Skimming over the results, I was intrigued that the outcome in the Best Novel category validated only 50% of the buzz I heard at Westercon, where it sounded like Yiddish Policemen’s Union and Brasyl were duking it out. Instead, the online buzz predicting a strong showing for The Last Colony proved more meaningful, as the Chabon and Scalzi novels finished 332 to 323, Yiddish Policemen’s Union winning by 9 votes. Helping to make the finish close, when Rollback’s votes were redistributed to the remaining two finalists, they split 104-40 in favor of The Last Colony (the other 42 votes either showing a blank or a nominee that was already out of the running.)
As for Brasyl, although it led the field with 65 nominating votes, on the final ballot it got only 110 first-place votes and finished fifth. In fact, only 464 out of 745 ballots cast a vote in any position for Brasyl.
Skipping down to the fan Hugos, after File 770’s category the race I was most curious about was Best Fanwriter. In last year’s cliffhanger ending Dave Langford edged John Scalzi by one vote. There was no such drama this year — John Scalzi started with 190 first place votes and required only a couple of elimination rounds to lock up a majority.
Scalzi made a very gracious acceptance speech that ended by encouraging people to seek out other quality fanwriters and spread the award around. Very likely, his win will crystallize in voters’ minds the (quite accurate) belief that they can look for prospective nominees in a lot of different venues and media. It will be interesting to see whether there is a ripple effect adding several new fan writers’ names to next year’s Hugo ballot.
In Best Fan Artist, Steve Stiles extended Brad Foster, Foster ultimately winning 165-115. Even though Stiles is formally the third-place finisher (based on the count when Foster’s votes are disregarded), I’m most interested in the stats of the “last nominee standing,” the one the winner needed to overcome to get a majority. Does this result mean Stiles is gaining ground among Hugo voters? On the other hand, Frank Wu withdrew this year — and despite doing so still got the most nominating votes — so he may be back in 2009 and that will change the outlook, too.