Friday, May 01, 2015

The 2015 Hugo Awards: A Few Thoughts as Voting Opens

Nearly a month after the announcement of this year's Hugo nominations, the story has settled down from a furious boil to a steady simmer.  The best sources for ongoing discussion and the increasingly silly backpedaling from the Rabid Puppy camp continue to be Mike Glyer's File 770 and James Nicoll's LJ, but I wouldn't blame anyone for feeling overwhelmed by the sheer breadth and depth of the discussion.  The purpose of this post, then, is to highlight a few key pieces of information that are particularly relevant now that voting has opened.  I'll probably repost this once or twice as we get closer to the voting deadline.
  • Voting for the 2015 Hugo awards is now open, and will close on July 31st, 11:59 PDT.  You are eligible to vote if you are an attending or supporting member of Sasquan, the 2015 Worldcon in Spokane, Washington (to clarify: members of the 2014 and 2016 Worldcons, who were eligible to nominate for this year's Hugos, can only vote for the winners if they are also members of Sasquan).  If you're already a member, you should either have received or will soon receive your membership number and PIN, which are necessary for online voting.  If they don't arrive by next week, you can get them on the PIN lookup page, or by contacting the award's administrators at this address.

  • You can become a supporting member and exercise your voting privileges at any point between now and the voting deadline.  Sasquan has experienced a massive boost in membership since the Hugo nominees were announced, almost all of it made up of supporting memberships.  Supporting members are also eligible to receive the Hugo voting packet, which will probably be released towards the end of this month.

  • Since the nominees were announced, several changes were made to the ballot.  Two of the Rabid Puppies nominees were disqualified and removed from the ballot.  Two other authors--Marko Kloos (Best Novel, Lines of Departure) and Annie Bellet (Best Short Story, "Goodnight Stars")--asked to be removed because they did not wish to be associated with the Rabid Puppies campaign.  After the award's administrators announced that the ballot was finalized, two other nominees, Black Gate (Best Fanzine) and Edmund R. Schubert (Best Editor, Short Form), announced that they were declining their nominations as well, though their names still appear.  The final ballot can be seen here.

  • There's been a lot of discussion about what the correct approach to voting should be this year.  My policy is still that, with the exception of the Dramatic Presentation categories, I will be No Award-ing all the Puppy selections (that said, I will be placing the Puppy-endorsed episode of Grimm nominated in Best Dramatic Presentation: Short Form under No Award, because it isn't very good at all). Deirdre Saoirse Moen has a guide if this is how you'd like to vote.

  • In addition to No Award-ing the Puppies, there are two other categories where I will be voting No Award for all nominees.  I've already written about the Best Fan Writer category, and in addition I will not be voting to give a Hugo in the Best Novelette category, even though it contains a non-Puppy nominee in the form of Thomas Olde Heuvelt's "The Day the World Turned Upside Down."  Chance has written eloquently about the many problems with this story, which does not deserve to win a Hugo by default.

  • Speaking of Chance, she's thrown herself on the grenade of the Rabid Puppies' short fiction selections, and is reviewing them one by one with sad and hilarious results.  Her reviews are required reading, first if you like funny and snarky writing, but also if you're still under the impression that literary merit has anything to do with this campaign.

  • In addition to voting for the Hugos, supporting members of Sasquan may vote in the site selection ballot to choose the location of the 2017 Worldcon.  I would very much like to see the Worldcon come to Helsinki, so I will definitely be voting in this election, but the process is a bit complicated.  To vote for site selection, you not only need to be a member of Sasquan, but you have to pay an additional site selection fee of $40.  This fee will be converted into a supporting membership of whichever bid wins the right to host the 2017 Worldcon.  While it is possible to vote for site selection online (by scanning your ballot and emailing it to the convention), at the moment Sasquan is only taking payments for this additional voting fee via check or money order, which obviously puts international voters at a significant disadvantage.  The convention has promised that online payment will be available in a few weeks, and I'll make announcements about that, either here or on my twitter feed, when it happens.


Nikki ( said...

Oh sad that site selection voting requires an additional fee and isn't possible electronically at the moment. Voting for Helsinki is something I want to do too.

zagrobelny said...

I don't people are giving the author of "The Day the World Turned Upside Down" enough credit here. You aren't supposed to sympathize with the narrator, just like you aren't supposed to sympathize with Humbert Humbert. You're supposed to see right through his self-justifying nonsense and narcissistic agony. Or perhaps I'm giving the author too much credit, but that was my take on it.

Deirdre Saoirse Moen said...

I'm sad to hear that about the Grimm episode. While I enjoyed the first couple of seasons, I'm so far behind it's not funny. Also sad that Heuvelt's piece isn't stronger than it apparently is.

Standback said...
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Standback said...
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Standback said...

So I'm as fond of good snark as the next guy, but I confess I have a hard time taking the secritcrush reviews as actual indicators of quality. Amusing as they are, I could write in that tone and style about pretty much *anything* - and it's not exactly an impartial and unbiased reviewer we're talking about, or you wouldn't say describe her as "throwing herself on the grenade." :P

She writes with so much mockery and disdain that I just can't take them seriously as reviews - they're more a form of sniping. Yes, they're funny, and yes, in all probability I'd agree with them entirely if I went and read the pieces - but with so much sniping and bad feeling, I don't think these reviews actually add an iota (in either direction) to how much I know about the individual merits of any given story. So personally, I wouldn't point other people to the reviews due to impressions about literary merit; if anybody actually has any doubts, that's *not* the place to go.

(MEANWHILE IN THE FUTURE, the secritcrush reviews are nominated as the Best Related Work 2015!)

Standback said...

Oh, this is nice!
L.J. Goldstein is also reviewing the Puppy ballot, with rather more gravity. So far I am enjoying :)

Bonnie McDaniel said...

Standback: I completely understand why Secritcrush has written her reviews the way she has. I've been posting reviews of the Hugo ballot myself, and my take is remarkably similar to hers...because the quality (or lack thereof) of the works demand it.

To be blunt, John C. Wright and the other Puppy nominees (with ONE exception, in my view) can't write for shit.

So: will I begin and end every review with "This is really bad" or some variation? That gets rather boring, doesn't it? Instead, I post excerpts and follow up with snarky comments detailing just WHY the work is really bad, because that's all it deserves.

Look. You want a better, less snarky review--write a better story. It's that simple.

Standback said...

Bonnie, I'm not arguing with that in the least!

I'm just saying, there's "to what extent a review is accurate," and then there's "to what extent a review is persuasive," and particularly "persuasive to undecided bystanders." The two are, alas, completely independent.

And that's an important distinction to make, if your particular context is "if you're still under the impression that literary merit has anything to do with this campaign."

Standback said...

BTW, backing up responses with specific excerpts sounds great. I'm going to go dig up your reviews now :)

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