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.



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


“This Census-taker” by China Miéville


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


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


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

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


No slate recommendation


P. Alexander, Cirsova


Vox Day, Castalia House




“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.


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




Castalia House blog


The Rageaholic by Razorfist

Superversive SF


Jeffro Johnson (Castalia House blog)

Morgan (Castalia House blog)


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

Alex Garner

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

Mansik Yang


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.

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

  1. 2019 Worldcon: Atlantis, time to make it happen.

    I’m putting in papers for Lemuria 2022, who’s with me?


    ? ? ? (ETA: bah, emoji fail. That was applause)

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

    Or at least, so they claim, without making any numbers available, and if so, apparently award books that haven’t sold anywhere near as many copies as they’ve gotten votes.

  3. Dragon Awards: Tens of thousands of votes worldwide.

    It’s funny how they never released the Dragon Awards voter numbers, given how impressive they apparently were.

  4. DP Richard: There’s no evidence that the Dragon Awards get tens of thousands of votes, and there’s very good evidence they got a trivial number of votes in the book categories — one Dragon Award winner, Souldancer, couldn’t even muster enough votes to rank in the top three of the Conservative Libertarian Fiction Alliance Book of the Year Award.

  5. Dragon Awards: Tens of thousands of votes worldwide.

    Sure, and we know this because the organizers of the Dragon Awards released the data concerning nominations and vote tallies.

    Oh wait, they didn’t.

    Which means you’re talking out of your ass. You guys really are predictable on that score.

  6. Dragon Awards: Tens of thousands of votes worldwide.

    I have it on good authority* that everybody at President Trump’s inauguration – millions and millions of them – voted in the Dragon Awards.

    * = made it up just now. Well, it works** for Trump, doesn’t it?
    ** = for certain values of “works”

  7. One thing that I am consistently amazed at is how little the Pups understand about award prestige. Awards don’t gain prestige because of the voting pool they count as their electorate. There is nothing about a “free online voting system” that will make an award more prestigious than another. People can freely vote for the Locus Award online, and that hasn’t made that award surpass the Hugos in terms of notability. The Nebula Award is voted on exclusively by the members of the SFWA, and they are still regarded as being a substantial award. No one claims the People’s Choice Award is more desirable than the Oscar because the People’s Choice Award is voted on by fans in a public poll.

    Why an award is regarded as being prestigious is more than a matter of counting the noses of those who can vote in it. Award prestige comes down, in large part, to simple perception: If an award is regarded as being notable, it is notable, and if it is not, then it isn’t. No amount of foot-stomping and complaining by Pups is going to change this, or change the fact that the Hugos are regarded as the premier award in science fiction and fantasy.

    Finally, the notion that awards are a zero-sum game is also bizarre. They aren’t. The existence of the Nebula doesn’t diminish the Hugo. The fact that the World Fantasy Award, and the Locus Award, and the BSFA Award, and the Prometheus Award are all out there doesn’t harm the various other awards. Even if the Dragon Award becomes as successful as its proponents hope (as unlikely as that seems right now), that won’t harm the Hugo Awards. That’s not how awards work. Instead, awards tend to feed on one another, with one award engendering interest in other awards, which in turn engender interest back to the original award, and so on. The only thing the Dragon Award is really likely to do is further entrench the Hugos in their position of prominence.

  8. Tens of thousands of votes? Not bad. That is on the level of Boaty McBoatface. Or when Hank the Ugly Drunken Dwarf won People Magazines contest of most beautiful people.

  9. Boaty won support because it was funny.

    A claim of tens of thousands of votes for the Dragon awards is not funny, it is comical, which is somewhat different. Here is another funny thing for comparison:

    A petition calling for Sir David Attenborough to change his name to Sir Boaty McBoatface “in the interest of democracy and humour” soon received over 2,000 signatures.

  10. Holy crapolini, just noticed this. Has anyone seen the It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia episode titles The Gang Tries Desperately to Win an Award? Quick synopsis of the premise: “The Gang” is upset that they’ve never won the Best Bar in Philadelphia award. At first they are just sort of grousing about how much they don’t care, really, and then they start talking about how it feels a little “aggressive” that they’ve never won the award, and then they complain that it’s rigged anyway, and you have to kiss ass to win, and then they decide to game the system to win the award, and as the opening scene ends, one of them says: “I want to be very clear about something. This literally means nothing to me.”

  11. @Niall: British politeness: they’d let him keep the “Sir”. But I don’t think the Beeb/Discovery are keen to advertise “Planet Earth, Presented by Sir Boaty McBoatface.” Lacks a bit of gravitas.

    It’s possible the Dragon Awards had tens of thousands of votes, but not tens of thousands of voters. But we’ll never know since they’re too embarrassed, too disorganized, or both to release the voting totals. They were promised and it’s been months now. We’ll never see them.

    Unlike the Hugos, which release the voting totals the minute the ceremony is over. For those of you who’ve never attended, a special issue of the newszine, quite literally hot off the press (still warm to the touch) is usually handed out by a volunteer at each of the exits from the room where the ceremony is held. It has a list of the winners, and the nice tables of statistics, showing how everyone placed. Other gofers run copies to the con suite, the party area, dealer’s room, etc. Someone (usually Kevin) puts it up online right away. Now THAT’s transparency, and builds confidence in an award’s credibility.

    @ULTRAGOTHA: That’s not a complete concom list; I know several people working it who aren’t on there. Although they may be counted as underlings of division heads, so only the topmost level of concom is listed. And your Mrs. has good taste.

    I’d need a lot of explaining about 3SV. I like the idea, but is the time frame workable?

    @Camestros: 🐙

  12. @Camestros, please accept this slightly tarnished internet,

    I like my sunken ship and would happily interact with anyone who isn’t a bully disguised as a victim, but, hey, whatevs. Also, Dragon Awards didn’t release their voting numbers. President Trump notwithstanding, you just can’t make shit up and present it as a fact.

  13. @Cheryl —

    President Trump notwithstanding, you just can’t make shit up and present it as a fact.

    Well, you can, but people are likely to laugh at you when you try it. 😉

  14. @Camestros

    Very nice. 🙂


    That does sound oddly familiar, doesn’t it?

  15. @DP Richard

    “Please, don’t throw me in that briar patch!”

    (Or in this case, I guess it would be ocean trench.)

    Seriously: Y’all do you and be happy. So will we.

  16. Bonnie McDaniel: Seriously: Y’all do you and be happy. So will we.

    I know, right? Seeing what sort of crap makes its way onto the Bestseller lists and Peoples’ Choice type of awards, I’m quite happy to have 3,000 people who read massive quantities of spec fic books and are quite knowledgeable about the genre be the ones deciding the Hugo Awards.

    Tens of thousands of people having opinions is a very different thing than tens of thousands of people having well-informed opinions.

  17. @kathodus – I don’t remember that one, but it’s on netflix so now I’m curious…

  18. Minor correction on Worldcon Hugo results newszines. As someone who was editor one year (where it was *very* hard not to, at the pre-ceremony reception, give John Picacio a hug and whisper in his ear “I know the results. You finally won!”) and responsible for passing them out in another (“Little does most of the audience know that the several boxes next to me in the aisle have all the results…” and this was at Spokane aka the year of No Awards), it’s the case that there are two separate publications.

    One has the winners and whatever else the editor is nuts enough to want to include. The year I edited, I included small pictures of the winners and stats on how many Hugos they’d won and/or been nominated for overall and in that category. That’s one double-sided page and 1500 or so are printed.

    The other has all the stats, including nomination totals for all categories going down to the 5% mark and tables for all the results…including all the subsequent rounds to determine 2nd-nth places. This is around 20 or so double-sided pages, and around 20-40 are printed, as I recall. Several are placed in prominent positions outside of the Hugo ceremony (and done so right after Best Novel is announced), others are sent to the Con Suite, Hugo Losers Party, SFWA and ASFA suites, etc. where they get passed around and analyzed. These results are also put online.

    The newszine editor, or someone designated by them, goes into the newszine office alone, locks the door, and writes up and prints the results edition. Before printing, they find someone to proofread, either someone else who knows the results (my editor year, the Ceremony head and I swapped proofreading duties; she proofed the zine, I proofed her result slides) or someone the powers that be OK to find out the results (that other year, the Hugo Administrator approved my being the proofreader for the edition the Newszine Editor had written).

    The results stats publication is done in advance by the Hugo Administrator and the copies kept hidden until after the ceremony, because it’s a 40 page long monster too long to do at con in a locked room.


    In all the furor of Puppy-ness, a fact may have been overlooked. Not only is Nora (N. K.) Jemisin up for a Hugo again this year, but so is Devi Pillai of Orbit Books, her editor. As Nora says on her blog “Give my editor a Hugo.” (The Editor Long Form category also has four other excellent finalists … and Vox Day.)

  20. @DP Richard: just curious, have you got a cite for those tens of thousands of voters for the Dragon Awards? Would love to see some stats on it!

  21. Oh yeah and re the Hugo Awards: I think it’s gonna be fun when we see the nomination and vote stats for, say, Neil Gaiman, Deadpool and China Miéville, and compare them to, say, John C. Wright, Stix Hiscock and J. Mulrooney (oh my, what elevated company JCW is in these days thanks to his good friend Ted!)

  22. Bonnie McDaniel: Seriously: Y’all do you and be happy. So will we.

    Sadly, there are too many people for whom happiness is a zero sum game: for them to be happy, someone else must be unhappy.

  23. @kathodus: “Holy crapolini, just noticed this. Has anyone seen . . . ”

    LOL, that’s hilarious! As “Law & Order” would say, Ripped From the Headlines!.

  24. @Peter J: Thanks for the reply re. “Cirsova.”

    @Camestros Felapton: Excellent! 😀

  25. @Kendall – yet that episode is from 2013! Time traveling! I only summed up the opening scene, too – there are even more bizarre correlations between the *Puppies and that episode as it goes. I think It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia was merely expressing an archetype, one the *Puppies fit into perfectly.

  26. I am wondering what happens if you tape pastrami to a ferret.

    Oh, goody. Now I have something to think about in moments of existential despair.

  27. @Lynda Manning-Schwartz: I nominated Devi Pillai, so I’ll definitely give her serious consideration. 😉 Jemisin’s post was amusing; thanks for linking to it.

  28. Kendall: Hmm, weird that Orbit’s post congratulating their nominees doesn’t list the Best Editor category.

    Possibly because Devi Pillai went to work for Macmillan in September 2016.

    But certainly much of her nomination probably rests on her being editor for The Obelisk Gate.

  29. @JJ: D’oh! Thanks, I blush now. I vaguely remember hearing that, come to think.

  30. The shortlists contain some fine works, and at this point I no longer give a flying coitus about the rabid puppies slate, and I certainly don’t care if they include works that I think deserve an award. As for the Dragon Awards, who knows? They potentially have a much bigger voting base, being free and all, and Dragon Con has come to dwarf the Worldcon. Let a thousand flowers bloom.

    It would be interesting to see the actual numbers …

  31. If this is the Alex Garner I looked up, then he is a professional artist. He is very good, but in the wrong category. The same goes for Mansik Yang.

    Sloppy work by Beale. If he had placed them in the correct category instead of the artists deemed not eligible, then they might have a shot at winning the award. Because they are really very, very good.

  32. ‘Y’all just haven’t realized that’s not air you’re breathing yet.’

    This is sf/f. Those of us who aren’t breathing hydrogen are breathing unicorn farts.

  33. Okay, so 13 of 22 of VD’s picks made it onto the ballot. As has already been mentioned, that’s 59%.

    But 3 of those are human shields/hostages/would’ve made it anyway (take your pick) — Gaiman, Mieville, and Deadpool. So let’s not credit Mr. Beale with them.

    10 of 22 is about 45%. Not that the rest of y’all haven’t already done the arithmetic …

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  37. Kendall: The % of his slate that “made it” keeps dropping – I must LOL.

    Yes, if you omit the Miéville, the Gaiman, and Deadpool — all of which might very well have made it onto the ballot on their own — the Rabid Puppies managed to sweep a whopping 7.5% of the ballot.

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