I’ve had a little time for things to percolate through the brain now, and also my shoulder is getting more used to typing, so here goes with a bit of Hugo analysis.
I should start by congratulating all of the winners. I may not have voted for you all, but you won and that’s what matters. I am not going to complain that this is somehow unfair. I will, however, also congratulate all of the nominees as well, because it really is an honour to be nominated.
The first thing of note in the stats is that out of 2100 people who participated in the final ballot, only 14 did so by regular mail. I’m pleased that we keep the mail option, but really the number of people who use it is very small.
In the Campbell I was cheering for Lauren as she’s a friend, and I’m really impressed with both Moxyland and Zoo City. With my PR hat on, however, Lev’s win is a very good thing because he’s so well known. I note also that despite all of the “not a Hugo” jokes that people make, the message still doesn’t get through. Step forward, the New York Observer, which proudly proclaims: “Lev Grossman Wins a Hugo Award”.
Fan Artist continues to be a fairly static category, but I was pleased to see Mo Starkey get a mention. Poor Spring Schoenhuth missed the ballot by just one nomination. The final result was as tight as it can be, with Brad Foster beating Randall Munroe by just one vote. I gather there is some story that fandom had it in for Munroe because he’s not “one of us”. I don’t know where that came from. As far as I was aware, the issue with Munroe was that he was being recognized for XKCD which people believed to be a business, not fannish activity.
I am delighted that Claire Brialey has finally won Fan Writer. Hopefully Steve Silver, James Nichol and James Bacon will get their turns too, and they have all done great work. I’m not sure that Worldcon can handle another Garcia win, though Chris’s triumph in Fanzine was undeniably one of the highlights of Hugo history (and the video has apparently gone viral so I don’t need to point you at it). Yay! Go BASFA! And well done James Bacon for staying calm through it all.
Semiprozine. We won. Thank you all, again. 🙂
I was pleased to see that Salon Futura got 42 nominations, placing 7th. It is actually eligible next year, though I doubt that anyone will remember unless I can afford to get a few more issues out between now and next March.
Artist. John Picacio has to win soon, people. Possibly next year when a whole lot of GRRM fans will be voting for the Game of Thrones TV series and John will have his work on the GoT calendar in the voter pack. Kinuko Craft was 6th in the nomination lists, but well short of making the ballot.
The mystery of all of the nominees in Editor: Long Form has been solved. Lots of people are still nominating David Hartwell and Patrick Nielsen Hayden even though they have withdrawn from competition. Consequently we had to go down to 6th and 7th places, and there was a 3-way tie for 7th. It might be good if Chicago posted a list of people who were withdrawing for next year, and regular nominees who are ineligible (Juliet tells me she has only edited 2 genre books this year, so she’s not in the running).
Editor: Short Form is the place to recognize Clarkesworld next year with the magazine having withdrawn. This year Neil Clarke placed 7th, only 9 nominations short of the ballot. We can do this, people.
I am delighted for both Lou and Sheila. They are excellent editors and thoroughly deserving of the recognition. Poor old Stan Schmidt is still a bridesmaid. That’s what happens when a small, dedicated group love what you do but everyone else is unconvinced.
I don’t have much to say about the Dramatic Presentation categories, save to note that the voting pattern in Short Form is a classic example of why having multiple nominees on the ballot does not “split the vote”. The three Doctor Who nominees supported each other very well.
There’s nothing that can be said about Graphic Story. I know that Phil and Kaja have ruled themselves out of the running for next year, but the sunset clause vote is due up at the WSFS Business Meeting in Chicago and I can’t see more than a handful of people wanting to persevere with the category.
Related Work was a real mixed bag this year. I guess the huge popularity of Doctor Who won out.
Short Story and Novelette were disaster zones for me this year. Clearly my taste does not match that of the voters. The mystery of the missing 5th place nominee is now solved. Hannu Rajaniemi missed getting on the ballot by just one vote. Take note, please, Finland. We almost got there. If only a few more of the 48 people who nominated The Quantum Thief had voted for the short story as well. Anyway, the eligibility extension has been passed again, so The Quantum Thief will be eligible again next year thanks to its Tor publication.
Novella was a lot better. I know hard core Chiang fans don’t like this year’s story, but I’m happy with it as a winner. I’m also very pleased to see Al Reynolds doing so well.
There was never much doubt about the Novel category. Everyone expected Connie to win and she did. I’m delighted for Seanan/Mira, who did very well indeed, and also delighted to see Nora on the ballot. I’m sure you all know that I think The Dervish House was head and shoulders above everything else on the ballot.
There has, of course, been the expected outcry about the result. Personally I though that Kirsten and Mondy on The Writer & The Critic had the most sensible approach. There are things that Connie does incredibly well, and if the woefully shoddy history doesn’t bother you the books are a fun read. There’s just not a lot of substance there.
What does bemuse me is the fact that some people have been complaining that allowing the two books to be voted on as one was somehow unfair, and by implication that “they” (the infamous “Hugo committee”, no doubt) had rigged the contest in Connie’s favour. Look folks, Blackout/All Clear is clearly a single narrative, with about the same number of pages as A Dance with Dragons. Length should be no indicator of quality. Indeed, the fact that the publishers split it in two so they could charge more for it, and only put the first half in the voter packet, should have counted against it. Besides, think what would have happened if people had been forced to vote on the two books separately. Both would have got on the ballot, Connie would still have won, and one fewer author (actually Lois Bujold) would have got a nomination.
It is worth noting that none of the categories produced an outright winner this year. I’m very pleased with that. There were also seven categories in which the candidate with the most first place votes did not win.
The final thing that occurs to me about this year’s results is that for years people have been complaining that the Hugo results are bad because the awards are voted on by a small, unrepresentative group of fans. This year we have had more people than ever participate in the process, and guess what? Yes, the results are more populist. What did you expect?