Monday, May 23, 2016

Musical Monday - Down Today by Jonathan Coulton


Today I am up and I won't be coming down. I'm not going to say why. I'm just going to say that I've got some news that has put me in the clouds and there is no way that my mood will change until at least tomorrow.

Previous Musical Monday: Dusty California by Paul & Storm

Jonathan Coulton     Musical Monday     Home

Sunday, May 22, 2016

2015 Hugo Award Longlist

As a practical matter, starting the Hugo Longlist Project with the most recent set of longlisted nominees and working backwards in time makes sense. Records get more difficult to obtain as one goes back further in time, and I am not even entirely sure how far back I'll be able to find records, so starting at the "beginning" is something of a moving target right now. On the other hand, due to the presence of the Sad and Rabid Puppy campaigns, starting with the 2015 Hugo Longlist results is probably one of the worst possible places to start. Enough pixels have been spilt about the overlapping bloc voting campaigns that dominated the Hugo nominations in 2015 that I am not going to go into details here, but the fact is that the two slates affected the nominations so much that there is no way to treat the year's results as anything but an outlier from the norm. Time will tell if the outlier becomes the new normal, but as of yet, the jury is still out. Paradoxically, the existence of the Puppy slates makes 2015 the perfect year to used as the start of the longlist project, as the unusual nature of the list of finalists is what prompted many people to begin looking at the longlist to begin with.

Because of the existence of the Puppy campaigns, the 2015 longlist is unusual in that most of the finalists are widely regarded as being of lower quality than the works that appeared on the remaining "longlist" section. This inversion led directly to the creation of David Steffen's Long List Anthology, a collection that assembled many of the stories that didn't make the list of finalists, but did receive sufficient nominations to appear in the top fifteen nominees in their category. To a certain extent, this inversion inspired this project, which exists in part so as to be able to give some honorary recognition to works that didn't quite make it to the list of finalists. 2015 was also unusual for the Hugo Awards due to the large number of finalists who declined or withdrew their nominations, or who were declared ineligible (usually due to not being published in 2014 as required by the rules of the award). The increased frequency of withdrawals and disqualifications is also a result of the Puppy campaigns.

The project primarily exists to provide historical context for the lists of finalists, and to evaluate the changing landscape of genre fiction over the years. In that last endeavor, looking to the list of winners for an award is insufficient, as that only gives a single point of data to work with. A fleshed out shortlist of finalists serves the purpose better, and a longlist of reasonable length works even better. On the other hand, a longlist that is too long is probably not going to provide worthwhile information, as it eventually becomes so inclusive as to be unable to inform one of the aggregate tastes of genre fiction fans in any meaningful manner. To get a good understanding of the landscape of genre fiction, one should probably include information from multiple awards, but that is a conversation for another time.

Starting this project with the most recent long lists and working backwards poses some interesting challenges for evaluating trends in genre fiction, and one of them involves determining whether seeing people and works reach the longlist is an indicator of their prospects for future nominations. Because I am working backwards, it is difficult at this point to evaluate whether this is, in fact, true. This is further complicated by the fact that the nominations for 2015 (and now 2016) have been anything but typical in nature. If there is predictive power in being "longlisted", then we could expect to see Elizabeth Bear and Ursula Vernon receive Hugo nominations in the future, as both had two stories reach the longlist. We can also expect to see most Chinese based science fiction authors reach the Hugo ballot in the future, as Xia Jia had a story reach the longlist to go along with Cixin Liu's Hugo victory for The Three-Body Problem.

Operating under the assumption that trends on the longlist nominees are reflective of the sentiment of fandom in general, the victory for Orphan Black in the Short Form Best Dramatic Presentation category is even more impressive an upset than previously believed. Given the presence of four episodes of Game of Thrones, three episodes of Doctor Who, and two episodes of Agents of Shield, one can get something of a feel for the general television viewing habits of fandom as a whole. Legend of Korra also mad a strong showing: Even though it only had one episode nominated in the Short Form category, the entirely of season four of the show was nominated in the Long Form Best Dramatic Presentation Category.

Best Novel

Finalists:
Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie
The Dark Between the Stars by Kevin J. Anderson
The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
Lines of Departure by Marko Kloos [nomination withdrawn]
Monster Hunter Nemesis by Larry Correia [nomination declined]
Skin Game by Jim Butcher
The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu (translated by Ken Liu)

Longlisted Nominees:
Annihilation by Jeff Vandemeer
The Chaplain’s War by Brad Torgersen
City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett
Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor
Lock In by John Scalzi
The Martian by Andy Weir
The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley
My Real Children by Jo Walton
Trial By Fire by Charles E. Gannon
Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson

Best Novella

Finalists:
Big Boys Don’t Cry by Tom Kratman
One Bright Star to Guide Them by John C. Wright
Pale Realms of Shade by John C. Wright
The Plural of Helen of Troy by John C. Wright

Longlisted Nominees:
Dream Houses by Genevieve Valentine
Grand Jeté(The Great Leap) by Rachel Swirsky
Legion: Skin Deep by Brandon Sanderson
The Mothers of Voorhisville by Mary Rickert
The Regular by Ken Liu
The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss
Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden’s Syndrome by John Scalzi
We Are All Completely Fine by Daryl Gregory
Where the Trains Turn by Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen
Yesterday’s Kin by Nancy Kress

Best Novelette

Finalists:
Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium by Gray Rinehart (reviewed in 2015 Hugo Voting - Best Novelette)
The Day the World Turned Upside Down by Thomas Olde Heuvelt (reviewed in 2015 Hugo Voting - Best Novelette)
The Journeyman: In the Stone House by Michael F. Flynn (reviewed in Analog Science Fiction and Fact: Vol. CXXXIV, No. 6 (June 2014))
Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus by John C. Wright [ineligible]

Longlisted Nominees
The Bonedrake’s Penance by Yoon Ha Lee
The Devil In America by Kai Ashante Wilson
Each to Each by Seanan McGuire
A Guide to the Fruits of Hawai’i by Alaya Dawn Johnson
The Husband Stitch by Carmen Maria Machado
The Litany of Earth by Ruthana Emrys
The Magician and Laplace’s Demon by Tom Crosshill (reviewed in 2015 WSFA Small Press Award Voting)
Spring Festival: Happiness, Anger, Love, Sorrow, Joy by Xia Jia
We are the Cloud by Sam J. Miller
A Year and a Day in Old Therandane by Scott Lynch

Best Short Story

Finalists:
Goodnight Stars by Annie Bellet [nomination withdrawn] (reviewed in 2015 Hugo Voting - Best Short Story)
On A Spiritual Plain by Lou Antonelli (reviewed in 2015 Hugo Voting - Best Short Story)
The Parliament of Beasts and Birds by John C. Wright (reviewed in 2015 Hugo Voting - Best Short Story)
A Single Samurai by Steve Diamond (reviewed in 2015 Hugo Voting - Best Short Story)
Tuesdays with Molakesh the Destroyer by Megan Grey [ineligible]
Turncoat by Steve Rzasa (reviewed in 2015 Hugo Voting - Best Short Story)

Longlisted Nominees
The Breath of War by Aliette de Bodard
Covenant by Elizabeth Bear
Jackalope Wives by Ursula Vernon (reviewed in 2015 WSFA Small Press Award Voting)
A Kiss With Teeth by Max Gladstone
Makeisha in Time by Rachael K. Jones
This Chance Planet by Elizabeth Bear
Toad Words by Ursula Vernon
The Truth About Owls by Amal El-Mohtar
The Vaporization Enthalpy of a Peculiar Pakistani Family by Usman T. Malik
When it Ends, He Catches Her by Eugie Foster

Best Related Work

Finalists:
The Hot Equations: Thermodynamics and Military SF by Ken Burnside
Letters from Gardner by Lou Antonelli
Transhuman and Subhuman: Essays on Science Fiction and Awful Truth by John C. Wright
Why Science is Never Settled by Tedd Roberts
Wisdom from my Internet by Michael Z. Williamson

Longlisted Nominees:
Chicks Dig Gaming by Jennifer Brozek, Robert Smith, and Lars Pearson
Greg Egan (Modern Masters of Science Fiction) by Karen Burnham
Invisible: Personal Essays on Representation in SF by Jim C. Hines
Jodorovsky’s Dune (Documentary) directed by Frank Pavich
Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century, Volume 2: The Man Who Learned Better: 1948-1988 by William H. Patterson, Jr.
The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore
Shadows Beneath: The Writing Excuses Anthology by Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, Dan Wells, and Howard Taylor
Speculative Fiction 2013: The Year’s Best Online Reviews, Essays, and Commentary by Ana Grilo and Thea James
Tropes vs Women: Women as Background Decoration by Anita Sarkeesian
What Makes This Book so Great by Jo Walton

Best Graphic Story

Finalists:
Rat Queens Volume 1: Sass and Sorcery by Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch
Saga, Volume Three by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples
Sex Criminals, Volume One: One Weird Trick by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky
The Zombie Nation Book #2: Reduce Reuse Reanimate by Carter Reid (reviewed in 2015 Hugo Voting - Best Graphic Story)

Longlisted Nominees:
Girl Genius: The Beast of the Rails by Phil Foglio, Kaja Foglio, and Cheyenne Wright
Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Order of the Stick: Blood Runs in the Family by Rich Burlew
Saga by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples
Saga, Volume Four by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
Schlock Mercenary: Broken Wind by Howard Taylor
Sing No Evil by J.P. Ahonen and K.P. Alare
Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
The Wicked & The Divine, Volume 1: The Faust Act by Keiron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie

Best Dramatic Presentation: Long Form

Finalists:
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Edge of Tomorrow
Guardians of the Galaxy
Interstellar
The Lego Movie

Longlisted Nominees:
Big Hero 6
Coherence
How to Train Your Dragon 2
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1
The Legend of Korra, Season 4
Maleficent
The Maze Runner
Snowpiercer
Worldcon Philharmonic Orchestra (Concert)
X-Men: Days of Future Past

Best Dramatic Presentation: Short Form

Finalists:
The Flash: Pilot
Doctor Who: Listen
Game of Thrones: The Mountain and the Viper
Grimm: Once We Were Gods
Orphan Black: By Means Which Have Never Been Tried Yet
Supernatural: Dog Dean Afternoon [ineligible]

Longlisted Nominees:
Welcome to Night Vale: Old Oak Doors, Part A and B
Adventure Time: The Prince Who Wanted Everything
Doctor Who: Flatline
Doctor Who: Mummy on the Orient Express
Agents of Shield: Turn, Turn, Turn
Agents of Shield: What They Become
Game of Thrones: The Children
Game of Thrones: The Lion and the Rose
Game of Thrones: The Watchers on The Wall
The Legend of Korra: The Last Stand

Best Professional Editor: Short Form

Finalists:
Theodore Beale
Jennifer Brozek
Mike Resnick
Bryan Thomas Schmidt
Edmund R. Schubert [nomination withdrawn]

Longlisted Nominees:
John Joseph Adams
Neil Clarke
Ellen Datlow
Gardner Dozois
William Schafer
Jonathan Strahan
Lynne M. Thomas
Ann VanderMeer
Sheila Williams
Christie Yant

Best Professional Editor: Long Form

Finalists:
Theodore Beale
Sheila Gilbert
Jim Minz
Anne Sowards
Toni Weisskopf

Longlisted Nominees:
Liz Gorinsky
David G. Hartwell
Lee Harris
Jenni Hill
Beth Meacham
Patrick Nielsen Hayden
Marco Palmieri
Anne Perry
Devi Pillai
Gillian Redfeam

Best Professional Artist

Finalists:
Julie Dillon
Kirk DouPounce
Jon Eno [ineligible]
Nick Greenwood
Alan Pollack
Carter Reid

Longlisted Nominees:
Richard Anderson
Galen Dara
Dan Dos Santos
Bob Eggleton
Donata Giancola
John Harris
Stephan Martiniere
Chris McGrath
Victo Ngai
John Picacio
Fiona Staples

Best Semi-Prozine

Finalists:
Abyss & Apex edited by Wendy Delmater
Andromeda Spaceways InFlight Magazine edited by David Kernot and Sue Bursztynski
Beneath Ceaseless Skies edited by Scott H. Andrews
Lightspeed Magazine edited by John Joseph Adams, Stefan Rudnicki, Rich Horton, Wendy N. Wagner, and Christie Yant
Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show edited by Edmund R. Schubert [nomination withdrawn]
Strange Horizons edited by Niall Harrison

Longlisted Nominees:
Apex edited by John Joseph Adams
Apex Magazine edited by Jason Sizemore
The Book Smugglers edited by Ana Grilo, Thea James
Clarkesworld Magazine edited by Neil Clarke
Crossed Genres edited by Bart R. Leib, Kay T. Holt, and Kelly Jennings
Escape Pod edited by Norm Sherman
Goblin Fruit edited by Amal El-Mohtar and Caitlyn Paxson
Interzone edited by Andy Cox
Pornokitsch edited by Anne C. Perry and Jared Shurin
Sci Phi Journal edited by Jason Rennie

Best Fanzine

Finalists:
Black Gate edited by John O’Neill [nomination withdrawn]
Elitist Book Reviews edited by Steven Diamond
Journey Planet edited by James Bacon, Christopher J. Garcia, Colin Harris, Alissa McKersie, and Helen J. Montgomery
The Revenge of Hump Day edited by Tim Bolgeo
Tangent SF Online edited by Dave Truesdale

Longlisted Nominees:
Argentus edited by Steven H. Silver
Banana Wings edited by Claire Brialey and Mark Plummer
A Dribble of Ink edited by Aiden Moher
The Drink Tank edited by Vanessa Applegate, James Bacon, and Christopher J Garcia
File 770 edited by Mike Glyer
Lady Business edited by Renay and Jodie
Nerds of a Feather edited by The G and Vance Kotrla
SF Mistressworks edited by Ian Sales
SF Signal edited by Jon Denardo
Shiny Book Review edited by Jason Cordova and Barb Caffrey

Best Fan Writer

Finalists:
Dave Freer
Amanda S. Green
Jeffro Johnson
Laura J. Mixon
Cedar Sanderson
Matthew David Surridge [nomination declined]

Longlisted Nominees:
Gavia Baker-Whitelaw
Liz Bourke
Daniel Enness
Christopher J Garcia
Natalie Luhrs
Foz Meadows
Dierdre Saoirse Moen
James Nicoll
Abigail Nussbaum
Mark Oshiro

Best Fan Artist

Finalists:
Ninni Aalto
Brad W. Foster
Elizabeth Leggett
Spring Schoenhuth
Steve Stiles

Longlisted Nominees:
Euclase
Kuldar Leement
Vesa Lehtimäki
Richard Mann
Mandie Manzano
Autun Parser
Maurine Starkey
Taral Wayne
Sarah Webb
Alice X. Zhang

Best Fancast

Finalists:
Adventures in SF Publishing by Brent Bower, Kristi Charish, Timothy C. Ward, and Moses Siregar III
Dungeon Crawlers Radio by Daniel Swenson, Travis Alexander, Scott Tomlin, Dale Newton, and Damien Swenson
Galactic Suburbia by Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandrea Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts, and Andrew Finch
The Sci Phi Show by Jason Rennie
Tea and Jeopardy by Emma Newman and Peter Newman

Longlisted Nominees:
The Coode Street Podcast by Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe
Nerdvana Podcast by J.C. Arkham and Chuck Serface
PodCastle by Dave Thompson and Anna Schwind
Rocket Talk
The Skiffy and Fanty Show by Shaun Duke, Julia Rios, Paul Weimer, Mike Underwood, David Annadale, Rachael Acks, and Jen Zink
Speculate! The Podcast for Writers, Readers and Fans by Gregory Wilson and Brad Beaulieu
Sword and Laser by Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt
Verity! by Deborah Stanish, Erika Ensign, Katrina Griffiths, L.M. Myles, Lynne M. Thomas, and Tansy Rayner Roberts
Welcome to Nightvale by Joseph Fink and Cecil Baldwin
The Writer and the Critic by Kristyn McDermott and Ian Mond

John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer

Finalists:
Wesley Chu
Jason Cordova
Kary English
Rolf Nelson
Eric S. Raymond

Longlisted Nominees:
Rachael K. Jones
Usman T. Malik
Carmen Maria Marchado
Brian McClellan
Sam J. Miller
Helene Wecker
Andy Weir
Django Wexler
Alyssa Wong
J.Y. Yang
Isabel Yap

Go to previous year's longlist: 2014
Go to subsequent year's longlist: 2016

Go to 2015 Hugo Finalists and Winners

Hugo Longlist Project     Book Award Reviews     Home

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Book Blogger Hop May 20th - May 26th - The Romans Began to Abandon Hadrian's Wall in 155 A.D.

Book Blogger Hop

Jen at Crazy for Books restarted her weekly Book Blogger Hop to help book bloggers connect with one another, but then couldn't continue, so she handed the hosting responsibilities off to Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. The only requirements to participate in the Hop are to write and link a post answering the weekly question and then visit other blogs that are also participating to see if you like their blog and would like to follow them.

This week Billy asks: Do you keep a Blog Roll List?

I do, but to be perfectly honest I don't spend any time at all curating it or maintaining it. As a result it is almost certainly hopelessly out of date and probably useless.


Book Blogger Hop     Home

Friday, May 20, 2016

Follow Friday - There Were 256 Men in a Syntagma in Alexander's Macedonian Army


It's Friday again, and this means it's time for Follow Friday. There has been a slight change to the format, as now there are two Follow Friday hosts blogs and a single Follow Friday Featured Blogger each week. To join the fun and make now book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:
  1. Follow both of the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts (Parajunkee and Alison Can Read) and any one else you want to follow on the list.
  2. Follow the Featured Blogger of the week - Naga Sanctuary.
  3. Put your Blog name and URL in the Linky thing.
  4. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say hi in your comments.
  5. Follow, follow, follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don't just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don't say "Hi".
  6. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the love . . . and the followers.
  7. If you want to show the link list, just follow the link below the entries and copy and paste it within your post!
  8. If you're new to the Follow Friday Hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!
And now for the Follow Friday Question: Ten Reasons You Love Your Fave Genre.

My favorite genre is, and probably always will be, science fiction. Here are ten reasons I love the genre:
  1. It is about the Future. Science fiction contemplates possible futures, imagining what the world might be like if everyone could teleport, or how people might respond to a much warmer planet, or any number of other different scenarios.
  2. It is about the past. Science fiction considers what the world might have been like if Babbage had actually built his difference engine, or if the steam-style technology imagined by Jules Verne had actually worked.
  3. In the end, it is really about the present. Science fiction allows an author to examine contemporary society and politics from a fresh perspective, unsaddled by much of the baggage that would come from trying to tackle such issues without the use of a metaphor. For example, the original Star Trek was able to take on issues like racism, imperialism, and the Vietnam War on a nationally broadcast show in an era when network executives shied away from shows that dealt with such issues.
  4. It is about alternatives. Much science fiction asks the question "what if", and then examines the implications of those ideas. What if people could change sex? What if there wasn't actually a world to stand on, but instead everyone lived in a gravity free zone of oxygen orbiting a star? What if history was so long that measuring years became meaningless and technology became like magic? Science fiction examines these sorts of questions all the time.
  5. It is about dystopian societies. From The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins to A World Out of Time by Larry Niven to We by Yevgeny Zamyatin, to Revolt in 2100 by Robert Heinlein, science fiction is full of stories about what happens when society becomes something that we would regard as a nightmare. Science fiction examines what it would be like to live in such a society, how one would come about, and how one might fall.
  6. It is about utopian societies. Though not as common as dystopias, utopias show up in science fiction often enough to be interesting. Most, like the society at the end of Isaac Asimov's Foundation series or the society in Orson Scott Card's Worthing Saga, depict utpoias with hidden flaws, and that often makes them careen into being dytopias, but the constructed worlds that are seen as utopian are often fascinating for their flawed beauty.
  7. It is about the disasters. Science fiction is often about the end of the world, and what comes after as people pick of the pieces. A tradition that includes Earth Abides by George Stuart, Lucifer's Hammer by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, and A Boy and His Dog by Harlan Ellison, science fiction is rich with stories about people living in the aftermath of the collapse of civilization, and highlighting what might survive and what might not.
  8. It is about aliens. Science fiction imagines what other life might be like, and imagines how they might interact with humanity. What if there were microscopic aliens living on the surface of an neutron star? What if there were aliens who lives in gas giants ans breathed hydrogen? What would they be like? How would we communicate with them?
  9. It is about humanity. Science fiction looks at humanity's future, examines humanity's past, and criticizes humanity's present. It also looks at what humans are like, and could be like. What if humans could reshape themselves on a regular basis? What if humans were replaced by our own creations who lived in ways that imitate us? How will we face the challenges of space? The challenges of our own impending extinction?
  10. Science fiction has spaceships. Need I say more?


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Monday, May 16, 2016

Musical Monday - Dusty California by Paul & Storm


Have you ever wondered what would happen if the Avengers were also a rock band? Apparently, Paul & Storm did, and they came up with a song that sounds like it was taken straight off of an Eagles album from the 1970s.

To a certain extent, a song about superheroes who are in a rock band is pretty much something that really should sound like it came from the 1970s, because there were so many television shows from that era that more or less had that as the theme. Well, sort of had that as the theme. And they were mostly cartoons. I remember the Jackson 5 had an animated show about the band where they fought villains and saved the day. There were Josie and the Pussycats, who were more or less an all female version of the Scooby Doo gang with instruments. Even though the Archies animated show only lasted one season in 1968, it produced the hit single Sugar, Sugar, and ran in reruns through most of the 1970s. Kiss starred in the terrible movie Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park in 1978 where the band members all had super powers. I'm just surprised that Sid and Marty Krofft didn't have a live action show about rock star super heroes with giant puppets and stop motion animation, although they did have a show featuring the fictitious rock band Kool and the Kongs as well as the Bay City Rollers Show.

I want to live in the alternate universe where one of the biggest media properties is a story about a country rock band that got hit by cosmic rays emitted from a meteor and gained super powers. I'd watch that movie.

Previous Musical Monday: Come and Get Your Love by Redbone
Subsequent Musical Monday: Down Today by Jonathan Coulton

Paul & Storm     Musical Monday     Home

Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Hugo Longlist Project

Every year, after the Hugo Awards are announced, the constitution of the World Science Fiction Society requires the administrators of the award to release statistical data related to that year's awards. In addition to the voting totals that determined the winning finalist, the statistical data also includes the top fifteen nominees in each category. This list of the fifteen top nominees is sometimes informally referred to as the "Hugo longlist". I should emphasize at the outset that this terminology is entirely unofficial, as this list is not used in the actual Hugo voting process, as it is not released until after the award has been bestowed.

As I noted a few days ago, it does not appear that anyone is tracking the nominees on the Hugo longlist. There are plausible reasons for this, the most important of which is that it is entirely informal and unofficial. The Hugo administrators usually do not even bother to determine if a particular nominee is eligible in the category they have been nominated in unless it makes the list of finalists. This does not mean, however, that this data is not without value. Thus far, however, it has not been compiled into a coherent whole. This project is intended to fill in this gap by compiling all of the Hugo longlist data into a series of posts so it is all accessible in one location.

Some notes:
  1. Though the Hugo statistical data that is released concerning the top fifteen nominees lists the total number of nominations each work received and ranks them accordingly, they are presented here in alphabetical order. Perusing the statistics, it is not uncommon for a work to receive the most nominations in the nominating round, but not win the Hugo award in the award selection round. This indicates to me that the raw number of nominations is not a worthwhile guide to whether one work is "better" than another in the eyes of the Hugo voters.

  2. The nominees are split into two groups: Finalists and the other longlisted works. This is because it can be assumed that the works that reached the finalist list have had their eligibility verified, and the nominees have been given the opportunity to decline their nomination. Similar assumptions cannot be made about the works that did not make the list of finalists. Because of this distinction, I believe that it makes sense to report these two sets of nominees separately.

  3. I'm going to try to assemble all of the data I can, but I have no idea how far back records are available. The amendment to the WSFS constitution requiring disclosure of the nominating and voting data was not passed until the 1980s, and a perusal of the available records from that time period indicates that the data that was released may not have been complete. Given that this was the very earliest days of the internet, the somewhat sketchy records is not entirely surprising.

  4. Because I don't know how far back the records to support this project extend, I'm going to be working backwards through the years, starting with the 2015 Hugo Awards. I will work back as far as I can find data, and, if I can, see if there are any records accessible that are not already online and incorporate those.
The list of years for which there are known longlist data available follows. As I obtain more data, it will be added to the list:

2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010  2009  2008  2007  2006  2005  2004

Book Award Reviews     Home

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Book Blogger Hop May 13 - May 19th: Shakespeare Wrote 154 Sonnets (That We Know Of)

Book Blogger Hop

Jen at Crazy for Books restarted her weekly Book Blogger Hop to help book bloggers connect with one another, but then couldn't continue, so she handed the hosting responsibilities off to Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. The only requirements to participate in the Hop are to write and link a post answering the weekly question and then visit other blogs that are also participating to see if you like their blog and would like to follow them.

This week Billy asks: Is there a reason why you choose Blogger over WordPress or a different platform?

I had reasons, but they weren't particularly good ones. When I started blogging, back in the days when we chipped our posts into stone tablets, a friend of mine had been writing a blog using Blogger (their blog has long since been abandoned). That pointed me towards Blogger, and since Blogger was (and is) a free platform, I decided to use it. That's pretty much the reasons that I decided to use Blogger. As I said, I had reasons, but they weren't very good ones.

I've considered moving to WordPress, since that is a more robust platform and some of the workarounds that I have used to make Blogger work the way I want it to are kind of clumsy and strain the capabilities of the system, but at this point that would be a major undertaking as there are literally thousands of posts made under this blog with thousands of internal links that would need to be updated. I may do it at some point,, but I figure that to do it I would have to stop updating the blog for at least several weeks to be able to do all the work needed, and I just haven't found a good time to do that yet.

Previous Book Blogger Hop: 153 Is the 17th Triangular Number

Book Blogger Hop     Home

Friday, May 13, 2016

Follow Friday - 255 Is the Maximum Value Representable by an 8-Digit Binary Number


It's Friday again, and this means it's time for Follow Friday. There has been a slight change to the format, as now there are two Follow Friday hosts blogs and a single Follow Friday Featured Blogger each week. To join the fun and make now book blogger friends, just follow these simple rules:
  1. Follow both of the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts (Parajunkee and Alison Can Read) and any one else you want to follow on the list.
  2. Follow the Featured Blogger of the week - Caffeine and Books.
  3. Put your Blog name and URL in the Linky thing.
  4. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say hi in your comments.
  5. Follow, follow, follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don't just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don't say "Hi".
  6. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the love . . . and the followers.
  7. If you want to show the link list, just follow the link below the entries and copy and paste it within your post!
  8. If you're new to the Follow Friday Hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog!
And now for the Follow Friday Question: 10 book blurbs that got you hooked.

I don't have any, because that's not how I look for books. Off the top of my head, I can't even think of a single book blurb - good or bad - let alone ten. I suppose I could go to my bookshelf and pull down ten books that I liked and reel off the book blurbs on their back cover as my answer, but that wouldn't actually answer the question, because it wasn't the book blurbs that got me hooked on those books.

This is another example of the type of question that, to me, illustrates just how far out of the mainstream for book bloggers I am. I'm not going to say that marketing has no effect on me (since it is pervasive and much of the time it affects us in ways that we are not aware of), but it seems that most book marketing is not really aimed at me. In general, the things that many other readers seem to respond to when it comes to marketing books are effectively orthogonal to my interests.

This is mostly a long-winded way of saying that my answer to this question is that I am not really going to answer the question, mostly because I don't have an answer that wouldn't be a fabrication.


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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Random Thought - Why Not the Hugo Longlist?

As far as I can tell, no one tracks the longlist of Hugo nominees. Every year, following the Hugo award ceremony, the Hugo administrator releases the voting data for that year's Hugo Awards, as directed by the constitution of the World Science Fiction Society. This "stats sheet" lists both the voting totals for the vote to select the winner in each category, as the nomination data for the top fifteen works to receive nominations for the award in each category. One can go and find several of these lists online, as they have been placed there by most of the recent Hugo administrators, but there isn't a single place that one can go to and find all of the longlist nominees.

The rather obvious question that comes to mind is: Why not? Why is this source of data mostly ignored? Other awards have long lists, and they are tracked. Locus magazine, for example, has a long list for their annual Locus Award, and they keep track of all of the nominees who appear on that list. Locus, however, does not do the same for the Hugo Award long list. I suppose it might be because the longlist isn't really an "official" part of the Hugo process, but that doesn't usually stop anyone from keeping track of something. Maybe it is because the information only comes out after the Hugo award winners are announced so there is less interest in the books, stories, movies, television episodes, and individuals who appear down the list. Maybe no one really cares about this information.

I should actually say, maybe no one else really cares about this information, but I care about it. One of the reasons I write this blog is to track the winners and nominees for a selection of genre fiction awards, with the objective of reading and reviewing as many of them as practicable. But the objective of the exercise is not to read and review award winning books - rather it is to use a broad selection of award winning and nominated works as a method for understanding the shifting landscape of the world of genre fiction. The ultimate goal is to understand at least some of the history of genre fiction. Following the awards is a means to that end, not the end itself.

With that in mind, it becomes clear that the Hugo longlist is another piece of the puzzle that will aid in understanding the whole. Knowing that John Scalzi's Redshirts won the 2013 Hugo for Best Novel is an interesting piece of the puzzle. Knowing that the other finalists in the category were Kim Stanley Robinson's 2312, Mira Grant's Blackout, Lois McMaster Bujold' Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, and Saladin Ahmed's Throne of the Crescent Moon is another. Knowing N.K. Jemisin's The Killing Moon, Mary Robinette Kowal's Glamour in Glass, and James S.A. Corey's Caliban's War were among the ten novels to just miss becoming Hugo finalists is still another piece of the puzzle. Adding in the longlist data makes the whole more cohesive. When trying to understand history, context is one of the most critically important elements, and looking at what nominees just missed becoming finalists provides additional context.

The longlist also provides context in other ways as well: The only way to see if someone declined a position on the finalist list is to look at the longlist data, as unlike those who withdraw nominations, declined works and individuals are never listed on the list of finalists. Given the politicization of the Hugos that has occurred since 2013 with the bloc-voting by the Puppies, the longlist has gained even more importance as an indicator of the non-Puppy tastes in fiction - a fact that explains the popularity of works such as the recently published Long List Anthology edited by David Steffen. This is mostly just a roundabout way of saying that, to the extent possible, I think that keeping track of the Hugo longlist is something that would be worthwhile, so I'm going to start doing just that. Starting on this Sunday, to the extent that the information is available, I will be adding the Hugo longlist information to the records that I track.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Review - Seraphina by Rachel Hartman


Short review: Seraphina is thought to be the only half-dragon in a world where most humans hate dragons. Then the Crown Prince turns up dead and everyone suspects a dragon did it. Things get more interesting from there.

Haiku
Crown Prince Rufus dies
Killed by decapitation
Is war imminent?

Full review: Seraphina is a delightfully fun young adult fantasy bildungsroman mixed with some politics, some romance, and a murder mystery that ties it all together. Centered upon an engaging teen protagonist struggling to deal with a dangerous personal secret, filled with a well-written, interesting, and often quirky cast of supporting characters, as well as an interesting and fairly original take on dragons, this story is an almost pitch perfect piece of young adult fantasy fiction.

In the world of Seraphina, dragons are real, and have waged long and bloody wars against humanity. Forty years before the events of the central story line in the book, the humans of Goredd and its neighboring kingdoms made peace with the dragons of the northern mountains, entering into a treaty that ended the conflict and has allowed both sides to heal. Many dragons have mastered the art of transforming themselves into human form so that they can live among and interact with humans. Dragons in human form can be given away by their silver blood and for "newskins" who have recently taken to living among humanity, their unfamiliarity with most human customs. The laws in Goredd also require dragons to wear identifying bells, marking them out as dragons, and prohibit dragons from reverting to their natural form while they are in the country. Given the long history of enmity between the two races, many humans view dragons with suspicion or even outright hostility, a sentiment that many among dragonkind return.

The central character in Seraphina is, naturally enough, Seraphina, a talented musician who has, through a combination of hard work and family connections, secured a position as the assistant to the court composer to the royal family of Goredd. She also harbors a deadly secret: She is, in fact, a half-dragon, and when the book opens, as far as she knows, the only half-dragon. Given the prejudice against dragons harbored by many humans (most notably, the Son of St. Ogdo), Seraphina's heritage poses a threat her life should it become known, and thus she takes great pains to conceal the signs she inherited from her mother: A ring of scales around her left arm, and another around her torso. Seraphina also inherited her mother's memories, and got the benefit of the guidance from her draconic uncle Orma. And Seraphina needs Orma's guidance, because in the fantasy world Hartman created, dragons think fundamentally differently from humans, devoid of emotions or passions, and dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge and learning. The study of music, a central element to the story, highlights the difference between the two races: Dragons can study the art, and become quite skilled, but they have no feel for it, and as a result, their performances are mechanical and devoid of the spark that is characteristic of true artistry. Dragons can be technically proficient musicians, but lack the soul that would elevate their work above the ordinary. Dragons who take human form for too long can begin to experience emotion, and are subject to sanction from the rulers of their race if they do so. Among the many other challenges Seraphina faces, mastering the complexities inherent to the dual nature of her own mind is one of the most significant.

Despite all of these benefits, Seraphina's life is complicated and often confusing. Despite her relatively prominent position, Seraphina must keep her distance from everyone, even those who she cares about, just to protect her secret. The tense situation in Goredd becomes even more so when Crown Prince Rufus turns up dead with his head removed - and everyone knows that biting off a victim's head is a particularly dragon-like method of killing someone. The mood in Goredd quickly turns ugly, including a mob forming almost immediately after the late prince's funeral to assault a passing dragon. The day is saved when Rufus' illegitimate nephew Lucian Kiggs arrives with the guard to disperse the mob, an event that also serves to introduce Seraphina to the handsome and clever guard captain. This incident only hints at the chaos, unrest, and violence that could erupt in the wake of Prince Rufus' death, and for most of the book the royal family of Goredd finds themselves trying to preserve the fragile peace between their land and the dragons to the north even while public opinion clamors for war.

As the story progresses, Seraphina finds herself pulled into the investigation of Crown Prince Rufus' death, and also finds herself pulled into a world of political intrigue and secrets as well as something of a one-sided romance. Along the way, she discovers that the world is bigger and more dangerous than she ever thought, and that others have even more difficult to hide deadly secrets than she does. Even though there is a murder to be solved and political machinations with potential nation threatening consequences, Seraphina changes and grows over the course of the novel, discovering that those she thought had perfect lives still face difficulties, and at the same time, there are those who face far more hardship than she could have even imagined at the outset of the book. It is this almost natural character development that sets this book apart from so many others - even though Seraphina starts the book as a fairly admirable person, she is still a child. Over the course of the novel, she learns and matures, developing from an awkward teen into an adult - an awkward adult, but an adult nonetheless.

Backing this story, Hartman engages in some excellent world-building that fleshes out the fictional world that Seraphina lives in. In addition to the fascinating take on dragons that she establishes for the setting, Hartman also creates a second type of dragon that, despite being essentially harmless, quite obviously fuel humanity's dislike of dragon-kind. Even small things serve as building blocks for the world: When Seraphina is to be blessed as an infant, the psalter flips open to the blacked out page of Saint Yirtrudis, who had been condemned as a heretic. The reaction of the priest, who flips the page an announces that Heaven surely meant for the book to open to Saint Capiti serves as a tiny but illuminating kind of world-building. Later, in an almost off-hand manner, the reader discovers that at least one of the nations that Goredd is allied with maintains the institution of serfdom, a fact that no one comments upon as being particularly notable (which is itself a bit of world-building). The entire book is littered with tiny nuggets of information like this that serve as the threads that weave together to create an intricately designed tapestry upon which the story can take place.

Overall, Seraphina is a brilliantly crafted work of fantasy fiction. Though the murder mystery itself is fairly straightforward, and the true identity of the murderer is readily apparent fairly early in the story, tracking them down proves to involve several interesting twists and unexpected turns. Given how well-done the murder mystery is, the fact that it is essentially the background for Seraphina's own personal coming-of-age story just highlights how good this book is. This book is an excellent young adult fantasy story, but even more than that, it is simply an excellent and well-crafted fantasy story, without the need for the young adult qualifier.

Subsequent book in the series: Shadow Scale

Potential 2016 Hugo Nominees

2013 Locus Award Nominees
2013 Nebula Award Nominees

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Monday, May 9, 2016

Musical Monday - Come and Get Your Love by Redbone


So, Captain America: Civil War is a great movie. You should go see it. Now. You can come back to this post when you're done. I'll wait.

While Civil War does have a soundtrack, the reigning champion of all Marvel Cinematic Universe movie soundtracks is still Guardians of the Galaxy. So here is some music that inspired Peter Quill as he set out to steal the orb containing an infinity gem from the abandoned and ruined temple that it was apparently being stored in. One has to wonder exactly why it was there for so long if it was as coveted an object as it is supposed to be, since there didn't seem to be much trouble getting to it beyond some puddles and a rift that appears would be fairly easy to cross even if one didn't have rocket boots. Sure, the door was locked, but those doors didn't really look like they would be all that tough to simply break down. I suppose the stand might have been tricky to deal with, but it seems clear that no one before Quill even got that far. Of course, if Quill doesn't steal the orb there isn't a movie, so this musing is kind of silly, but even so, it just seems implausible that an artifact that valuable sat in a vault long enough for structure around it to decay that much.

Anyway, just sit back and enjoy Redbone performing Come and Get Your Love.

Previous Musical Monday: First of May by Jonathan Coulton (with Paul & Storm and Molly Lewis)
Subsequent Musical Monday: Dusty California by Paul & Storm

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Sunday, May 8, 2016

2015 "What Could Have Been" Finalists

Location: In the hearts of actual science fiction fans.

Comments: In 2015, there were two allied but somewhat distinct groups called the Sad Puppies and the Rabid Puppies that created overlapping slates to dominate the Hugo nomination process. By voting for the slated choices as a bloc, approximately one-tenth to one-fifth of the total number of voters were able to overwhelm the majority of voters (who all voted their individual preferences in a disorganized manner) and pack the entire ballot with choices from their slates. Given that slating and bloc-voting have long been regarded as unethical behavior by Hugo voters (dating back at least to  the negative reactions among fandom engendered 1987, when a group of dedicated Scientologists bloc-voted L. Ron Hubbard's novel Black Genesis onto the Hugo ballot), this was not taken well. Further exacerbating the issue, the general consensus emerged that the Puppy picks as 2015 Hugo finalists were poor choices based upon the quality of the selections. Some of the choices were regarded as merely mediocre. Others were regarded as abysmally bad. Still others were regarded as offensive. Some were regarded as among the weakest selections to ever make the Hugo finalist list. In response, the majority of fans voted for "No Award" over most of the Puppy picks.

One might say that at that point, the books have been balanced. The Pups used bloc-voting tactics to put their choices on the ballot. Fans evaluated the picks based on a combination of custom and quality and assessed them as being unworthy of the award. However, one of the "accomplishments" the Pups wanted to achieve seems to have been to keep those they dislike for ideological or personal reasons off of the ballot. Many Pups, for example, seem to have a personal animus against Patrick Nielsen Hayden and Rachel Swirsky, so keeping them off of the ballot, they seem to reason, denies them an honor that they might have otherwise received. Other targets of the Pups seem to be ideologically motivated: At least some Pups seem to dislike books like Chicks Dig Gaming or Invisible: Personal Essays on Representation in SF because they promote ideas regarding issues like feminism as it applies to the genre fiction arena in ways they disapprove of.

While it is true that the Puppy campaign could deny a spot on the Hugo finalist list to those they dislike, what the Pups cannot do is deny the love people have for those works and individuals. The Hugo Awards are an expression of fan love. They are not the love itself. The fact that some things were pushed off of the Hugo ballot by slate-based bloc-voting means those things are not Hugo finalists, but not that they are not loved any less. What this means is that even if those potential finalists from 2015 who were displaced by Puppy choices will never be able to be called Hugo finalists, that doesn't mean that fans can't recognize them and show their love for them. Showing that love is exactly what this list is intended to do. Through a process that involved going through the 2015 Hugo statistics and applying some educated guesses and some back of the envelope calculations, (a process that I explain here) this is the revised Hugo ballot, as it might have appeared if the Sad and Rabid Puppy campaigns of 2015 had not existed.

Best Novel

Revised Finalists:
Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie
City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett
The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
Lock-In by John Scalzi
The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu (translated by Ken Liu)

Notes: This category doesn't change much, as much of the Puppy influence had actually been removed from the 2015 Hugo ballot as a result of one slate-driven finalist declining their spot and another withdrawing from theirs. The two remaining Puppy finalists are replaced on the ballot by Scalzi's near-future murder mystery, and Bennett's melange of fantasy, intrigue, and rising technology. I don't think either of the replacement novels would have won, but they would have provided substantially stiffer competition.

Best Novella

Revised Finalists:
Grand Jete (The Great Leap) by Rachel Swirsky
The Mothers of Voorhisville by Mary Rickert
The Regular by Ken Liu
The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss
Yesterday's Kin by Nancy Kress

Notes: Of all of the fiction categories, the one that suffered the most from Puppy influence was the novella category, with three fairly wretched John C. Wright stories on the ballot. The revised ballot, on the other hand, is studded with excellent fiction.

Best Novelette

Revised Finalists:
The Day the World Turned Upside Down by Thomas Olde Heuvelt (translated by Lia Belt) (reviewed in 2015 Hugo Voting - Best Novelette)
The Devil in America by Kai Ashante Wilson
Each to Each by Seanan McGuire
The Litany of Earth by Ruthana Emrys
The Magician and Laplace's Demon by Tom Crosshill (reviewed in 2015 WSFA Small Press Award Voting)

Notes: Due to the disqualification of a John C. Wright story, one non-Puppy story - The Day the World Turned Upside Down - made it onto the ballot in this category. The story then went on to win the category against a weak field. The revised field is much stronger, and I suspect that had this been the actual field of finalists, Heuvelt would still be a bridesmaid instead of a bride. More than anything else, this sort of victory is why any Hugo winners from 2015 will forever be regarded as having a metaphorical asterisk upon their accomplishment.

Best Short Story

Revised Finalists:
The Breath of War by Aliette de Bodard
Goodnight Stars by Annie Bellet (reviewed in 2015 Hugo Voting - Best Short Story)
Jackalope Wives by Ursula Vernon (reviewed in 2015 WSFA Small Press Award Voting)
The Truth About Owls by Amal El-Mohtar1
When It Ends, He Catches Her by Eugie Foster1

1 Depending on how many Sad and Rabid Puppies one edits out of the voting totals, it is likely that one or both of these stories would have been kept off of the ballot by the "5% rule". Because all of the figures that I used to come up with this revised list of finalists are educated guesses, I am listing both stories here with the caveat that it was quite possible that the numbers would have worked out in such a way that they would not have been.

Notes: This category is one in which a Sad Puppy pick might have actually made the ballot without the need for slate-based support - even after one makes adjustments to remove the slates' influence, Annie Bellet's story Goodnight Stars seems like it would have had enough nominations to be placed on the list of finalists. This is an example of how the slates were damaging even to those supported by them. Because Bellet's work had been placed onto the ballot via the slate-based bloc voting engaged in by the Pups, a shadow was needlessly cast over her selection.

Best Related Work

Revised Finalists:
Chicks Dig Gaming by Jennifer Brozek, Robert Smith, and Lars Pearson
Invisible: Personal Essays on Representation in SF edited by Jim C. Hines
Shadows Beneath: The Writing Excuses Anthology by Mary Robinette Kowal, Brandon Sanderson, Howard Taylor, and Dan Wells
Tropes vs. Women: Women as Background Decoration by Anita Sarkeesian
What Makes This Book So Great by Jo Walton

Notes: Of all the ugly categories on the 2015 Hugo ballot, none were uglier than Related Work. With two finalists vying for the title of "worst Hugo finalist of all time", and three others that rose, at best, to mediocre, this was an enormous blight on the 2015 Hugos. The blight is even more apparent when one looks at how incredible the category could have been. If these had been the finalists, I suspect that Jo Walton's book would have won, but against this field of competitors it would have had some pretty tough competition for the honor.

Best Graphic Story

Revised Finalists:
Rat Queens Volume 1: Sass and Sorcery by Kurtis J. Weibe, art by Roc Upchurch
Saga, Volume 3 by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples
Saga, Volume 4 by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples
Sex Criminals, Vol. 1: One Weird Trick by Matt Fraction, art by Chip Zdarsky

Notes: As the Sad and Rabid Puppies only had one candidate on their slate, they only had one finalist in this category. Replacing the completely terrible Zombie Nation with the very good Saga, Volume 4 represents a substantial increase in quality, improving the strength of the category by a fair amount, but it probably would not have changed the overall outcome. On the other hand, I would not have had to read the juvenile "jokes" that accompanied the weak artwork of Zombie Nation.

Best Dramatic Presentation: Long Form

Revised Finalists:
Big Hero 6
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Edge of Tomorrow
Guardians of the Galaxy
Interstellar

Notes: Because of the large numbers of voters who nominated in this category, editing out the influence of the Sad and Rabid Puppy slates leaves this group mostly unchanged. The only difference between the original 2015 Hugo ballot and the revised 2015 Hugo ballot in this category is the replacement of The Lego Movie with Big Hero 6. In terms of quality, this seems to be a minor shift at best.

Best Dramatic Presentation: Short Form

Revised Finalists:
Agents of Shield: Turn, Turn, Turn
Doctor Who: Listen
Game of Thrones: The Lion and the Rose
The Legend of Korra: The Last Stand
Orphan Black: By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried

Notes: Revising this category causes moderate shake-up, moving all three of the Puppy picks off of the ballot and placing two mostly unsurprising choices on the ballot in Agents of Shield: Turn, Turn, Turn, and Game of Thrones: The Lion and the Rose. I suppose it is mildly surprising that one Game of Thrones episode - The Mountain and the Viper - would be replaced by another episode of the same series. The real interesting change is that an episode of the animated series Legend of Korra would have made the list of finalists in this category had there been no Puppy slates. It is rare for animated material to reach the Hugo finalist lists in the dramatic presentation categories, and this would have been an extremely interesting selection.

Best Professional Editor: Short Form

Revised Finalists:
John Joseph Adams
Neil Clarke
Ellen Datlow
Jonathan Strahan
Sheila Williams

Notes: As with most of the Puppy dominated categories, the 2015 Hugo ballot for Short Form Editor fielded a group of finalists that ranged from mediocre to miserable. Simply replacing Beale on the ballot with someone who was an actual professional instead of a child playing at being an editor would have improved the field substantially. Replacing the mostly modest resumes of the 2015 finalists in this category with the impressive collection of editors that emerges when one revises the finalists to edit out the Puppy influence transforms a category that was unimpressive into an almost star-studded affair.

Best Professional Editor: Long Form

Revised Finalists:
Sheila Gilbert
Liz Gorinsky
Beth Meacham
Patrick Nielsen Hayden
Toni Weisskopf

Notes: One of the sad truths about the Puppy slates is that there were a few finalists that they supported who probably could have gotten onto the Hugo ballot without their help, but who nonetheless had a shadow cast over their selection as a result of being on the slates. In Long Form Editor, the math suggests that both Toni Weisskopf and Sheila Gilbert could have gotten onto the ballot even without the benefit of slate-based support. Given the examples of her body of work that she provided for voters to consider, I voted for Gilbert to win in 2015 despite the fact that she was a slate-driven candidate. Given the complete lack of information Weisskopf provided upon which voters could base their evaluation of her work in 2015, I would have placed her behind "No Award" even if she had not been a slate-driven finalist. That said, had Gorinsky, Meacham, and Nielsen Hayden been on the ballot, I think that Gilbert would have had some very worthy competition for the top honor.

Best Professional Artist

Revised Finalists:
Galen Dara
Julie Dillon
Stephan Martiniere
Chris McGrath
John Picacio

Notes: The 2015 Hugo ballot was Julie Dillon and four mostly undistinguished Puppy picks. Dillon won the award in a landslide. Replacing the four Puppy picks with a more talented collection of non-Puppy selected artists would have resulted in a much stronger field for Dillon to compete against.

Best Semi-Prozine

Revised Finalists:
Beneath Ceaseless Skies edited by Scott H. Andrews
The Books Smugglers edited by Ana Grillo and Thea James
Interzone edited by Andy Cox
Lightspeed Magazine edited by John Joseph Adams, Rich Horton, Stefan Rudnicki, Wendy N. Wagner, and Christie Yant
Strange Horizons edited by Niall Harrison

Notes: In 2015, the Semi-Prozine category had three non-Puppy finalists: Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Lightspeed, and Strange Horizons. All three of these finalists were high quality choices, offering Hugo voters with a reasonably strong field from which to pick the winner. The two Puppy-supported picks were Abyss & Apex and Andromeda Spaceways In-Flight Magazine, which bucked the Puppy trend by being not terrible as choices. Even so, revising the Hugo ballot drops both of the Puppy picks off of the list of finalists and replaces them with Interzone and The Book Smugglers, which probably would have represented a modest upgrade of overall quality for the category.

Best Fanzine

Revised Finalists:
A Dribble of Ink edited by Aiden Moher
The Drink Tank edited by Vanessa Applegate, James Bacon, and Christopher J. Garcia
File 770 edited by Mike Glyer
Journey Planet edited by James Bacon, Christopher J. Garcia, Colin Harris, Alissa McKersie, and Helen J. Montgomery
Lady Business edited by Renay and Jodie

Notes: The 2015 Hugo ballot in this category consisted of Journey Planet and four Puppy nominees. One of the Puppy nominees was fairly good, such as Black Gate, which withdrew out of a sense of honor (although they withdrew too late to be replaced on the ballot). The other Puppy nominees aspired to mediocrity. The revised Hugo ballot in the category has strong entries like A Dribble of Ink and File 770, and intriguing finalists like Lady Business. As has happened with so many other categories, revising this category highlights just how weak so many of the Puppy selections truly were, as when they are compared with their potential replacements, some of them just seem like almost comically slapdash efforts.

Best Fan Writer

Revised Finalists:
Liz Bourke
Natalie Luhrs
Laura J. Mixon
Abigail Nussbaum
Mark Oshiro

Notes: Last year the Hugo ballot was Laura J. Mixon, who got onto the finalist list on the strength of a single piece of work and a declined nomination from Matthew David Surridge, and a collection of Puppy bloggers whose contributions to fannish writing seem to be little more than screaming about the evils of "SJWs" and whining about how modern fiction isn't as good as the old stuff they remember from when they were twelve. To say that this field was embarrassingly weak is an understatement. The revised 2015 Hugo ballot still has Laura J. Mixon, but it adds Liz Bourke, Natalie Luhrs, Abigail Nussbaum, and Mark Oshiro, all of whom have powerful voices and spoke eloquently on a variety of topics in 2014. To say that the revised field is incredibly strong is also an understatement.

Best Fan Artist

Revised Finalists:
Ninni Aalto
Brad Foster
Elizabeth Leggett
Spring Schoenhuth
Steve Stiles

Notes: The Puppies offered no candidates in the category on their slate. As a result, the revised ballot has no changes in this category.

Best Fancast

Revised Finalists:
The Coode Street Podcast by Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe
Galactic Suburbia Podcast by Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce, and Tansy Rayner Roberts; produced by Andrew Finch
The Skiffy and Fanty Show by Rachel Acks, David Annadale, Shaun Duke, Julia Rios, Mike Underwood, Paul Weimer, and Jen Zink
Tea and Jeopardy by Emma Newman and Peter Newman
Verity! by Erika Ensign, Katrina Griffiths, L.M. Myles, Deborah Stanish, Lynne M. Thomas, and Tansy Rayner Roberts

Notes: The 2015 Hugo ballot in the Fancast category had Galactic Suburbia, Tea and Jeopardy, and three other finalists who were completely outclassed by those first two. On the revised ballot, we get the thoughtful and insightful Coode Street Podcast, the exceptionally upbeat and addictive Verity! and the Skiffy and Fanty Show. I'm not a huge fan of the Skiffy and Fanty show - when they were previously on the finalist list I ranked them at the bottom of my ballot - but they are definitely better than any of the Puppy offerings from last year.

John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer

Revised Finalists:
Wesley Chu
Carmen Maria Machado
Andy Weir
Django Wexler
Alyssa Wong

Notes: One of the loudest gripes the Sad Puppies had was that Worldcon fandom was somehow a collection of horrible people for not recognizing the Andy Weir and The Martian. The Pups conveniently glossed over the fact that the Pups themselves seem to have paid no attention to the man or his work. In a twist of irony, by running their slate, the Puppies managed to keep Andy Weir off of the list of Campbell Award finalists in 2015. Let me repeat that: Andy Weir was not a finalist for the Campbell Award in 2015 because the two groups of Puppies ran slates and pushed him off of the finalist list. Absent their influence, the ballot would have had Weir on the list of Campbell finalists in 2015. It would have also had Machado, Wexler, and Wong, who are all extremely talented young authors. Instead, the ballot had the brilliant Wesley Chu and a collection of some of the least impressive Campbell Award finalists in the history of the award.

What Are the Hugo Awards?

Go to the 2015 list of Hugo finalists complete with Puppy picks: 2016

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