Picking Through Hugo Numbers

Some stray observations from here: https://www.worldcon76.org/images/publications/2018DetailedResults.pdf

No Award

The spectral monster that both haunts and protects the Hugo Awards haven’t gone, it merely manifests less strongly.  No Award didn’t win anything (despite the claim that categories were ‘burnt to the ground’ in 2015) but still go some votes. Four ways of looking at it:

  1. The number of initial votes
  2. The final number of distributed votes after preferences
  3. The initial rank out of 7 it got
  4. The final rank out of 7 it got after distributed preferences
  • Novel: Initial# 42  Initial Rank 7 Final# 134  Final Rank 7
  • Novella: Initial# 40  Initial Rank 7 Final# 160  Final Rank 7
  • Novelette: Initial# 48  Initial Rank 7 Final# 177  Final Rank 7
  • Short Story: Initial# 44  Initial Rank 7 Final# 167  Final Rank 7
  • Series: Initial# 103  Initial Rank 7 Final# 175  Final Rank 7
  • Related: Initial# 45  Initial Rank 7 Final# 135  Final Rank 7
  • Graphic: Initial# 73  Initial Rank 7 Final# 131  Final Rank 7
  • BDP-Long: Initial# 19  Initial Rank 7 Final# 160  Final Rank 7
  • BDP-Short: Initial# 48  Initial Rank 7 Final# 162  Final Rank 7
  • Editor-Long: Initial# 72  Initial Rank 7 Final# 138  Final Rank 7
  • Editor-Long: Initial# 76  Initial Rank 7 Final# 110  Final Rank 7
  • Prof-Artist: Initial# 51  Initial Rank 7 Final# 85  Final Rank 7
  • Semi-pro: Initial# 70  Initial Rank 7 Final# 93  Final Rank 7
  • Fanzine: Initial# 81  Initial Rank 5 Final# 201  Final Rank 7
  • Fancast: Initial# 90  Initial Rank 6 Final# 115  Final Rank 7
  • Fanwriter: Initial# 87  Initial Rank 6 Final# 149  Final Rank 7
  • Fan artist: Initial# 56  Initial Rank 7 Final# 105  Final Rank 7

In all categories the impact of No Award was minimal. I’ve highlighted categories with above-average levels of No Award. There is a constant baseline of fortyish 1st preference votes for No Award in every category. That increase with less voted on categories, which has a double effect on the proportion of votes that go to No Award. However, after preferences, No Award doesn’t make many inroads.

Two notable categories are Best Series, which got the most ‘nopes’ from voters (but still not many) and Best Dramatic Presentation – Long Form which only got 19. Obviously there is a bit of a vote against Best Series (which I can sympathise with) but its not big and had zero impact.


EPH distributes nominations in a special way that should reduce the impact of a bloc of voters.

For Best Novel EPH had little impact on the top four nominees. However, it played a significant role in positions 5 and 6. Raw votes for the contenders for positions 5 and 6 were:

  • Collapsing Empire – 134
  • New York 2124 – 128
  • The Stars are Legion – 137
  • Autonomous – 136

Kameron Hurely’s and Annalee Newitz’s books would have been finalists in the old system. Interestingly the final comparison for sixth place ended up being between Raven Stratagem and  The Stars are Legion. It’s an interesting outcome but I think it shows EPH doing what it claims it would do – leading to a set of finalists drawn from a broader base of nominations.

Novella was more conventional, the top 6 raw vote winners were the finalists. Novelette had a raw vote draw for sixth place which was resolved by EPH. Best Series was a bit of a mess due to withdrawls and inelligibility. Other categories were largely dull aside from:

  • Professional Artist, were again there was some EPH action for 5th and 6th place.
  • Fanzine, were BlackGate was unlucky not to get a sixth place position.
  • Fan Artist, again some EPH shuffling of sixth place.




27 thoughts on “Picking Through Hugo Numbers”

  1. I used No Award in a few categories to try to “block out” entries that I thought were actively harmful. None won, so I’m pleased with that.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I used No Award, too, for finalists I dislike a whole and/or did not consider Hugo worthy. In the past, I have also used it on finalists that I felt did not belong in the category in question, e.g. a podcast and a music CD in best related work.

    Coincidentally, two finalists I no awarded won this year. One of these was “The Good Place”.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’d just be happy if I never have to see a single second of The Good Place again. Besides, I figured out the big twist merely on the basis of how awful the whole thing was.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I tried to like those two episodes. I really did.

        As you said, the twist didn’t actually surprise very well. The show’s shallow dips into normative ethics (consequentialism vs. deontology vs. virtue ethics) might have been tres sophisticated for broadcast commercial television but never amounted to anything, i.e., they really had nothing to say about Philippa Foot’s trolley problem. IMO, the jokes were shallow, the wit was shallow, the acting was… workmanlike, the writing was above average but that’s not saying much.

        Part of my real problem is that, some time during the 11-year television run of M*A*S*H, I just ran out of patience with situation comedies, and now find them a waste of time. (Personal problem, I know.) But, FWIW, I ranked ‘Michael’s Gambit’ much a couple of ranks higher than ‘The Trolley Problem’ in my Hugo ballot, so obviously my taste, like yours, is out of step with the average Hugo voter for that category.


      2. The clip from “The Trolley Problem” they showed during the ceremony was very apt. Basically, they used the ethical dilemma, which is contrived anyway, to make a sight gag of splashing Kryolan blood all over the cast.

        Not to mention that I actually saw someone get hit by a tram once and while it was a disturbing experience, it doesn’t look like that. The woman survived BTW, though she was in critical condition.


  3. Regarding the impact of EPH, my Mom and I singlehandedly knocked an artist off the Retro Hugo ballot this year. The artist in question had exactly the same single digit number of nominations as another artist, but was knocked off by EPH. Now I remembered that both my Mom and I had nominated that artist and that our nominations in the Retro Hugo art category were very similar. And since the number of nominations was so low, even two people nominating similar things was enough to make an impact.

    Earle K. Bergey, I’m very sorry that i accidentally denied your descendants the chance to pick up a Retro Hugo on your behalf.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If I understand the rules rightly, you can’t actually disadvantage someone by voting for them – the boost you and your mother gave Bergey by voting for him would still be greater than the setback you gave him by coinciding. So if you had not voted for him, he would have lost simply by having fewer votes.

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  4. At least some of the NA in the editor categories, IMHO, was the idea that was going around on SM where people for some reason thought if No Award won, the category would go away. Kevin Standlee and others disabused people of that when they saw it, but I do think it had an effect.


  5. I voted many, many things (including winners not limited to spit The Good Place, which I predict will one day be spoken of alongside “They’d Rather Be Right”) below No Award, but that’s b/c I have always used NA in the letter and spirit of its definition. Namely, WTF is this doing on the ballot it sucks. I may have yelled “And Fuck YOOOOUU” while voting a few of those categories. I may have very quietly booed TGP so no one but me and the husband heard.

    But it all ended properly with NKJ winning so it’s all good. Also Mike G. Also I have lived to see George RR Martin lead a group of fen and pros in doing “The Time Warp” dance.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I booed “The Good Place” very loudly, but then I was not at the ceremony, but sitting at my computer at 6 AM in the morning, so no one but the neighbours heard and I doubt they care.

      I also called it “the worst non-Puppy Hugo finalist” and compared it to “They’d Rather Be Right”.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was glad it got nominated but two episodes seemed excessive

        Yes. Especially when its two episodes knocked out other worthy episodes by (among others) The Handmaid’s Tale, (which, after all, only won the Emmy for Best Dramatic Series) The Expanse and Luke Cage.


        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m furious that neither The Handmaid’s Tale nor Luke Cage even made the longlist, though The Expanse did. So The Handmaid’s Tale won Emmys, Golden Globes and BAFTAs, but the Hugo voters won’t even longlist it, because some people have an irrational dislike of Margaret Atwood because of something she may or may not have said more than ten years ago.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. The Expanse should have been on there. It’s not super-feminist to scare off all the fragile fanboys who are frightened and aroused by Handmaid’s Tale, and there are lots of white people on it, plus things blow up on the regular.

        I thought we weren’t supposed to have more than one ep per show anyway, which would at least have opened up one slot for Expanse.


      4. Re Atwood: I don’t think there’s any doubt that she said it; the problem is that it isn’t a complete sentence, and how the sentence began – of which there is no record, and I have looked – obviously makes a significant difference to what she meant.


      5. I tried hunting down the origin of that quote years ago and the closest I got was David Langford reporting in Ansible that he’d heard Margaret Atwood say it in a radio interview. I wish the BBC would put the interview in question online, so we finally have the full context.

        Not to mention that Margaret Atwood has clarified what she meant several times since then. Besides, she’s come out as a fan since then, who was an eager pulp and comic reader as a kid and teen. Which coincidentally didn’t surprise me, because there were often fannish references even in her otherwise mundane novels.

        But there’s still a significant number of SF fans, mostly male, who react to the mere mention of Margaret Atwood’s name with sputtering hate. I got a dose of that when Margaret Atwood won the prestigious Peace Prize of the German Booksellers’ Association and I sent Mike the link for File 770. When Mike posted it, someone in the comments immediately started ranting about how horrible Margaret Atwood is and how much better Heinlein was.


      6. The Handmaid’s Tale did make the longlist in DP-Long. Of course, it’s just after The Good Place, Season 1. I thought The Good Place was fun for what it was. I had intended, but never got around, to watching it before finalists were announced. I wouldn’t have nominated it. I would rather The Expanse, Orphan Black’s series finale, or even Game of Thrones made the ballot.

        It’s 3 or more eps of the same show that’s no longer allowed. Only one per show would be nice.


  6. It’s interesting, but not surprising, to see that New York 2140 had a lot of apparent bullet nominators (and to a lesser extent, so did The Collapsing Empire).

    Other “mini-slate”s appear to be:
    Short Story: “Confessions of a Con Girl”
    Series: Wild Cards
    Related Work: A LIt Fuse, Archive of our Own, The 2016 #BlackSpecFic Report, The Worldcon 75 Restaurant Guide, and Ursula’s Whalefall speech
    Graphic Story: 17776 and Above the Timberline
    Dramatic Presentation, Short: Star Trek Continues: “What Ships Are For”
    Editor Long: Toni Weisskopf
    Editor Short: Marguerite Kenner
    Pro Artist: John Picacio
    Semiprozine: Tähtivaeltaja
    Fanzine: Journey Planet, Banana Wings, SF Commentary
    Fancast: Storyological, Kalanadi, and Fast Forward
    Fan Writer: Alasdair Stuart, Erin Horakova, O. Westin, Chuck Tingle
    Fan Artist: Steve Stiles, Spring Schoenhuth, Maya Hahto, and most of the other names on the longlist
    YA Book: The Art of Starving, Strange the Dreamer

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I suspect that the WorldCon 75 restaurant guide, Maya Hahto and Tähtivaeltaja were all due to the lingering impact of Finnish fandom.

      And Gregory Manchess of Above the Timberline also got several nominations in best pro artist.


    2. The needn’t be actual bullets, of course, just things with low overlap. In the case of Scalzi and Robinson, I’d guess that their supporters did nominate other things, just a little removed from the wider consensus. For the other people/things which actually got on the ballot due to EPH, I can imagine them having a lot of bullet votes:Hahto, as Cora says, from Finnish fandom, Lecouffe~Deharme from people alerted to him by the Goodkind affair, Galactic Journey from its own fan club (though I nominated it along with File 700, which is as mainstream as you get).


      1. I nominated both Galactic Journey and File 770 as well. Okay, so I’m not exactly objective, since I contribute to Galactic Journey, but I wasn’t a contributor during Hugo nomination time.

        Liked by 1 person

    3. For Fancast, Rachel (Kalanadi) was the first BookTuber to make the longlist. I imagine a lot of her nominators (including me) had more BookTube channels and less podcasts on their ballots than other voters.

      BookTubers also might have been an influence for Strange the Dreamer in YA Book. It won both the popular vote and judges choice for the YA category of the BookTube SFF Awards.


  7. I would like to add that fen are so dedicated to Hugo statistics that they were poring over printouts of the final totals during the Hugo Losers’ Party.

    Yep, all the free food, booze, DJ, and dancing robots you could ever want, and there were still persons in tuxedos and sparkly dresses huddled over a small table looking at numbers (I looked quickly. They were on my way to the grilled cheese sammiches, between 2 of the bars).

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