading material, including the whole “Wheel of Time” series. Even if you took that out, you still get a load of quality novels. (I have been told Ancillary Justice is about as feminist a novel as one could expect to survive the Hugo nomination process, so am interested in seeing that, and look there’s also a Charlie Stross book I haven’t read in the mix, so that’s good)

    And then there’s all the novelas and short stories.

    Plus, you’ll be supporting a WorldCon that’s likely to have funding issues with the main tickets since not as many interested people can get to London as can get to, say, Minneapolis.

    (*) Though you should note that some of the authors Beale and Correia support explicitly don’t support them. Frankly, the best refutation of the idea that the Hugos are a political game is to read the works nominated and judge them on their own merits. Fortunately, Beale is by all reviews a truly awful fiction writer.

    1. Mary

      not as many interested people can get to London as can get to, say, Minneapolis

      Not sure if you’re joking here? I am suspecting so? London, founded 43 CE, world-ranking capital city on several axes, population 8 million, 3rd busiest airport in the world by passenger movements? That London? If they can’t sell enough tickets to a WorldCon, it’s really not the fault of the location.

      1. dtm0

        I had been basing that statement on an impression that I now realize was out of date, and statements from people who know more about con organization than I do which I had misinterpreted. The out of date impression was that non-US coons were poorly attended. This stopped being true about a decade ago with the 2005 Glasgow con, though it still seems to apply to WorldCons in Australia. The misinterpreted statement was that this con was likely to be cash-strapped, which I had assumed was an attendance issue. On checking with them again, that was a statement about how insanely expensive London is as a city to organize anything in. So they still need the supporting memberships, but for different reasons.

    2. Annalee Post author

      Mary makes a good point. This blog has an international audience, so we try to be specific when we’re saying something that applies to one population. It’s true that not as many interested USians can make it to London as could make it to Minneapolis, but there are many SFF fans for whom London is far more convenient than pretty much any North American city.

      As for judging work on its own merits– Shweta Narayan has a great post on why the folks who these writers have discriminated against aren’t interested in giving them yet another chance to step on us.

      There is nothing fair about a world where someone can threaten women of color, call them ‘half-savage,’ and still have people suggesting with a straight face that we ought to hold them up as exemplars of achievement in our community. The ‘fairness’ I care about is being fair to all the people Beale and his followers bully. The people who couldn’t just look at that ballot and celebrate the many wonderful and deserving works on it, because they had to be reminded–yet again–that their humanity is up for debate.

      Fairness to us is recognizing how difficult it is to have a major event in our community twisted and used to remind us just how many people think we’re not human. It isn’t telling us that in the face of that difficulty, and in the face of these people’s tireless efforts to prevent the community from levelling the playing field on which they’ve always had the advantage, we’re still obligated to play their rigged game in the name of being good sports.

      1. dtm0

        That’s a very good point, and the two juxtaposed Scalzi quotes in that post make it well, even before the author goes to town on it.

        So what’s the alternative action then? Vote “No Award” across the board as a protest of the idea that enough of the Hugo voters took Beale seriously to vote some of his preferred slate? Buy a supporting membership but return the Hugo packet unread, with no vote, on the grounds that the Hugo nominations, being a simple democracy with a poll tax, where becoming a nominee generally requires only a few hundred votes, are structurally prone to this kind of failure? Buy a supporting membership, but act as though Beale weren’t a nominee? (Alternatively, anyone on his slate) Buy a supporting membership, and then post reviews of everything in it, along with a summary of the author’s off-page behavior?

        Actually, that last idea has some possibilities; I imagine a site that summarized off-page author behavior if run properly could be quite useful generally, not just for the Hugos this year. I wish I felt I could do that without first consulting a lawyer experienced in libel law.

        1. Annalee Post author

          Because of the way the Hugos are voted on, you don’t have to rank ‘no award’ first to affect the ballot. Ranking works BELOW ‘no award’ will count against the work in the ‘no award test,’ while still allowing voters to recognize the deserving works they think should actually win.

          I’m not up on the entire situation in 1987 with Hubbard’s book coming in behind No Award, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Hubbard was primarily nominated by members of his church, and voters ranked their ballots that way because they wanted to send a message to said church that they couldn’t buy their founder a Hugo.

          Now, the 1987 votes are barely a footnote in fandom history–so however Hubbard got onto the ballot, neither his presence nor his ranking destroyed the integrity of the Hugos. If I’m right about what happened in 87, this situation seems to be mirroring that one. I just hope it continues to do so.

  2. Pingback: 2014 Hugo Nominations – the reactions | Far Beyond Reality

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  4. IanFleming

    Interesting you mentioned Larry Correia begging people to vote for him. He’s apparently a bit of a narcissist who thinks his pulp fiction is really award worthy but his genius is being squelched by a “Stalinesque” (his words) left wing conspiracy and that all of the other SF writers secretly admire him but are too afraid to admit so due to fear of damaging their careers. Oh, and he is the only “untouchable” politically conservative author out there.

    [I’ve snipped out the extensive quote from Correia because his language violates our comment policy all over the place. Ian, can you provide the link again? The one you included is 404ing. -Al].

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