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Countdown to Hugo

We're one week away from the announcement of the 2016 Hugo nominations. Drum roll, please.

Should be interesting. MidAmericon II has announced that more than 4000 nominating ballots were received, shattering the previous record of 2122 set by Sasquan last year. The nominating pool included all those who were members of Sasquan and of next year's worldcon in Finland as well as the members of MidAmericon itself.

However, to actually vote on the awards, you will need to be a member of Big Mac II. You can take care of that here: http://www.midamericon2.org/

I am hopeful that my own exhortations encouraged a few people to nominate who might elsewise have forgotten. And of course I am hopeful that a few of my own favorites, the books and stories and television shows and movies that I recommended here, will make the shortlist. But there's no way of knowing until the nominations are announced.

Whether my own choices make the cut or not, I will be pleased if we get an honest ballot this year, with Hugo-worthy choices in all categories.


Apr. 18th, 2016 07:03 pm (UTC)
Hi George, you plan to come soon to Spain? You ever been for Andalucia and / or Huelva?
Apr. 18th, 2016 07:11 pm (UTC)
I have been to Spain numerous times. I am sure I will be back, but I couldn't say just when.
Gregory Hullender
Apr. 18th, 2016 07:40 pm (UTC)
WorldCon Nominations Numbers
Nominations were actually just 10% above a business-as-usual estimate, based on how many people were members at Sasquan. However, the Sasquan numbers were sky high (in great part, I believe, due to your exhortations last year), so the thing to be excited about is that that vast number of new members stuck around and nominated. They didn't just show up one time to vote the slates under No Award.

There are too many unknowns to hazard a prediction of how well the slates will do this year. However, the fact that the slates included at least one Hugo-worthy work in all the key categories means that I'm very optimistic we won't have to make No Award our #1 pick anywhere.
Apr. 18th, 2016 07:47 pm (UTC)
Re: WorldCon Nominations Numbers
I hope you're right.

As I have said in other posts, I don't see the Sad Puppy list as a slate this year. The Rabids, of course, are another story.
Apr. 18th, 2016 09:29 pm (UTC)
Re: WorldCon Nominations Numbers
I don't know that there was a Rapid slate. It looks like the Sads did what they said they'd do, which is solicit a wide number of recommendations and post the top >n< of them (so kudos to them for doing it right this year).

It'll be interesting to see the ballot and then start my reading!
Apr. 18th, 2016 11:55 pm (UTC)
Re: WorldCon Nominations Numbers
Regarding the Sads slate, I liked (and agree with) these comments from John Seavey:

"So I guess my question would be… what was the point of this exactly? I mean, having eschewed obvious bias on the part of the nominators, and having chosen not to create a slate, and having decided not to ally themselves with the Rabid Puppies, and having in all other ways apparently given up on the various forms of bad-faith action that characterized the three previous Puppy campaigns…they produced a list of recommendations pretty much like anyone else’s. It even has the Puppy Poster Child for Sci-Fi That Only Gets Nominated Because It Ticks the Right SJW Checkboxes, Ann Leckie.

"I mean, I agree with everyone who says that it’s really, genuinely, legitimately great that they’re not acting in bad faith, and yes, real kudos to Paulk for reforming an ugly and nepotistic process. But doesn’t this pretty much retroactively invalidate all the Puppy arguments? If an open, transparent Puppy recommendation list doesn’t look anything like the Puppy slates of previous years, doesn’t that just pretty much admit that anything that takes the actual desires of wider fandom into account isn’t going to resemble the things that Puppies have been saying all along that the wider fandom really wants?

"Basically, doesn’t SP4 just kind of prove that there’s no need for a Puppy movement at all?"
Apr. 19th, 2016 04:12 am (UTC)
RE: Re: WorldCon Nominations Numbers
Apr. 19th, 2016 05:49 am (UTC)
Re: WorldCon Nominations Numbers
Yeah, maybe some of that is true... but I am not sure that it needed to be said. In the interests of healing some of the wounds inflicted last year, I think it is better to focus on what Sad Puppies 4 did right this year, rather than endlessly rehashing all the things that the first three campaigns did wrong. That's all behind us, and can't be changed. Let's try and put aside the old grievances and the things that divide us, and concentrate on the things that we have in common... like, frinstance, an admiration for the talents of Ann Leckie.
Apr. 19th, 2016 12:46 pm (UTC)
Re: WorldCon Nominations Numbers
I don't think this is a matter of rehashing but rather a new point about the current SP "slate" contradicting the claims and supposed raison d'être of previous SP slates. I think it's a legitimate point to make, not just an airing of past grievances.
Apr. 20th, 2016 06:55 am (UTC)
Re: WorldCon Nominations Numbers
Yeah, but if you are on the Puppy side of the argument (I am not), it comes over as being told you're damned if you do, damned if you don't. Respond to criticisms and you still get slammed.
Apr. 20th, 2016 08:02 am (UTC)
Re: WorldCon Nominations Numbers
Once again, that's not the point that was being made here by Seavey - he's not criticizing their efforts this year.

The Puppies maintained throughout the whole controversy last year that they were creating a slate because what the majority of people consider Real Science Fiction(tm) was not being reflected in the Hugo nomination and award process because "SJWs" in some unproved Machiavellian way controlled that process, and that their list was not really a slate but a list based on an open contribution process that reflected what the wider fan community truly considered to be Real Science Fiction.

Therefore, it's legitimate to point out that their repeated claims to this effect are negated by their more open list this year, which presumably was not sullied by SJW machinations but which does not look anything like last year's supposedly representative slate.
Apr. 20th, 2016 08:22 am (UTC)
Re: WorldCon Nominations Numbers
I get that. But that's from *our* perspective. From the other side, it doesn't look like that: it looks like, 'we responded and people are still attacking us over what happened in the past'.

So I think GRRM is right: what we should be saying is 'well done, this is the right way to do a list', not 'this list just shows how full of it you were in the past'. If you hope to make progress with someone, you have to let their past errors go - even, perhaps especially, if you have a legitimate point.
Apr. 20th, 2016 10:34 am (UTC)
Re: WorldCon Nominations Numbers
I disagree that no one should be permitted to make these fact-based observations comparing the result of last year's process to the result of this year's process for fear it might be taken as an attack.

What's going on here is not merely a matter of "Your process last year needed improvement; thanks for making those improvements." Instead, it's more "Your process last year needed improvement to meet its stated aim; thanks for making those improvements. The result shows that (a) you could not have followed the open process you claimed to have followed last year, and (b) the premise on which last year's process was based was false and misleading."

Edited at 2016-04-20 11:14 am (UTC)
Apr. 20th, 2016 12:45 pm (UTC)
Re: WorldCon Nominations Numbers
Oh, hey, there's no suggestion that somebody isn't permitted to do whatever they like. Just an observation that it probably will, in fact, be taken as an attack and that wouldn't be helpful.
Apr. 20th, 2016 01:10 pm (UTC)
Re: WorldCon Nominations Numbers
If someone is going to take Seavey's comments as an attack then there's not much anyone can do about that. Not sure what "helpful" strategies you think should be employed or to what end.

The perpetrators of last year's debacle are going to keep pushing their view of the universe no matter how often it's shown to be false and will also believe that anyone who tries to use reason and logic to evaluate their claims is attacking them or out to get them. I don't think that means that people should stop that effort, though.
Piet Nel
Apr. 19th, 2016 11:30 am (UTC)
Re: WorldCon Nominations Numbers
Phew! Good points, those (both smofbabe and George).

Edited at 2016-04-19 11:33 am (UTC)
Apr. 19th, 2016 01:24 am (UTC)
Re: WorldCon Nominations Numbers
Yes, Vox posted the Rabids' slate with 5 choices in each category. But there were some choices on it that are generally popular enough to have been nominated anyway.
Apr. 19th, 2016 01:17 pm (UTC)
Re: WorldCon Nominations Numbers
Huh, not something I'd heard about.

I'm guessing he didn't have Leckie on his slate, though.
Apr. 18th, 2016 07:55 pm (UTC)
Middle East
Hi George, do you plan on visiting your fans in the middle east?
Apr. 18th, 2016 09:44 pm (UTC)
Re: Middle East
Not scheduling any new travel at this time, though I will continue to fulfill the commitments I made years ago. You can find a full list on the appearances page of my website.
Apr. 18th, 2016 09:18 pm (UTC)
I'm just glad that (once again) my software performed under unexpected stress.
Apr. 19th, 2016 05:18 am (UTC)
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Have you ever been to Argentina? If not, you should visit Buenos Aires sometime. It's a beautiful city and you have many fans here.
Apr. 19th, 2016 05:50 am (UTC)
Re: Buenos Aires, Argentina
I'd love to... but right now I need to stay home and work.

I will be visiting Brazil next year. That's about as close to Argentina as I'm going to get in the near future.
Diego San Miguel
Apr. 19th, 2016 01:56 pm (UTC)
Game of Thrones
Hi, George. I just finished writing up a blog post about Game of Thrones. I thought you might enjoy a quick read, and checking out some of the interesting things fans are doing via inspiration from your novels: http://asninja.blogspot.com/2016/04/61-cool-game-of-thrones-gift-ideas-for.html
Apr. 19th, 2016 06:47 pm (UTC)
Hi George!

I just saw an article on Deadspin and just wanted to come by to say I'm sorry you have to deal with this kind of harassment. Hang in there!

Love your books.

If you ever come to Portugal again, I'd love to get a beer with you and discuss geek stuff!

Piet Nel
Apr. 20th, 2016 12:02 pm (UTC)
Countdown to Hugo
Nothing is certain ... but I'm going to take a flyer and say that we're probably going to end up with a somewhat mixed, but essentially normal-looking ballot.

The main reasons appear to be: One, there are vastly more nominators this year than last. Since it seems likely that the Puppies (both kinds) are a minority, it will be impossible for them to flood the ballot. Two, the SP's have not put forward a slate, but rather a recommended list which, crucially, is longer than the number of finalists in most categories. This reduces the likelihood that a large number of nominators will produce identical ballots. It can still happen, of course, if Sad Puppy supporters choose to regard the top five positions as their slate - but some, perhaps many, won't do that, preferring to mix up their nominations with selections lower down in the lists. Three, the Sads and even the Rabids have put forth at least some recommendations that are (in all likelihood) acceptable to non-Puppies. This gives us an excellent chance of avoiding the no award situation this year.

So it seems to me that we're probably on the way to a kinder, gentler, more inclusive and altogether less heated Hugo process this year. And how can that be bad?

I could be completely wrong, of course, but let's hope not.
Apr. 20th, 2016 07:21 pm (UTC)
Re: Countdown to Hugo
I hope you are right.

The Rabids produced a slate, to be sure. If they do indeed turn out hundreds of nominators, all of whom vote in lockstep, it could produce a ballot as bad as last year's. There are many more nominators than there were last year, of course, but their nominations are likely to be spread out over dozens of possible choices, so a disciplined minority faction could still overwhelm a much larger group of fans voting as individuals. Hope not, but... we'll soon know.
Piet Nel
Apr. 20th, 2016 09:04 pm (UTC)
Re: Countdown to Hugo
True, I failed to mention the fact that the Rabids do have a slate. I just hope there is enough consensus among the herd of cats to put some worthy candidates on the ballot.

It's as if Fort Knox is being guarded by a small, understaffed squad of sleepy and complacent guards, who are constantly under threat of being overrun by a tiny, but determined, commando force.

Let's hope that a flare was sent up last year that'll summon the cavalry in time to save the Hugos.
Gregory Hullender
Apr. 21st, 2016 04:58 pm (UTC)
Re: Countdown to Hugo
I did extensive analysis of the historic Hugo voting data, and the "spreading" you're talking about can be quantified. For short stories, it goes as the square root of total participation (or very close to it). If the slates really did get 500 disciplined voters, then we needed over 10,000 "organic votes" just to keep them from sweeping. (That is, just to have a single non-slate candidate in the Best Short Story list.) Obviously we fell far short of that.

But several things might mitigate this:

1) The RP folks were very late with their slates and they updated them near the last minute. That may have impacted their participation numbers quite a bit. Also, they did not achieve perfect slate discipline last year, so they may not manage it this year either.

2) The RP slates do contain a few Hugo-worthy works this time. (I read and reviewed them all--they are not ALL trash this time.) Some are mainstream works that might have been nominated anyway, but some are exactly the sort of excellent, overlooked works that the puppies have always claimed to champion. Even if the slates do sweep, fans will not be forced to choose between No Award and trash.

3) The existence of recommendation lists (including Rocket Stack Rank) may have had the effect of concentrating the fan vote on fewer choices. That would change the exponent in the distribution and make it easier for organic voters to prevent a sweep.

As I said above, it's impossible to predict at this point. We'll know in six days.

If it does come down to another sweep, it will be more important than ever to urge voters to rank Hugo-worthy works above No Award, even if they came from the RP slate. Last year, it was easy for people to vote the slated works under No Award because they genuinely didn't meet the bar. That won't be the case this year. I know you're on the side of the angels when it comes to voting based on the quality of the work; just expect to fight a different kind of Hell if there's another sweep this year. :-)


George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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