Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,
Nicholas
nwhyte

Next year's Hugos: What I'm going to do

Mike Glyer over at File 770 has a tremendous assembly of reaction to the Hugo Awards, including some truly epic whining from the Sad Puppies (and my own post from Sunday morning). The votes were clearly cast against the slates on principle (apart from BDP) rather than on the quality of the work - there is no other way to read the figures. I'm sure that voters were motivated in this by 1) a general reaction against slates, 2) dislike of the politics of the slatemongers and 3) disgust at the poor quality of some of the slated candidates, in I think roughly that order, and I don't see any point in pretending that the votes against, say, Weisskopf and Gilbert were motivated by a strong feeling that Liz Gorinsky was in fact the best editor of the year rather than by the feeling that Weisskopf and Gilbert were on the ballot through illegitimate tactics. Fans rejected their candidacy not because of the quality of their work, but because of how they had got there (though it should be added that Weisskopf supplied very little evidence in her own support).

That wasn't quite as harsh a reaction as I would have liked, of course. Like Matt Foster, I would have preferred No Award to win in the categories where there was only one non-puppy candidate, and therefore no clear choice between legitimate candidates. This view came closest to prevailing in Best Novelette, where No Award actually got the most first preferences but lost on transfers from slated works. However, fandom as a whole clearly took the view that it is preferable to hand out the rockets to non-slate candidates, to make sure that the message is heard loud and clear, and I certainly do not begrudge or challenge the victories of Thomas Olde Heuvelt, Julie Dillon, Journey Planet, Laura J. Mixon and Wesley Chu, all of whom got my second preference.

Having had 48 hours to let it sink in that a clear majority of voting fans simply rejected the slate, I am basically sad but relieved, and still angry at those who cannot accept that they did a stupid, venal and evil thing which fandom at large refused to tolerate. Mike Glyer's roundup catches the most prominent frothing responses, but there is plenty more out there. But now that it is all over, there is little point in reading the words of people I disagree with for the sake of being outraged.

Instead, I recognise that my own failure to nominate this year was part of the problem, and I am going to make damn sure that between now and the nomination deadline in 2016 I have read much more widely in this year's published SF, including short fiction, graphic stories and related works, and I will aim to nominate five in each category. Brandon Kempner published a watchlist for novels some time ago, and there are a couple of other initiatives here and here covering more categories. I shall also regularly review where I've got to and what I currently feel like nominating. (At present the only SF published in 2015 that I have read is the four Doctor Who spinoff novels, of which the best is City of Death, but I know that they are unlikely to get on the final ballot and will save my nominations for more likely candidates.)

The more people who do this, the more likely that we can cut off any renewed attempt at slate-mongering at the nominations stage. Don't (just) get mad; get even.
Tags: hugos 2015, hugos 2016
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