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Hugo Awards 2015 - full analysis

There were very few close results this year. Hugo voters delivered decisive verdicts on what they wanted and didn't want to win. Outside the Dramatic Presentation categories, not a single Puppy nominee beat No Award. No Award won five categories, all on the first count, and also got the most first preferences for Best Novelette. Also worth noting that the two fiction categories that were awarded went to translated works, the first time that translations have ever won Hugos for fiction as far as I know.

I have found only two contests (and pretty minor at that) where the margin was less than 50 votes - Bryan Thomas Schmidt beat Vox Day for fourth place in Best Editor (Short Form) by 12 votes, and Steve Stiles beat Brad Foster for fourth place in Best Fan Artist by 37. Most years there would be at least half a dozen.

Wesley Chu, Elizabeth Leggett, Laura J. Mixon, Journey Planet, Orphan Black, The Day The World Turned Upside Down and The Three-Body Problem all won their awards despite being the last finalist nominated.

At the nominations stage, there were also very few near misses, thanks in part to the lock that the Puppies managed to achieve on this part of the process.
  • The tightest squeeze for the ballot was in Best Fancast, where The Coode Street Podcast missed by one vote, Verity! by three and The Skiffy and Fanty Show by nine.
  • Saga vol 4 missed Best Graphic Story by a single vote (was it eligible?) and the latest Schlock Mercenary by nine.
  • Seanan McGuire's Each to Each missed Best Novelette by three votes, and Kai Ashante Wilson's The Devil in America missed it by seven.
  • Maurine Starkey missed Best Fan Artist by three votes, and seven others were less than ten below the cutoff.
  • The Drink Tank missed Best Fanzine by eight votes. For Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form), Agents of Shield: Turn, Turn, Turn missed by nine votes and Game of Thrones: The Lion and the Rose by ten.
  • The Book Smugglers missed Best Semiprozine by 10 votes.
  • Charles E. Gannon's Trial By Fire was 11 votes off the Best Novel ballot, and Andy Weir was likewise 11 behind Wesley Chu for the Campbell Award.
Edited to add: See also Brandon Kempner's analysis; he puts the total number of Rabid voters at a bit above 500, and the total Sads a bit less.

The details:

Best Novel: Three Body Problem leads at all stages, winning by precisely 200 votes over Goblin Emperor. Goblin Emperor second, Ancillary Sword third. No Award beats Skin Game for fourth place, Skin Game beats Dark Between the Stars for fifth. Near misses: Trial by Fire, by Charles E. Gannon, was 11 votes behind Three Body Problem; Torgersen's The Chaplain's War was three votes behind that. Non-puppies Lock In, by John Scalzi, and City of Stairs, by Robert Jackson Bennett, were further behind. Correia and Kloos declined nomination.

Best Novella: No Award gets 65.4% of first prefs. Second place goes to Flow, third to Big Boys Don't Cry. The three Wright stories come last, One Bright Star to Guide Them 4th, The Plural of Helen of Troy 5th, Pale Realms of Shade 6th. The five that missed nomination were The Slow Regard of Silent Things, by Patrick Rothfuss; The Regular, by Ken Liu; Nebula winner Yesterday’s Kin, by Nancy Kress; Grand Jete (The Great Leap), by Rachel Swirsky and The Mothers of Voorhisville, by Mary Rickert.

Best Novelette: No Award gets most first preferences, 1730 to 1700 for The Day The World Turned Upside Down, but is overtaken by transfers, especially from The Triple Sun, and Olde Heuvelt wins by 2618 to 2078. No Award takes second place with over 60% of vote. The Triple Sun third, Ashes to Ashes fourth, The Journeyman: in the Stone House fifth, Championship B'Tok sixth. The four nearest misses were: Each to Each, by Seanan McGuire; The Devil In America, by Kai Ashante Wilson; The Litany of Earth, by Ruthana Emrys and The Magician and Laplace’s Demon, by Tom Crosshill. One John C Wright story was disqualified.

Best Short Story: No Award gets 58.0% of first preferences. 2nd Totaled, 3rd A Single Samurai, 4th Turncoat, 5th On A Spiritual Plain, John C Wright last again with The Parliament of Beasts and Birds. Tuesdays with Molakesh the Destroyer, by Megan Grey, was ruled ineligible and Annie Bellet withdrew Goodnight Stars which topped the nominations list. The five stories that missed were Nebula winner Jackalope Wives, by Ursula Vernon; The Breath of War, by Aliette de Bodard; The Truth About Owls Amal El-Mohtar; When it Ends, He Catches Her, by Eugie Foster, published the week she died; and A Kiss With Teeth, by Max Gladstone. Well done puppies.

Best Related Work: No Award's best showing, with 66.5% of first prefs. 2nd The Hot Equations; 3rd Why Science is Never Settled; 4th Transhuman and Subhuman; 5th Letters from Gardner; 6th Wisdom from my Internet. The five that missed nomination: What Makes This Book so Great, by Jo Walton; Chicks Dig Gaming; Shadows Beneath: The Writing Excuses Anthology; Invisible: Personal Essays on Representation in SF, by Jim C. Hines and Tropes vs Women: Women as Background Decoration, by Anita Sarkeesian.

Best Graphic Story: Ms Marvel well ahead, but No Award is third on first preferences and stays in until the last count. 2nd Saga 3, 3rd Rat Queens, 4th Sex Criminals, 5th No Award, 6th Zombie Nation. Saga vol 4 was one vote off nomination. (Was it eligible?)

BDP Long Form: Guardians of the Galaxy well ahead at all stages. 2nd Captain America. 3rd Edge of Tomorrow (I think on anti-Puppy transfers as it was in fourth pace on previous counts). 4th Interstellar. 5th The Lego Movie (the only Puppy nominee that I gave any lower preference to). Nearest miss was Big Hero 6.

BDP Short Form: Orphan Black convincingly ahead at all stages. Doctor Who: Listen clearly ahead for second place. Game of Thrones beats No Award for third. The Flash beats No Award for fourth. Grimm beats No Award for fifth place, relatively narrowly (by 86 votes). Missed by nine votes: Agents of Shield: Turn, Turn, Turn. Missed by ten: Game of Thrones: The Lion and the Rose. Supernatural: Dog Dean Afternoon was ruled ineligible.

Best Editor Short Form: No Award gets 55.1% of first preferences. Mike Resnick a comfortable second, followed by 3rd Jennifer Brozek, 4th Bryan Thomas Schmidt (by 12 votes over Vox Day), 5th Vox Day over Edmund R. Schubert who had withdrawn. The five who missed nomination were John Joseph Adams, Neil Clarke, Ellen Datlow, Jonathan Strahan and Sheila Williams.

Best Editor Long Form: No Award gets 50.9% of first preferences. 2nd Toni Weisskopf, 3rd Sheila Gilbert, 4th Anne Sowards, 5th Jim Minz, 6th Vox Day. The five who missed nomination were Liz Gorinsky, Beth Meacham, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, Lee Harris and Anne Perry.

Best Professional Artist: Julie Dillon gets 63.2% of first preferences. For second place, No Award gets 57.6% of first preferences. 3rd Kirk DouPonce, 4th Alan Pollack, 5th Nick Greenwood, 6th Carter Reid. The four who missed were John Picacio, Galen Dara, Stephan Martiniere and Chris McGrath. Jon Eno was ruled ineligible.

Best Semiprozine: Lightspeed had a resounding lead at all stages. Strange Horizons a very clear second, Beneath Ceaseless Skies an even clearer third. No Award then comes resoundingly fourth, Abyss and Apex narrowly fifth, Andromeda Spaceways In-Flight Magazine sixth. The two that missed were The Book Smugglers and Interzone.

Best Fanzine: Journey Planet has it on the first count with just over 50% of first prefs. No Award even more clearly gets the second place. 3rd Black Gate, 4th Tangent Online, 5th Elitist Book Reviews, 6th The Revenge of Hump Day. The four that missed were The Drink Tank, Lady Business, File 770 and A Dribble of Ink.

Best Fancast: A narrow lead on first prefs for Galactic Suburbia converts to a decent win over Tea and Jeopardy, which gets a decisive second place. No Award gets an even more decisive third place. 4th The Sci Phi Show, 5th Adventures in SciFi Publishing, 6th Dungeon Crawlers Radio. The three that missed were The Coode Street Podcast, Verity! and The Skiffy and Fanty Show.

Best Fan Writer: Laura J. Mixon just under 50% of first preferences, tipped over by transfers from Amanda S. Green. No Award second on first preferences, takes 2nd place with 67.9%. 3rd Jeffro Johnson over Cedar Sanderson, 4th Dave Freer over Cedar Sanderson, 5th Amanda S. Green over Cedar Sanderson. Matthew David Surridge decined nomination, allowing Mixon onto the ballot. The other four near misses were Abigail Nussbaum, Liz Bourke, Natalie Luhrs and Mark Oshiro.

Best Fan Artist: Elizabeth Legget legs it in style, well ahead of the competition and winning on the third round with three others still in contention. Spring Schoenhuth takes second place ahead of Brad Foster. Ninni Aalto takes third place ahead of Brad Foster. Steve Stiles takes fourth place by 37 votes ahead of Brad Foster (which I think is, remarkably, the closest result of the evening). Brad Foster confortably ahead of No Award for fifth place. Maurine Starkey missed nomination by 3 votes.

John W Campbell Award: Wesley Chu gets 60.5% of first preferences. No Award gets 59.4% of first prefs for second place. 3rd Kary English, 4th Eric S. Raymond, 5th Jason Cordova, 6th Rolf Nelson. The four who missed were Andy Weir (would he have been eligible?), Alyssa Wong, Carmen Maria Marchado and Django Wexler.

Let's hope that this is more enjoyable next year.



( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 23rd, 2015 08:01 am (UTC)
Best Related Work: Ms Marvel well ahead, but No Award is third on first preferences and stays in until the last count. 2nd Saga 3, 3rd Rat Queens, 4th Sex Criminals, 5th No Award, 6th Zombie Nation. Saga vol 4 was one vote off nomination. (Was it eligible?)

Saga vol. 4 collects issues 19 to 24. Issue 24 was originally published in October 2014. So, yes, it was eligible.

(PS, you appear to have repeated the previous category name for the heading)
Aug. 23rd, 2015 08:25 am (UTC)
Aug. 23rd, 2015 03:05 pm (UTC)
Ah, so that's how eligibility of collections is determined? Good to know.
Aug. 24th, 2015 09:26 pm (UTC)
Yep. Eligibility is determined by the *content* of the collection, the important date being the first date the content appeared in complete form. This can lead to some oddities. On more than one occasion, a collection has been nominated that hasn't actually been published yet.

It also means the converse is also true - people can read a collection when it first comes out and then find out it's too late to nominate it for a Hugo. I had that happen with the first volume of Matt Kindt's MIND MGMT.

I'd much prefer that eligibility could be determined by date of publication of the collection, but, no. Unless it's wholly unambiguous, you have to check the small print on the front page to find what issues it contains, and then check something like http://comicbookdb.com to make sure the date of the last issue falls within the correct calendar year.
Aug. 24th, 2015 09:47 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for the rundown! Next year will be my first year nominating, so I need to know these things. :)
Aug. 23rd, 2015 08:32 am (UTC)
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Aug. 23rd, 2015 09:10 am (UTC)
"Let's hope that this is more enjoyable next year."

I'm afraid not. Given that "Brandon Kempner's analysis; he puts the total number of Rabid voters at a bit above 500", we have at least one more year of RP shenanigans.
Aug. 23rd, 2015 10:09 am (UTC)
Well, that assumes that they can be bothered to play this game again. There is no real reward for them (and certainly No Award at the end of the process). If I were them I would find more effective ways of investing my time.
Aug. 23rd, 2015 10:18 am (UTC)
If I were them, I would not have taken part in a bloc-voting campaign at all, and yet here we are.

I *hope* they stop bothering to "play this game again" next year, but given the political nature of their campaign(s), I'll believe it when I see it.
Aug. 23rd, 2015 11:07 pm (UTC)
I think the problem is the reward is actually there for them just in terms of enjoying seeing the effect they have on other people.
Aug. 23rd, 2015 11:06 pm (UTC)
I'm guessing a ceiling of about 590, based on the number of actual votes Vox himself got and the general ceiling on first round actual votes.

As I said at the business meeting earlier, that's pretty much a guarantee of 500ish who'll nominate next year - it's enough to game every category.
Aug. 23rd, 2015 09:57 am (UTC)
Hugo links
User rosefox referenced to your post from Hugo links saying: [...] * Stats analysis [...]
Aug. 23rd, 2015 10:00 am (UTC)
Looking at the vote totals it looks like the Rabid/Sad Puppies contingent is around 10%. I am impressed that people appeared to be making real choices in the Award voting with their nominees having a range of votes.
Aug. 23rd, 2015 12:28 pm (UTC)
There may well have been two volumes of Saga on the list if even one of the 26 voters who failed to specify a volume had gone for volume 4.

Quantifying the size of the puppy vote is tricky. There are about 550-600 who put the top RP pick as their first pref, but there are many more who put one of the SP/RP picks as their top vote: looking at Best Related Work, 1642 people put a first preference that wasn't No Award. The question is, how many of those were voting on a slate basis, and how many are voters who just thought one of those books was better than No Award? A better test might be how many people put Vox Day anywhere above No Award in the editor races - I'm not sure this can be figured out from the current statistics but it will definitely be possible when Sasquan release the anonymized ballot data.
Aug. 23rd, 2015 03:12 pm (UTC)
Note that Sasquan will only do a limited release of the ballot data. One has to contact the Hugo administrators directly to get access to it. They were very reluctant to hand it over, understandably so.
Aug. 23rd, 2015 05:20 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I'm not sure about how they plan to do this - do you have to prove you've got a good reason to need the data for them to hand it over? Are they going to constrain what people do with the data once they've got it? I suspect it would be easier to say they won't release it generally but they will run the E Pluribus Hugo system on it to say what would've happened, or to just release it all into the wild suitably anonymized. I will email the admins and ask, but I'm going to leave it a few days so they can recover a little bit.
Aug. 23rd, 2015 05:28 pm (UTC)
In the case of the E Pluribus Hugo people, I think the admins had the data on a stick already (I imagine they knew which way the wind was blowing), ready to hand over after the business meeting. I imagine a few other people picked it up that way as well.

Yes, I imagine the information will leak out afterwards to a sufficiently determined party. On the other hand, I think the only some of the puppy leaders will have sufficient interest here, or how the admins will react if say, Theodore Beale, asks it to be handed over.

Agreed that the easiest option would have been for the admins to have asked for access to the EPH software, so they could run and test it themselves. But the aversion to any change seems to be strong among many Worldcon regulars.
Aug. 23rd, 2015 12:33 pm (UTC)
Also rosefox's comment here clears up that Andy Weir would be eligible for the Campbell.
Aug. 23rd, 2015 03:38 pm (UTC)
Best Fancast: A narrow lead on first prefs for Galactic Suburbia converts to a decent win over Tea and Jeopardy, which gets a decisive second place. No Award gets an even more decisive third place. 4th The Sci Phi Show, 5th Adventures in SciFi Publishing, 6th Dungeon Crawlers Radio. The three that missed were The Coode Street Podcast, Verity! and The Skiffy and Fanty Show.

I've become addicted to podcasts and really like both Verity! (as a Doctor Who fan curious to hear fangirls chatting about it) and The Coode Street Podcast (as a fan who wants to know about interesting SF books). I guess I should pay more attention to Galactic Suburbia and Tea and Jeopardy one of these days, but will probably be listening to those other two, Radio Free Skaro (Doctor Who). Sword and Laser (SF books)...
Aug. 23rd, 2015 10:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much for the statistical breakdown...

These sorts of analyses actually give me a lot of hope that, even under the current system, the ultimate influence of ideological nomination slates going forward will be limited.
Aug. 24th, 2015 05:09 am (UTC)
Next year will be a horrendous year, when it comes to the nomination stage. Since the big trouble is few people doing nominations, doing nominations is hard for most people, and we have had a huge influx of possible new nominators from the puppy side, we can realistically but worst-case look at circa 500 people nominating in lockstep.

Just thank goodness that EPH passed this year, in spite of the best efforts of the current Hugo administrators and other change-averse SMOFs.
Aug. 31st, 2015 05:53 pm (UTC)
Next year's nomination shenanigans can't really be avoided, as you say--they can only be mitigated by the number of people actually motivated to do this all over again for a point that wasn't made--but at least the actual award voting this year demonstrated that even the current system is (to a certain extent) self-correcting.
Aug. 23rd, 2015 11:39 pm (UTC)
Campbell Percentages
John W Campbell Award: Wesley Chu gets 60.5% of first preferences. No Award gets 59.4% of first prefs for second place.

Where I went to school that equals 119.9% of first preferences, how is that possible?
Aug. 24th, 2015 06:13 am (UTC)
Re: Campbell Percentages
Two different counts. After the winner has been determined, all the votes are counted again, with the winner excluded, to see who comes second; and similarly for the other places.
Aug. 24th, 2015 10:54 am (UTC)
Re: Campbell Percentages
And, if you're wondering why it's done like that, it's so the people who voted for the winner have a say in who came second.
Christopher J Garcia
Aug. 25th, 2015 12:11 am (UTC)
If Black Gate had been removed from the ballot...
If Black Gate had been replaced, The Drink Tank would have been on the ballot. That really bums me out, because it would have been the last time TDT could have made the ballot.
( 26 comments — Leave a comment )

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