Measuring the Rabid Puppies Effect on the 2017 Hugo Ballot

[Updated April 23 and May 17. See explanations of changes in Best Fan Artist category below.] The 2017 Hugo ballot released April 4 contains 13 12 11 finalists that were on Vox Day’s Rabid Puppies slate.

While 16 of the 22 entries on his slate (72%) received enough votes to be finalists, three four five were ruled ineligible. So only 59% 54% 50% of his slate has made the final ballot.

Six Seven of 17 Hugo Award categories are Puppy free. (The total includes one category where there was no Rabid Puppy candidate, and excludes the Campbell Award, which is not a Hugo).

Interpreting the voting range statistics published by the committee, it would be reasonable to estimate 80-90 voters supported the Rabid Puppies slate this year.

Here is a breakdown of the slate’s effectiveness by category.

  • Items in BLUE were on the Rabid Puppies slate and made the final ballot.
  • Items in RED were on the slate and received enough votes to be finalists but were RULED INELIGIBLE.
  • Items in BLACK body text were on the slate and failed to get enough votes to be finalists.

RABID PUPPIES SLATE

BEST NOVEL

An Equation of Almost Infinite Complexity by J. Mulrooney (Castalia House)

BEST NOVELLA

“This Census-taker” by China Miéville

BEST NOVELETTE

“Alien Stripper Boned From Behind By The T-Rex” by Stix Hiscock

BEST SHORT STORY

“An Unimaginable Light” by John C. Wright (God, Robot, Castalia House)

BEST RELATED WORK

Star Wars Art: Ralph McQuarrie by Ralph McQuarrie (Abrams)

The View From the Cheap Seats, Neil Gaiman (Morrow; Headline)

BEST GRAPHIC STORY

No slate recommendation

BEST EDITOR, SHORT FORM

P. Alexander, Cirsova

BEST EDITOR, LONG FORM

Vox Day, Castalia House

BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION, LONG FORM

Deadpool

BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION, SHORT FORM

“The Winds of Winter”, Game of Thrones, Miguel Sapochnik, David Benioff & D. B. Weiss – received enough votes to be nominated, but was rendered ineligible because a single show cannot have more than two finalists, and presumably the two Game of Thrones nominees on the ballot had more votes.

BEST PROFESSIONAL ARTIST

Tomek Radziewicz – received enough votes to be a finalist, but was ruled ineligible because of no qualifying publications in 2016

JiHun Lee – likewise, – received enough votes to be a finalist, but was ruled ineligible because of no qualifying publications in 2016

BEST SEMIPROZINE

Cirsova

BEST FANZINE

Castalia House blog

BEST FANCAST

The Rageaholic by Razorfist

Superversive SF

BEST FAN WRITER

Jeffro Johnson (Castalia House blog)

Morgan (Castalia House blog)

BEST FAN ARTIST

Alex Garner [subsequently declared ineligible — see press release here]

Alex Garner

Mansik Yang [subsequently declared ineligible — see May 17 update]

Mansik Yang

BEST SERIES

Arts of Dark and Light by Vox Day

BEST NEW WRITER (Campbell Award)

J. Mulrooney

Update: The post has been corrected to so that it no longer shows P. Alexander as a Best Editor – Short Form nominee, and the percentages have been recalculated. // 04/23/2017: Alex Garner was ruled ineligible by the Hugo Administrator after the artist stated all his 2016 work was professional. // 05/17/2017: Mansik Yang was disqualified by the Hugo Administrators after the artist informed them he did not have any non-professional work published in 2016.

147 thoughts on “Measuring the Rabid Puppies Effect on the 2017 Hugo Ballot

  1. Standback on April 4, 2017 at 1:03 pm said:

    What’s really nice here, IMHO, is that EPH did really well.

    I think so and 5/6. Yes, possibly with different tactics and more push VD could get more nominees BUT not enough in any category to muscle out a bunch of genuine nominees. So there will be a choice of non-slate nominees for everybody and the griefing is minimised. Minimise the griefing you minimise the incentive to grief.

    Getting two things nominated in a category isn’t worth the extra effort on top of getting one thing.

    That does not mean different *kinds* of vandalism/griefing may not occur in the future, though.

  2. @camestros

    “Hold my beer and watch this

    It’s also illegal in California. The ferret, not the pastrami.

  3. At some point surely he’ll get tired of this vandalism.

    considering that the entire nation is being held hostage to the same type of vandalism … I doubt it. He (and those like him) are WINNING!

  4. I do wonder if a certain podcast I am on would have made the ballot sans the Puppies, but that way lies madness (and we will know for sure, come August)

  5. @standback

    (Best Fan Artist did get two RP picks; I don’t know if either is independently popular, or if that category just has really low turnout. OTOH Best Pro Artist didn’t get any RP nominees at all.)

    According to OGH’s post listing all of the nominees, “528 ballots cast for 242 nominees. Votes for finalists ranged from 39 to 121”

    So it was a low threshold to get in.

  6. I don’t think Mieville, Gaiman, and Deadpool* needed any help from canines to make the finalists. Which reduces the impact even further. There just aren’t enough Dead Elk to do any more than that, particularly if they’re wasting votes on hostages/sure things, while having to shell out actual cash money.

    Mostly, we can all have today to point and laugh and then forget about it and go about our lives (including voting) till Helsinki Business Meeting.

    *(I personally am “eh” on Mieville as a writer, but he has a lot of fans; Gaiman could probably get his grocery list nominated, and who didn’t like Deadpool?)

  7. Lowest number of votes for a finalist in Novella is 167. If that’s Mieville – which seems quite likely to me: he was well behind the others in the File 770 straw poll – then he has eighty-something organic votes, since there seem to be about eighty slate voters. I guess, if the other votes were very diffuse, he could have qualified with that: but it’s quite possible the slate helped him over the edge. I agree that Deadpool and Gaiman would have qualified anyway.

  8. I think Neil would be more likely to publish his sushi order than his grocery list. At any rate, what he really needs to win is a Novelette Hugo, which’d complete the set of the traditional four written fiction categories. If he wins Related Work this year, he’d only be short Novelette, Series, and possibly Dramatic Long Form (Stardust won that, but while based on his work, Neil didn’t write the movie) to become the first person to win every Pro writing Hugo.

  9. @Andrew M

    I had similar thoughts regarding Mieville and the straw poll, but there’s such a limited number of votes in it that it’s hard to be conclusive.
    It’s quite difficult to call, because I really really didn’t like This Census Taker despite being a Mieville fan, but on the other hand he’s got a strong fanbase and a history of 1 win and 4 finalists, so I think I’ll have to withhold judgement until we see the longlist.

  10. I looked so y’all don’t have to: VD is pretty upset about not getting that Best Series Nomination.

    Maybe he’d consider writing a better series?

    I suspect a more sinister notion to Beale championing Nora. She might be convinced to withdraw rather than let Beale claim to have had a positive impact on her voting.

    There isn’t a chance in hell that Nora gives a flying **** about what Beale has to say.

    That number made me grimace because 59% sounds like a lot.

    59% is failing in every school I’ve ever attended. Of course, many of the schools I’ve attended 79.9% is failing, but that’s not really relevant.

    When all is said and done, I wonder who will have more No Awards, Beale or Wright?

  11. I think DP short form is the most telling result here. (And here the puppies were defeated by a new rule which wasn’t EPH.) GoT is popular, so nominating an episode would have been almost a sure thing for them if they really had any noticeable influence. The fact that they couldn’t push their preferred episode into the top two nominees from the show says a lot.

    (But not getting anything on the Series ballot is the nicest result.)

  12. My calculation is that the Puppies only got 8 spurious nomination out of 108 finalists in 18 categories. That’s only 7.5% of the ballot — and there’s not a chance in hell VD would be able to get enough people to pay to join and vote to get him a Best Editor rocket.

    I suspect that the minions’ satisfaction level is so low at this point that most of the estimated 85 Puppy nominators won’t even bother to pay to vote.

  13. alexvdl: There isn’t a chance in hell that Nora gives a flying **** about what Beale has to say.

    Since he can’t crack the Best Novel category with anything from Castalia House, I figure his preferred outcome is a win by somebody who antagonizes his base and has shown a willingness in the past to snipe back at him.

  14. I looked so y’all don’t have to: VD is pretty upset about not getting that Best Series Nomination.

    Was his candidate even eligible? I could only find two books listed on Amazon when his slate was published – would have brought it up at the time but we were set against giving him any help of that nature.

  15. Tom Galloway: At any rate, what he really needs to win is a Novelette Hugo, which’d complete the set of the traditional four written fiction categories.

    What is that, “writing for the cycle”?

    The fact that being a fan artist is awfully hard work deterred me from even thinking about attempting the fan equivalent. (Those who have seen my art might say that shouldn’t have been first item on the list of things that stopped me.)

  16. “Hold my beer and watch this”

    I’ve been reading Bujold’s Penric and the Shaman, in which that line has religious significance.

  17. @Peter J

    Allegedly “Summa Elvetica” is set in the same world but not the series so that gives him 3 books in total.

  18. I could have sworn I commented earlier but I don’t see it now, and I can’t remember what I wanted to say. So –scalzistalk–, I guess!

  19. Peter J: Was his candidate even eligible? I could only find two books listed on Amazon when his slate was published – would have brought it up at the time but we were set against giving him any help of that nature.

    Yes, it was eligible. It previously had a novel, a collection of 2 shorter works, a collection of 3 shorter works, and a novel published in 2016.

    But his presumed 85 votes didn’t even come close to getting him on the ballot; the lowest in that category was 129 votes, and I’m betting there were a couple of other series ahead of his — possibly WJW’s Praxis, Sanderson’s Cosmere, and/or Rusch’s Diving Universe. And the Laundry Files would almost certainly have gotten way more votes than VD’s series if Stross hadn’t declined in advance (and it may have done so, anyway).

  20. Mark, JJ: Thanks for that. I must say that I didn’t spend an awful lot of time looking for his qualifying works!

  21. So looking at the ballot — Miéville would have been on it without the Rabids. So would Gaiman. So would Deadpool.

    I expect the rest of the RP picks to finish below No Award unless Wright has managed to do something he hasn’t done in several years and put together a readable story.

  22. Xtifr: GoT is popular, so nominating an episode would have been almost a sure thing for them if they really had any noticeable influence. The fact that they couldn’t push their preferred episode into the top two nominees from the show says a lot.

    In the past, they let GRRM decide whether a season of GoT in Long Form or three separate episodes of GoT in Short Form stayed on the ballot. (He chose Long Form.) So if they let him choose which 2 of the 3 remained, it would not be surprising that he struck off the one from the Puppy slate (it’s listed as being disqualified because a max of 2 episodes is allowed). It also had the same director as one of the remaining 2 episodes, so doing so would have ensured that both nominated directors still got to be on the ballot.

  23. Tom Galloway:

    I think Neil would be more likely to publish his sushi order than his grocery list.

    As it happens, his grocery list was published, by a webzine called the Fortean Bureau. Alas, even an attempt (however idle) to dig it up via the Wayback Machine failed me.

  24. I’m pretty happy/meh at the results, by which I mean, meh about what got on and happy at how things worked out, considering the past two years. 🙂 Good progress, team not-total-jerks!

    @rcade & @Eric Franklin: 59% is a meaningless number, or at least, hopefully no one would worry about him getting 100% of his choices on if he only had the RP list have two items on it. 😉 10 items (I don’t grant him Mieville, Gaiman, or Deadpool) and one in most of the categories he got something on (only got two in one of the most downticket categories) isn’t much.

    @JJ: I haven’t researched all of these, so I only recognize the big names he pushed. Which 2 (aside from Mieville, Gaiman, & Deadpool) are you not counting as Beale Ballot Box Bingo items?

    @alexvdl: “Maybe he’d consider writing a better series?”

    ::snort!::

    @Xtifr: “I think DP short form is the most telling result here. (And here the puppies were defeated by a new rule which wasn’t EPH.) GoT is popular, so nominating an episode would have been almost a sure thing for them if they really had any noticeable influence. The fact that they couldn’t push their preferred episode into the top two nominees from the show says a lot.”

    I didn’t think about it quite like that, but that’s pretty hilarious, come to think. Even if (nod to @JJ) George R.R. Martin chose which one to drop. 🙂

    ETA: @Soon Lee: IT IS, IT IS REAL! 😀

  25. Kendall: I haven’t researched all of these, so I only recognize the big names he pushed. Which 2 (aside from Mieville, Gaiman, & Deadpool) are you not counting as Beale Ballot Box Bingo items?

    The two Fan Artists actually have some talent — although one is way more tits-and-ass than I care for (quelle suprise, coming from a Puppy nominee), and may very well rank last on my ballot because of that.

    The Puppy Campbell nominee has one eligible work — a religious try-hard humor version of Faust, published by Castalia. It’s pretty dire.

  26. The two Fan Artists actually have some talent — although one is way more tits-and-ass than I care for (quelle suprise, coming from a Puppy nominee), and may very well rank last on my ballot because of that.

    Same here. A bit T&A heavy, but not bad work.

    The Puppy Campbell nominee has one eligible work — a religious try-hard humor version of Faust, published by Castalia. It’s pretty dire.

    Because ripping off the best dramatic presentation winner of 1829 is so innovative.

  27. @Cora,

    I haven’t read the nominee in questionso I can’t speak on its quality. But I don’t have an issue per se against a retelling or reworking of an older work or a classic. It’s all down to the execution.

  28. Soon Lee: I haven’t read the nominee in question so I can’t speak on its quality. But I don’t have an issue per se against a retelling or reworking of an older work or a classic. It’s all down to the execution.

    You can always check out the Amazon “Look Inside” feature for an excerpt, as I did.

  29. I finally looked more closely. This is better than I thought, though I haven’t decided how strict I’ll be with the 3 “unknown to me” entries. Interesting to hear the artists are pretty good. Anyone checked out “Cirsova” yet? I was surprised to see Rusch had a story in issue 2, and someone else who it looks like wrote an anti-puppy post in 2015. Hmm.

    3 who probably would’ve made it on their own (freakin’ Deadpool? 🙂 )
    3 unknown quantities (unknown to me)
    1 repeat non-Castalia entry (no thanks)
    1 troll-to-get-pr0n-on-the-ballot
    5 Castalia (how I count)

  30. @JJ,

    I had a look. The writing is unremarkable, and comes across as old-fashioned to me. Not the sort of thing I enjoy.

  31. Kendall: I finally looked more closely. This is better than I thought, though I haven’t decided how strict I’ll be with the 3 “unknown to me” entries. Interesting to hear the artists are pretty good. Anyone checked out “Cirsova” yet?

    The editor was here on File770 last month desperately trying to persuade everyone that he had nothing to do with the Puppies — despite the fact that he’s been leaving posts all over the Puppy blogs and responding to Puppies on Twitter for the last year, shilling his magazine to them, and delightedly offered to jump in as the new Rabid Puppy candidate when VD realized that his original slate selection was ineligible. And oh, yeah, there’s the GamerGate banner on his website. 🙄

  32. I read the first issue of Cirsova and was not impressed – the best that could be said for any of the stories was “workmanlike but unremarkable”. There was a decent verse retelling of A Princess of Mars (or at least the first part thereof), with proper control of rhyme and metre, and no glaringly clunky language, which came as a pleasant surprise given that I was, by that point, expecting only doggerel (for once, I really wanted to avoid the canine pun, but …).
    Having said that, I don’t want to rush to judgement based on one issue, and if someone like Rusch is published there, it may well be improving. On the other hand, four of the other finalists were on my nominating ballot, so there’s a lot of ground to be made up.

  33. Broken Record: they will not stop, ever. If we want them to go away, we have to make them go away…which is part of their game.

    It may very well be a case of “see what happens, minions, when you don’t fully participate?”

    It may also have been an attempt to lull us all into the belief that EPH (and the other one) are sufficiently effective to not go ahead and ratify 3SV.

    PLEASE ratify 3SV this year.

    One of (though not the only) purpose of 3SV is to prevent these kinds of BS entries from getting the honorific of Hugo Finalist.

    Right now, Castalia House can claim what, three/four years of continuously offering “Hugo Finalist” quality works.

    Please also note that this intrusion into the process (and the community) is also an economic attack. Beale is trying to demonstrate that the awards (and the community) are corrupt…that money (TOR) talks and that “sales are an indication of quality”.

    We’ve spent most of the past 75 years managing to survive as a non-commercially oriented institution – one of the better things that we do – and if that goes, pretty much everything else follows suit down the black hole.

  34. @Steve Davidson:
    I think Alien Stripper will prove to be very helpful when it comes to getting 3SV ratified.

  35. If 3SV is to be ratified, we need a clear account of the timetable it will involve, and an explanation of how this does not unacceptably shorten the time available either for nomination or voting (both already too short).

    No timetable is included in the actual proposal, but informal statements by the proposers suggest that two months will be given over to the middle stage. This massively reduces the time available for (probably) nominations.

    The question relates not to the time during which nominations can be sent in, which a convention can set arbitrarily, but to the time between the close of eligibility and the close of nominations. Many voters read a lot of material during this period, checking out the most significant works of the year in search of suitable nominees. This procedure has obvious advantages; it allows one to make a definite commitment of time when there is a finite set of works to consider. (Also, some works can be obtained more cheaply then than when they first appear.) Moving the closing date earlier prevents this, meaning we have to read stuff much earlier. Many Filers were rushing around near the closing date looking for things to nominate; consider how it would be if the closing date were two months earlier.

    Moving the closing date earlier would also put it before the Locus list and before the Nebula shortlist. One should not, of course, simply copy the Nebula shortlist, and one cannot simply copy the Locus list, but it seems perfectly fair to use them as guidance on things worth checking out; this will no longer be possible.

    Works that appear late in the year would also be disadvantaged by this. They are disadvantaged already, but this would make things worse.

    3SV does not have to involve a delay of two months (though allowing a shorter period would bring its own problems), but the fact that some people were ready to propose this and did not seem to see it as problematic means we need to take extreme care. If not implemented rightly, it could bring about a significant reduction in the number of nominators. This would be a benefit to slates, since those who nominate without reading do not need time to read things.

  36. I think the end-of-year problem was less serious (for short fiction, anyway) back when the print magazines published their January issues as early as November, so people had an extra month or two to read them.

    Perhaps it would work to automatically make December publications eligible for a second year, provided they weren’t finalists in their own year.

  37. I’m interested to see what my wife votes for this year. She knows about the puppy stuff (Can’t avoid that, she lives with me!) but has no interest in paying any attention to it, and thus votes without knowing what is and isn’t a puppy nominee.

    So far, with one exception, she’s No Awarded every puppy pick in the written fiction categories on quality alone. She DNF’d almost all of them.

    Andrew M –
    I wonder if the Hugo Administrators for Worldcon 76 would entertain the thought of laying out a potential 3SV time line for next year for the Business Meeting in Helsinki to look at before the ratification vote. Hmmm. According to this, Kevin Standlee is the WSFS Division Head. I wonder if they even HAVE Hugo Administrators picked yet.

    There is a strong group of people who oppose 3SV on the grounds of ‘We should not be voting things off the island. Hugo nom/voting should be a positive add, not a negative remove.’ (My gloss, not a quote from anyone.) I respect the merit of their arguments.

  38. I think the idea was to close eligibility to vote December 31 (which was a separate amendment proposal). Then, yes, the time to nominate would move up, probably by one month, not two. Additional time would be made up by not spending time before Stage 2 to contact nominees and check eligibility. That would be done during Stage 2, and in theory would be easier because the names would be public.

    I agree that an actual estimated timeline would be extremely helpful.

  39. Hugo Awards: 2-3,000 voters, limited to “acceptable” membership with rule changes designed to get the desired results to fit with political agenda.

    Dragon Awards: Tens of thousands of votes worldwide. No exclusivity, open to ALL sci-fi/fantasy fans and no political agenda.

    I’d say the S.S. Hugo sank to the bottom long ago. Y’all just haven’t realized that’s not air you’re breathing yet.

  40. Yes, DP, you are correct. Thank you! I’m glad you bailed and hopped onto the Dragon Awards before you drowned like the rest of us. Trust me, everyone is relieved.

  41. @DP Richard —

    “Dragon Awards: Tens of thousands of votes worldwide. No exclusivity, open to ALL sci-fi/fantasy fans and no political agenda.”

    Vote early and often! It’s free, and you can vote as many times as you like — what’s not to love?

  42. DP Richard on April 5, 2017 at 12:53 pm said:

    I’d say the S.S. Hugo sank to the bottom long ago. Y’all just haven’t realized that’s not air you’re breathing yet.

    We are the Hugo voting mere-people
    We swish our flippy tails
    We like to read our books a lot
    And all that that entails

    Once we lived on land you see
    Amid the normal folk
    But rabid mammal griefing
    Made us all a bit more ‘woke’

    “If we really must regress” we said
    “and head back to the past,”
    “Let’s return to the sea”
    “But this time make it last”

    Now we live among the dolphins
    The whales and all the cephlapods
    You are welcome to join us
    Among the weird, the strange, the odds

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