August 19th, 2019


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2019 Hugos in detail, and reflections on the viability of Best Fanzine

3097 votes were cast for the final ballot, 3089 online and 8 by paper ballot - higher than the number of votes cast in 2018, or in any year up to 2013, but lower than the years 2014-2017.

All but two of the winners had the most first preferences in their categories. The exceptions
  • Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form: The Good Place: “Janet(s)” came from third place to overtake Dirty Computer and The Expanse: “Abaddon’s Gate”.
  • Best Graphic Story: Monstress, Volume 3: Haven started in second place but got enough transfers to overtake Black Panther: Long Live the King.
The only category where fewer than six rounds of counting were required to determine the winner was Best Fancast, where Our Opinions Are Correct won on the fifth count.

The closest results were:
  • Best Graphic Story: Monstress, Volume 3: Haven beat Black Panther: Long Live the King by 8 votes.
  • Best Novella: “If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again” beat “The Last Banquet of Temporal Confections” by 9 votes.
  • John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer: Jeannette Ng beat Rivers Solomon by 43 votes.
At lower rankings, there were three closer results:
  • Best Related Work: The Mexicanx Initiative beat Astounding by 4 votes for fourth place.
  • Best Fancast: The Skiffy and Fanty Show beat The Coode Street Podcast also by 4 votes for fifth place.
  • Best Fan Writer: Bogi Takács beat Elsa Sjunneson-Henry again by 4 votes for second place.
1800 valid nominating ballots (1797 electronic and 3 paper) were received. This is less than any year since 2014, but more than any year up to 2013.

The following nominees received enough votes to qualify for the final ballot, but declined nomination:
  • Best Novella: Martha Wells declined nomination for both Exit Strategy and Rogue Protocol.
  • Best Fanzine: Mike Glyer declined nomination for File 770.
In addition, in the Best Art Book category: Terry Pratchett's Discworld Imaginarium, by Paul Kidby, received enough votes to qualify for the final ballot, but was published in 2017 and therefore was not eligible.
  • Best Related Work: the Administrators determined that Archive of Our Own is noteworthy primarily for aspects other than the fictional text that it hosts, and therefore qualifies for the 2019 Hugos.
  • Best Graphic Story: the Administrators determined that the 2018 print publication of On A Sunbeam is sufficiently modified from the 2016-17 web publication to qualify for the 2019 Hugos in its own right.
The closest result at nominations stage was in Best Professional Artist, where Tommy Arnold would have displaced Victo Ngai from the ballot with just one more nominating vote.

Full results are here.

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The lack of enthusiasm for Best Fanzine is notable. We were surprisingly close to not giving a Best Fanzine award in both 2019 Hugos and 1944 Retro Hugos this year. The total first preference votes for Best Fanzine finalists other than No Award in both cases was 26.9% of the total number of votes cast overall (833/3097 and 224/834).

The threshold is 25%, so with 59 fewer votes for 2019 or 16 fewer votes for 1944 we would have had to No Award the category. Best Fanzine was also the category with the best percentage for No Award in the final runoff for both 2019 and 1944. (84.4% in 2019, 81.7% in 1944.)

It shows how fandom has changed. In 1978 and 1979, the earliest years that I have figures for, Best Fanzine was one of the less popular categories even then, but nonetheless around three quarters of all Hugo voters were moved to vote on it in both years. Will it still be around in five or ten years’ time?