A Humble Dissent

When SF Awards Watch editors Cheryl Morgan and Kevin Standlee dissected complaints about the Best Pro Artist Hugo by the editors of the Spectrum fantasy artists website, the duo defended Hugo rulesmakers against charges of indifference but agreed with Spectrum’s critique of the voters, saying:

WSFS members have been very unimaginative in their choices over the years, and there seems to be good circumstantial evidence that artists are getting nominated based on name recognition rather than on any work that they have produced.

That’s great! The solution has finally been revealed. Get rid of the corrupt dimbulbs who have been voting for Hugo Awards all these years. Yes, turn the rascals out! I hereby fire myself as a voter. Finally the Hugos will work as Tucker and nature intended. High quality replacement voters will be imaginative enough to select the best professional artist each year, who will nevertheless always be a different person than has ever won it before! Cue Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock” — we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden!

People may be frustrated by the Best Pro Artist category’s record of repeat winners, but it sure looks to me like the voters are working their butts off to get familiar with the eligible artists.

Every year a report shows how many nominating votes were received by each candidate that got at least 5% of the nominations in a category. The Nippon 2007 report of Hugo nominating statistics listed 32 professional artists with 6 or more nominations.

Compare that to only 21 editors in long form who had at least 6 nominating votes, the minimum to get listed. And only 18 editors in short form with the minimum (7) for that category. There were 39 fan writers with the 5% minimum necessary to be listed, but just 20 of them had at least 6 nominations. You’ll see a comparable record in the Best Fan Artists category. The truth is that more pro artists received serious attention from Hugo voters than the candidates in any of the other “Best People” categories.

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3 thoughts on “A Humble Dissent

  1. Pingback: Cheryl’s Mewsings » Blog Archive » Two Worlds

  2. When you say “there seems to be good circumstantial evidence that artists are getting nominated based on name recognition rather than on any work that they have produced” that can mean nothing else than that you believe there are Hugo voters putting down names without regard to whether the people have done any art, or whether it was any good. And that enough of them do it to constitute the explanation for certain (unnamed) people ending up on the final ballot. Which you explicitly disapprove. No one should approve such an unethical approach to filling out the nominating ballot. It would be corrupt behavior (so why disown the word?) if that’s what’s going on.

    Now, I don’t agree that explains the makeup of the pro artist category on the final Hugo ballot. Since you feel otherwise, I know you’ll be making your case online and I look forward to the debate with interest.

  3. Pingback: Science Fiction Awards Watch » Blog Archive » Yet More on the Artist Hugo

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