I get that there are people upset about the Hugos. I even get the underlying reason why — a reason that doesn’t exactly match what they are saying. You see, this year the unbelievable, to them, happened. A group of people, of fans, rose up and voted, many of them for the first time. The result is that the usual suspects were not nominated. In fact, a number of people who had never before been nominated, but who are (in my opinion) more than worthy of the nomination. People like Kevin J. Anderson and Jim Butcher, even our own Dave Freer and Cedar Sanderson. There are others as well.
As Dave said in his post yesterday, between Sad Puppies 3 and Rabid Puppies, an upset was in the making and now those who don’t like what happened are threatening to do the really noble thing of voting No Award without having read any of the material nominated. And these are the ones who claim they are looking for more inclusivity in our genre.
Anyway, I wanted to look at the awards for the last few years. I haven’t had time to do a full analysis, but I shall. However, I looked at the nominations and winners for Best Novel going to the Hugo awarded in 2000. That year, Vernor Vinge won. There were two women on the ballot – Lois McMaster Bujold and JK Rowling. The next year, Rowling won for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. One other woman, Nalo Hopkinson was also nominated. Between 2000 and 2014, eight women authors have been nominated for Best Novel a total of 21 times. That is 21 nominations out of 76. While not “equal”, it isn’t bad for a genre that is supposedly anti-woman.
I did not try to do a breakdown by race or sexuality because, well, there is no way to tell for sure on the latter and the former can’t be told all the time by last names.
The next thing I looked at was which authors received the most nominations and/or wins during that same 15 year period. Charlie Stross was nominated 7 times with no wins. Bujold had five nominations with one win. Robert J. Sawyer has five nominations and one win. Mira Grant has had 4 nominations and no wins. China Mieville, four nominations and 1 win. Scalzi four nominations and one win. Robert Clarke Wilson four nominations and one win. GRR Martin, and Ian MacDonald had three nominations each and no wins. Rowling and Connie Willis have two nominations apiece and each have won once. Vernor Vinge was nominated twice and won both times.
If my math is right, that means 12 authors managed to snag 45 of 76 nominations in a 15 year period.
Now let’s look at publishers. This is where it gets more telling, especially in light of the current vitriol coming from certain corners after the announcement of this year’s Hugo nominees.
Tor, either individually or in conjunction with other publishers garnered 23 nominations and six wins. Orbit received 12 nominations and one win. Ace had eight nominations and no wins. So, three publishers managed to grab 43 of 76 nominations.
Now, let’s look at this year’s nominees for Best Novel.
- Ancillary Sword, Ann Leckie (Orbit US/Orbit UK)
- The Dark Between the Stars, Kevin J. Anderson (Tor Books)
- The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison (Sarah Monette) (Tor Books)
- Lines of Departure, Marko Kloos (47North)
- Skin Game, Jim Butcher (Roc Books)
Two women, Two nominees published by Tor.
Last year, there were two women nominated. Four of five nominees were published by or in conjunction with Orbit.
Regarding Best Editor Long Form, the editorial award was split between long and short form with the 2007 awards. Since that time, Tor has had 18 nominations and four wins. That is 18 nominations out of 40 slots. Until last year, Tor had at least two nominations per year. Last year, it had only one and this year none. Is this, perhaps, why we are seeing such rabid attacks from people associated with the house?
And yet this year, the ballot is less inclusive than last year. It will be interesting to see how the numbers really fall out when I finish crunching them. In the meantime, you can look at the Hugo nominees and winners by going here.
For everyone eligible to vote this year, I urge you to do what we are all supposed to do: read the nominees and vote for the best entry. How you define best is up to you. For me, it is what book or novella, etc., entertains me the most and is the best written. A book can have a message as long as it doesn’t hit me over the head. But if I start feeling like an author has gone down a checklist to make sure they have all the right sort of characters and the right sort of issues, well, I’m no longer in the story and that isn’t going to get my vote for best.
For those who have their panties in a twist because they believe they are the only “real” fans and are the only ones qualified to vote for the Hugo, I suggest you go back and re-familiarize yourself with the purpose of the award and the rules about voting. I also suggest you look up the definition of the term double-standard. You are upset because SP3 was a “slate” and “political” and yet now you are urging everyone to vote No Award because SPP3 is bad, and made up of only white male, probably all of whom are Mormon and conservative and, well, evil. Now go look at the SP3 list of recommendations, or its “slate” if you will. If you are honest about it, you will see that there are women on the list, as well as people who are well into the liberal political spectrum. As for anything else, well, I couldn’t say. I judge someone’s work on their work, not on the color of their skin or who they go to bed with.
Read the nominees, watch or listen to the digital entries, and then vote for the best. Not for who put their names forth. As for the rest of it, get over yourselves and quit acting like spoiled kids who didn’t get their way. You’re embarrassing yourselves.