My Final Hugo Ballot

Note:  Below my commentary & critiques on various nominees, you will find a screen-captured reproduction of my final ballot, the one submitted electronically to Sasquan.

Notes on various awards

Best Novel.

Only three works were eligible for consideration based on my determination not to reward the pupfans who thought it would be funny to poke the SJW’s in the eye by way of screwing with a 75 year old tradition.* They were:

Ancillary Sword, Goblin Emperor, The Three Body Problem

I gave the top slot to Ancillary Sword after having made it about a third of the way through Three Body Problem. I’d originally expected to be giving the top slot to TBP; I’d heard great things about it from the translator and I’ve been championing the community’s engagement with Chinese works for about a year now. Unfortunately, I found TBP to be slow to develop, and, at least for me, a bit off in its metaphor and simile. I found some of that to be jarring rather than descriptive.

Ancillary Sword, on the other hand, was an even quicker read for me than Justice (probably so at least partially due to being familiar and comfortable with the gender play), and I found it to be perhaps an even stronger story than Justice, and certainly a middle third that transcends the usual problems of middle thirds of trilogies.

I don’t do fantasy (my fault: I just can’t get past the initial premise that nothing in the story is potentially real) and have given it the third slot out of courtesy at this point in time. Now that I’ve gotten the Hugo Packet, I’ve had a chance to skim GE.  I’m leaving it in the number three slot, despite its apparent love of faux ye olde englysh in the dialogue.

The fourth slot is, and will remain, for No Award, as the remaining two entries were slatened entries.  I was hoping that Anderson and Butcher would at least state something regarding their inclusion publicly, though I understand their reluctance to screw with their successful careers by getting mired in the politics.  At this point in time they’ll pretty much piss off a segment of their audience no matter what they say.  Sorry guys, for whatever “guilt by association” may be present here, but you are on the slate, you’ve not written anything to disabuse me of the presumption that you are there willingly and I promised myself and everyone reading the website that I would vote ANYTHING on ANY slate below No Award – despite whatever personal feelings I may have about their individual worthiness.

Best Novella

All slatened works.  Therefore, No Award, and only No Award.  You may disagree with my position, but you will at least get consistency.

OK.  I tried to read Flow by Andrews.  I was done inside of the first column of the first page, but continued scanning further out of some twisted sense of responsibility.  It came across as flat, uninteresting and labored, with lines like these:

After taking the bag of coppers for the berg information and giving over The Tharn’s accountant a third of the take, Rist had questioned the winning broker about the final destination of his purchased bergs. “What do you care, boy?” the grizzled merchant, whose redtrimmed furs designated his merchant’s profession, snarled. “You got your coppers, in a few hands of dims I’ll get back those and more from the buyers in the Warm Lands.”


Each net-man was dressed in a skimpy, darkblue loincloth, wearing short black boots with spiky soles. So that’s how they move about this berg without slipping.Interesting! Better than us; they don’t need safety poles. The bulk of the men began hammering long iron poles into the surface at the front of the berg, with large hammers. The leader of the netmen, wearing what appeared to be over-sized gloves of some thick material, pulled out a cutting tool that looked like the clippers that the sewing-wen of Tharn’s town used to cut beezt hide and other materials. But it was at least three times as large. These gloves, these tools, were made for larger People, Rist thought. Why don’t they make smaller ones, for themselves? He carved that question on his totem, for later analysis

(The net-men need gloves but they only wear “skimpy dark blue loincloths” ? Okay….)

Where’s Rists fur-trimmings?  What color are they and what profession do they designate?  Obviously, there is no need to go on.

Big Boys Don’t Cry by Tom Kratman.

Well.  Hmmm.  I like Laumer’s BOLOs better.

Fan Writer.

Laura Mixon, hands down.  I read all of her coverage of “Benjanungate” and thought it an excellent piece of reportage.

The rest?  Maybe I’m being overly sensitive, but doesn’t it seem a bit over the top to offer up writing samples that focus on the SJW/Puppy kerfuffle?  Like we haven’t seen enough of that already?  All over the place?

These pieces by Freer, Green, Sanderson & Johnson.  Just.  No.  I think about the only way they’d qualify for consideration for a Hugo for Fan Writer (other than their obvious willingness to advance a political agenda at the expense of fandom) would be if they’d been packaged in a fanzine that was meant to be obvious parody.  That we’re meant to take these screeds seriously is an insult to fandom, the intellect and (almost) humanity.

I know some of these writers cover subjects other than their faux butt-hurts.  Maybe you all shoulda given us something other than political screeds to read.  Just sayin.

Best Editor Awards

Yes, some of them do absolutely fine work, largely unsung.  Perhaps they should have recused themselves from the slates.

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form.

This category really pisses me off at the puppies.  I’ve never kicked a puppy in my life, but they’re making me think long and hard about looking for breeds that resemble the perpetrators….

I know that many have argued that BDP:LF & SF have little to no connection to the Hugos (though many producers have been quite happy to accept on in the past) and that we probably ought not to expect those responsible to be so involved with the awards that they should have publicly distanced themselves from the slates.  I know that others have also argued that the items on the Long Form list would most likely be there anyway, slate or no.  But here’s one of the lessons I learned from reading Heinlein:  if you say you’re going to do something, you follow through with it, no matter how unpleasant it may be.

In a slateless year that found Guardians of the Galaxy on the final ballot, I’d have voted it #1 and would have left all of the other nominees off the ballot (as an indication of how strongly I feel about that movie).

It’s the first film in DECADES that saw me leaving the theater with the same “gosh wow gee whiz!” feelings I had after seeing 2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Wars (when it was called Star Wars and only Star Wars).  My pantheon of “worthy” SF film consists of very few films:  The Day the Earth Stood Still, Forbidden Planet, 2001, Planet of the Apes (original), The Omega Man, (perhaps a few others if I thought about it longer) and GotG.  (Star Wars fell off that list ages ago.)

But I’ll not be voting for it this year because it appeared on a slate.  Call my adherence to my stated method foolishly myopic if you will, but years from now no one is going to be able to throw in my face that I was contradictory with my vote.

I really, really, really can’t stand Cruise’s lack of acting range.  (I think I’ve actually counted up to three different facial expressions throughout all the films he’s ever appeared in.  He expressed far more emotion while jumping on Oprah’s couch than he ever has in a film.)  This is by way of saying that Edge of Tomorrow barely made the cut.  All You Need Is Kill (the book the film was “based” on) deserves a read BEFORE seeing the film.

Best Related.

Boy am I wishing there’d been a sequel to “Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury” last year.

I will not stoop so low as to dignify any of these nominees with commentary.  Except to say that the Internet is about the last place I’d be looking for “wisdom”.

Graphic Story

Not into them.

Pro Artist

Dillon being the only non-slate nominee got a look.  Not all of the samples are my cup of tea, but she certainly has something going for her and I liked the character diversity.  (If you want to call that “voting for a political cause”, go right ahead.  You’d be wrong:  I like Dillon’s inclusion of racial types other than white because it makes her illustrations more interesting.  I don’t know about you, but staring at white bread all breakfast long gets boring REAL fast.  Throw in some pumpernickel and some rye, a bagel or two, even an off-white english muffin and I start thinking about wanting to wake up.


Another category that doesn’t float my boat.  (I’m still trying to figure out how people find the time to listen.  Maybe it’s age, but I can’t read and listen (at least not with any lasting comprehension);  I don’t have a long commute and I just can’t sit there and listen without doing something else.  Which of course distracts me from the listen.

Best Fan Artist

Steve Stiles.  It’s about time.  Love them all, but it’s long past time for Steve.

So there you have it.  I’ve gone through the packet, read the screeds, the marginally mediocre fiction (and some good stuff too) and made my picks while sticking to my publicly stated methodology, which was (for completeness sake) that:

I would look at all of the works and then proceed to place any AND ALL works appearing on slates below No Award.

Which, unlike slates, is supported by BOTH the rules AND the intent of the awards.

*There are two epithets apparently fond to the puppy heart:  “poke SJWs in the eye” and “make SJW heads explode”.  This has caused me to wonder if perhaps the puppies believe that SJW’s have a self-destruct switch located behind one of their eyeballs, and makes me wonder if it is first necessary to poke an SJW in the eye in order to make their heads explode.

Here it is, screen captured right from the Sasquan website.

The image below represents my current final ballot. Things may very well change once I’ve had a chance to read everything on the ballot – though I very much doubt it.
Following the ballot image, you’ll find an explanation of how and why I voted the way I did for each awards category.
my final hugo ballot 2015 960


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  1. Steve, you should have stuck with The Three-Body Problem, it got really good. I think old Gernsback would have been impressed. I’m curious how much classic SF that Liu Cixin has read, because he seems influenced by many western writers. He’s often compared to Clarke, but I see a lot of PKD and Stephenson in him. Cixin has created a marvelous new take on the alien invasion story.

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