Hugo Voting Rules Proposals Sponsored By Harris, Buff, Standlee, Others

Mini Hugo rocket carried into space and photgraphed by astronaut Kjell Lindgren in 2015.

Mini Hugo rocket carried into space and photgraphed by astronaut Kjell Lindgren in 2015.

Apart from the discussions Jameson Quinn has been leading here, another group of fans has been working on ideas for reforming the Hugo voting process. Yesterday they published the drafts of their three main motions and an amendment to EPH (given its first passage last year) as a Google document.

The three main motions do these things:

(1) Change the deadline you must be a Worldcon member to be eligible to nominate from January 31 to December 31 of the previous year.

(2) Restrict eligibility to nominate to members of the current and preceding Worldcon.

(3) Add a second round that allows members to vote out something that makes the initial long list (“Three Stage Voting”).

Colin Harris (co-chair of the 2005 Worldcon), Warren Buff, Kevin Standlee (co-chair of the 2002 Worldcon), Nicholas Whyte, and Colette Fozard each sponsor at least one of the several motions. Harris explains:

We plan to submit the motions officially in about a week; we are publishing them now to encourage discussion, rather than because we expect to change the text — but of course if people point out important things we’ve missed, we’ll take the opportunity to fix any issues.

Commenting specifically about the Three-Stage-Voting proposal, Harris says:

To be clear, my stance as the main mover on 3SV is simple. I wish this change was not necessary, but I believe that EPH and the other proposals already in hand will not achieve the necessary outcomes. In particular, I believe that guaranteeing a couple of broadly acceptable finalists per category is simply not a high enough bar for “success” in restoring the integrity, reputation and stability of the awards. I do not know if 3SV will pass, but I believe that the Business Meeting should have the opportunity to discuss this more direct option for tackling manipulation of the nomination process.

The text of the proposals follows the jump.

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The Official 2016 Hugo Awards Two-Week Deadline Warning

MidAmeriCon II reminded members today that they only have two weeks left to vote for the 2016 Hugo Awards and 1941 Retro Hugo Awards. The deadline for both is Sunday, July 31, 2016 at 11:59 PM PDT.

Online voting forms and Voter Packet downloads for both sets of awards are located here.

Hugo Administrators Dave McCarty & Will Frank say “We encourage members not to wait until the last minute to file their Hugo ballots. The servers can become overloaded and this can sometimes cause difficulty getting all of your rankings saved before the ballot deadline.”

Since members can revise their ballots up to the deadline, they can choose to immediately fill in what they’ve already decided, then come back to add or change things later.

Oshiro Recruited To MAC II Incident Response Team

Mark Oshiro (Mark Watches Star Trek) announced on Facebook he will be a member of MidAmeriCon II’s Incident Response Team, which responds to code of conduct violations, or people’s other problems with members of the con.

I am the Deputy of the Incident Response Team, working under our team Head Kris ‘Nchanter’ Snyder and Jesi Pershing, who is head of the Member Services Division. Both of them approached me to work with the Incident Response Team, and I am pleased that I’ll be able to help out on a necessary are…a of the convention.

What is the Incident Response Team, you may ask? Well, the entire group of us (and our committee is listed in full at this link: will be on-site at the con itself. There’s a longer description of the IRT at this link: In short, we are responsible for responding to incidents and situations at the convention that involve member behavior, especially in relation to violations of the convention’s Code of Conduct. It’s something I’ve wanted to do more with at cons, and I’m thrilled that I get to work with the entire Incident Response Team to help make MidAmeriCon II the best convention possible.

The team is led by Kris ‘Nchanter’ Snyder, with Mark Oshiro as Deputy, and Staff members Anna Bradley, Jaime Garmendia, Kris Pelletier, Summer Plum, Kate Secor, Pam Burr, John T. Sapienza, Jr., and Liz Gilio.

MACII has posted an explanation of its Incident Report Process for members and staff. The portion for members reads —

So you have a problem at the convention, what should you do?

If you’re having an issue, come to Con HQ, flag down one of our rovers, or call HQ (number will be provided before the convention) and we will be happy to help!

If your issue is with another member of the convention, you will be handed off to our incident response team, to discuss your experience and decide if you would like to make a report.

We will make a written report, and ask you for the details needed to understand and resolve the problem or prevent further harm.  If you give us your name and contact information, we will follow up with you as needed, but we also will accept anonymous reports.

We will tell you what our next steps will be and further action(s) to be taken, if any. If you request, we will follow up with you and let you know the outcome of our actions.

If other people are named in the complaint, they will be told that there is a complaint against them, but if the reporter wishes to remain anonymous, the identity of the person making the report will not be named.

Oshiro’s participation is one way in which MACII is leveling up, having fallen under a shadow cast by a local KC convention.

Last year Oshiro was ConQuesT’s Fan Guest of Honor. He publicly aired on Facebook his grievances about the racism, sexual harassment, and abuse he experienced there, saying that working within the con’s complaint process produced no action. Several of those giving rise to the grievances apologized online after he spoke out. The fact that he’s working another con in KC may be a sign of reconciliation.

The two-time Hugo nominated fanwriter (Mark Watches Star Trek) attended his first Worldcon in 2013.

1941 Retro Hugo Finalist Review Roundup

Roundup 1941 CROP

Curated by JJ: [Quoting from JJ’s explanation of the 2016 Hugo Finalist Review Roundup.]  …I tried to select both positive and negative reviews, from a wide selection of reviewers, which were substantive and actually provided analysis of and commentary on the story, rather than merely summarizing the plot.

…Be Aware that many of these Reviews contain Spoilers!!! Don’t click on them if you don’t want to be Spoiled!

Each category begins with links to articles that review all the nominees collectively, and follows with links to single-story reviews.

Retro Novel

Gray Lensman by E.E. “Doc” Smith (Astounding Science-Fiction, Jan 1940)

The Ill-Made Knight by T.H. White (Collins)

Kallocain by Karin Boye (Bonnier)

The Reign of Wizardry by Jack Williamson (Unknown, Mar 1940)

Slan by A.E. Van Vogt (Astounding Science-Fiction, Dec 1940)

Retro Novella

“Coventry” by Robert A. Heinlein (Astounding Science-Fiction, July 1940)

“If This Goes On…” by Robert A. Heinlein (Astounding Science-Fiction, Feb 1940)

“Magic, Inc.” by Robert A. Heinlein (Unknown, Sept 1940)

“The Mathematics of Magic” by L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt (Unknown, Aug 1940)

“The Roaring Trumpet” by L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt (Unknown, May 1940)

Retro Novelette

“Blowups Happen” by Robert A. Heinlein (Astounding Science-Fiction, Sept 1940)

“Farewell to the Master” by Harry Bates (Astounding Science-Fiction, Oct 1940)

“It!” by Theodore Sturgeon (Unknown, Aug 1940)

“The Roads Must Roll” by Robert A. Heinlein (Astounding Science-Fiction, June 1940)

“Vault of the Beast” by A.E. Van Vogt (Astounding Science-Fiction, August 1940)

Retro Short Story

“Martian Quest” by Leigh Brackett (Astounding Science-Fiction, Feb 1940)

“Requiem” by Robert A. Heinlein (Astounding Science-Fiction, Jan 1940)

“Robbie” by Isaac Asimov (Super Science Stories, Sept 1940)

“The Stellar Legion” by Leigh Brackett (Planet Stories, Winter 1940)

“Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius” by Jorge Luis Borges (Sur, 1940)

Best Series Hugo Committee Report Online

The motion to add a Best Series Hugo, discussed on File 770 last year by its former title in “New Draft of Best Saga Proposal”, and the follow-up “Final Revision of Best Series Hugo Proposal Now Online”, was sent to committee by the 2015 Sasquan Business Meeting at the drafters’ request.

That committee has returned its report, which is available in the Agenda for the MidAmeriCon II Business Meeting.

Warren Buff, the committee chair, commented:

The report features a substantially revised motion from last year, although the numbers have remained the same.

We put this through the wringer, and believe that this is the best proposal we can assemble in terms of defining a series in a way that’s easily understood and balancing the issues inherent in a work that might never be completed, but is nonetheless meant to be enjoyed as a coherent whole. I won’t hold forth by copying the entire report, but will include the concluding paragraph:

“In our discussions, we have approached the topic from the perspectives of writers, editors, academics, Hugo Administrators, and fans who read series with varying degrees of enjoyment. This proposal does not represent everyone’s ideal take on how to recognize series, but instead the most viable compromise position we could reach, and we recommend its passage.”

The members of the committee are Warren Buff (chair), Jared Dashoff, Todd Dashoff, Eric Flint, Chris Gerrib, Tim Illingworth, Joshua Kronengold, Bill Lawhorn, Michael Lee, Simon Litten, Farah Mendlesohn, Mark Olson, Steve Saffel, Pablo Vazquez, Peter de Weerdt, Clark Wierda.

The full text of the report is here. Included are minority reports from Chris Gerrib and Joshua Kronengold containing their own recommended motions, and from Mark Olson, who thinks the category should not be added at all.

Hugo Voting Proposal Status Update

By Jameson Quinn: Since the last thread (“To Say Nothing of the Dogs”), there hasn’t been a whole lot of progress in Hugo voting proposals, but it’s still clearly time for an update on various fronts.

To summarize the (tentative) consensus plan developed in the last thread:

  • Ratify EPH this year.
  • Make the following two proposals this year, hopefully to pass and ratify at least one of them.
    • 3SV
      • This means a second round of voting in which the “longlist” of the top 15 from the first round is publicized, and clearly-unworthy works from that list are eliminated if they have enough votes against. It is not intended to deal with mere matters of taste, but merely to insulate against offensive works promoted by slate voters.
      • The text of this proposal is being worked on by a group of (what I’d respectfully characterize as) SMOFs led by Colin Harris. They are behind schedule for various reasons but still plan to reach the finish line.
    • EPH+
      • This means using the Sainte-Laguë divisors with EPH; that is, SDV-LPE-SL, as explained in my paper with Bruce Schneier. To put it in more understandable terms: it’s like EPH, but is slightly harder on works with above-average overlap with other winning works, so that a slate or slates like last years’ puppies could probably average under 3 nominations per category.
      • The text of this proposal is included below.
  • Next year, make one or more of the following two proposals:
    • +2 (or +1) against trolls
      • This is meant to go along with 3SV. It would mean that each voter in the second round could add 2 (or 1) nominations per category for works on the longlist. These nominations would be treated the same as first-round nominations.
      • This would help people make sure that their ballot would have at least one nomination with a viable chance of becoming a finalist, without requiring them to run out and read a full longlist in each category. By doing so, it would help reduce the “long tail” issue, and thus increase the power of non-slate voters. Since slate voters can already ensure they have nominated works on the longlist, their voting power would be largely unaffected.
    • Extend finalists (if it appears necessary)
      • This is also meant to go along with 3SV. It would mean that the elimination ballot would have three options; not just “eliminate” or “keep”, but also “keep but extend”. If a work with a quota of “keep but extend” votes became a finalist, then the number of finalists would be increased by one in that category. This would ensure that slate voters could not push things off the ballot using nominations for things that have non-slate support (such as the puppy support for Sandman: Overture this year).

So, if this is the plan, what still remains to be done in this thread?

  • Discuss whether this plan should be modified (I think not, but I’m open to counterarguments).
  • Settle on a wording for EPH+, find co-signers, and submit the proposal. Current draft is below.
  • Make sure the Colin Harris/ Kevin Standlee group submits their 3SV proposal. For now, I trust that they’re on the job, but if they continue not to have a proposal, I’ll shift that trust to the community to get them back on track.
  • If people want me to be there at WorldCon, then my fundraiser has to be successful. I am very grateful to the people who have so far helped me raise just over $700, but in order to actually go, I’d need $1400. And honestly, I’m hoping to raise even more than that; any excess goes to the Center for Election Science (, which works to bring well-designed, more-democratic voting systems to contexts beyond just the Hugos. (The consequences of poorly-designed intraparty democracy are on full display these days in both the US and UK. And speaking as someone who lived in Guatemala for 10 years, many other countries would be happy to have as much intraparty democracy as those two.) All donations are tax-deductible in the US.
  • Talk about voting systems and/or electoral pathologies in SF stories. For instance: in Too Like the Lightning, (minor spoilers to end of paragraph) one plot point is an asset voting system, that is, one in which voters can vote for any other valid voter, and each person who gets votes exercises power proportional to the number of votes they hold. This is an excellent voting system, and I’d be happy to discuss how it works / doesn’t work with the rest of the plot.

Here’s the proposed wording of EPH+:

(1) Calculation Phase: First, the total number of nominations (the number of ballots on which each nominee appears) from all eligible ballots shall be tallied for each remaining nominee. Next, a single “point” shall be assigned to each nomination ballot. That point shall be divided equally among all remaining nominees on that ballot. each nomination ballot shall give a point or fraction thereof to each remaining nominee on that ballot, according to the number of such remaining nominees, using the following pattern: 1 point for 1 remaining nominee, 1/3 of a point each for 2 remaining nominees, 1/5 of a point each for 3 remaining nominees, 1/7 of a point each for 4 remaining nominees, and 1/9 of a point each for 5 remaining nominees (extending this pattern as needed if a ballot legally has more remaining nominees). Finally, all points from all nomination ballots shall be totaled for each nominee in that category. These two numbers, point total and number of nominations, shall be used in the Selection and Elimination Phases.

Co-signers (all Rot13): Wnzrfba Dhvaa, Pynhqvn Ornpu, Obaavr Jnesbeq, Pngurevar Snore, Naqerj Uvpxrl, Ebtref Pnqraurnq, Qnivq Tbyqsneo, Yrr Rttre, Gnfun Gheare Yraaubss, Fgrira Unygre, Qnivq Jnyynpr.

Star Wars Day at MidAmeriCon II

Star Wars posterMidAmeriCon II, the 2016 Worldcon, will celebrate Star Wars with special guests, programming, and exhibits on Friday, August 19.

“Star Wars Day” will take place exactly forty years after the first MidAmeriCon (1976) hosted publicist Charles Lippincott’s presentation to Worldcon members of a slide show promoting Star Wars (now called Star Wars: Episode IV, A New Hope.) This was followed by a Q&A session where Charles was joined by actor Mark Hamill and producer Gary Kurtz. The movie debuted 8 months later, in May 1977.

At this year’s Worldcon, Charles Lippincott and Gary Kurtz will return to talk about the Star Wars phenomenon, along with Alan Dean Foster who ghost wrote the original Star Wars novelization (and more recently, wrote the novelization of Star Wars: The Force Awakens).

Alan Dean Foster at MidAmeriCon (1976).

Alan Dean Foster at MidAmeriCon (1976).

During the afternoon of August 19, Charles, Gary, and Alan will take part in a panel and Q&A session to discuss the marketing of Star Wars. In the evening, Charles will recreate the original MidAmeriCon slide presentation and participate in a further Q&A session. There will also be an opportunity to watch a contemporary video of the original 1976 Q&A session.

These events will provide a unique insight into the way that Star Wars was presented and talked about before it became the worldwide phenomenon we know today.

Charles Lippincott will also be re-creating the associated special exhibit which was presented in 1976 at MidAmeriCon. This will use a combination of reproductions alongside original, contemporary props and other materials associated with the film.

It was inside the original 1976 exhibit that LA fan Bill Warren had a conversation with Mark Hamill and listened to him complain, “I’m the star of a major motion picture only nobody knows it!”

The MAC daily newzine even felt the need to run an item clarifying, “It’s Mark Hamill, not Mike Hamill …”

1941 Retro Hugo Nominee Changes Announced

MidAmeriCon II has made a correction in the 1941 Retro Hugo finalists.

Dave McCarty, MidAmeriCon II Hugo Administrator, explains:

“Darker Than You Think” by Jack Williamson was mistakenly categorized as a novelette. The story is a novella, but did not receive enough nominations to be a finalist as a novella.  It has been marked as not eligible. The novelette “Vault of the Beast” by A.E. Van Vogt (Astounding Science-Fiction, August 1940) should have been listed as the 5th finalist and has been added to the Retro ballot.

Anyone who has already registered votes for the Retro Hugo contest online is encouraged to update their ballot as they feel appropriate. Members voting by mailed in paper ballot may write in “Vault of the Beast” and rank it, the administrators will count their ballot appropriately.

McCarty reports the ballot change is live now.

Members will receive notification in a mass email later today, which will include an electronic edition of PR#3 with an updated version of the ballot.

MidAmeriCon Posts Progress Report #3

The 2016 Worldcon, MidAmeriCon II, has made Progress Report #3 available in electronic format at the convention’s website. It’s a free read, and can be viewed online or downloaded as a PDF file.

Members who requested printed publications will receive copies in the mail.

Feature articles include John L. Coker III’s collection of excerpts about the 1941 Worldcon, Denvention, the hypothetical award year for the Retro Hugos which MACII members are voting on. Forry Ackerman, Walter J. Daugherty, Erle Korshak, Bob Madle, and Julius Schwartz are in the mix.

And Mike Williams advises about the wealth of dining opportunities within reach of the convention center.

PR# 3 includes voting forms for the 2016 Hugo Award and 1941 Retro Hugo Award, as well as the 2018 Worldcon Site Selection Ballot and 2017 NASFiC Site Selection Ballot. There is also a list of confirmed program participants; and information on all aspects of the convention including the Exhibit Hall, party arrangements, Art Show and Childcare.

MACII Chooses Hugo Base Designers

MidAmeriCon II has announced the winners of the contest to design and produce this year’s Hugo bases.

The 2016 Hugo Award base will be created by Sara Felix of Austin, who is also the current president of the Association of Science Fiction and Fantasy Artists. See examples of her work at DeviantArt, like the paper rocket below.

The 1941 Retro Hugo Award base will be designed by Brent Simmons, an architectural designer and sf reader from Kansas City.