Debarkle Chapter 39: April — Part 1, the Finalists

Steve Davidson at Amazing Stories got the ball rolling. By April 2, two days from the official announcement, the rumours and leaks all pointed to some significant impact on the nominations by the Sad and Rabid Puppy campaigns. Davidson offered what he saw as a short-term solution to a longer-term problem:

“I’m going to place ANY nominee that is associated with advancing a political agenda BELOW No Award.  If that means that No Award is my top pick in one or more categories, then so be it.  (I’ll read the works in the voters pack so I can rate the works as #1 behind No Award, #2 behind No Award, etc.)

This will be a default position.  I don’t want to play the Sad Puppy’s game – nor anyone else’s who decides that they can use the Hugo Awards for purposes other than originally intended – so I’m not going to.  I don’t care what side of the political spectrum the voting slate comes from, nor what its motivations are, nor what the agenda is – good, bad or indifferent.  If a work is on a voting slate (NOT an eligibility list) then it goes below No Award.”

Intentionally or not, if the Sad Puppy slate had a major impact on the 2015 Hugo nominations then there was a real danger of the Hugo Awards becoming dominated by slates in the future. Davidson suggested that the only viable immediate response was to make use of the Hugo Awards get-out clause. In the final voting, members always have the choice for voting “no award” — a “none of the above” choice that can win a whole category if popular enough. Hugo voters had used the option regularly as a way of registering a protest vote but ‘no award’ (sometimes jokingly called Noah Ward) had only won on rare occasions.

Davidson was right to prepare himself mentally for the announcement.

The Puppies had swept the Hugo finalists. File 770 had the news:

“A total of 61 final ballot nominees appeared on Brad Torgersen’s Sad Puppies 3 list or Vox Day’s Rabid Puppies list. Only 24 nominees did not come from either list.

Six Hugo categories are completely filled with nominees from the two slates. The only category totally without puppies is Best Fanartist — doubtless because neither Sad Puppies nor Rabid Puppies recommended any fanartists.”

In fact, the Puppy supporters had technically voted for even more finalists than that. Some of their choices had been deemed ineligible and other finalists had declined their nomination. One of those declined nominations came from a surprising quarter. Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter Nemesis had actually received enough nominating votes to be a finalist but Correia had declined the nomination.

“I refused the nomination for one simple reason. The Sad Puppies campaign isn’t about any one person. I felt that ultimately my presence would be a distraction from the overall mission.

The reason I refused my nomination is that as long as the guy who started Sad Puppies stayed in, the more our opposition would try to dismiss the whole campaign as being all about my ego, or some selfish personal desire to get award recognition. Nope. I really meant it when I said I don’t care about winning anything for myself. I hope this proves that once and for all.”

Correia had included his work on the Sad Puppies 3 slate to encourage his followers to vote for the Sad Puppies 3 slate. It was, as he had said earlier in the year, a strategic move. However, by extension, as “strategy” it only made any sense if the intention was to encourage people to vote for a slate and a slate with a political objective:

“This is just one little battle in an ongoing culture war between artistic free expression and puritanical bullies who think they represent *real* fandom. In the long term I want writers to be free to write whatever they want without fear of social justice witch hunts, I want creators to not have to worry about silencing themselves to appease the perpetually outraged, and I want fans to enjoy themselves without having some entitled snob lecture them about how they are having fun wrong. I want our shrinking genre to grow. I think if we can get back to where “award nominated” isn’t a synonym for “preachy crap” to the most fans, we’ll do it.

That’s what I want. Strategically, we get there faster without them trying to spin it as all about me.”


In the headline Best Novel category, the combined Sad and Rabid Puppy slates had won three of the five finalist positions but would have won four out of five if Correia had not withdrawn. The Sad Puppy nominated Baen book Trial by Fire by Charles E. Gannon and the Rabid Puppy nominated Baen book The Chaplain’s War by Brad Torgersen both fell a few votes short of being a finalist. The addition of Correia’s withdrawal meant that despite everything, once again no Baen novels were Hugo finalists. In an added irony, one of the two Tor published novels in the finalists was the Sad/Rabid Puppy nominated The Dark Between the Stars by Kevin J. Anderson.

In the next chapters, we will look at some of the immediate and later reactions to the Puppy sweep of the finalists. However, in this chapter, I want to concentrate on the shifting nature of the finalists.

In the days that followed many of the people co-opted by Torgersen and Day as nominees for their slates discussed their inclusion. Matthew David Surridge, a writer at The Black Gate fanzine and a nominee on both the Sad and Rabid Puppy slates for Best Fan Writer, explained that he had declined a nomination. In a lengthy post he explained his fundamental objections to Torgersen’s campaign and noted that:

“Had anybody contacted me to explain the thinking behind the Puppy campaign and ask if I wanted me to be on the slate, I would have politely refused. In retrospect, I certainly should have sent everybody involved e-mails asking to be withdrawn from the Puppy lists in February. I want to sincerely apologise to everybody involved with both Puppy campaigns for not taking action at that time; and while I’m at it, I’ll also apologise to the Hugo organisers for letting things go as far as they did.”

Surridge had discovered accidentally that he was on the slates in February but thinking that it was unlikely that he’d be a finalist, he had ignored them. When contacted by the Hugo administrators, he declined. Surridge declining meant that Laura Mixon, author of the report on Requires Hate, became a finalist, which also meant that Best Fan Writer had one non-Puppy nominated finalist.

Meanwhile, fans had questioned the eligibility of several of the Puppy nominated finalists. On April 13, the list of finalists was revised. In Best Novelette, John C Wright’s “Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus” was deemed ineligible because it had been published online in 2013. That story was replaced by a non-slated work, “The Day the World Turned Upside Down” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt. In Best professional Artist, Jon Eno was disqualified and replaced with a different Puppy nominated finalist, Kirk DouPonce. In Best Novella, works by John C Wright and Tom Kratman had also been challenged as ineligible because they had been published prior to 2013, but the administrators ruled that the 2014 versions were sufficiently different.[1]

On April 14, there were two more high profile withdrawals. Annie Bellet pulled her short story “Goodnight Stars” from the Hugos, saying:

“I am withdrawing because this has become about something very different than great science fiction. I find my story, and by extension myself, stuck in a game of political dodge ball, where I’m both a conscripted player and also a ball. (Wrap your head around that analogy, if you can, ha!) All joy that might have come from this nomination has been co-opted, ruined, or sapped away. This is not about celebrating good writing anymore, and I don’t want to be a part of what it has become.”

On the same day, Larry Correia’s writing friend and previous Sad Puppy nominee Marko Kloos withdrew his novel Lines of Departure. Kloos explicitly linked his withdrawal to Vox Day’s role in the results:

“It has come to my attention that “Lines of Departure” was one of the nomination suggestions in Vox Day’s “Rabid Puppies” campaign. Therefore—and regardless of who else has recommended the novel for award consideration—the presence of “Lines of Departure” on the shortlist is almost certainly due to my inclusion on the “Rabid Puppies” slate. For that reason, I had no choice but to withdraw my acceptance of the nomination. I cannot in good conscience accept an award nomination that I feel I may not have earned solely with the quality of the nominated work.

I also wish to disassociate myself from the originator of the “Rabid Puppies” campaign. To put it bluntly: if this nomination gives even the appearance that Vox Day or anyone else had a hand in giving it to me because of my perceived political leanings, I don’t want it. I want to be nominated for awards because of the work, not because of the “right” or “wrong” politics.”

Ironically, Bellet’s withdrawal did not improve the ballot any. Late in the nomination process, many Puppy supporters had become aware that Megan Grey’s “Tuesdays With Molakesh the Destroyer” was ineligible as it was officially published in 2015. The slates had added other stories as replacements so there was effectively seven Sad/Rabid Puppy nominated stories to choose from. With Grey’s story removed, John C Wright’s The Parliamentof Beasts and Birds had gained a spot. With Bellet’s story also removed, Steve Diamond’s “A Single Samurai” was added. The whole category was still Sad/Rabid Puppy nominees but the net effect was the field had shifted from 3 women & 2 men to 1 woman and 4 men.

Kloos withdrawal though had a dramatic impact on the set of finalists. His novel was replaced by The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu translated into English by Ken Liu. Translated works had been Hugo finalists before but it was unusual and the novel which had been hugely popular in China, was a genuinely different novel. The net effect of the change was that the Best Novel Category now had three finalists that were on neither the Sad or Rabid Puppy slates and only two that were.

There were two further last-minute changes. Edmund R. Schubert (Editor, Short Form) of the magazine Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show withdrew, as did the fanzine Black Gate. However, both of them had left it too late for the ballots to be changed[2].

This left the choice like this { on a Puppy slate}[3]

Best Novel (1827 nominating ballots)

  • Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie (Orbit US; Orbit UK) [Not slated]
  • The Dark Between the Stars by Kevin J. Anderson (Tor Books) [Sad & Rabid Slates]
  • The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison (Sarah Monette) (Tor Books)[Not slated]
  • The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu (Tor) [Not slated]
  • Skin Game by Jim Butcher (Roc Books)

Best Novella (1083 nominating ballots)

  • Big Boys Don’t Cry by Tom Kratman (Castalia House)
  • “Flow” by Arlan Andrews, Sr. (Analog, Nov 2014)
  • One Bright Star to Guide Them by John C. Wright (Castalia House)
  • “Pale Realms of Shade” by John C. Wright (The Book of Feasts & Seasons, Castalia House)
  • “The Plural of Helen of Troy” by John C. Wright (City Beyond Time: Tales of the Fall of Metachronopolis, Castalia House)

Best Novelette (1031 nominating ballots)

  • “ Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium” by Gray Rinehart (Orson Scott Cards InterGalactic Medicine Show, May 2014)
  • “Championship B’tok” by Edward M. Lerner (Analog, Sept 2014)
  • “The Day the World Turned Upside Down” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt, translated by Lia Belt (Lightspeed Magazine, April 2014) [Not slated]
  • “The Journeyman: In the Stone House” by Michael F. Flynn (Analog, June 2014)
  • “The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale” by Rajnar Vajra (Analog, Jul/Aug 2014)

Best Short Story (1174 nominating ballots)

  • “On A Spiritual Plain” by Lou Antonelli (Sci Phi Journal #2, Nov 2014)
  • “The Parliament of Beasts and Birds” by John C. Wright (The Book of Feasts & Seasons, Castalia House)
  • “A Single Samurai” by Steven Diamond (The Baen Big Book of Monsters, Baen)
  • “Totaled” by Kary English (Galaxy’s Edge Magazine, July 2014)
  • “Turncoat” by Steve Rzasa (Riding the Red Horse, Castalia House)

Best Related Work (1150 nominating ballots)

  • “The Hot Equations: Thermodynamics and Military SF” by Ken Burnside (Riding the Red Horse, Castalia House)
  • Letters from Gardner by Lou Antonelli (The Merry Blacksmith Press)
  • Transhuman and Subhuman: Essays on Science Fiction and Awful Truth by John C. Wright (Castalia House)
  • “Why Science is Never Settled” by Tedd Roberts (
  • Wisdom from My Internet by Michael Z. Williamson (Patriarchy Press)

Best Graphic Story (785 nominating ballots)

  • Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal [Not slated]
  • Rat Queens Volume 1: Sass and Sorcery [Not slated]
  • Saga Volume 3 [Not slated]
  • Sex Criminals Volume 1: One Weird Trick [Not slated]
  • The Zombie Nation Book #2: Reduce Reuse Reanimate

Dramatic Presentation (Long Form) (1285 nominating ballots)

  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier [Not slated]
  • Edge of Tomorrow [Not slated]
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Interstellar
  • The Lego Movie

Dramatic Presentation (Short Form) (938 nominating ballots)

  • Doctor Who: “Listen” [Not slated]
  • The Flash: “Pilot”
  • Game of Thrones: “The Mountain and the Viper”
  • Grimm: “Once We Were Gods”
  • Orphan Black: “By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried” [Not slated]

Best Editor (Short Form) (870 nominating ballots)

  • Jennifer Brozek
  • Vox Day
  • Mike Resnick
  • Edmund R. Schubert [withdrew]
  • Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Best Editor (Long Form) (712 nominating ballots)

  • Vox Day
  • Sheila Gilbert
  • Jim Minz
  • Anne Sowards
  • Toni Weisskopf

Best Professional Artist (753 nominating ballots)

  • Julie Dillon [Not slated]
  • Kirk DouPonce
  • Nick Greenwood
  • Alan Pollack
  • Carter Reid

Best Semiprozine (660 nominating ballots)

  • Abyss & Apex Wendy Delmater editor and publisher
  • Andromeda Spaceways In-Flight Magazine Andromeda Spaceways Publishing Association Incorporated, 2014 editors David Kernot and Sue Burtsztynski
  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies edited by Scott H. Andrews [Not slated]
  • Lightspeed Magazine edited by John Joseph Adams, Stefan Rudnicki, Rich Horton, Wendy N. Wagner, and Christie Yant [Not slated]
  • Strange Horizons Niall Harrison Editor-in-Chief [Not slated]

Best Fanzine (576 nominating ballots)

  • Black Gate edited by John O’Neill[withdrew]
  • Elitist Book Reviews edited by Steven Diamond
  • Journey Planet edited by James Bacon, Chris Garcia, Alissa McKersie, Colin Harris and Helen Montgomery [Not slated]
  • The Revenge of Hump Day edited by Tim Bolgeo
  • Tangent Online edited by Dave Truesdale

Best Fancast (668 nominating ballots)

  • Adventures in SciFi Publishing Brent Bower (Executive Producer), Kristi Charish, Timothy C. Ward, Shaun Ferrell & Moses Siregar III (Co-Hosts, Interviewers and Producers)
  • Dungeon Crawlers Radio Daniel Swenson (Producer/Host), Travis Alexander & Scott Tomlin (Hosts), Dale Newton (Host/Tech), Damien Swenson (Audio/Video Tech)
  • Galactic Suburbia Podcast, Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts (Presenters) and Andrew Finch (Producer) [Not slated]
  • The Sci Phi Show Jason Rennie
  • Tea and Jeopardy Emma Newman and Peter Newman [Not slated]

Best Fan Writer (777 nominating ballots)

  • Dave Freer
  • Amanda S. Green
  • Jeffro Johnson
  • Laura J. Mixon [Not slated]
  • Cedar Sanderson

Best Fan Artist (296 nominating ballots)

  • Ninni Aalto [Not slated]
  • Brad W. Foster [Not slated]
  • Elizabeth Leggett [Not slated]
  • Spring Schoenhuth [Not slated]
  • Steve Stiles [Not slated]

The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer (not a Hugo, now called The Astounding Award) (851 nominating ballots)

  • Wesley Chu [Not slated]
  • Jason Cordova
  • Kary English
  • Rolf Nelson
  • Eric S. Raymond

Next Time: April Part 2 – Early Reactions



71 responses to “Debarkle Chapter 39: April — Part 1, the Finalists”

  1. I’m sure you’ll get into it more as you reach the award ceremony, but one of the things that struck me in the long run was how much the puppies underestimated the No Award option. Like, I don’t know if they honestly thought these were great works that they thought deserved recognition, or if they were hoping to just own the libs, but they definitely seemed to think that in the categories they dominated, that was IT. They had those locked and one of theirs had to win, no question.

    I still remain befuddled by the inclusion of either Sheila Gilbert or Anne Sowards on their slates.

    Liked by 3 people

    • They thought they were going to be greeted as heroes. They believed that once people read the flashy adventure fiction they put on the ballot (let’s leave aside the fact that much of it wasn’t the flashy adventure fiction they claimed they wanted to advance), that the masses of Hugo voters would be so grateful at being rescued from the “message fiction” they claimed the secret cabals had forced upon them, they would be hailed as liberators.

      They didn’t realize that the people who had put the “message fiction” the Pups openly expressed disdain for on the ballot year after year were the same people they expected to greet them as heroes. They also proceeded to repeatedly insult the Hugo electorate over the next several months. The fact that the Puppy nominations were, taken as a whole, a really weak set of finalists (and that’s putting it politely), also hurt them a lot.

      Liked by 6 people

      • There’s a fundamental misunderstanding the puppies had about the nature of “message” fiction – that a work of fiction was possible that *wasn’t* “message fiction.” I’m trying to picture a work of fiction that is all signifier and no signified and it’s kind of breaking my brain a bit. LOL

        Liked by 1 person

    • Since Puppies have no knowledge of the field, the history, the Hugos, etc. they thought it was like a political election; someone’s gonna win no matter how unpopular. “None of the above” doesn’t win in politics, and they’re all about politics, so as long as their buddies voted for them, one of them was going to win, right?


      Just look at the finalists for BDP at the 1977 awards:

      Carrie, Logan’s Run, The Man Who Fell to Earth, Futureworld.
      Mostly based on popular novels, often starring popular actors. Not at all niche works.

      Who won: No Award.

      Because by the time voting came around, everyone had seen Star Wars and Close Encounters, and the previous year’s nominees just didn’t come up to that.

      If (indirectly) Stephen King, Nolan/Johnson, Crichton, and Bowie can’t win, the yapping canines should have known they didn’t stand a chance.

      And no one involved with those movies went out of their way to repeatedly insult the voters, unlike Puppies did.

      Liked by 3 people

      • “Since Puppies have no knowledge of the field, the history, the Hugos, etc. they thought it was like a political election; someone’s gonna win no matter how unpopular. “None of the above” doesn’t win in politics, and they’re all about politics, so as long as their buddies voted for them, one of them was going to win, right?”

        In libertarian SF, the idea “No Award” for political elections has been used – as in L. Neil Smith’s “Probability Broach” series (one of the most famous of libertarian SF works), in which the equivalent of the US went without a President when No Award was preferred above all the candidates.


  2. The Hugo Awards did their job of introducing me to a work I was unfamiliar with, and thoroughly enjoyed: Ms Marvel.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Same here. I’d vaguely heard about it, but I don’t follow comics news much. But wow! Ms. Marvel is both up to date and old-fashioned comic-y fun. Kid with a secret identity from an unexpected superpower, looks up to older superheroes, things get punched, and the art was pleasing to the eye.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Correia wimped out, pure and simple. He’s a very thin-skinned guy who knew he couldn’t take the heat that was coming. So he got off the ballot.

    And what told him the heat was coming? In the 2014 Hugo race, the final stats revealed not only that his book finished behind four other nominees, but that in the runoff for fourth place he came in behind No Award, And even though he outpolled No Award for fifth place it wasn’t by that much — 1,052 people put No Award ahead of his book. Which was EIGHT TIMES as many No Award votes as were cast at the same point of the 2013 Best Novel Hugo runoff.

    Larry may have been the only one who saw the writing on the wall — the rest of us were preoccupied worry about the huge numbers of supporting memberships and what they might mean in 2015.

    In hindsight, Larry bailed and left his pals to get hammered.

    Liked by 5 people

    • You’re probably right and Correia saw the writing on the wall and withdrew rather than get no awarded. Which still begets the question, why did he let the other slate finalists, people he supposedly likes, run into the open knife. At the very least, he could have warned Brad Torgersen.

      Liked by 1 person

        • In addition, Brad radiated this energy for the project that suggests it looked to him like a wonderful opportunity to take over Larry’s spotlight for his own bloviating. What Larry wanted to avoid seems to have been a price Brad happily paid to magnify the attention he was getting.

          Liked by 5 people

      • I also suspect that Correia realized that this was the moment that the Sad Puppy campaign outlived what usefulness it had as a marketing gimmick. Remember, one of the fundamental truths of the Pups is that most of them believe that if you aren’t marketing your work, you’re wasting your time.

        Liked by 4 people

      • The puppys did underustimated the anger that their tactics produced and they believed they were a lot more than they were.
        Without the backlash some of them could have finished above no award.
        I would bet Sheila Gilbert and Anne Sowards would have done that, perhaps even 2015 if they weren’t nominated in that category and Beale wasn’t there as nightmare to Hugovoters.
        Others had no chance in hell to beat no award. Transhuman and Subhuman: Essays on Science Fiction and Awful Truth and Wisdom from My Internet come to my mind.
        Butcher was if I remember correctly one of the nominees who had a chance to beat no award. Anderson not so much. (it is interesting, that even if nearly everyone seems to hate his novel, there were a lot of people who were happy for him and he got less backlash than other puppys personally)
        In short even if Larry believed that he would have faced more backlash than other nominees, he should have forssen that some nominees would finish behind no award. But this is not an excuse for other puppys. It wasn’t predictable that nearly every nominee would finish behind no award, but they should have prepared that a lot would, if they had read them, themselves.

        Liked by 2 people

      • The only reason that I didn’t No Award the Anderson novel, but put it in last place was that it had no chance in hell of winning anyway and that I felt a bit sorry for Anderson, because absolutely no one seemed to like that book (well, it was dreadful), not even the people who nominated it.


      • I recall reading it and thinking that it assumed you knew a lot of backstory about the characters and universe that I assumed must have been presented in the previous books that I had not (and still haven’t) read.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Pretty much yes, but as I have pointed out elsewhere, the Pups as a group are a collection of dim bulbs, so being the brightest of the bunch is a really low bar to clear.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I read – or at the minimum started – everything in the Hugo package because I was stuck at home with a broken ankle. Years later I’ve got two reactions to the Puppy list: “yep, that sucked” and “don’t remember that one”.

    Liked by 7 people

  5. Larry Correia says:

    I think if we can get back to where “award nominated” isn’t a synonym for “preachy crap” to the most fans, we’ll do it.

    Funny how he thought getting John C. Wright’s “preachy crap” on the ballot was going to help convey that message.

    Liked by 7 people

  6. Quote for the day: one thing made perfectly clear here is that the sad Puppies demonstrably understand both the hugos and their opposition far better than their opposition understands the hugos or sad puppies.
    Xdpaul 05.04.2015

    I think that aged really well (sarcasm mode)

    Liked by 3 people

    • Yeah, Daniel Eness (xdpaul) was definitely a Bear of Little Brain. His comments were at best incoherent, and at worst, word salad. I think Mike actually gave xdpaul a lot of rope before he finally hung himself and got banned at the end of the year.

      If they hadn’t been such nasty people, I’d have felt sorry for a lot of the Puppies. Because it was clear that a lot of them had the intelligence level of grade-schoolers, and it was just painful to see such inept and inadequate people trying so hard to engage in debate with the intelligent adults at File 770 and failing so miserably.

      Liked by 2 people

    • “Opposition” meaning the Rapid Puppies? “Understand …far better” but got less of their crap on the ballot? Why am I trying to make sense of this?!


      • Sorry Laura, I should have sad that this was from a puppy, but it was to obvious for me. (one of the writers of a nom for the next year), so oposition was either the non-Puppies, the Torconspiracy or the SJWs (last two not existing). It was posted in the hightime, of the “yeah we are the winners” of a lot of puppies.
        I posted it, because braging that the understand anythink about the Hugos or the culture behind worldcon was interesting for the time after,

        Liked by 1 person

        • Ok, I was thinking he was referring to those in opposition to the Hugos (going to more women, poc, etc.). So all I could untangle from that was a sad puppy saying they understood things better than the Rabid Puppies. It doesn’t make any more sense now that I realize what he meant!


          • Given that almost none of the Puppies knew that No Award was a possibility – and a quite likely one – obviously they did not understand the Hugos well at all.

            Liked by 4 people

  7. I don’t know enough about the history of the Hugos, but was No Award added as an option from the very beginning to keep people from trying to game the Hugos?

    I am like a lot of people who were eligible to vote and to nominate for the Hugos: I never read enough stuff to feel qualified to either nominate or vote. On the other hand, when the puppies decided to take over the Hugos, I felt perfectly qualified to vote No Award for anyone on the slate. (I think I did read both non-slate novels and voted my preference.)

    By the way, I was in the audience in Spokane when the Hugo results were announced and I was close enough to observe the Baen editor who was on the slate. Her body language, as the puppy candidates were “no awarded” was very telling: she was not a happy camper. The circus atmosphere of people applauding the no award results seemed to annoy her as well. It was a rout for the people on the slate.

    Me and my partner also spent a lot of time in the business meetings that con. Considering that partner is not a morning person that was pretty notable as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • FiveAcresWithaView: I don’t know enough about the history of the Hugos, but was No Award added as an option from the very beginning to keep people from trying to game the Hugos?

      No, it was added decades ago as a way for Worldcon members to say, “I don’t think this work is deserving of being on the Hugo ballot.”

      FiveAcresWithaView: The circus atmosphere of people applauding the no award results seemed to annoy her as well.

      Well, she made it clear in various ways that she was a supporter of the Puppy philosophy, and she sat in the hotel lobby chatting with a bunch of them at one point. I gather that up close the applause seemed more pervasive than it actually was. I was in the center of row… maybe 25 or 30? and it wasn’t that loud or persistent. Once the first No Award was announced and Gerrold said “no booing”, I think a lot of people realized that things were going to be okay and relaxed.

      Liked by 4 people

      • As I recall, Gerrold’s “no booing” comment was intended to save some face for the Pups, since it became apparent early in the ceremony that people were going to loudly boo all of the Puppy nominees as they were announced unless such a prohibition was announced.

        Of course, the Pups decided this meant that Gerrold was saying that it was okay to cheer when “no award” won over the Pup nominees and he was being mean to them. You simply cannot do anything nice for the Pups that they won’t twist into an attack.

        Liked by 4 people

    • What is the history of No Award? Was it something that people started writing in that later became an official option?


    • No award was probably added to give the voters a choice. There was/is no garantie that a catagory does produce a worthy candidate every year. I think (that is speculation) the dramatic presentation first added 1958 and no awarded 1959 (under a different name both times) and still the category mostly no-awarded may have played a role.
      Trying to game the Hugos happened more than 20 years later, I think. 2 times, one the strange cases with the fake nominations, and second the Scientologynominations for Hubbart. (And one did not stay on the ballot, so prior to the puppys it was only used once because of the reason)
      Prior to the puppys there was the tenor, we are fans, we are not acting like that.
      On other reason to vote no award is that you think, a category shouldn’t exist.
      Note Vox Day wasn’t no awarded because Sad Puppys 2 was seen as cheating (no other slatenominee finish under no award), he was no awarded, because of the quality of his writing and his persona (an extreme case in both).

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sad Puppies 2 was seen as cheating and Vox Day’s bad writing confirmed it. I think people were just more reluctant about using No Award that year. Vox Day doesn’t even drop below No Award until the 4th round. It was a near thing for Larry Correia’s novel which dropped below No Award in the 4th round and just squeaked ahead of No Award in the final round 5.

        Usually you can believe that nominations are legitimate even if you don’t personally agree that they’re Hugo-worthy or fit the category. You can see how something is liked even if you don’t get it. And as you said, sometimes No Award is in response to the whole category — not the particular finalists.


  8. The Puppies forgot about primaries versus the general — much fewer people vote in primary elections than in general ones. There were always substantially fewer voters for the nomination finalists for the Hugos than there were for the Hugos themselves. Most people voting for the Hugos weren’t that aware of the Puppies running a large, organized slate or at least that they had an influx of Gamergater voters coming in to vote for that slate. So the Puppies were able to game the nominations election because of the loophole and catching Hugo voters sleeping and not paying attention. There was no cabal organizing against them.

    But the “general” election of the Hugos where the winners are decided, is a much bigger deal to Hugo voters/WorldCon attendees. Hugo voters, as we’ve discussed before, take reading the nominees to decide their votes very seriously. They pay attention to the finalists. They turn out in bigger numbers and they set higher standards for the winners. And what they saw was that the Puppies had gamed the nominations with a voting slate and were offering them a lot of dreck as nominated fiction and related works that came from Beale’s publishing house, weird outlets and the pens of those organizing the campaign. They were now aware of the influx of Gamergate voters and how they were threatening a lot of much liked SFF authors. They saw nominees dropping out because they’d been drafted onto the Puppy slate against their will and didn’t like what the Puppies were doing at all.

    The Puppies went back and forth about whether they were trying to “blow up” the Hugo Awards in rationales, but the success of the voting slate and the lack of quality in those slate choices who remained showed that they were definitely trying to humiliate the Hugos and Hugo voters. An image they’d back up by making up conspiracy theories and insulting those Hugo voters during the general election. The Puppies thought with the Gamergate voters that they would still be able to overwhelm other Hugo voters, at least for a few of their choices. Instead, they were facing a larger, highly motivated, upset, slandered, dedicatedly judgemental and thorough voting body who had a No Award option.

    As was used as an analogy at the time, they’d showed up to the party and crapped in the punch bowl and figured they had enough of an army to clap for it. They did not. Instead, the Puppies showed to many people who hadn’t thought about it much just how much bigotry most marginalized authors got in the industry. And it didn’t help that the Puppies were blatantly trying to game the Hugos for marketing purposes. Fiction readers are marketing resistant — they don’t like to be marketed to and authors who are seen as overly pushy on that front usually face pushback. Political issues aside, the Puppies were trying to override Hugo voters to get a publicity boost. That didn’t go over well either.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Kat Goodwin: the Puppies were able to game the nominations election because of the loophole and catching Hugo voters sleeping and not paying attention

      It wasn’t that Hugo voters were “sleeping and not paying attention”. A lot of us were paying attention. But apart from what we did, which was talking about and nominating what we enjoyed and hoping the Puppies didn’t have enough mindless drones to nominate their slate onto the ballot, the only possible response was for alternate slates to be promoted. And that was not an option, for obvious reasons (aka, it’s cheating).

      As far as heading off the Puppies by motivating more people to nominate: analysis of the statistics by people who specialize in it was that, due to the divergence of opinions among nominators, even increasing the number of nominators by a factor of (IIRC) 5 wasn’t going to override the slating.

      Most Hugo voters knew about the vulnerability in the process. But for 60 years, no one apart from the Scientologists had wanted to be “that asshole”. Once the Puppies demonstrated that they were quite willing to be those assholes, Worldcon members changed the process to fix the vulnerability.

      Liked by 5 people

      • As far as heading off the Puppies by motivating more people to nominate: analysis of the statistics by people who specialize in it was that, due to the divergence of opinions among nominators, even increasing the number of nominators by a factor of (IIRC) 5 wasn’t going to override the slating.

        Yes, to increase a slate vote by by a factor of n, you need n times as many slate voters. But to increase an organic vote by a factor of n, you need n² times as many organic voters. If you just wanted to guarantee at least one organic candidate per category, you needed at least 5 times as many organic voters. But if you wanted to eliminate zero-value slate candidates, you needed something like 1000 times as many organic voters.

        It was profoundly discouraging, particularly since Eric and I created Rocket Stack Rank for the purpose of increasing the number of people nominating short SFF. After we’d had the site up for a few months, I sat down to try to calculate how much of an increase in nominations we really needed. We were stunned. So we got behind EPH 100% and decided that RSR would exist just for the purpose of encouraging people to read more short SFF.

        Liked by 8 people

      • Obviously there is a much bigger pool of possible authors for nomination votes than finalists votes (as is typical for a primary,) so to be effective at the nomination level, you need a large amount of voters all voting the same way, much less likely to occur. The Puppies had the slate and they got the Gamergaters and that proved effective enough.

        Some Hugo voters did organize trying to get more potential voters aware and to buy associate memberships and join in the nomination process to counter the Puppies’ slate strategy, not for voting for a specific counter slate, but just to get more non-Puppy fans to weigh in when those non-Puppies might not have otherwise bothered with the nomination primary and just have waited for the finalists, (this does not count all the WorldCon attendees who don’t vote for Hugos at all.) The Puppies declared this effort to get more people involved in the nomination vote to be evidence of 1) the SJW cabal trying to run their own slates and otherwise cheat/rig the Hugos; and 2) that their own GOTV efforts were obviously working to get more people to participate and thus their very rude slate was totally justified.

        But the reality also is that fewer WorldCon attendees and associates in total vote for the Hugo nominations than vote for the finalists. And a lot of those WorldCon members thereby were unaware of the Puppies at all and that they were running a slate at the nomination level. They only found out about it when the finalists turned up to be a Puppy fest. This was not a failure on the Hugo voters’ part, so my use of the phrase “caught them sleeping” was probably the wrong choice of words. It was simply a natural part of the Hugo voting process because, as you point out, nobody was expecting any group to hijack the Hugos with a voting slate.

        Which brings us to the main reality of the Hugos — the high standards that Hugo voters themselves usually have about the awards. What the Puppies did was technically not cheating — there were no rules against doing a voting slate. But there was a code of honor informally followed by Hugo voters most of the time and considered to be an important responsibility to follow — no slates, read finalists before voting as much as possible, etc. And even in the face of the Puppies’ invasion campaign, when they knew of it, the Hugo voters were not going to take advantage of the same loophole to run counter slates.

        The Puppies claimed that the Hugo voters didn’t have any of these standards, had been running voting slates for years and would run them now. Further, they accused some authors of cheating and changing the votes themselves — at least until they got their majority on the nominations. By ignoring Hugo protocol and culture or declaring them fake, the Puppies sought to essentially destroy those protocols and culture. And the efforts of WorldCon members to then close the honor system loophole at the nomination level was declared not preserving fairness but instead just more vote rigging by the Puppies. The further efforts to get people to buy associate memberships and vote for the Hugo finalists were also declared a voting slate effort by the Puppies, as was the use of No Award. Anything would be, because they had to justify the lack of standards and Hugo tradition they were banking on. But those standards and traditional culture that the majority of Hugo voters followed did them in.


  9. I very confidently predicted that the Puppy dominated categories would go to No Award and with one exception (Dramatic Presentation LF) was 100% spot on.
    So spot on in fact that puppy affiliates accused me of having inside information (a thread they had previously raised in their claims of cabals and vote-fixing).
    All it took was intimate experience with Fandom and knowledge of how the majority have reacted when some external entity foolishly decides that it’s a good thing to attack an institution that they know nothing about.
    Fandom’s history is punctuated with instances of the majority of fans – even those ideologically opposed to one another – band together when the institutions of Fandom are attacked – especially when the attack is perceived as one that is attempting to “take over Fandom”, and even more so when the attackers themselves are perceived as being clueless about Fandom.
    The fact that both stripes of puppies hammered on commercial success – dollars and sales figures – clearly identified them as being clueless about Fandom.
    Being ignorant of Fannish history put paid to them in the long run. One quick review of Moskowitz’s The Immortal Storm would have convinced them of two things: they shouldn’t have read The Immortal Storm and they shouldn’t have messed with Fandom.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Since we didn’t know the makeup of the voters until the stats came out, from which we could deduce the lower-than-feared number of Puppy voters. That’s why other people weren’t predicting this — they felt constrained by the available information.


      • I made my guesttimates based on the same info everyone else had and, again, given the online discussion, the increasingly desperate BS from puppies of all stripes, watching what I could of sign-ups (size of the membership) and the essential abandonment of the entire enterprise by VD the closer the actual voting got, I felt very strongly that he and others had not done nearly enough to acquire the votes required to overcome a projected higher than usual participation.
        I saw little on the web to suggest that the gamergate crowd was buying in; other clues: when Kowal offered to buy membership(s), the puppies complained – but they did not offer a counter program (we’ll buy memberships too); no major campaigns by Torgerson or Wright or others using their names and appealing to their fan base.
        But making predictions only gets remembers when you’re right anyways….


%d bloggers like this: