Wednesday, April 23, 2014

2014 Hugo Award Finalists

Location: Loncon 3 in London, England.

Comments: The 2014 Hugo Award nominee list is the subject of some controversy. Both Larry Correia and Theodore Beale put together identical "suggested ballots" which they published on their respective blogs and encouraged their readers to vote for - whether those readers had read the recommended works in question or not. These lists were dominated by Baen affiliated writers, including nominations for some of their own works. The end result is that by mobilizing their fan bases, Correia and Beale managed to get some of their chosen works onto the Hugo ballot.

There is nothing about this that contravenes any of the rules concerning Hugo nominations, but there are several people who find this kind of politicking unseemly. Writers have, in the past, reminded voters of their eligible works via blog posts, but crafting a sample ballot and suggesting people vote for that ballot is simply "not done". It seems that Correia and Beale did this as a means of making some sort of obscure political point. Alternatively, they may have done it as a means of promoting their works and as part of an effort to get readers to read their works. If so, that seems like putting the cart before the horse: Normally people read one's work, like it, and that is what pushes them to nominate the story for an award. Getting your name on a nominating list as a means of getting people to read your work seems to be the province of amateurs who pay to get their work an award and then try to market their book that way - and while one might expect such juvenile actions from a desperate mediocrity like Beale, Correia is an established professional author who shouldn't be resorting to such gimmicky stunts.

More to the point, I suspect that this stunt will backfire on Correia (and to a lesser extent Beale, although Beale is such a nonentity as an author and a such a failure as a human that there is very little that could damage his standing at this point). To put it simply, there is no scenario that I can think of in which Correia (and the other individuals he suggested be nominated) will benefit from their appearance on the Hugo ballot, and several scenarios in which their reputations will suffer. Basically, at this point, there are two outcomes for the nominees in question - either they will win, or they will not.

If Correia's novel Warbound does not win, then everyone who says that it should not have been on the ballot will feel vindicated. If, as I suspect, that people read Correia's work and it suffers in comparison to the other works that appear on the ballot (a suspicion supported by the fact that Warbound is the third book in a series that has had no volumes appear on any other award ballot, ever), then not only will those who say it should not have been on the ballot feel vindicated, but Correia will forever be the writer who unjustifiably got his crappy book on the ballot via somewhat underhanded means. Rather than enhancing his standing, this maneuver will forever taint him and his work.

If Warbound wins the Hugo Award, I believe that Correia's reputation will suffer even more. If the book wins and it is seen as being markedly worse than its competition, then, fairly or not, Correia will always be seen as the guy who rigged the voting so a sub par work could win a Hugo. His book will be mentioned in the same breath as They'd Rather Be Right as undeserving Hugo winners that readers should avoid. On the other hand, if Warbound wins and it is seen as a worthy winner, this victory will forever be tainted by the way it got onto the ballot. If Warbound was good enough to win a Hugo, the thinking will go, then why did Correia feel it necessary to pull this stunt to get on the ballot? And did he then have to pull the same stunt to win? There is simply no result Correia can achieve that will enhance his reputation rather than tarnish it.

And the "sample ballot" is likely to cause unnecessary headache for some of the other authors mentioned on it who made it on the the Hugo ballot. Both Brad Torgersen and Toni Weisskopf have shown in the past that they were capable of getting on previous Hugo ballots without being the beneficiaries of a voting drive. But the actions of Correia and Beale this year will serve to cast a pallor over the presence of Torgersen and Weisskopf on the ballot. We will never know if they are "deserving" nominees or not this year, because no matter what happens their presence will be tainted by their presence on the suggested "sample ballots" and the related campaign. Although Correia and Beale no doubt thought they were doing something nice for their allies, the reality is that they did them no favors, and probably damaged their friends' reputations by association.

Note: I have written a post assessing the changes that the E Pluribus Hugo nomination system would have made to the ballot titled The 2014 "E Pluribus Hugo" Revised Hugo Finalists.

Best Novel

Winner:
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

Other Finalists:
Neptune’s Brood by Charles Stross
Parasite by Mira Grant
Warbound by Larry Correia
The Wheel of Time (The Eye of the World, The Great Hunt, The Dragon Reborn, The Shadow Rising, The Fires of Heaven, Lord of Chaos, A Crown of Swords, The Path of Daggers, Winter's Heart, Crossroads of Twilight, Knife of Dreams, The Gathering Storm, Towers of Midnight, A Memory of Light) by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

Best Novella

Winner:
Equoid by Charles Stross

Other Finalists:
The Butcher of Khardov by Dan Wells
The Chaplain’s Legacy by Brad R. Torgersen
Six-Gun Snow White by Catherynne M. Valente
Wakulla Springs by Andy Duncan and Ellen Klages

Best Novelette
(My Votes)

Winner:
The Lady Astronaut of Mars by Mary Robinette Kowal (reviewed in 2014 Hugo Voting - Best Novelette)

Other Finalists:
The Exchange Officers by Brad R. Torgersen (reviewed in 2014 Hugo Voting - Best Novelette)
Opera Vita Aeterna by Theodore Beale (reviewed in 2014 Hugo Voting - Best Novelette)
The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling by Ted Chiang (reviewed in 2014 Hugo Voting - Best Novelette)
The Waiting Stars by Aliette de Bodard (reviewed in 2014 Hugo Voting - Best Novelette)

Best Short Story
(My Votes)

Winner:
The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere by John Chu (reviewed in 2014 Hugo Voting - Best Short Story)

Other Finalists:
If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love by Rachel Swirsky (reviewed in 2014 Hugo Voting - Best Short Story)
The Ink Readers of Doi Saket by Thomas Olde Heuvelt (reviewed in 2014 Hugo Voting - Best Short Story)
Selkie Stories Are for Losers by Sofia Samatar (reviewed in 2014 Hugo Voting - Best Short Story)

Best Nonfiction, Related, or Reference Work

Winner:
We Have Always Fought: Challenging the Women, Cattle and Slaves Narrative by Kameron Hurley

Other Finalists:
Queers Dig Time Lords: A Celebration of Doctor Who by the LGBTQ Fans Who Love It edited by Sigrid Ellis and Michael Damian Thomas
Speculative Fiction 2012: The Best Online Reviews, Essays and Commentary edited by Justin Landon and Jared Shurin
Writing Excuses, Season 8 by Mary Robinette Kowal, Brandon Sanderson, Jordan Sanderson, Howard Tayler, and Dan Wells
Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction by Jeff VanderMeer with Jeremy Zerfoss

Best Graphic Story

Winner:
Time by Randall Munroe

Other Finalists:
Girl Genius, Volume 13: Agatha Heterodyne & The Sleeping City by Phil Foglio and Kaja Foglio
The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who by Paul Cornell, art by Jimmy Broxton
The Meathouse Man adapted and illustrated by Raya Golden from the story by George R.R. Martin
Saga, Volume 2 by Brian K. Vaughan, art by Fiona Staples

Best Dramatic Presentation: Long Form

Winner:
Gravity

Other Finalists:
Frozen
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Iron Man 3
Pacific Rim

Best Dramatic Presentation: Short Form

Winner:
Game of Thrones: The Rains of Castamere

Other Finalists:
An Adventure in Space and Time
Doctor Who: The Day of the Doctor
Doctor Who: The Name of the Doctor
The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot
Orphan Black: Variations Under Domestication

Best Professional Editor: Short Form

Winner:
Ellen Datlow

Other Finalists:
John Joseph Adams
Neil Clarke
Jonathan Strahan
Sheila Williams

Best Professional Editor: Long Form

Winner;
Ginjer Buchanan

Other Finalists:
Sheila Gilbert
Liz Gorinsky
Lee Harris
Toni Weisskopf

Best Professional Artist

Winner:
Julie Dillon

Other Finalists:
Galen Dara
Daniel Dos Santos
John Harris
John Picacio
Fiona Staples

Best Semi-Prozine

Winner:
Lightspeed John Joseph Adams, Rich Horton, and Stefan Rudnicki

Other Finalists:
Apex Magazine edited by Jason Sizemore, Lynne M. Thomas, and Michael Damian Thomas
Beneath Ceaseless Skies edited by Scott H. Andrews
Interzone edited by Andy Cox
Strange Horizons edited by Rebecca Cross, Shane Gavin, Niall Harrison, Anaea Lay, Brit Mandelo, Abigail Nussbaum, An Owomoyela, Julia Rios, and Sonya Taaffe

Best Fanzine

Winner:
A Dribble of Ink edited by Aidan Moher

Other Finalists:
The Book Smugglers edited by Ana Grilo and Thea James
Elitist Book Reviews edited by Steven Diamond
Journey Planet edited by James Bacon, Christopher J. Garcia, Colin Harris, Helen J. Montgomery, Lynda E. Rucker, and Pete Young
Pornokitsch edited by Anne C. Perry and Jared Shurin

Best Fan Writer

Winner:

Other Finalists:
Liz Bourke
Foz Meadows
Abigail Nussbaum
Mark Oshiro

Best Fan Artist

Winner:
Sarah Webb

Other Finalists:
Brad W. Foster
Mandie Manzano
Spring Schoenhuth
Steve Stiles

Best Fancast
(My Votes)

Winner:
SF Signal Podcast by Patrick Hester

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

John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer

Winner:
Sofia Samatar

Other Finalists:
Wesley Chu
Max Gladstone
Ramez Naam
Benjanun Sriduangaew

What Are the Hugo Awards?

Go to previous year's finalists: 2013
Go to subsequent year's finalists: 2015

2014 Hugo Longlist     Book Award Reviews     Home

2 comments:

  1. One comment - The Wheel of Time series? Gag me with a spoon. Blech.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @Julia Rachel Barrett: The series was nominated due to a quirk in the rules that allows an entire series to be nominated in the year that the final installment in the series is published so long as no previously published volume was ever nominated on its own. I am probably going to rank it fourth overall, just before "No Award" (and I'm probably going to leave Warbound off my ballot entirely).

      Delete