New Draft of Best Saga Proposal

Editor’s Introduction: the fans behind the Best Saga Hugo category have collated all the discussion and feedback they received on the original draft and have rewritten the proposal. Jared Dashoff asked me to post the latest revision so File 770 readers can make more comments. As he explains below, that may lead to ideas that will go into a final draft.

By Jared Dashoff: Thanks for offer to post the revision. I have attached what we’ve got. You’ll note there are two submissions, one to add Best Saga and one to deal with multiple nominations wherein the same work appears in multiple categories in the same year. This would stop a novel in a series from appearing on the same final ballot as the series, and, if a YA or other segment award ever shows up, a work appearing in that category and the category it fits in by length.

Please note in the post that we are asking for feedback on this, most importantly constructive criticism. We are still trying to find the perfect word count that incorporates a series built on short fiction, but doesn’t get overwhelmed by long novels with extra works tacked on. We are also refining our discussion points to mirror the word count and the final wording of the proposal.

We have submitted an older version of this to Sasquan (in the time it took to get that up, we made enough changes, we thought you should have an updated version) and, based on what we hear back, we’ll likely revise again before the cutoff for New Business.

Short Title: Best Series (revised June 24, 2015)

Moved, to amend the WSFS Constitution to change the written fiction Hugo Award categories by creating a Best Series award and correcting related references to the existing Hugo Award categories by adding words as follows:

  1. Insert words in existing Section 3.2.4 as follows:

3.2.4 Works appearing in a series are eligible as individual works, but the series as a whole is not eligible, except under Section 3.3.X. However, a work appearing in a number of parts shall be eligible for the year of the final part.

  1. Insert the following section after existing Section 3.3.4:

3.3.X Best Series A work of science fiction or fantasy, presented as a single series with a unifying plot, characters, or setting, appearing in at least three (3) volumes consisting of a total of at least 240,000 words by the close of the previous calendar year, at least one of which was published in the previous calendar year.  If such a work has previously been a finalist, it shall be eligible only if at least two (2) additional volumes consisting of total of at least 240,000 words have been published since its last appearance on the final ballot by the end of the previous calendar year, and provided it has not won under 3.3.X before.

  1. Insert the following before existing Section 3.8.3:

3.8.X For nominations of works under Section 3.3.X, if a work is eligible as both an overarching series and a subset of that series, and if the work receives sufficient nominations, either as the overarching series or as a subset, or  through the sum of the nominations for both, to appear on the final ballot, the Worldcon Committee shall determine how the work shall appear, after consulting with the author of the work insofar as it is possible to do so under the provisions of Section 3.9.

Proposed by: Warren Buff, Jared Dashoff, William Lawhorn, Michael Lee, Pablo Vasquez

Discussion:The goal of this amendment is to provide Hugo categories more in line with today’s science fiction and fantasy publishing norms and to further create categories that compare like items. It accomplishes this by creating an award that recognizes works that appear in multi-volume series, a large and growing segment of the publishing sector and one unrecognized by the Hugos to date.  Furthermore, stories told in this format tend to consist mainly of books which are not ideal examples of novels, in part due to the presence of narrative arcs which remain unresolved between their covers.  While this narrative sweep is not to the taste of all readers, it nonetheless represents a stylistically distinct form of storytelling, and its exemplars deserve recognition.

The majority of original novels (somewhere around two thirds) in the genre being published today are part of larger series, if the new releases of Tor/Forge, Baen, Pyr, and DAW are any indication.  Yet for the past decade, the Best Novel category has been dominated by stand-alone works, with nine out of the eleven winners being such (and one of the two series novels is a first book in its series).  The distribution of Best Novel winners is badly out of step with the general shape of the market, even though the nominees run close to the market trend.  This could be a sign that while the Hugo nominators appreciate series work, the general voter pool prefers stand-alone novels when considering which should win Best Novel or that comparing stand-alone works to works in a series is difficult.  While series novels performed better in the past, the expansion of the voter pool has not been a kind era for them.

By setting the minimum for nomination at 240,000 words across multiple volumes, works are required to provide substantial material within the same saga to be nominated and substantial new material to be eligible for a second nomination. The number also reflects typical book contracts for newer SF authors, which often come in around 80,000 to 100,000 words.  Established authors, especially those working in high fantasy, sometimes deliver much longer works.

For reference, The Lord of the Rings was around 473,000 words.  Volumes in Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time ranged between 226,000 and 393,000 words, which would have triggered new eligibility every other volume.While George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire has had volumes of over 400,000 words, and would have triggered fresh eligibility as many as three times in its five volumes to date on word count alone, the requirement to publish multiple volumes to gain fresh eligibility would restrict it to twice.  Among series which placed their third or later book onto Locus’s lists in 2013 and 2014, the majority had already crossed 300,000 words, while a few were close to the cut-off. The bulk of the series were in their third or fourth entry, while eight of the 31 were beyond their fifth.  The lowest total, around 150,000, came from Alan Garner’s Weirdstone sequence, consisting of two children’s novels from the 1960s and an adult novella.  The two middle-grade series to place a book on the list, Lois Lowry’s Giver and Catherynne Valente’s Fairyland series, came in below the threshold, while most of the young adult series came in above it.  Young adult series varied wildly, with trilogies ranging from about 230,000 words (Holly Black’s Curse Workers) to over 480,000 (Tamora Pierce’s Beka Cooper).  Several other series, most of which would tend to gain eligibility every two or three volumes, are documented at http://cesspit.net/drupal/node/1869/

The work need not be that of a single author, and collaborative efforts that hang together well enough for the voters and authors to consider them a single work are eligible. For reference, the Wild Cards Series has had numerous contributors over several decades, but each new novel or collection ties into all that has come before. The Ring of Fire Series has multiple intertwining stories that are linked by a common progressive storyline.

And, while the above discussion has focused on novel length works, the works need not be segmented into novel length volumes. Any work, presented in a series of multiple volumes, should be considered as eligible. For example, comics or graphic novels meeting the word count would qualify, assuming they are presented in a series of separate volumes. Novella or even Short Story length volumes summing to the word count would also be eligible.

Lastly, to lessen issues with the triggering work being part of both the overarching series and a subseries, as in the case of Discworld, for example, a clause has been added to give the Worldcon Committee explicit powers, that the sponsors and others believe the Committee already had by implicit tradition, to combine the nominations and place only the overarching series or the subseries on the final ballot, after discussion with the creator, when possible. The sponsors have also separately submitted a proposal entitled ‘Multiple Nominations’ that addresses the matter of a work being simultaneously eligible as part of a Series and in another category.

____________________________________________________________________________

Short Title: Multiple Nominations

Moved, to amend the WSFS Constitution to change the written fiction Hugo Award categories by creating eliminating the possibility of a work appearing on the final ballot in multiple categories by adding words as follows:

  1. Insert the following section after existing Section 3.2.8:

3.2.X: No work shall appear in more than one category on the final Award ballot.

  1. Insert the following section after existing Section 3.8.6:

3.8.Y  If a work is eligible in more than one category, and if the work receives sufficient nominations to appear in more than one category, the Worldcon Committee shall determine in which category the work shall appear, after consulting with the author of the work insofar as it is possible to do so under the provisions of Section 3.9.

Proposed by: Warren Buff, Jared Dashoff, William Lawhorn, Michael Lee, Pablo Vasquez

Discussion:The goal of this amendment is to ensure that no work appears on the final ballot in multiple categories. This means that a novel could not appear on the same ballot as a series of which it is a part, and provides for settling the placement of works receiving nominations in Best Related Work and other categories such as Fanzine or Fancast. Additionally, if a YA category were to be added, a novel could not appear in both the YA and Best Novel category. It would be the duty of the Worldcon Committee, via the Hugo Administrator and staff, in consultation with the author/creator, as possible, to determine in which the work would appear.

76 thoughts on “New Draft of Best Saga Proposal

  1. I would think you would want to limit the award to an author or collaborative authors. I suspect you don’t want to give the award to a media tie-in series written by dozens of writers and belonging to a media franchise.

    Unauthorized sequels might be a problem. For instance, there has been a manuscript of “Tarzan on Mars” by John Bloodstone floating around for years. I don’t think it has ever been officially published, but it’s basically a rip-off and not the sort of thing you would want to give an award.

  2. If the voters think that a media tie-in is a good enough to win, why not?

    and if they shouldn’t be eligible in this category, what category should they be in?

    As for multi-author series, using the 1632 series by Eric Flint, why should it not be eligible?

  3. One thing I would change in this is the anti-repeat section. If the best short video (aka TV series), best fanzine, and best webcomic categories don’t prohibit people from winning year after year, why should a series not be eligible ever again if it’s won once, or the year after it’s been a finalist?

    If you want to prevent someone/something from being nominated or winning repeatedly, make a rule about it that applies to every category (and it should probably be a separate proposal, like the multiple nominations part)

    I think limiting repeated wins is a good idea. I would say that something that wins in any category should not be eligible for that category for at least two years (so that there is more variety than just two entities passing the award back and forth). I think a rule like this would benefit many categories.

    I’m not so sure that just getting nominated should prevent someone from being nominated the following year.

    I don’t think that prohibiting more than one win ever is a good idea. That will just lead to arguments over if something is part of a big series, or a sub-series, etc. Since repeat wins in other categories are allowed, I think it’s reasonable to allow them in the Saga/Series category as well.

  4. David Lang on June 24, 2015 at 11:30 pm said:
    ” If the voters think that a media tie-in is a good enough to win, why not?”

    The idea is to praise the creative efforts of writers not corporations. With media tie-ins, the writer is not responsible for the background or the limits of the work the writer is producing.

    “and if they shouldn’t be eligible in this category, what category should they be in?”

    None.

    “As for multi-author series, using the 1632 series by Eric Flint, why should it not be eligible?”

    If some writer creates a really great new novel in the universe
    of War of the Worlds, Hugos might be given to H. G. Wells, Garret P Serviss, Manley Wade Wellman and a few others. That’s silly. And don’t tell me nobody would try it just because it is a silly idea.

  5. Jared, kudos to you (and the other originators) for your diligent effort on this. I’m not a WorldCon member and I haven’t made my mind up regarding the proposal yet, but I definitely see the importance of addressing the issue of ongoing series, so I’m very glad you’re taking up the challenge and getting the discussion going!

    We are still trying to find the perfect word count that incorporates a series built on short fiction, but doesn’t get overwhelmed by long novels with extra works tacked on.

    So here’s my biggest question: Why is wordcount the major deciding factor here?
    Wordcount on a series feels very non-intuitive to me. When I think of a series, what matters to me is how many units, how many distinct pieces of work, have been released. Those units might be novels, or short stories, or a mix between them.

    For example, I think I’d want A Song of Ice and Fire to be eligible with Book #2 in 1999, because that’s 3 works, counting the novella The Hedge Knight in 1998. Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicles would become eligible with the first short story, How Old Holly Came To Be in 2013, rather than waiting for Book #3 in the series.

    But I’d want that to be true not only for doorstopper-length works like Martin and Rothfuss, but really any series that mixes between novels and novellas. Wordcount isn’t, and shouldn’t be, an issue. A series of three short-ish novels that I think stands toe-to-to with Ice and Fire? Sure, let it try. Heck, a series of just short stories – I’d be delighted to have those in the running as well. I don’t think they’d have the popularity of the big novel series, but IMHO, a lot of the considerations are similar, and it’d be delightful to have a way to recognize those kinds of works. Think of Foundation as it was originally published, story by story – is that not the kind of thing this category is meant to promote?

    Dropping wordcount in the favor of “number of distinct pieces” would simplify the proposal tremendously, and IMHO make it more valuable. But I’d be pleased to hear why you think it’s an important consideration.

    Another concern I have is: I’m worried that instituting such a category will cause an initial glut of candidates. Consider that any series ever written (and reaching wordcount), by the addition of a single short story in a given year, becomes eligible for nomination. If Tolkien’s estate authorizes one single short story and Rhianna Pratchett authorizes one single Discworld short story, then those two series will be running against each other.

    I’m not expecting actual abuse to this level, but my point is: we’ve got a lot of heavyweight series floating around, and it doesn’t take much for any one of them to become eligible. Once the heavyweights have each been nominated, then yeah, they need to build up enough work to be nominated again, but I’d expect an initial period of dueling heavyweights rather than current work, necessarily. I’d like to see this point addressed – perhaps outside the scope of the proposal itself; I’d just like to understand how you see this playing out, and whether it’s a real concern.

    Lastly, I’d be interested to hear how you expect the award to handle tie-in fiction. Those are series that unquestionably will be eligible every year, with large fanbases (although not necessarily intersecting with the WorldCon voting body much). I’m not sure this is actually a problem in any way, but it might tilt the awards and nominations towards tie-ins, which I get this sense is less what you’re looking for.

    Thanks, and all the best!

  6. “One thing I would change in this is the anti-repeat section. If the best short video (aka TV series), best fanzine, and best webcomic categories don’t prohibit people from winning year after year, why should a series not be eligible ever again if it’s won once, or the year after it’s been a finalist?”

    Because those aren’t rewarding the same work again.

    Dramatic presentation short form is rewarding a specific TV episode. Fanzine is rewarding a specific set of “issues” – those published from Jan 1 to Dec 31 of the year. For Graphic Story you have to have a specific group of comics – you can’t nominate all of XKCD, but you can nominate a specific XKCD. You can’t nominate all of Girl Genius, you have to nominate a specific volume.

    Letting the same series be up for best series again and again would be honoring, for example, the current cosmere books of Sanderson this year, then next year honoring them again, just with Mistborn: Shadows of Self added (and the the year after, the next Mistborn and Stormlight, and then the year after the same work again, just with a new book added).

  7. Nat Lovin: But the flip side of that is, for a long-running series, you aren’t able to reward recent excellence if anything’s won in the past.

    If you give, say, Pratchett “Best Series” when Wyrd Sisters comes out in 1988, then “Best Series” will never get to recognize Small Gods, Lords and Ladies, or Feet of Clay. Intuitively, that feels problematic to me.

  8. For example, I think I’d want A Song of Ice and Fire to be eligible with Book #2 in 1999, because that’s 3 works, counting the novella The Hedge Knight in 1998.

    This is an example of an interesting problem: In my not so humble opinion The Hedge Knight is not a part of A Song of Ice and Fire. Dunk and Egg lives in the same universe as Arya, Tyrion and Daenerys, but their life and exploits are not part of the storyline told in the ASOIAF novels. The Dunk and Egg novellas form a separate storyline, almost completely separated from the story told in the novels.

    This is slightly related to the question of media tie-ins, and I think it can be summed up in this question: Is the award meant for “best made-up universe”, or “best (very) long storyline”? In the latter case, Dunk and Egg are not part of A song of Ice and Fire, and Star Trek tie-in novels are not necessarily part of any Star Trek “series”. In the former case, the nominee would be “GRRM’s Westeros” and not “A Song og Ice and Fire” – but yes, Dunk and Egg would be part of it.

    This is also somewhat related to the question of multiple awards: Long series often have multiple sub-storylines going on. This is sometimes made very explicit – for example Jacqueline Careys “Kushiel’s Legacy” series are written as three distinct trilogies. In my opinion each of those trilogies are separate series, and should be considered as such for a “best series”-award.

  9. @Johan: That’s an interesting point you raise.

    IMHO, the ability to examine lots of different corners of the same setting is one of the powerful strengths of writing in a series. So I would be inclined to consider them the same series; indeed, this is precisely the kind of thing I’d like to be able to recognize with the award. It’s not the same plot, but it’s heavily in dialogue with the rest of the series.

    Otherwise, you wind up in reeeeeally weird situations. Like, Robin Hobb’s Farseer Trilogy and Liveship Traders are two almost-entirely-distinct series, even though they’re within the same universe. But then the Tawny Man trilogy brings them together to a far greater extent. I think that’s one series; what do you do with it?

    (On the other hand, does my position mean anything of Stephen King’s falls with the “Anything of Stephen King’s” series, because he’s written books tying them together? My inclination would be “sure, ok, if anybody actually feels compelled to nominate that as a series in that matter.”)

  10. I guess my basic inclination is that people would be able to nominate “series” and individual sub-series. So if Song of Ice and Fire was nominated including the Dunk and Egg stories, that’s ok. And if just the Dunk and Egg stories were nominated, that’s OK. And if somebody nominated “Ice and Fire, but not the Dunk and Egg stories,” because they see that as a meaningful distinction, then that’s ok too (although I have no idea how they’d phrase that on the ballot). The proposal covers and allows for all this.

  11. To quote JCW “To get back to my job requires Tor’s editors, Mr Feder, Miss Gallo, and Mr Nielsen Hayden, to get back to the their job of editing books, and cease moonlighting as the racial conformity officers, Christ-hating crusaders for Sodom, defenders of fainting feminist damsels in distress, public scolds, soapbox preachers, cheerleaders for the Two Minute Hate, riotmongers, and volunteer thought police department for the science fiction genre.

    Or so I might say were I to express an opinion, which I will not”

    Looks awfully much like an opinion to me….

    Also, the irony of someone who lambasts others with the statement “The spirit of compromise would suggest that if I become half-honest, Tor’s upper management could tell half as many lies with half as much vitriol and bigotry.” and then a couple of paragraphs later calls people ” Christ-hating crusaders for Sodom”.

    Irony, thy name is JCW.

  12. The proposal says that nine out of eleven Best Novel winners in the past decade are standalone works, but that’s just not true. The following are the Hugo winners from the past decade that are in a series of some kind (i.e. at least one other novel or a lot of short fiction set in the same universe), and there four are of them, not two: Ancillary Justice, Blackout/All Clear, The Windup Girl and Spin. And in the previous decade, there were even more, in fact nine out of ten by my count.

  13. I have a few concerns. They may be too pedantic to worry about unduly. However, I am sure there would be a heated debate were any of them to be relevant to a nominated work.

    Would linked dramatic presentations be eligible? e.g. the Marvel Cinematic Universe or Doctor Who.

    There are some that consider all, or most, of their works to be part of the same universe. Marvel and D.C. notably, but also authors such as Michael Moorcock. How should these be treated?

    What about authors who try to tie just about everything into a single narrative. Would a new James Bond novel be considered to extend Moore’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen or a new Sherlock Holmes or Tarzan novel be a new work in Farmer’s Wold Newton universe?

    How should crossovers be handled? Does a Batman / Judge Dredd graphic novel count as a Batman volume, a Judge Dredd one, both or does it establish the two as a single series?

  14. On the multiple categories in the same year:

    What does consulting the author mean? The committee should try to respect the author’s wishes if the author is available? Isn’t this sort of thing usually left to how most of the nominations were made What does the committee do if a work in the overlap between the categories gets nominations in both?

  15. @Mike (since you are at the bottom)

    It’s one of those gentleperson agreements that we consult the creator. I know for a fact GRRM had to decide between GoT the season and Blackwater. We are just continuing that agreement and codifying it for the subseries/overarching series part.

    @various/all

    If a tie-in series is a) connected enough and b) good enough that nominators think it deserves a slot then why not? I, personally, don’t read tie-in fiction, but who’s to say my tastes should impact others.

    On the multiple wins, some want it, some don’t. We put it in there because it is A LOT easier (speaking as a former and current Head Table member) to amend to strike than amend and write up something on the fly.

    On the what is a series, well that’s up to the definition we put in there in the minds of the nominators. What is sci-fi? What is related to science fiction, fantasy or fandom? We leave that up to the nominators now.

    On word count, you cant compare 3 shorts to 3 novels. Word count levels the playing field. Yes, you need more shorts to get there, but then they are more comparable, which was my personal reason for this award (series isn’t comparable to novel because background character stories, etc.).

    @mike scott
    We’re working on the discussion text, too. I didn’t write that section, but we will double check and fix.

  16. Unless I have miscalculated, series fiction has been very well represented in the Hugos. I count 52 Best Novel nominees between 2006 and 2015. Of those, fully 25 are either a series opener or a series continuer. We could quibble over one or two. I’ve counted Saladin Ahmed’s fine novel as a series opener because a follow-up is scheduled, but regardless of that, I don’t think you can make a case Hugo has ignored series. It’s true more stand-alones have won, but no-one is guaranteed a Hugo.

  17. @Jonathan Strahan

    My point in all of this, it’s not necessarily the groups, and you may disagree, is that while they get nominated in Best Novel (and I still hate the connection between series and novel; a series can be volumes of any length) it is unfair to the voters and ALL of the works in the category to try and compare them to stand-alone novels. Yes, some work in series does well standing-alone, but a lot does not and to compare a novel in a series where background stories don’t have to wrap up fully, characters can get introduced at odd points, etc. against a stand-alone novel, is apples and oranges. You need to compare full works to full works.

    As I noted, I know there are people who disagree.

  18. @Jared Dashoff

    As mentioned yesterday – for eligibility I would set the initial eligibility to:

    3 “Novel length” works or 3 works totalling more than 240000 words

    That would be more inclusive of some of the shorter YA-style trilogies that may still be excellent enough work to earn a Hugo

  19. @Edited to Add

    When we did the word counting, 240k seemed to cover quite a bit, nearly all IIRC, of YA trilogies.

  20. @Jared Dashoff

    Understood – it would be strange though, theoretically, for the first two novels in a trilogy series to win Hugos for best novel, yet on the concluding of that trilogy, to not be eligible for best series… if each of the books was 60K words or so long.

    Hence the alternate eligibility of “3 full novels”

  21. My problem is when do we vote on them, it appears they’re eligible when they’re still in progress as long as they cross the word count line. But there are series that have started strong but ended weak and in some cases never concluded (still bitter about the Exiles trilogy). Except it’s unlikely multiple series would conclude the same year to vote on and I think being able to provide a resolution is an important part, especially in an extremely long work.

    I think it’s a different style of craft to be able to write a long spanning epic versus a novel and would like to see those recognized, I think people bring up a lot of great points that would make such an award problematic.

  22. Hi Jared,

    It seems to me all the people involved have devoted extraordinary amounts of time and energy to this proposal and I sincerely congratulate them. I do believe that fandom as a whole is quite ready to accept the need for new Hugos for novel length works. For me the desirability became apparent when ‘A Dance with Dragons’ failed to win ‘the Big One’. If GRRM can’t win with what all acknowledged to be a really good volume in the series, well, I would contend it can’t be done.

    Yet I wonder if the proposal has become needlessly complex in an attempt to be too inclusive. I think that the proposal shoehorns three different potential awards into one and ties itself into pretzels over word count. While I understand the need to recognize comparable volumes of work, I would suggest under this proposal that what really is needed is at least three new Hugo Awards:

    Hugo Award for Best Novel in a Continuing Series;
    Hugo Award for Best Trilogy; and
    Hugo Award for Best Continuing Short Fiction Saga.

    Since there are three Hugos for short length work, I can conceive of no reason why additional novel length Hugos would not be desirable considering most fans predominantly read novels anyway. Surely a précis included in the Hugo Voter’s Package of preceding back-story could bring everyone quickly up to date before considering the work in question.

    In any case just my two cents worth and again massive props to those who have devoted so much time and energy into hammering out this proposal.

  23. @Matt Y

    Your interpretation of the proposal as written is correct. We decided there is no good way to decide when a series is “completed” and so we left it up to the nominators to decide when a story arc was complete enough to warrant the nomination.

  24. @Jared

    “You need to compare full works to full works.”

    Then my question is, shouldn’t a series only be eligible on the publication of its concluding volume? This is how the Mythopoeic Award works. You can’t really judge an unfinished series, and it’s just as unfair to pit a finished series against an unfinished one in the category, not to mention, we don’t allow novels in progress to be nominated for Best Novel. If we’re going to open the box to series being different beasts, then great–but they are different, and shouldn’t be eligible until they exist as a complete work…right?

    For all the series that improve over time there are many that take a serious nosedive in quality. A novel that blows the last half isn’t considered great as a whole–but we’re being asked to judge series without even knowing how they end. For me, this is a huge problem with the proposal as it is, and a main reason I’m leery of it. If a series is a different work than a novel, then the fact that the arc of all the books is what differentiates it should be acknowledged, and without all the books, there is no fair way to critique the work. A series must be judged as a Complete Work, which it is not until the concluding volume is published.

  25. @Cat

    But how is a series complete? What if the author says it is, but then goes back and tacks on a prequel or another work at the end. What if another author picks up a series after the primary one passes on? What if there are multiple authors like in 1632?

    That’s why we let the nominators decide what is complete. I personally wouldn’t nominate ASOIF after Winds of Winter, but some might. It’s easy when the author says this is a X book series, but then there’s the Hitchhiker’s issue.

  26. FWIW, I think that this is an easy amendment to make. Add “completed” between “A” and “work” in 3.3.X, and then argue over whether you strike the re-eligibility criteria or leave it in for the issues I stated above.

    You just then leave it to the nominators to discuss what is “complete.”

  27. @Jared

    But I don’t see an emphasis on complete works at all. To my reading, nominators can put something up whether or not it feels complete. And the Mythopoeic Award doesn’t seem to have much trouble figuring out the question of when it ends.

    Maybe it’s a minority opinion, but I think prequels are outside the run of a series, more in the shared world vein mentioned above. When the author says this is the end, it’s the end. Ongoing (intended to be open ended/functionally infinite) series are kind of different altogether, especially when written by different authors. In that situation you also end up very likely giving authors awards for things they didn’t create themselves, in a much wider sense than the collaborative work of say, James Corey. It’s a really tough nut.

  28. Yes, some work in series does well standing-alone, but a lot does not and to compare a novel in a series where background stories don’t have to wrap up fully, characters can get introduced at odd points, etc. against a stand-alone novel, is apples and oranges. You need to compare full works to full works.

    The Novel category already allows comparing full works to full works, by allowing multi-volume stories like Wheel of Time. And the proposal opens the category for unfinished series, i.e. not full works. I don’t think the need to compare full works to full works is a compelling argument for the proposal as it stands.

    What exactly is it this category tries to recognize? Is it
    a) Novels that are so long they have to be published in multiple volumes, i.e. narrowly defined series with a clear connection in plot and characters between books?
    b) Single novels that are part of longer series, i.e. novels with good solutions to the middle-in-a-trilogy problem?
    c) Single novels that take place in an existing setting, i.e. novels that draws on an established background, but which does not necessarily follow up specific storylines from previous work?
    d) Entire universes, regardless of how much works are connected by plot? And since this obviously includes media tie-ins: Who gets the Hugo if the Star Trek universe wins?
    e) all of the above, left to the discretion of voters?

    eta: I see Cat Valente have touched on some of the same. That’s what I get for being a slow writer.

  29. I really wish we’d stop using the term novels. This is about words, not how they are bound by the publisher.

    The category tries to recognize works that span multiple threadlines and volumes, summing to 240,000 words over multiple volumes.

    That COULD include, say, the End of All Things, but as John Scalzi has noted that’s just a novel (and I don’t think it hits the word count anyway) I personally wouldn’t nominate it and I’d think most others wouldn’t either.

    It definitely doesn’t include single volumes of any length or binding type. You’d have to have at least 3 volumes to be nominated and they’d have to hit 240,000 words, which I don’t think would ever work for a single even REALLY long novel.

    As for tie-ins, I mentioned above, they’d be eligible and then it’s up to the Worldcon committee to figure out who gets a trophy. They do that now for fancasts, fanzines, semi-prozines, and BDP in both forms, which generally have a lot of contributors, editors, writers, actors, directors, producers, etc.

  30. But if:

    > “This is about words, not how they are bound by the publisher.”

    Then why is it that:

    > “It definitely doesn’t include single volumes of any length or binding type.”

    That seems like a contradiction.

    If it’s really about words, it seems like we should have a Best Novel Hugo for works from 40,000 to 240,000 words in length (or what have you), and then a Best Meganovel Hugo for completed works with a unified plot that are 240,000 words plus, whether they’re published in one volume or split among eight.

    If it’s really to “recognize works that span multiple threadlines and volumes” as a Best Series award, then it seems like too much precedence is being given to word count. Why wouldn’t anything consisting of at least three separately published novels by the current Hugo definition be fair game?

  31. Kevin J. Anderson says “The Darkness Between Stars” is volume one of a new series. However, it relies on information published in the previous eight volume series. I found I wasn’t visualizing one of the races correctly, because I didn’t have that information. So do you believe the author or not?

    Relying on the nominators resulted in Wheel of Time being nominated for best novel although it was nine volumes long. Left to their own devices, the nominators will come up with the dumbest possible interpretation of any rule. The objective of the business meeting should be to limit the nominators to the least horrifying possibilities.

  32. @Kyra

    Because it could be a BUNCH of short fiction. Then you’d have to define the limits by saying 3 novels with a thread, 6 novellas, 10 novelettes, etc. (My math is off, but for this is just hypothetical). We used word count to level that playing field and not break it down by how the story gets published. Also, digital publishing would throw a big wrench in that.

    As for having a Big Novel award, Eric Flint points out that 1632 series typically range from 150,000 to 250,000 words, so novels can get up to our lower limit, which is why we included the volumes marker as well.

  33. I think it’s also worth noting that 3 of the last 10 Novellas were from two series (Stross’s Laundry and Sanderson’s Cosmere).

  34. Good job by the authors working through the difficult details.

    There is some inconsistency in the proposed rules regarding duplicated nominations. First, “the work” clearly refers to a series, not a volume in the series. But the section on duplication clearly considers any nominated *component* of a series “work” to be identical to the series, while clearly the component (e.g. short story or novel) is a separate work, possible by a different author. In the discussion, the proposers indicate that they intend that a series “work” and a novel “work” would be considered the same thing. But the rules as written say the opposite. A sentence needs to be added saying explicitly that the rule applies when a series and a volume in the series are both nominated, with “author” then referring to both the author of the nominated volume *and* the primary author/architect of the series.

    This becomes particularly thorny for a series with multiple authors. Imagine different authors writing different size contributions in eligible and ineligible years and deciding who gets a rocket and who gets to advertise themselves as “Hugo finalist”.

  35. @jcr

    Something like this?

    3.8.Y If a work is eligible in more than one category, and if the work receives sufficient nominations to appear in more than one category, the Worldcon Committee shall determine in which category the work shall appear, after consulting with the author of the work insofar as it is possible to do so under the provisions of Section 3.9. The Worldcon Committee shall also determine, after consulting with the author of the work insofar as it is possible to do so under the provisions of Section 3.9, whether a work or a component thereof appears on the final ballot if both are eligible and receive sufficient nominations to appear on the final ballot.

    That, I believe, would work. It’d have to be run by Kevin Standlee and the rest of the group, but I think that covers the implicit power the Hugo Admins already have for BDP.

  36. I feel like I should point out that the second time the SF Squeecast won, we were told that they would not make Hugos for all of us because of the expense. We had to choose two of us to actually take home the statues and could not make any argument that since we’d all won we should all get rockets. I can imagine, with something like Wild Cards or 1632, this getting way out of hand. Hugos aren’t cheap to make and if five of us who created the podcast absolutely equally could not be given five awards, there’s no way all those authors are going to get them for a series toward which they all contributed differently at different times. I can see this making a lot of people feel slighted.

  37. @Jared — Looks like a good way to enshrine your intent in the rules without ambiguity.

  38. @Cat

    I am having trouble trying to figure out from the rules how to separate the award from the rocket. Is it proper to call each of the five of you a “Hugo-winning” podcaster, with the blessing of the WSFS? Or is it only the podcast that has the Hugo?

    If 1632 were to win a Hugo for Best Series, is it only the *series* which is a Hugo winner, or Eric Flint, or whoever wrote eligible contributions in the last two years, or… This is separate from who actually gets to take home the rocket.

  39. @jcr

    We all won, and refer to ourselves as such. The first year, we all got rockets. The second year, we were informed the cost was prohibitive. But that doesn’t change that we all won the award, gave a speech, etc.

  40. @JCR:

    Other than the “people” Hugos (Best Editor, Best Fan/Pro Artist, Best Fan Writer), Hugos are given to the work, not the creator, by the terms of the WSFS Constitution. Recent practice has been to provide up to three awards when there are multiple winners, with any other eligible persons permitted to pay to have additional awards produced.

    Jared:

    For my own edification, does this latest version imply that assuming the voters nominate accordingly based on the latest installment and the author/creator(s) agree, you could have something like the following appear on the ballot:

    1. Discworld
    2. Discworld (The Witches Series)
    3. Discworld (The Tiffany Aching Series)

    or

    1. 1632 (the series and all novels thereon)
    2. 1635 (just that year)
    3. 1635 (only the novels; no Grantville Gazette or Ring of Fire add-ons) ?,

    similar to the case when an author gets nominated for more than one work in a category and decides to let them all stay, rather than sticking with only the “likeliest” winner?

  41. @ Todd Dashoff (Who are you even?)

    We wrote in the following section for just that.

    “3.8.X For nominations of works under Section 3.3.X, if a work is eligible as both an overarching series and a subset of that series, and if the work receives sufficient nominations, either as the overarching series or as a subset, or through the sum of the nominations for both, to appear on the final ballot, the Worldcon Committee shall determine how the work shall appear, after consulting with the author of the work insofar as it is possible to do so under the provisions of Section 3.9.”

    We call it the Discworld issue. If people nominate the full series and a subset, it is up to the Hugo Admin, in consultation with the author, to determine which appears. Nominations could then be combined, as they would be considered one work. However, if someone put Discworld and Discworld (The Tiffany Aching Series) on a single nomination form, they would be counted once and only once because of:

    3.8.4: If a nominee appears on a nomination ballot more than once in any one category, only one nomination shall be counted in that category.

  42. Cat Valente: It’s a shame they didn’t give you all rockets. It seems to me that if money was truly so tight they really couldn’t afford to give all five of you your trophies, the least they could have done would have been to say “here are two rockets, and you have our blessings (and the contact information) to purchase the other three at cost”.

  43. Cat Valente on June 25, 2015 at 10:57 am said:

    I feel like I should point out that the second time the SF Squeecast won, we were told that they would not make Hugos for all of us because of the expense. We had to choose two of us to actually take home the statues and could not make any argument that since we’d all won we should all get rockets.

    As you probably know (and as others have mentioned), this is essentially SOP for recent Worldcons, with the maximum number of trophies per category being decided upon by the indivdiual Worldcon. There was a time when Worldcons would only make one trophy regardless of the number of co-winners. (Trophies were a much larger proportion of the total budget then.) It has been fairly common for Worldcons to offer co-winners the opportunity to purchase additional trophies at production cost, but only if it’s actually possible to construct additional trophies. (Because of the way the bases are built, it’s not always feasible to constuct any more than the original production run.)

    I know this may sound petty of the individual Worldcons, but there have been cases where the total number of “co-authors” of a work has been in the double digits. Worldcons have to draw the line somewhere, particularly because they have to make their base orders before they know how many total trophies they have to present.

    jcr on June 25, 2015 at 11:08 am said:

    I am having trouble trying to figure out from the rules how to separate the award from the rocket. Is it proper to call each of the five of you a “Hugo-winning” podcaster, with the blessing of the WSFS? Or is it only the podcast that has the Hugo?

    In the most technical reading of the rules, it is the podcast that won the award. The WSFS Mark Protection Committee has never objected to the colloquial usage of the author, editor, or co-contributors describing themselves as “Hugo winners.” (It would make us look pretty dumb if we did so!)

    How this would apply to a postulated Series Hugo is unclear. Without further explicit guidance, I would speculate that the trophy would go to the author(s) of the most recent installment in the Series.

  44. @Jared (you really need to ask that question?)

    “However, if someone put Discworld and Discworld (The Tiffany Aching Series) on a single nomination form, they would be counted once and only once because of:

    3.8.4: If a nominee appears on a nomination ballot more than once in any one category, only one nomination shall be counted in that category.”

    When I was Hugo Administrator, we had a situation in Best Graphic Novel where some people voted for Item A, issues 1-6 (I’m going from memory, without looking up the actual details, but the point is still valid), another bunch nominated Issues 7-12, and a third group just listed Item A, with no issues specified. Given that there were two valid items that year (each of the two subsets), we could not combine any of the votes that did not list issues, since we were unable to determine the intent of the voter(s).

    In your proposal, you’re saying that you can’t vote for Discworld and Discworld/Tiffany Aching on the same ballot, since they are they same nominee, but are they? It’s clearly an edge case, but to me those are different items; one is a subset of the other, but that appears to be allowed in this category.

  45. @Todd

    I am aware that the work is nominated, not the author. However, I have here my copy of _The Rhesus Chart_ which claims to by by the “Hugo Award-Winning Author of Neptune’s Brood.” As you say, Charlie has not actually won any Hugos (AFAIK). His books and stories have won them.

    Kevin says that WSFS has a service mark registration for “Hugo
    Award” so they technically have a say in how it is used.

    However common usage is that many authors place such statements on their books, even if it is inappropriate. I guess contributors to a winning series will do what they want, and the community will decide on what is reasonable and police it via social pressure.

    (ETA: Crossed with Kevin’s reply in the tubes. Thanks, Kevin!)

  46. Out of curiosity, what happens to the unused rockets in the case of No Award winning? (This is not so hypothetical this year as it might be in other years….)

  47. @Kevin

    I’m not complaining about it, I’m only saying that since it’s SOP, it will also extend to multi-author series recipients, hypothetically, and I can see that putting noses seriously out of joint. We had already won once and all gotten rockets, so we were disappointed but totally understood.

    But I don’t know how I would feel, for example, if I wrote a book in a shared world series, and then, in another year, someone or someones won Best Saga predicated upon a volume they wrote, but which used characters or settings or grew out of established plot points from my installment. Would I be listed as a co-author/winner? Would everyone who contributed to the series, which can get into the double digits in some cases? There’s no chance there’s rockets for all of us in the latter scenario, or even time in the ceremony for everyone to speak. Who decides whose previous work counts enough toward the whole to have their name on the ballot in the former? I just feel like there’s a lot of room for folks to feel very slighted in the multi-author segment of the proposal. Maybe that’s not a concern for most people, but people do tend to think it’s a big deal when they feel something to do with creations and credit is unfair.

    That was the only reason for bringing up the Squeecast situation, which wasn’t a Situation at all. We were bummed but it was fine. Podcast is a category where there’s a lot more people involved in the product. Just pointing out that, given five equally contributing winners, there wasn’t enough money for five trophies. Thus, in a multi-author situation, there wouldn’t be either.

  48. @todd

    You can, but if the Admin decides to, in consultation with the author that only Tiffany Aching is going to appear, then it’s all that gets counted.

    As with the multiple nominations clause, this is there because enough people seemed to want it included so that it wasn’t a full Discworld final ballot, and it is easier to rip out than add on. In fact, this is easier, because it is essentially separate, so you would just move to amend by striking the language beginning with 3.8.X.

Comments are closed.