28 thoughts on “A New Slate Heard From

  1. Um, you might note that the “Sad Puppies,” who aren’t actually fans, didn’t have any nominees in the “fan artist” category, xdpaul. I’m sure Steve is disgruntled because they ignored his category entirely.

  2. If you had bothered to check, xdpaul, you’d have noticed not only what Deb has noted (that the Sad Puppies totally ignored the Fan Artist category), but also that Steve has been nominated for the Fan Artist Hugo more than a few times in the past.

    I think the operative words here are sarcasm and mockery. If you were familar with Steve’s work, you’d know he’s quite adept with those forms of humor.

  3. I’d like to see Steve win *mostly* because he is talented and deserved a Hugo, but also because he’s inching up on me in the most nominations without a win category.

  4. Steven Silver: I know what you mean. Every time Hartwell wins I breathe a sigh of relief because he’s the biggest threat to my record of “Most Hugo Losses.” Not that I’ve ever looked at the numbers or anything….

  5. Huh? Now you guys are mad that SP didn’t slate the fan artist award too?

    I’m sure that can be rectified.

  6. ‘I’m sure that can be rectified.’

    I love that this comes across as a threat.

  7. Take it how you like, Nigel. It certainly wasn’t intended as such. Folks were expressing dismay that their category was somehow passed over by the Angel of Sad Puppies, and I thought it might cheer them up to know that there are options.

    I’m sure that if you want the category addressed by SP in the future that they would accept an audience. If it really is a crime that your good buddy above (or best friend, as the case may be) has not received the award, that SP would be interested in rectifying the injustice.

    Black Gate has been tragically overlooked for more than a decade, and Sad Puppies has fixed that with a nomination. If you think Steve is really the best candidate, I strongly recommend you make an appeal to SP, as they will be coming out with their recommended final votes soon.

  8. ‘If it really is a crime that your good buddy above (or best friend, as the case may be) has not received the award, that SP would be interested in rectifying the injustice.’

    And this makes it sound like a racket!

    (And really, really tone-deaf.)

    (Haha, I used racket in the sense of, you know, and also in the sense of, well, so, you see, there’s a joke there? Take it! Take the joke! Sick puppies is humerus!)

  9. I am not under the jurisdiction of the tone police. I am instead a free man.

    What I find fascinating is that for all the (deserved) complaints of the long-time “also ran” nominees not receiving their just desserts (or rockets as the case may be), I find it awfully strange that no one (except me) has brought up the fact that for the first time since the 80s, we not only have a slate of Best Novel nominees that contains four newcomers to the award, but also 5 candidates that have the highest average reader quality rankings as well. By quite a long shot.

  10. Is this a good week to be asking people to take internet reader rankings at face value?

  11. Amazon rankings? Sure. I don’t see why not. Unless you are suggesting that Sad Puppies has also secretly gamed all of Amazon for its nefarious purposes.

    They may not be perfect, but like metacritic or rotten tomatoes, they give you a general idea of what buyers and other core readers think of the books. Frankly, the Amazon rankings for all of the Hugo nominees seem to be fairly close to my estimation in all years. Some books seem slightly high, some a little low, but only by a quarter point or so.

  12. Book bombs do not game the overall star rating, they manipulate the momentary purchase ranking. These are two different things. Nor is this a Sad Puppies thing.

    And they are not much different that iO9’s version of the same where they helpfully insert the Amazon Buy button. Again, I’d link but I’m not sure of the link policy here.

  13. Which of course is just one more instance of “when we do it GOOD when you do it BAD BAD BAD PUPPY!”

    One does tire of that sort of standard.

  14. And you have proven exactly what, besides my point which had already been proven, that Sad Puppies manipulated an Amazon ranking?

    I repeat, this is not a good week for someone to be pointing to internet polls as any reliable objective proof of anything.

  15. Well, I have to say I haven’t been this interested in the Hugo awards in at least 20 or 25 years. I wanted to say thanks, Mike, for keeping us informed, and moderating the discussion in what seems to me to be a fair and impartial way. In fact, I just paid my $40 Supporting and am looking forward to reading authors I haven’t been exposed to, and deciding for myself whether or not they are Hugo worthy. Of those I read last year, I enjoyed but didn’t necessarily think some of the winners were “best of class.” Tastes differ, opinions differ, politics and religion differ, but works can speak for themselves. Thanks again. That’s entertainment!

  16. This is actually a great week, Mike. Let’s leave 2015 aside (but only for the moment) – the fact is there are some fascinating things that can be learned by looking at past ratings of Hugo nominees.

    For example, the wins of Connie Willis correlate strongly to her highest rated books. Lois McMaster Bujold has extremely consistent (and very high) reader ratings, although in her highest rated year (1997) she suffered a somewhat shocking upset by Kim Stanley Robinson’s Blue Mars, whose novel now trails hers in ratings by more than a full star! (I believe this is the largest difference between a winner and the highest-rated novel that I’ve noticed so far)

    Another lesson to learn is that since at least the late 80s, you don’t want to be on a ballot vs. Vernor Vinge. He’s not on that often, but when he is, he wins, regardless of how high or low his reader ratings are.

    Fascinating stuff. Really. But perhaps there is nothing in the data but lies and deception by secret cabals instead. Wouldn’t THAT be ironic!

  17. You mentioned Vinge and really caught my attention. Vinge and Willis novels tied for the 1993 Hugo. A few years ago when I argued that time had broken the tie in favor of Willis there was a longer line to slap me than for that hysterical passenger in Airplane.

    Let’s put this to the test. Vernor Vinge’s A Fire Upon The Deep today has a rating of 4.12. Connie Willis’ Doomsday Book has a rating of 4.04.

    So close! I could have put some faith in this rating thing if it had flipped the other way….

  18. Mike

    I don’t know. I think .08 of a star is both close enough to justify both the actual tie but also provide you with enough room to then argue intrinsic quality beyond the madding crowd.

    I certainly don’t suggest that the star ratings are the only measure of quality…but that they are a useful measure and should not be ignored. 1988 was a very good year for the hugos. I believed this before I ever looked at the ratings. The ratings however lend support to this sense.

    It is also where you can find disconnect between the core nominators and the broader constituency that votes for winners. Charlie Stross scores well with nominations but not so well [compared to his competition] with the general reader.

    It isn’t the end all be all…but it ain’t nothin’.

  19. another morsel: neither Willis nor vinge had hit their peak rating yet. Their respective following victories were measurably their most beloved books with regards to reader ratings.

  20. ‘I am not under the jurisdiction of the tone police. I am instead a free man.’

    I am beginning to think that the Hugos are an award for literal, rather than literary merit.

  21. As with many awards, some of the fiction that has won or was nominated has aged badly Given time, some of the Hugo winners will be in the same category of memory as a 1930’s Pulitzer Prize winner. Whoever that was.

    Still, I’d like to think better of the awards, rather than pointing to 2015 (and onward?) where the nominations became dishonest.

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