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Back in the days when the internet was less than half its present size, ie the mid-noughties, I did an annual survey linking to online reviews of all the Hugo nominees in the written fiction categories (see my efforts for 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006). It would be very difficult to repeat such an exercise now; a lot of online material is difficult to search, locked behind the walls of Facebook or indeed in podcasts.

However, it is still feasible to survey how bloggers have announced their intentions of voting, and therefore I have done so. This is of course not a scientific poll: it's a snapshot of the preferences of a few individuals who have bothered to broadcast their thoughts. There may be grassroots majorities in favour of "Ponies", ""The Jaguar House, In Shadow", "The Maiden Flight of McCarthy's Bellerophon" and (very probably) Blackout/All Clear who will vote for their preferred stories but don't see the need to tell the internets all about it.

There are two or three times as many surveys of the short fiction categories this year than when I last did this exercise, five years ago. No doubt this is partly due to the excellent practice of making all the short fiction available in the Hugo Voter Packet. (Most are also available online separately, links here.) On the other hand, I had to scrabble a bit to find rankings of the novels this year (no doubt partly because of the awful length of one of the nominees), and in the end several of the lists I post in the category are more my reading between the lines of individual reviews of the novels than a formal ranking.

If any of those linked to below feel that I have mischaracterised them (or even worse, mis-identified them) in any way, please get in touch; I will attempt to alert all to this post by email and blog comments.

I have not tried to carry out this exercise for the other Hugo categories, and won't, though I very much encourage others to try.

Short stories

Rankings

SF Strangelove: 1) The Things, 2) For Want of a Nail, 3) Amaryllis, 4) Ponies
Steve the Bookstore Guy: 1) The Things, 2) For Want of a Nail, 3) Ponies, 4) Amaryllis
Nick Bate: 1) The Things, 2) For Want of a Nail, 3) Ponies, 4) Amaryllis
Matt Hilliard: 1) The Things, 2) For Want of a Nail, 3) Ponies, 4) Amaryllis
Pete Miller: 1) The Things, 2) Amaryllis, 3) For Want of a Nail, 4) Ponies
Shawn, Steve the Bookstore Guy's friend: 1) The Things, 2) Amaryllis, 3) For Want of a Nail, 4) Ponies
Abigail Nussbaum: 1) The Things; [my interpretation] 2) No Award, 3) For Want of a Nail, 4) Amaryllis, 5) Ponies]
Andrew Hickey: 1) The Things, 2) Ponies, 3) For Want Of A Nail, 4) Amaryllis
Me: 1) For Want of a Nail; 2) The Things; 3) Ponies; 4) Amaryllis
Stephanie S: 1) For Want of a Nail, 2) The Things, 3) Amaryllis, 4) Ponies
Pam Phillips: 1) For Want of a Nail, 2) The Things, 3) Amaryllis, 4) Ponies
"The Gregarious Loner": 1) For Want of a Nail [no other preferences]
Ryan: 1) For Want of a Nail [no other preferences]
Alan Heuer: 1) Amaryllis, 2) The Things, 3) For Want of a Nail, 4) Ponies
Timo Pietilä: 1) Amaryllis, 2) The Things, 3) No Award, 4) For Want of a Nail, 5) Ponies
Boris Keylwerth: 1) Amaryllis, 2) For Want of a Nail, 3) The Things, 4) Ponies

Comment

A fairly clear aggregate here: eight out of sixteen favour "The Things", and five of the other eight put it second. In the middle, ten out of sixteen put "For Want of a Nail" ahead of "Amaryllis", and on first preferences the score is five to three for Kowal. Nine out of sixteen put "Ponies" last, and four of the other seven put it second last. I'm in a minority in putting "For Want of a Nail" first, but "The Things" will be a decent winner.

Novelettes

Rankings

SF Strangelove: 1) Plus or Minus, 2) No Award [no other preferences]
Nick Bates: 1) Plus or Minus, 2) The Emperor of Mars [no other preferences]
Abigail Nussbaum: 1) Plus or Minus, 2) The Jaguar House, In Shadow, 3) Eight Miles, 4) The Emperor of Mars, 5) That Leviathan Whom Thou Hast Made
Pam Philips: 1) Plus or Minus, 2) The Jaguar House, in Shadow, 3) That Leviathan Whom Thou Hast Made, 4) The Emperor of Mars, 5) Eight Miles
Pete Miller: =1) Plus or Minus, =1) The Jaguar House, in Shadow [no other preferences]
Boris Keylwerth: 1) Plus or Minus, 2) Eight Miles, 3) The Emperor of Mars, 4) The Jaguar House, in Shadow, 5) That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made
Alan Heuer: 1) Plus or Minus, 2) That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made, 3) Eight Miles, 4) The Emperor of Mars, 5) The Jaguar House, in Shadow
"The Gregarious Loner": 1) That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made, 2) Eight Miles, 3) The Emperor of Mars [no other preferences]
Shawn Steve the Bookstore Guy's Friend: 1) That Leviathan Whom Thou Hast Made, 2) Eight Miles. 3) The Emperor of Mars, 4) Plus or Minus, 5) The Jaguar House, in Shadow
Stephanie S: 1) That Leviathan Whom Thou Hast Made, =2) Eight Miles, =2) The Jaguar House, in Shadow. 4) The Emperor of Mars, 5) Plus or Minus
Timo Pietilä: 1) The Emperor of Mars, 2) Eight Miles, 3) That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made, 4) Plus or Minus, 5) The Jaguar House, in Shadow
Ryan: 1) The Emperor of Mars, 2) That Leviathan Whom Thou Hast Made, 3) Plus or Minus, 4) Eight Miles, 5) The Jaguar House, in Shadow
Andrew Wheeler: [I interpret slightly: 1) The Jaguar House, in Shadow, 2) Eight Miles, =3) The Emperor of Mars, =3) Plus or Minus, 5) That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made]
Me: 1) Eight Miles, 2) The Emperor of Mars, 3) No Award, 4) Plus or Minus by James Patrick Kelly, 5) The Jaguar House, in Shadow, 6) That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made

Comment

This is the most open of the short fiction categories. "Plus or Minus" is the front runner, ranked top or equal top by seven of the fourteen. "That Leviathan Whom Thou Hast Made" gets first preferences from four, but is a polarising story with another four (myself included) ranking it last. Taking all preferences into account I think "Eight Miles" is probably in second place; it got only one first preferemce (cough) but second preferences from six. "The Emperor of Mars" is possibly also ahead of "That Leviathan Whom Thou Hast Made". "The Jaguar House, in Shadow" is definitely in the rearguard, ranked fourth or fifth by six of the ten who went that far down their ballot paper.

Novellas

Rankings

Ryan: 1) The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen's Window [no other preferences]
The Gregarious Loner: 1) The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen's Window, 2) The Sultan of the Clouds [no other preferences]
Timo Pietilä: 1) The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen’s Window, 2) The Lifecycle of Software Objects, 3) The Sultan of the Clouds, 4) Troika, 5) The Maiden Flight of McCauley’s Bellerophon
Nick Bates: 1) The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen's Window, 2) The Lifecycle of Software Objects, 3) The Maiden Flight of McCauley’s Bellerophon, 4) Troika, 5) The Sultan of the Clouds
Abigail Nussbaum: 1) The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen’s Window, 2) The Lifecycle of Software Objects, 3) The Maiden Flight of McCauley’s Bellerophon, 4) The Sultan of the Clouds [no preference for Troika]
Boris Keylwerth: 1) Troika, 2) The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen’s Window, 3) The Lifecycle of Software Objects, 4) The Sultan of the Clouds, 5) The Maiden Flight of McCauley’s Bellerophon
Stephanie S: 1) Troika, =2) The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen's Window, =2) The Maiden Flight of McCauley’s Bellerophon, =4) The Lifecycle of Software Objects, =4) The Sultan of the Clouds
Alan Heuer: 1) Troika, 2) The Lifecycle of Software Objects, 3) The Sultan of the Clouds, 4) The Maiden Flight of McCauley's Bellerophon, 5) The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen's Window
Me: 1) The Lifecycle of Software Objects, 2) The Sultan of the Clouds, 3) The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen’s Window, 4) Troika, 5) The Maiden Flight of McCauley’s Bellerophon
Shawn, Steve the Bookshop Guy's Friend: 1) The Lifecycle of Software Objects, 2) The Sultan of the Clouds, 3) Troika, 4) The Lady Who Plucked Flowers from Beneath the Queen's Window, 5) The Maiden Flight of McCauley’s Bellerophon
Sf Strangelove: 1) The Maiden Flight of McCauley's Bellerophon, 2) The Lifecycle of Software Objects, 3) The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen's Window, 4) Troika, 5) The Sultan of the Clouds

Comment

A clear front runner, with "The Lady Who Plucked Red Flowers beneath the Queen’s Window" ranked top by five out of eleven and second by another two. Second place fairly clear as well: The Lifecycle of Software Objects gets two first preferences and five second preferences. It's more difficult to tell after that. "Troika", a polarising story, is ranked top by three and second last by four. I think "The Sultan of the Clouds" nudges ahead of "The Maiden Flight of McCauley's Bellerophon" at the end.

Novels

Rankings

Boris Keylwerth: 1) The Dervish House
Lavinia Shadows: 1) The Dervish House, 2) The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
SF Strangelove: 1) The Dervish House, 2) The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, 3) No Award
Pete Miller: 1) The Dervish House, 2) Cryoburn
Timo Pietilä: 1) The Dervish House, 2) Feed, 3) The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, 4) Cryoburn, 5) No Award, 6) Blackout/All Clear
Me: 1) The Dervish House, 2) Cryoburn, 3) Feed, 4) The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, 5) No Award, 6) Blackout/All Clear
Alan Heuer: 1) The Dervish House, 2) Blackout/All Clear, 3) Cryoburn, 4) Feed, 5) The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
Andrew Wheeler: 1) The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, 2) Feed, 3) The Dervish House, 4) Cryoburn, 5) Blackout/All Clear
Rachel Neumeier: 1) The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, 2) Blackout / All Clear, 3) Feed, 4) Cryoburn, 5) The Dervish House
"Married, Four Cats": 1) Feed, 2) The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
The Gregarious Loner: 1) Feed, 2) Cryoburn, 3) The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
Stephanie S.: 1) Cryoburn, 2) The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms 3) Feed

Comment

The Dervish House is a clear winner, rated top by seven out of twelve (and two of the other five had not actually read it). The ordering of the rest is pretty clear too: The hundred Thousand Kingdoms in second place, Feed third, Cryoburn fourth and Blackout/All Clear ranked last by three of the five who ranked it at all.

I have found this an interesting exercise (and I hope you did too): it is surprising and sometimes enlightening to see how intelligent people can react completely differently to the same texts. All but three of the nineteen nominees found someone who was prepared to put them top of their ballot paper; all have their detractors as well. If you have time I encourage you to read some of these posts, particularly the ones you may disagree with.

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Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
pickwick
Jul. 30th, 2011 01:50 pm (UTC)
Interesting indeed!

I haven't got my notes with me so I can't actually remember which is which in terms of the short stories and novelettes - I read them a while ago. I liked Troika a lot, it'll probably get my vote for novella. (I liked Software Objects all the way through but was disappointed by the ending; I wasn't as keen on Troika for most of it, but was blown away by the ending.)

I couldn't get into The Lady Who Plucked at all, and the same with Dervish House, actually - I think because both of them had writing styles that struck me as LOOK HOW FOREIGN WE ARE. Might have to look at my own language-related xenophobia there, I don't know!

Novel-wise, I liked Cryoburn enough to make me go and read the entire Vorkosigan saga, so that's pretty good. But in terms of quality, I think Feed has it for me. (My order would be Feed, Cryoburn, Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, Blackout, Dervish House.)
pgmcc
Jul. 30th, 2011 07:22 pm (UTC)
Thanks for pulling all that together.

In the novels I have voted 1 for Dervish House and 2 The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms 3 No Award

The Dervish House is by far the best novel of the bunch.

Now we wait and see!
ninebelow
Aug. 1st, 2011 03:51 pm (UTC)
"That Leviathan Whom Thou Hast Made" gets first preferences from four

I only count three: The Gregarious Loner, Elitist Book Reviews and Stefanie S. I specifically checked for that story because I wanted to see what people who liked it said about it. "Just a couple guys with much better taste in books than you." Hmm.
nwhyte
Aug. 1st, 2011 04:19 pm (UTC)
Thanks, I got it wrong. I was vaguely counting both "guys with much better taste" since they both put it first, but if I was being systematic I should have given them only one vote.
ecbatan
Aug. 2nd, 2011 03:33 am (UTC)
For what it may be worth, my votes (after Alan Heuer finally teased them out of me) went to The Dervish House in novel, "The Maiden Flight of McCauley's Bellerophon" in novella, "Plus or Minus" in novelette, and "The Things" in short story.

Novella was the only category to give me ranking trouble -- I could easily have switched the order of the Hand, Swirsky, and Landis novellas.

I did use my power of No Award, to keep zombie novels from winning (a joke, sort of, as I didn't read FEED -- but God I hate the zombie trope); and also to keep the two stories I felt really unworthy from winning: "Ponies", a bad story by an excellent author, and "That Leviathan ...", a not very good story from an author with promise ....

hobsonphile
Aug. 2nd, 2011 01:39 pm (UTC)
Just a quick update:
Stephanie S. has finally posted reviews on the last two novels, and her final ranking was:

1) Blackout/All Clear
2) Cryoburn
3) The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
4) Feed
5) The Dervish House

:)
nwhyte
Aug. 2nd, 2011 04:01 pm (UTC)
Re: Just a quick update:
Yes, not a huge surprise!
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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