edschweppe: (vote at your own risk)
[personal profile] edschweppe
This year's Hugo Award ballot is open. Last month, I started reading my way through the Hugo Awards voter's packet. Given the fact that so many of the nominees made it onto the ballot via the Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies slate nomination campaigns; given the fact that I despise slate nominations as a Hugo nominations tactic; and given how utterly infuriated I was at Vox Day's pushing his own press (Castalia House) so blatantly, I decided to vote for No Award above:
- any non-Puppy nominee that was not, in my opinion, at least good enough for a Hugo nomination in a "normal" year
- any Puppy nominee (apart from the Castalia House nominees) that was not, in my opinion, truly great
- any Castalia House nominee that was not, in my opinion, utterly and mind-blowingly excellent

And my votes go to ... An awful lot of No Award, alas.
Best Novel:
1) The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
2) The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu
3) Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie
4) No Award
5) Skin Game by Jim Butcher
6) The Dark Between the Stars by Kevin J. Anderson

I simply loved The Goblin Emperor. Ancillary Sword is really good, too, but I got a stronger sensawunda from The Three Body Problem (despite some truly silly physics in the latter), so TBP got my second-place vote. Skin Game was good enough for what it was (the fifteenth? installment of the Dresden Files), and I enjoyed reading it; but it wasn't a great work, so it dropped below No Award. As for The Dark Between the Stars, I tried to read it on no fewer than five separate occasions; every single time, I couldn't get past more than one chapter before I was too bored to continue. It may be somebody's cup of tea, but it's certainly not mine.

Best Novella:
1) No Award

Best Novelette:
1) No Award

Best Short Story:
1) No Award
2) "Totaled" by Kary English

Of the fifteen short fiction nominees, fourteen were Puppy Chow, and none qualified as great. Only one even qualified as "good" - that being Kary English's "Totaled". Everything else, including the one non-Puppy short work (Thomas Olde Heuvelt's "The Day the World Turned Upside Down"), suffered from one or more fatal flaws that would have knocked them below No Award even before I considered how they got on the ballot in the first place.

Best Related Work:
1) No Award

"The Hot Equations" wasn't necessarily terribly written, but neither was it well written, and it didn't really have anything to say that I didn't already know. (Yes, hiding is hard in space. That's why authors invented handwavium.) Similarly, "Why Science is Never Settled" didn't have anything new to say and didn't say it in a particularly interesting manner. I bounced hard off the sloppy editing of Letters from Gardner and Transhuman and Subhuman, and I couldn't find anything SFnal at all about Wisdom from My Internet.

Best Graphic Story:
1) Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal
2) Rat Queens Volume 1: Sass and Sorcery
3) Saga Volume 3
4) Sex Criminals Volume 1: One Weird Trick
5) No Award
6) The Zombie Nation Book 2: Reduce Reuse Reanimate

I don't normally follow any of these comics, so what was in the voter's packet was what I went by. The only one I didn't like at all was The Zombie Nation.

Best Editor (Short Form):
1) No Award
2) Mike Resnick
3) Jennifer Brozek
4) Bryan Thomas Schmidt
5) Edmund R. Schubert
6) Vox Day

All the nominees were from the Rabid Puppy slate, and I didn't see anything to suggest that any of them had done anything spectacular this year. I only ranked them in order to make sure that I could vote Vox Day last; given how much badly edited crap I saw from Castalia House in this year's Hugo voters packet, I think he thoroughly earned that last-place finish.

Best Editor (Long Form):
1) Anne Sowards
2) Sheila Gilbert
3) Jim Minz
4) No Award
5) Toni Weisskopf
6) Vox Day

As was the case in the Best Editor (Short Form) category, all the nominees were from the Rabid Puppy slate. Unlike the Short Form nominees, though, several of the Long Form editors had worked on things that I both recognized and liked. Toni Weisskopf is a tricky situation; I like many of the Baen writers and happily buy their new works as they come out, but David Weber in particular could dearly use some firmer editing to keep the infodumps down to a dull roar, and AFAICT Weisskopf isn't doing any of that. As for Vox Day, my comments under Short Form remain applicable.

Best Professional Artist:
1) Julie Dillon
2) No Award

Best Semiprozine:
1) Lightspeed Magazine
2) Strange Horizons
3) Beneath Ceaseless Skies
4) No Award

Best Fanzine:
1) Journey Planet
2) No Award

Best Fancast:
1) Galactic Suburbia Podcast
2) Tea and Jeopardy
3) No Award

Not much to say here, frankly. None of the Puppy nominees excited me enough to put them above No Award, and none of the non-Puppy nominees were so egregiously bad as to deserve a placement below No Award.

Best Fan Writer:
1) No Award
2) Laura J. Mixon

I'm mightily unimpressed with the four Puppy-approved bloggers. And isn't Laura Mixon a professional SF writer?

The John W. Campbell Award (NOT A HUGO!):
1) Wesley Chu
2) Kary English
3) No Award

I've got back and forth over the Campbell, and whether or not to put any of the Puppy nominees above No Award. English is the only one of the Puppy nominees whose writing I actually thought was good.


I didn't vote at all in the Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form), Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form) or Best Fan Artist categories.

(A summary of my short fiction reactions is here. Reviews of all the short fiction are available under my Hugos tag.)

In the interests of maximal disclosure, I do have rather tenuous connections to two of the novels that I placed above No Award. Sarah Monette (for whom Katherine Addison is a nom-de-plume) was one of the main contributors to Shadow Unit; I was an active participant (and occasional moderator) on the Shadow Unit message boards, as well as doing much of the updating to the Shadow Unit wiki. And Lisa Tang Liu (Ken Liu's wife) was a co-worker of mine at Sapient Corporation back in the late 1990s.
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Edmund Schweppe

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