How I’ll Be Casting My Final Hugo Vote

In two days time, WSFS will be announcing the short list of nominees for the 2015 Hugo Awards.

This announcement has already been pre-empted by at least two individuals who were informed by the Hugo Awards Committee of their impending nomination last week as is customary (done so to give folks the opportunity to decline).  This is as fine an example of disrespect for the institution as one could hope for – but not at all surprising given the constant disrespect that has been on display for the past two years from the Sad Puppy crowd.

Right now they’re probably anticipating the announcement with a certain amount of glee, since “leaks” (from the nominees most likely) seem to be indicating that a goodly percentage of those on the final ballot were championed by the Sad Puppy recommended voting slate.

Some have even voiced the fear that one or more fiction categories for the award may consist entirely of Sad Puppy nominees (or potentially worse, a combination of Sad & Rabid Puppy nominees).

That prospect is an entirely unwelcome one.

In case you’re not familiar, or in case you need a little more explanation:

Sad Puppies puts out a recommended Hugo voting slate under the false flag of seeking greater recognition for deserving yet underrepresented authors.  They do so by by creating a false equivalence between a voting slate with a political agenda behind it and non-politicized eligibility mentions.  Put simply, there is a vast divide between a post that says “btw, my novel X is eligible for the Hugo Awards this year” and “nominate these works by these authors in order to give greater recognition and influence to the political positions we embrace”.

Despite the obvious difference, Sad Puppies have managed to convince a lot of previously unconnected fans that there IS equivalence between the two and those fans, most of whom have never cared one whit about Hugos, Worldcons or organized fandom, have taken up the cause to “protect” their favorite authors from the depredations of the non-existent (yet real nonetheless) SJW cabal that is apparently bent on shoving message fiction about empowered women, empowered POCs, empowered LGBTQs down our throats through the simple expedient of insuring that the Hugo awards are only given to sub-standard works of non-science fiction.  (I loosely paraphrase their own arguments.)

But that’s not what is really going on.  At its base, Sad Puppies is about a few authors who have twigged to the fact that controversy, outrage and building an army of sycophants is good for their bottom line – especially if they can gin up a Judas goat for everyone to love to hate.  The fact that the prize at the end of all of this bullshit might be a Hugo Award for one or more of them – along with bragging rights over how successfully they’ve managed to corrupt fix the system – is the plum in the pudding.  (You’d think that a handful of creative, think-outside-the-box science fiction and fantasy authors would be embarrassed to be caught red-handed copying Fox News’ methods, but if you think about that for a second…)

Right now, a lot of involved folks are starting to seriously ask how fandom is going to handle this growing problem.  There’s strong evidence to suggest that Sad Puppies, or some faction of Sad Puppies, have begun to engage with the GamerGaters.  (Look it up.)  They’ve found another large, vocal and aggressive group that aligns with their beliefs and are suggesting that those folks join them in stuffing the Hugo ballot box.  All the while snidely remarking that “this is what everyone wanted – right?  More participation in the Hugo awards”, all the while snickering into their sleeves.

I’ve been reading a lot of the proposed solutions.  They range from giving the Hugo Awards committee more power to identify block voting, to countering Sad Puppies with a different voting slate.  (That latter just plays into Sad Puppy hands, btw.)

I’ve been looking for my own solution.  The real, long term solution is to create more participation in the voting – by people who will not be trying to turn the Hugos, Worldcon and fandom into yet another mundane political arena.  But that’s a long term solution and one that’s going to leave us with at least several more years of groaning over Hugo ballots that represent the choices of politicized fans, rather than the choices of fans.  I need a short term solution and I think I’ve found one.

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.

I’m hoping that others will see their way clear to adopting this method of protesting the corruption of the Hugo Awards.  If you don’t like what Sad Puppies is trying to do (or anyone who adopts similar means), the only successful counter strategy is to not play the game the way they want you to play it.  If you offer up counter slates – they win because you had to adopt their methods, which endorses their methods.  If you refuse to read any of their recommended works on the final ballot, you’re being a hypocrite because you’re “not letting the work stand on its own merits” and are, in fact, advancing your own political agenda by conflating the work with the views espoused by the author.  If you work at trying to get these new fans disenfranchised (by who knows what means), you’re supporting the argument that there is a special “cabal” of fans, an in-crowd and a not-so-in-crowd.  And so it goes through all of the other counter-arguments.

By approaching things this way – by using a default that applies to all works and all individuals, what I’m saying is:  I will not participate in the false choices that voting blocks are offering me.  By doing so, I’m not making a judgment on the value of the works themselves.  I’m not engaging with the political agendas of those involved.  I’m just saying that the methods being used to get certain works onto the final ballot are unacceptable to me.  I’m protesting the method, not the message. I may protest the message (and in the case of Sad Puppies I do), but those protests belong in other arenas, not the Hugo Awards.

Individuals who find themselves on a voting block who want to avoid being ranked below No Award should immediately remove themselves from those lists, or make a public statement disassociating themselves from that list.  In cases where this happens (and it already has this year), I’ll give due credence and look into things on a case by case basis.  Not removing yourself implies endorsement of the methodology, regardless of how deserving you think your work may be.

The Hugos are supposed to be a collective award, arrived at through the individual selections of individual voters.  So far as I can tell, up until last year, that is exactly what the awards were.  They’re not supposed to be a second-hand endorsement of any set of political beliefs.  If we’re supposed to judge works on their merits alone (a position seemingly supported by Sad Puppies), then the mere existence of a recommended voting slate is contradictory to that aim, and blatantly so.

What this means in the long run (which is August of 2015 in this case) is that works associated with trying to advance a political agenda may very well win an award this year – but I’ll have no part in helping them do so, while at the same time I will be dealing with this issue exactly where it belongs, and without compromising any of the other associated ideals or things I stand for.  I don’t have to worry about whether or not a nominated work is really good and deserving of the award:  if it’s on a voting slate, it’s taken itself out of the running so far as I’m concerned (a position that is easily rectified as noted previously).

I’m going to publish my final ballot once I’ve submitted it.  I’m curious to see how many categories will get the No Award treatment.



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  1. Up above in the comments Mazzic mentions that the two slates from the Sad Puppies and the Rabid puppies are likely to mean that readers and voters shun those works. I have to agree with that statement. I think a lot of people will simply avoid reading those works because of how the whole protest was orchestrated.

    For those interested in the numbers, there are 13 nominations for Castalia House, a Finland based publisher, out of 35 nominees in 7 categories (or 37% of those nominations).
    * 9 fiction nominations for Castalia House (6 of which are by John C. Wright)
    * 2 editor nominations (both are for Vox Day, editor at Castalia House)
    * 1 Sci Phi Journal (an associate of Castalia House)
    * 1 Campbell Award (Rolf Nelson is a new Castalia House author)
    (Note: there are other people who are associated in some with with Castalia House who are on the ballot, but who aren’t on the ballot through a vehicle published by Castalia.)

    All of these nominations (plus 48 others) were listed on the Sad Puppies and the Rabid Puppies recommended slates (see links below). That’s a total of 61 out of 85 nominees from their slates that made it to the final Hugo Ballot, which is a 72% fill rate from the Puppies’ organized marketing campaign.

    These slates were promoted by some representatives of Castalia House as well as friends/fans of the publisher and the Gamergate people who were recruited to vote. You can search online to find the posts. It was a well-organized protest vote that did an amazing job of targeting and bringing in nominators who were willing to spend the fee for the Supporting Membership to nominate the Puppy recommendations for the Hugos.

    There are several excellent nominations that made it to the ballot, but it’s difficult to tell which ones were part of the protest vote and which ones weren’t without comparing the final ballot to the two Puppy slates. I feel a bit sad for the folks who made it on the ballot and who were also listed on either of the Puppy ballots because no matter what side of the fence you’re on, you’ll always wonder who would have made it to the ballot if the Puppies hadn’t organized a protest vote. What authors and fiction did people think were good enough to nominate that wasn’t part of a protest movement? Those are the people we will be missing out on this year.

    For those of you who would like to know which ballot nominations came from the Puppy slates, here are some URLs to check out:
    Rabid Puppies Slate:…/02/rapid-puppies-sample-ballot/
    Sad Puppies Slate:…/sad-puppies-3-the-2…/
    Breakdown by File 770 of which pieces from each Puppy slate made it to the ballot:

  2. While I appreciate your goal, I don’t think that your solution is workable.

    Given the system that you propose, people can add books that they don’t like onto a slate and get right thinking individuals to refuse to vote for them.

  3. I looked at the Sad Puppy slate yesterday, and I realized that I had no idea who many of the people were on the list. What makes me sad is that I nominated a lot of people who wrote amazing things last year. I am now afraid that none of my nominations will make it to the ballot if people use the Sad Puppy slate as a protest vote, which is something that I heard was happening.

    I don’t know the right answer here, but I hate the idea that my nominations for terrific work written by fairly well-known authors who range from up-and-coming to well-established may get washed out by a protest vote. I truly hope that a protest vote didn’t happen during the nominating process. That would be sad.

    1. When I see works like this winning a Nebula and making the Hugo ballot:

      I understand what drives the “protest vote” you decry.

      Though I’ll simply point out that “I hate the idea that my nominations for terrific work written by fairly well-known authors who range from up-and-coming to well-established may get washed away” is what everyone who’s enjoyed Baen titles has seen happen for about twenty years.

      Yes, it’s horrible when people nominate for popular things. Utterly horrible.

      Just remember: If You Were A Dinosaur, My Love, was one of the five best short fiction nominees for the Hugo last year. It won a Nebula. Tastes vary, but I’d’ve talked to a student who turned that in to my Creative Writing class about the lack of plot development and character growth, the entire post-facto description of the conflict, rather than using the pending conflict to build reader anticipation as structural problems…and the maudlin tone as being a bit problematic.

      If you can read that, and not see where the “protest vote” comes from…

      1. The protest votes are awful. I’m sure there are some great works in the list, but the whole thing is suspect to me now. The Sad Puppies pretty much swept the ballot which tells me that the nominations this year are only to make a point. Period. Those authors now don’t know if they were really the “best” or if they just had the “best marketing campaign.” If any of them win, are they really the best or just the best of what was marketed. It’s very disappointing.

        1. If you actually read any of them, especially for best novel, you’ll fond some really great works. They probably swept the ballot because they’re works that actually tell a fun, exciting, and well written story, instead of pushing a thinly veiled and poorly conceived political message.

          1. I am sure you’re right, but I can’t get past the marketing campaign. If the Sad Puppies had not done this, what other amazing works would have made it? It just casts so much doubt. I feel like I’m voting for the Sad Puppies Awards rather than the Hugos. It’s cast a pall over the whole ballot for me. I may not vote. I’ll likely read the stories, but I doubt I’ll vote at this point. That will be my protest vote.

          2. I sincerely believe that if you read either of the two books nominated for Best Novel which were NOT on the Sad Puppy slate, you will ALSO find them to be fun, exciting, well written stories.

          3. That would be excellent if it is the case Chris. The thing is, no one is saying the non-SP nominees are bad works. What is being said is that SP-related works will be shunned without being read and considered.

          4. ” The thing is, no one is saying the non-SP nominees are bad works.”

            Mazzic, Ken Burnside was just saying that slate nominations are justified because works he considers bad (like “Dinosaur”) get nominated for awards.

            For that matter, you yourself wrote a comment strongly implying that you think people who could get nominated without the SP slate don’t write “well written stories,” but instead produce “thinly veiled and poorly conceived political message[s].”

          5. I was speaking of the context of this article, which is preemptively discounting works affiliated with SP. No one had said that the non-SP works dominated this year are, by virtue of being non-SP, bad. The issue they’ve raised is that great works have been blacklisted due to politics. And if you go read Larry Correia’s Hugo Nomination post you’ll see that he – one of the chiefs of Sad Puppies – intends to read each nomination and vote according to what is the best. Which is how it should be.

          6. Mazzic. I’ll try one more time – after which I’ll have to assume that you are deliberately missing the point:

            Rejecting any AND all works that appear on voting slates because they appear on voting slates (and absent disavowals from individuals so included) by placing ALL such works below No Award and/or by leaving them off of the ballot is directly targeted at the means employed. It is a rejection of voting slates and organized voting for the Hugos and does not make any statement whatsoever regarding the individual works/authors/producers/editors/artists who are on such lists.

            There are several works on this years ballot that I would happily vote for to win a Hugo in their category, but I will be placing them – however reluctantly – below No Award on the ballot. I’m truly knotted up over this – and equally disturbed by the negative effects that these voting slates are having across the board: they’ve probably kept other deserving works off of the ballot this year; they’ve certainly placed some authors into a bad position; they’ve complicated an already complicated process and no matter what or who wins, they will ALWAYS be the recipients of a tainted award. Most people who pay attention to the Hugos are already putting 2015 down as the year that doesn’t count, or the year where things were so gamed that we feel justified in ignoring it.

            So, once again: it IS possible to actually enjoy a particular work AND to vote it under NO AWARD because it has been included in actions that are detrimental to the awards themselves and should not be tolerated.

          7. I understand Steve that in the comments section you’ve stated, repeatedly, that your issue is with slates in and of themselves. My issue with that is that your post explicitly makes claims that take it beyond the pure claim of the wrongness of slates. Including attacking the character of men and women without evidence. And clearly not most people who pay attention to the Hugo’s are writing this year off – given that everyone who made a nomination is paying attention. Additionally, given that logic, should we not call into question every year John Scalzi publically set up a slate or the years in which Tor and affiliates backroom slated? Are those years still valid?

          8. First – where do I engage in ” attacking the character of men and women without evidence. ”

            Second – show me Scalzi’s slates. I’m aware of him doing eligibility posts, but if you can’t see the difference between those and a voting slate, we really have little to nothing to talk about.

          9. Mazzic – you’re stating the context too narrowly. The post does not preemptively discount works affiliated with SP. It preemptively discounts works that are on voting slates – of which the SP voting slate is one and RP is another, and if I discover or am made aware of others, I’ll preemptively discount the works listed on them as well.

          10. You do so in a few places. In the first paragraph you say: “This is as fine an example of disrespect for the institution as one could hope for – but not at all surprising given the constant disrespect that has been on display for the past two years from the Sad Puppy crowd.”

            Here you attack in particular Mike Williamson, who was a first-time nominee, who received only part of the email notification, and accidentally posted his nomination ahead of time. As as soon as he was made aware of this error, he pulled his post. That is not disrespect, that is an honest mistake.

            A few lines down: “Sad Puppies puts out a recommended Hugo voting slate under the false flag of seeking greater recognition for deserving yet underrepresented authors. ”

            Here you claim that those putting up the slate are liars, including folk such as John C Wright, Sarah Hoyt, and Larry Correia. I would venture to guess you don’t know these people at all nor have actually read much of what they have to say, or else purposefully chose to ignore it.

            Again, just a bit down: “But that’s not what is really going on. At its base, Sad Puppies is about a few authors who have twigged to the fact that controversy, outrage and building an army of sycophants is good for their bottom line – especially if they can gin up a Judas goat for everyone to love to hate.”

            Here you double down on the claim of deception, and add to it the motive of greed. In case you were unaware, Larry Correia, for example, has sold a ton of books previous to any of the Sad Puppy campaigns, enough so to be a very successful writer. He doesn’t need to drum up false controversy to make money, the fact he writes exciting and entertaining works does that for him. You also commit a second offense here, calling any who support SP sycophants, personally insulting myself and many others in your brash arrogance. I am an individual who loves SF and has for many, many years, and am quite capable of independent and intelligent thought.

            In your later post on the actual nominations you say this: “Some have suggested that destroying the Hugo Awards is the ultimate goal (if I can’t win, no one can) of this campaign, and this is not outside the realm of possibility. Even more reason to put a stop to it now.”

            Again, no source, no evidence, just baseless conjecture. Who exactly has stated they want to “destroy the Hugo Awards?” I’m very curious to see that evidence you can marshal.

            As for Scalzi’s slate, which is indeed couched in terms of “eligibility listing” here is one from 2008:

            Scalzi gives eight works he wants to see name of the ballot. His isn’t as robust as the SP3 lineup, but it isn’t simply “here is my work, it is eligible.” He lists out who he thinks is worthy and why (which is exactly the format taken up by Sad Puppies.)

          11. Yeah, OK. I thought you’d come back with something like that. Go believe what you want to believe, and keep on reading things through those distortion glasses, they sure do make things interesting.

          12. It is difficult to deny something when faced with actual evidence. I cannot say I’m surprised that you’re not even going to attempt to justify your accusations of deception.

            And to all the other readers, Scalzi’s slating of Hugo nominations began in 2006 and continued until 2012. Apparently his was not worthy of being protested, or drawing libel and slander, or protests that those who supported him weren’t really “of fandom.” Funny that.

          13. Okay. 2012. That’s 3 years ago. Three Years. This is 2015. Why are we accepting justifications based on old past actions? I expect better of anyone and everyone casting a nomination.

          14. The issue at hand is the claim that Sad Puppies is doing something inherently wrong (nomination slates, campaigning for certain works, etc.) That their actions require a response as petty as leaving off any and all who are associated with them off the ballot, or placing them below No Award, regardless of their actual merit. People like Steve here are acting as if this is a new and troubling trend that must be stopped or all is lost.

            It matters that John Scalzi posted a slate for seven years in a row and not a single person freaked out. Clearly it isn’t slate-ing that is the issue, or someone would have stepped forward and decried the evil being perpetrated. But they didn’t, nor did anyone step forward to slander Scalzi, claim he was attempting to destroy the Hugo Awards, or that those who read and supported the works in his slate were subhuman, or that those works were now unworthy of consideration because of their being listed in his slate. The difference with Scalzi is that he only promotes himself, whereas in the Sad Puppy campaigns a wide range of authors, editors, fan writers, etc have been given exposure.

          15. Mazzic – those were ELIGIBILITY POSTS. Works by Scalzi that were eligible in a particular year, followed by open thread posts where anyone who had a work that is eligible could post.
            First – there was a small bit of freak out over eligibility posts, as prior to them appearing on the web, very little, if any of that kind of thing had ever happened. Yes, some authors campaigned in the background (at cons, in letters, at groups meetings), but that practice is and was largely frowned upon.
            The discussion at the time was, essentially – that there was little difference between an author letting readers know a work was eligible and the same coming from publishers who were promoting works. It was also decided that – there was no way to stop it, trying to would be futile and counter-productive and – and here is the primary point – so long as they remained nothing but eligibility posts – we could accept them both for what it was (authors talking to their readers) and it remained within the spirit of the awards.
            The SP & RP slates are worlds away from what Scalzi and others have been doing.
            1. they are not merely promoting their own works, but those of others. (Scalzi’s open posts do that too, true, but they remain eligibility posts, not slates)
            2. they are distributed to other parties for wide distribution, with the intent of generating votes
            3. they are a single set of works – curated, probably to generate the greatest amount of success
            4. the list itself is accompanied by highly politicized language regarding the reasons to vote for the works – that go beyond “it’s a great story!”
            5. the purpose behind the slate is to advance a political agenda that has nothing to do with the awards themselves

            There is a vast, wide and tremendous difference between “my novel is eligible this year” or “I’m thinking of voting for her for best novel this year” and “vote for these works to send a message to the SJW cabal that they will no longer rule all of fandom”.

            Finally; this topic has been “asked and answered” any number of times already. Please move on, as it is obvious that you refuse to even acknowledge the difference and nothing more fruitful can be gained from the endless back and forth.

          16. Mazzic, your Scalzi example is more than 7 years old. If he’d done a slate this year, which I don’t think he did, I’d give you credit for that point. Do you have any current examples? I can’t find anything recent. Why do people keep harping on examples from so long ago?

            That guy Vox Day, who put the Rabid Puppies slate together, said: “They are my recommendations for the 2015 nominations, and I encourage those who value my opinion on matters related to science fiction and fantasy to nominate them precisely as they are.” At no point did he actually ask, suggest, or even recommend people to read any of the nominations. He tells them that if they value his opinion, they should nominate this list as is. He’s telling them to give up their voice and replace it with his.

            By doing THAT he effectively erased my voice, and the voices of hundreds of other people. I do not deserve that treatment from a person I never met and never knew existed until this year. That is what pisses me off about this whole mess. I do not like people treating me so poorly. He had no right to value himself and his opinions above those of everyone else in our community.

            I don’t care what John Scalzi did 7 years ago. That’s nearly a decade ago, but I do care about what Vox Day did a couple weeks ago that is affecting me today. Why is that so hard for the Puppy supporters to understand?

            I sincerely hope that every person who nominated the works on either of the Puppy slates actually read every single nomination BEFORE nominating them and that they sincerely thought “this is the best thing I have read this year.” If they didn’t, they treated me and everyone else who nominated in good faith just as poorly at Vox Day.

            The whole thing makes us all look like a bunch of cry babies…on all sides. You, me, Steve, Vox Day, John Scalzi, and anyone else who has either cried victory or cried foul. The thing that is least fair of all is that the people who were nominated have to sit through this online blowout caught in the middle. Those people got thrown to the dogs so that the Puppies could have their day.

            The people who proposed those Puppy slates did so for their own selfish ends. Given the huge number of the nominees associated with Castalia House, they really did have their own interests at heart and not “excellence” in science fiction as they claimed. And Castalia House will make some decent money off of those 13 Hugo nominations this year and for several years to come.

            I simply don’t understand why anyone would choose to support a group who so blatantly disrespectful of others. The Sad Puppies and the Rabid Puppies really do drive home the point that mean people suck.

          17. Here is his last one with the title “award pimpage” He did this for seven years running, promoting his own personal slate. You can find all of them by googling John Scalzi Award Pimpage, and adding any year between 2006 and 2012 if you need further precision.

            As for Vox Day, his slate is not the same as that of Sad Puppies, though there is indeed overlap. Vox is far and away the most extreme personality involved, hence why his slate is different, with its own title and snazzy artwork.

            If you actually go and read Brad’s or Larry’s post about Sad Puppies (or even Vox’s for Rabid) the basis is excellent, which requires reading to determine. The appeal is to people who love reading. And who, ironically, have been denied a voice in things like the Hugo Awards, as they’re not the right kind of fans. Banding together to gain a voice does not cancel out yours.

          18. Yes Mazzic – we’ve all seen what you refer to as a voting slate – a list of works by a single author, produced during the year, that are eligible for various awards.

            That is not a slate – not even in the twisted dictionary you’re looking it up in.

            I’ve read everything over there. It’s BS, plain and simple. As others have said, if you want to encourage more people to vote for the Hugos, you don’t need a slate. The appeal is also to those who want to “stick it in the SJW’s eye” – but you’re not bringing that part of it up.

            I asked, once before, and I thought nicely, for you to drop this line of discussion. I am now telling you – drop it. Find something else to talk about, as we’ve now been around this block so many times I have the license plates numbered.

          19. Well, as you continue to ignore or address at all the libel and slander you’ve spewed, with nary a quote or the barest shred of evidence, I guess there is nothing else to discuss. It is sad to see people like you touting yourself as a champion fairness and yet spreading lies and intolerance in regards to those who don’t fit your mold. I bid you good day.

          20. Scalzi’s post is a list of his own works that are eligible for that year’s ballot. That’s not even remotely the same as a large group of people getting together to vote for a slate. (In fact, even if Scalzi had posted a list of works he considered the best that year, that still wouldn’t be the same as what SP did, unless he recruited and encouraged a large group of voters to all vote the same way, expressly in order to game the system.)

            If I say “hey, I’ve published this work in 2014, please consider it for the award” – something I’ve done, actually – that’s simply not the same as me saying “hey, let’s 100 or 200 of us vote together and all nominate this list of short stories Brad chose, because otherwise stories Brad likes could be beaten out by dinosaur wereseal lesbians, plus it’s fun to stick it to the SJWs.”

            In fact, I’m completely bewildered that you think these two things are the same. Can you explain why you think they’re the same thing?

          21. Brad and Sad Puppies didn’t say say “Hey, vote for all of these works just because we say so!” They created a list of works they thought contention worthy and encouraged people to *gasp* go and read them (or watch them, in the case of the appropriate visual media categories) and if you thought them worthy, then nominate them. Not because Brad is worried that books he like might not make it, but because there had been a systematic bias by cliques to pushout anyone who doesn’t stay lockstep with certain politic positions.

            The whole point is fairness in a system that has become broken. They didn’t game the system. They suggested great works of people from all political spectrums, not just those who the SMOF approved.

          22. But Vox Day did say just that to the Rabid Puppies. He didn’t even tell them to read the works before nominating. He just said… trust my judgement and nominate this slate as it is recommended.

            The Sad Puppies and the Rabid Puppies slates were so similar that it’s hard to believe that wasn’t a coincidence. I do feel a little sorry for the Sad Puppies (who I believe came out with their slate first) because the Rabid Puppies are consuming them in social media discussions like this and they are being conflated into a single group.

            I do wish they would stand up and distinguish themselves from their Rabid peers who have engaged people from #gamergate (according to Vox himself) to come in and vote. Vox is trying to do damage and the Sad Puppies have got to stand up to the Rabid Puppies if they don’t want to get lumped into one big dog pile.

      2. Ken, “If You Were A Dinosaur, My Love” is a story that a lot of people loved and felt touched by. Yes, it doesn’t follow the typical formulas of plot development and character growth, but that’s okay. We teach those formulas to students because that’s an effective way for students to learn to write, not because those formulas are the one and only way good stories can be written.

        It’s fine if you don’t like “If You Were A Dinosaur, My Love.” But other people do, including many people who know a lot about good writing. That a story you don’t like got honored is not a good enough reason… well, for anything, frankly.

        There’s a difference between a controversial story that was nominated because enough voters loved it, like “If You Were A Dinosaur,” and works that – although they have their fans – probably would not have gotten on the ballot without being part of a slate.

  4. “It’s actually true, so let’s say it again: change the Hugos by nominating, voting and participating, or (much more slowly and far less reliably) actively making your case to the people who are nominating, voting and participating. As a pro tip, explicitly or implicitly disparaging their intelligence, taste or standing to make choices when you try to do that is unlikely to persuade them to decide anything other than that you’re probably an asshole.”
    – John Scalzi, April 5, 2013

    So I did. And I nominated a lot of the Sad Puppies slate, because I *LIKE* a lot of the SP slate. Who the hell are you to demand that “individuals who find themselves on a voting block who want to avoid being ranked below No Award should immediately remove themselves from those lists, or make a public statement disassociating themselves from that list.”

    How do you think you even have the power or authority make that statement? I am an individual with individual tastes, and I paid my money and made my selections. And so did everyone else. Is it so very hard to imagine that a bunch might really like Jim Butcher’s work? Or Kevin Anderson’s? Or, or, or??

    The irony here is just unbelievable. You, sir, will never receive a dime of my money. Scalzi’s last sentence applies.

    1. Who am I?

      Someone who regularly votes on the Hugo Awards – and someone who has a forty + year history with fandom, conventions and the award (I managed a Hugo Awards banquet back in the late 70s).

      The sad thing about your commentary is that you apparently did not read my article and are commenting here from a Sad Puppy perspective. So I’ll repeat the gist of it:


      Please listen closely as I am going to shout:



      I said: Organized voting campaigns are the exact opposite of what the Hugo Awards are about and I believe that if we go down this path (because the most immediate and potentially effective way to counter what Sad Puppies is doing is for the group that THEY claim is in the majority to do the same, and if they are in fact starting from a majority position and choose to go down that path, no work championed by underdogs (real underdogs or self-appointed underdogs), we’ll quickly see the demise of the Hugo awards, and I don’t want that to happen.

      Besides – if you’re an individual with individual tastes – why do you need someone else to tell you who and what to vote for? Us individuals with individual tastes have been voting for and handing out Hugo Awards – successfully – since 1953 without having to resort to pre-digested reading lists to make our picks.

      An finally – you last sentence seems to suggest that you’re all about the commercial aspect of things. I’d urge you to look around and tell me when and where I asked for one red cent of your money (much less a dime) to gain access to this site and everything it offers?

      1. So Steve, given your long history in Hugo Award involvement and your claim only to be against voting slates in this process, did you protest when John Scalzi began doing slates in the late 2000’s?

  5. By suggesting that people should vote no award just because they disagree with the author’s politics even though they enjoy the work, don’t you prove the Sad Puppy point? That if you don’t toe the far left ideological line then you don’t deserve a Hugo no matter how many books you sell? You sir have just convinced me to buy a supporting membership in next year’s WorldCon and look forward to the Sad Puppies 4 “slate”.

    1. Sean, I am NOT suggesting anything of the kind.

      I am suggesting that I personally will not support the use of voting slates for the Hugo Awards. None. Of any kind. From anyone.

      Nothing I wrote had anything to say about an author’s politics.

  6. I have a radical proposal

    Read all the works on the ballot in the categories you care about. Don’t vote in any category where you’ve not read the majority of the works on the ballot. Vote for the very best works in SF publishing that make the ballot.

    I mean, not every ballot can have this gracing it:, but surely 2013 was an exceptional year in publishing..

    That a professional editor is starting a NO VOTE campaign two days before the ballot is made public leaves me appalled.

    1. Ken – that’s what I do – read the stuff nominated and then vote.

      But in this case and from now on – I will not tolerate organized voting slates, nor support them. Any work on such a slate automatically goes below No Award – REGARDLESS OF WHO IT WAS WRITTEN BY, WHAT IT IS ABOUT OR WHAT THE PURPOSE OF THE VOTING SLATE WAS.

      You, like many others here, have what I’ll call “suspiciously similar” comments – and you, like many others here, have apparently not read the article and/or comprehended its content.

      I did not start a “No Vote” campaign. I started a “no voting slates” campaign.

      1. One small quibble…

        When you list a work on a ballot – in any position, whether above or below No Award – you give that work points towards winning. If you actually want to protest slates, the proper method is to leave slate nominees completely off your ballot.

        For instance, in Best Novel, three of the works were on a slate and two (to my knowledge) were not. Let’s call these 1, 2, 3, A, and B. From the text of your article, you wish to completely withhold your support from 1-3, and thus your ballot will have A and B in the top slots, followed by No Award, followed by 1-3. 1-3 are thus “below No Award” on your ballot.

        However, that’s not how the votes are actually tabulated, as a look at the post-award statistics from past years will demonstrate. To achieve your stated goal, your ballot should list A and/or B, in whatever order you prefer, then No Award, AND THAT’S ALL. Leave the slated works completely off your ballot. That is the only way to have your ballot not counted in the consideration of 1, 2, or 3.

        I would actually suggest editing your post to correct that error in methodology, to prevent others who agree with your “down with slates” position from unwittingly supporting works that they do not want to see win.

    2. I have an idea, why don’t we let people think for themselves and nominate items that they really liked rather than copying the Sad Puppies list. That’s what irks me the most. People acting like sheep. The lack of thought and engagement from individuals has been erased in favor of pre-proposed slates of nominees. Let’s just call this award what it is this year: The Sad Puppy Award.

  7. So you’re going to vote not based on merits of the works selected but based on what you perceive to be a political bias beyond the nomination, the politics of which you disagree. That sounds strangely not like voting for the best works that make the ballot, but instead discriminating against someone whose politics you dislike. How very enlightened and inclusive.

    1. No, you’re entirely incorrect.

      This has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with not wanting to see voting slates enter into Hugo Awards voting.

      1. So then why did you attack the character of the people who proposed the Sad Puppies slate, call them liars and suggest they are involving politics? Because you talked about politics, those of the SP slate, and claimed that they’re being deceptive. Which is ironic, as you’ve said repeatedly you didn’t mention politics (which is repeatedly brought up in paragraphs seven and eight of your post) despite having done so.

        You also show no evidence for the libel you spew. Do you know any of the Sad Puppies proponents? Have you spoken with them about their intentions? If you knew anything about the men and women of Sad Puppies you’d realize the brazen and laughable nature of your claim of deception.

  8. If I understand your position correctly, and the Hugo voting system correctly, you should be omitting any slate works off your voting form.

    So if the finalists are A, B, C, D, E, with C, D & E being slate nominations, then the vote should be A, B, NA, i.e. “I vote for A, then B, then No Award and have no truck with the other finalists”.

    You can vote A, B, NA, C, D meaning : “I vote for A., then B, then No Award. And if it is a choice between C or D winning, I prefer C to win.”

    If I am wrong I’m sure someone will correct me.

    1. That is my understanding as well, from last year’s discussion of this issue. Sadly, I do not have a link to the article I read which explained this in detail – but yes, “A, B, NA, full stop” is the way to go.

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