Jared Dashoff reports final wording of the proposed rule creating a Best Series Hugo category has been posted on the Sasquan business meeting agenda webpage.
File 770 hosted discussion of the idea under its former title in “New Draft of Best Saga Proposal”.
The latest version reads as follows. (The text that would be added to the WSFS Constitution is underlined.)
B.1.3 – Short Title: Best Series (revised July 13, 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.
2: Insert the following section before 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 a 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.
3: 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 both the subset and the overarching series receive sufficient nominations to appear on the final ballot, the Worldcon Committee shall determine whether the subset or the overarching series shall appear on the final ballot, after consulting with the author of the work insofar as it is possible to do so under the provisions of Section 3.9. If neither the subset of the series nor the overarching series receive sufficient nominations to appear on the final ballot, but the total ballots nominating either of them would place a work on the final ballot, the Worldcon Committee may combine the nominations and, after consulting with the author of the work insofar as it is possible to do so under the provisions of Section 3.9, determine how the work should appear on the final ballot.
I don’t see the rationale of the final sentence of 3.8.X. A work (single or combined) should stand on its own merits, and no piece (or assemblage) should count twice.
I also don’t like that last bit, allowing basket accounting of nominations.
If I nominate something for Best Series, that doesn’t mean I think the latest installment is one of the best novels of the year, and my vote can be turned into a Best Novel vote and have the same intent. And vice versa — if I think the latest volume of whatever is one of the best novels of the year, who says I think the series should get nominated for Best Series? The two are different things. That’s the point of creating a separate category. If votes for either category can be swapped back and forth, doesn’t that undercut the idea that they’re different things?
And what if I’ve nominated SWORD OF THE PIGFARMER for Best Novel and I’ve nominated THE SWINEHERD CHRONICLES for Best Series, and neither one makes the shortlist as such, but if you combine the votes SOTP got for Novel with the votes TSC got for Series, it gets a slot? Whichever slot you give it, didn’t I just get two votes for a work I’m only supposed to be able to vote for once?
When the votes received by an item in a series and the series itself are insufficient to place either on the final ballot, the last sentence in 3.8.X says to combine the votes received by each and, if the total is enough to qualify either as a finalist in its category, put one of them on the final ballot in whichever category the creator picks.
What actually seems to count twice under this rule are my nominations of a novel as such and its series as such. Does some other Hugo rule prevent this?
Hmm I also read it as meaning:
n(SWORD) plus n(SWINE)
[where n(X) is number of nominations in a category for X]
But it could be read as implying:
n(SWORD) plus n(SWINE) minus n(nominations containing both)
which would be fair and would mean people wouldn’t need to worry too much about which was the right category – but would also be hard work. Also I don’t know how that would work in conjunction with EPH.
KB noms SWORD for best novel and SWINE for best series
CF noms SWORD for best novel (but not SWINE)
MG noms SWINE for best series (but not SWORD)
The rule implies a total of 4 votes but should imply a total of 3 votes (2 SWORD + 2 SWINE minus 1 SWORD&SWINE)
While that solves the problem of duplicate voting — if the rule is interpreted that way — it still treats nominations for best novel and best series as interchangeable.
Let’s say I nominate my local restaurant for Best Meal, and when the nominations are all tallied, the administrators shift my nomination over to Best Dessert, because the rules say that if something doesn’t qualify for Best Meal or Best Dessert on its own, the votes can be combined.
But while I thought it was a great meal, I nominated it on the strength of the appetizers, salad, main course and drinks. I thought the dessert was fine, as desserts go, and not anything that harmed the meal overall, but I would never have nominated it for Best Dessert on its own. Besides, I thought there were other desserts that were sensational that year, and I nominated five of them, all superior to that decent-but-not-spectacular whiskey bread pudding. The pecan pie, the mango sorbet, the cherry cobbler…these are the things I thought were the best desserts.
So why would I want my Best Meal nomination shifted over to Best Dessert? Best Meal and Best Dessert aren’t the same thing, any more than Best Series and Best Latest Instalment.
And now I’m hungry.
I’m not reading that as applying to novels, only to works eligible as a series as described in section 3.3.x. It is dealing only with the case of a larger series composed of a number of smaller series.
Let’s say a Discworld book starring Sam Vimes was published in the eligible year. Some fans nominate “Discworld” for Best Series. Other fans nominate “City Watch” for Best Series. Both qualify under section 3.3.x. If neither one receives enough nominations on their own, but together they appear on enough ballots to be nominated then section 3.8.x takes effect.
Chris Hensley, I think you’re right. I remember that coming up in the discussion before.
Yes – I agree with your point there as well. A nomination for one category isn’t the same as a nomination for the other. However I think it is more reasonable to see a vote for Best Novel as an endorsement of Best Series than vice-versa. After all part of the rational of best series is that a series of novels may excel in total without ever having a Hugo winning quality single novel in the series. So it would be less bad if the combined nominations automatically went to best series rather than a choice being made.
Either way, I still don’t see how it would work with EPH as well. It would be a bit cumbersome to run EPH on both categories. Identify the novels/series that weren’t going to make in separate categories. Inform the authors. Then re-run the two categories with the nominations re-allocated. You couldn’t just add the final totals together.
Imagine I vote for SWORD for best novel along with 4 other novels and separately I vote for 5 different un-pig related series for Best Series. Because of insufficient votes, my vote for SWORD is now reallocated to the series category for SWINE. So I’m now nominating 6 works for Best Series and only 4 for Best Novel. In the first round of EPH at least, not only has what I’ve nominated changed but the weightings of my nominations have all changed.
I think the spirit of this rule is nice (i.e. nominators shouldn’t have to worry too much about categories) but it seems to be problematic in lots of ways. 🙁
ohhhhh. Should have read your message first before replying to Kurt B.
That makes a lot more sense. It would still mean having to run EPH twice on that category though.
Let’s all pretend I didn’t write my previous message…
Yeah, if that last bit only applies to series and sub-series, not to individual components, that takes care of my objection. There’s a little part of my brain going “But what if I really like the Witches books and can’t stand the Moist von Lipwigs?” But I’m willing to drown him in a butt of sack, if there are any handy.
I’m still hungry, though.
I remain convinced that it would be possible to create a good Hugo Award of some kind for Best Series. I remain very unconvinced that this proposal is that award.
While some problems have certainly been fixed from earlier drafts, it retains a number of what I would consider to be serious problems. As far as I can tell:
1) It would allow a work to be nominated in more than one category in a single year, as itself and as part of a larger series (unless our interpretation of the subset rule is incorrect.)
2) It would actually allow a completed series to be nominated in more than one category in a single year, both as a series and as a “work appearing in a number of parts”.
3) It would explicitly allow a work to be renominated even if it has been previously nominated, as long as the series it is in has been added to. (And while this appears to be in keeping with the “substantial change” tradition it really isn’t. Stand-alone works are rewritten in substantially changed form after publication only occasionally, and very seldom more than once when they are. Ongoing series are designed to be added to, resulting in the potential for endless renomination.)
I agree with previous posters’ issues with that final statement. The committee should inform the author and the author should have final say.
I also agree with Kyra regarding one work gaining final ballot status for multiple categories.
Though I may be out on my own little island when I suggest that, while an author could have several works nominated over several categories, authors should only accept a single nomination per category.
Let’s pretend we were talking about something else 🙂
I still really dislike this category, for various reasons (including, but not limited to, things Kyra lists), and I never liked using the existing Hugo rules to nominate a series in the Best Novel category (eyeroll)…I shudder to think of a series getting nominated there and in this new category, if it were to pass.
If a subset (being, say the THE SWINEHERD CHRONICLES to follow Kurt’s example) wins at the stage of being a trilogy, and we then get book 4 because the author couldn’t help themselves, the rules seem to prevent a further nomination because it has already won, which is fair enough. However, what if they then write the PIGFARMERS DAUGHTER trilogy in the same world, which I then consider to be the greatest work of fantastical prose in all of history, and the publisher slaps “TALES OF SWINE AND MEN” on as an overarching title for all 7 volumes? I think it’s clear that I can’t nominate TOSAM as it contains a Best Series winner, but can I nominate PIGFARMERS DAUGHTER?
I agree with Kurt. Pie.
1. I believe that Chris is correct that the end of 3.8.X only applies to the aggregation of series titles within the category. For example, a vote for “(Any) Ball” can definitely be included in the votes for “Red Ball”, but NOT vice versa. This may be an issue that should be cleaned up on the floor of the Business Meeting, unless Jared wants to try one more revision (knowing his current schedule and those of the podium staff, I suspect not ).
2. Re Kyra’s and kendall’s objection to allowing nominated works to qualify in more than one category, I don’t disagree, but that requires WSFS to fix a different section of the Constitution that is not the subject of Jared’s motion, so someone else needs to take that on.
I don’t think that the objection to having the series and the work in the same category is valid, even if they both get enough votes; that has been dealt with by Hugo Administrators (including myself) in the past, generally in the BDP category. The creator gets to pick one or the other.
3. As to Kyra’s last objection, that goes to the heart of the motion. If you think a series is still Hugo-worthy after another segment has been added, you can nominate it; the will of the voters prevails. Once it wins, however, that’s it. No more chances no matter how much gets added. My opinion would be that if SWINEHEARD has won, you can’t nominate TALES OF SWINE AND MEN, since a component has already won; you can, however, nominate THE PIGFARMER’S DAUGHTER, assuming it qualifies, since none of that work has won. Whether you _should_ do so is left as an exercise to the reader.
4. I prefer Boston Cream, myself.
In the scenario you describe, I believe the proposal allows that, and I (think I) agree with the proposal in allowing it.
But there will be edge cases that makes this iffy. My judgment above depends on the new trilogy “Pigfarmer’s daughter” forming a new story arc with a certain degree of separation from the series that originally won. If, say, Wheel of Time had won Best Series after book 5, I don’t agree with arbitrarily calling book 6-9 a new sub-series and nominate that.
This implies that we’re asking the administrators to make judgment calls like “yes, while Pigfarmer’s Daughter is set in the same universe as Swineherd Cronicles, it’s a new trilogy so it eligible” or “no, Pigfarmer’s Daughter is just the continuation of Swineherd Cronicles and doesn’t qualify as a new series.” And I’m not sure if that’s a good idea.
I’m still highly skeptical about the entire concept of this award, because it seems to conflate several things which are not at all equivalent:
*) Long novels which are published in multiple volumes, which would not be eligible for this award if they were published in a different format (e.g. Lord of the Rings, which was published as three books but which the author intended as a single work);
*) Long series consisting of multiple novels, but with a single arc and a definite beginning and end (e.g. The Wheel of Time);
*) On-going sets of novels, with no single arc, but set in the same world/universe (e.g. Discworld);
It doesn’t make sense to me to have these three things in the same category.
So, yes, my father points out correctly, as did Chris, that 3.8.X is only meant to deal with “the Discworld problem” (i.e. sub-series and all-encompassing series, both being nominated for Series, but neither getting enough votes on their own.)
We included this and some other provisions because it is easier to write them out and delete them on the floor than it is to write text on the floor (trust me, I did it once, it’s how I got into Business Meeting Fandom). If people think Tiffany Aching and all of Discworld aren’t the same thing and they shouldn’t be combined, we just amend to strike the last sentence. Enough voices were raised to make it worth including for discussion.
On the novel vs. series discussion. Mike didn’t copy over the other proposal we submitted so I will do it below (it was originally part of this one, but Kevin Standlee suggested we split them for ease of debate). Essentially, it codifies the power of the Administrator to not place things out of categories based on discussion with the author. We already do this with BDP long and short, an episode can’t be in the latter when the series is in the former. This also sets up a way to deal with the POTENTIAL YA Hugo, a novel couldn’t be in both Best YA and Best Novel, even if it belongs in both and gets enough nominations to be in one. The author has to choose.
B.1.5 – Short Title: Multiple Nominations
Moved, to amend the WSFS Constitution to eliminate the possibility of a work simultaneously 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.
2: 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
Commentary: 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 categories. 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 category the work would appear.
Oh, and no, as much as we’d love to make this the perfect proposal before it gets to the Bus. Mtg., we just can’t. We all like sleep too much. We do welcome all the discussion here, elsewhere and at the meeting, though.
I don’t like an annual award for this. I think a series should only become elegible for an award when the author is dead.
This could lead to an interesting nomination process …