Hugo Award Predictions and Handicapping Sheet

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Summary of predictions (full list and explication below)

BEST NOVEL (3695 ballots)
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)
BEST NOVELLA (2416 ballots)
Binti by Nnedi Okorafor (Tor.com)
BEST NOVELETTE (1975 ballots)
“Folding Beijing” by Hao Jingfang, trans. Ken Liu (Uncanny Magazine, Jan-Feb 2015)
BEST SHORT STORY (2451 ballots)
Space Raptor Butt Invasion by Chuck Tingle (Amazon Digital Services)
BEST RELATED WORK (2080 ballots)
No Award
BEST GRAPHIC STORY (1838 ballots)
No Award
BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION (LONG FORM) (2904 ballots)
Mad Max: Fury Road written by George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, and Nico Lathouris, directed by George Miller (Village Roadshow Pictures; Kennedy Miller Mitchell; RatPac-Dune Entertainment; Warner Bros. Pictures)
BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION (SHORT FORM) (2219 ballots)
Doctor Who: “Heaven Sent” written by Steven Moffat, directed by Rachel Talalay (BBC Television)
BEST EDITOR – SHORT FORM (1891 ballots)
Neil Clarke
BEST EDITOR – LONG FORM (1764 ballots)
Liz Gorinsky
BEST PROFESSIONAL ARTIST (1481 ballots)
No Award
BEST SEMIPROZINE (1457 ballots)
Uncanny Magazine edited by Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas, Michi Trota, and Erika Ensign & Steven Schapansky
BEST FANZINE (1455 ballots)
File 770 edited by Mike Glyer
BEST FANCAST (1267 ballots)
Tales to Terrify, Stephen Kilpatrick
BEST FAN WRITER (1568 ballots)
Mike Glyer
BEST FAN ARTIST (1073 ballots)
Steve Stiles
JOHN W. CAMPBELL AWARD FOR BEST NEW WRITER (1922 ballots)
Andy Weir *

THE FINALISTS ACTUAL WINNER SAD PUPPY NOMINEE RABID PUPPY NOMINEE MY PICKS
BEST NOVEL (3695 ballots)
Ancillary Mercy  by Ann Leckie (Orbit) X*
The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut’s Windlass  by Jim Butcher (Roc) X X
The Fifth Season  by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit) The Fifth Season  by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)
Seveneves: A Novel  by Neal Stephenson (William Morrow) X X
Uprooted  by Naomi Novik (Del Rey) X
No Award
BEST NOVELLA (2416 ballots)
Binti  by Nnedi Okorafor (Tor.com) X Binti  by Nnedi Okorafor (Tor.com)
The Builders  by Daniel Polansky (Tor.com) X X
Penric’s Demon  by Lois McMaster Bujold (Spectrum) X* X
Perfect State  by Brandon Sanderson (Dragonsteel Entertainment) X X
Slow Bullets  by Alastair Reynolds (Tachyon) X* X
No Award
BEST NOVELETTE (1975 ballots)
“And You Shall Know Her by the Trail of Dead”  by Brooke Bolander (Lightspeed, Feb2015) X
“Flashpoint: Titan”  by CHEAH Kai Wai (There Will Be War Volume X, Castalia House) X
“Folding Beijing”  by Hao Jingfang, trans. Ken Liu (Uncanny Magazine, Jan-Feb 2015) X X “Folding Beijing”  by Hao Jingfang, trans. Ken Liu (Uncanny Magazine, Jan-Feb 2015)
“Obits”  by Stephen King (The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, Scribner) X X
“What Price Humanity?”  by David VanDyke (There Will Be War Volume X, Castalia House) X
No Award
BEST SHORT STORY (2451 ballots)
“Asymmetrical Warfare”  by S. R. Algernon (Nature, Mar 2015) X X
“Cat Pictures Please”  by  Naomi Kritzer (Clarkesworld, January 2015) X X
“If You Were an Award, My Love”  by Juan Tabo and S. Harris (voxday.blogspot.com, Jun 2015) X
“Seven Kill Tiger”  by Charles Shao (There Will Be War Volume X, Castalia House) X
Space Raptor Butt Invasion  by Chuck Tingle (Amazon Digital Services) X Space Raptor Butt Invasion  by Chuck Tingle (Amazon Digital Services)
No Award
BEST RELATED WORK (2080 ballots)
Between Light and Shadow: An Exploration of the Fiction of Gene Wolfe, 1951 to 1986 by Marc Aramini (Castalia House) X
“The First Draft of My Appendix N Book”  by Jeffro Johnson (jeffro.wordpress.com) X X
“Safe Space as Rape Room”  by Daniel Eness (castaliahouse.com) X X
SJWs Always Lie: Taking Down the Thought Police  by Vox Day (Castalia House) X
“The Story of Moira Greyland”  by Moira Greyland (askthebigot.com) X
No Award No Award
BEST GRAPHIC STORY (1838 ballots)
The Divine  written by Boaz Lavie, art by Asaf Hanuka and Tomer Hanuka (First Second) X
Erin Dies Alone  written by Grey Carter, art by Cory Rydell (dyingalone.net) X
Full Frontal Nerdity  by Aaron Williams (ffn.nodwick.com) X
Invisible Republic Vol 1  written by Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman, art by Gabriel Hardman (Image Comics) X
The Sandman: Overture  written by Neil Gaiman, art by J.H. Williams III (Vertigo) X
No Award No Award
BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION (LONG FORM) (2904 ballots)
Avengers: Age of Ultron  written and directed by Joss Whedon (Marvel Studios; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures) X
Ex Machina  written and directed by Alex Garland (Film4; DNA Films; Universal Pictures) X
Mad Max: Fury Road  written by George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, and Nico Lathouris, directed by George Miller (Village Roadshow Pictures; Kennedy Miller Mitchell; RatPac-Dune Entertainment; Warner Bros. Pictures) X Mad Max: Fury Road  written by George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, and Nico Lathouris, directed by George Miller (Village Roadshow Pictures; Kennedy Miller Mitchell; RatPac-Dune Entertainment; Warner Bros. Pictures)
The Martian  screenplay by Drew Goddard, directed by Ridley Scott (Scott Free Productions; Kinberg Genre; TSG Entertainment; 20th Century Fox) X X
Star Wars: The Force Awakens  written by Lawrence Kasdan, J. J. Abrams, and Michael Arndt, directed by J.J. Abrams (Lucasfilm Ltd.; Bad Robot Productions; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures) X
No Award
BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION (SHORT FORM) (2219 ballots)
Doctor Who:  “Heaven Sent”  written by Steven Moffat, directed by Rachel Talalay (BBC Television) X Doctor Who:  “Heaven Sent”  written by Steven Moffat, directed by Rachel Talalay (BBC Television)
Grimm:  “Headache”  written by Jim Kouf and David Greenwalt, directed by Jim Kouf(Universal Television; GK Productions; Hazy Mills Productions; Open 4 Business Productions; NBCUniversal Television Distribution) X
Jessica Jones:  “AKA Smile”  written by Scott Reynolds, Melissa Rosenberg, and Jamie King, directed by Michael Rymer (Marvel Television; ABC Studios; Tall Girls Productions;Netflix)
My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:  “The Cutie Map” Parts 1 and 2  written by Scott Sonneborn, M.A. Larson, and Meghan McCarthy, directed by Jayson Thiessen and Jim Miller (DHX Media/Vancouver; Hasbro Studios) X X
Supernatural:  “Just My Imagination”  written by Jenny Klein, directed by Richard Speight Jr. (Kripke Enterprises; Wonderland Sound and Vision; Warner Bros. Television) X
No Award
BEST EDITOR – SHORT FORM (1891 ballots)
John Joseph Adams X
Neil Clarke Neil Clarke
Ellen Datlow
Jerry Pournelle X X
Sheila Williams
No Award
BEST EDITOR – LONG FORM (1764 ballots)
Vox Day X
Sheila E. Gilbert
Liz Gorinsky Liz Gorinsky
Jim Minz X X
Toni Weisskopf X X
No Award
BEST PROFESSIONAL ARTIST (1481 ballots)
Lars Braad Andersen X
Larry Elmore X X
Abigail Larson X X
Michal Karcz X
Larry Rostant X
No Award No Award
BEST SEMIPROZINE (1457 ballots)
Beneath Ceaseless Skies  edited by Scott H. Andrews X
Daily Science Fiction  edited by Michele-Lee Barasso and Jonathan Laden X
Sci Phi Journal  edited by Jason Rennie X X
Strange Horizons  edited by Catherine Krahe, Julia Rios, A. J. Odasso, Vanessa Rose Phin,Maureen Kincaid Speller, and the Strange Horizons staff X
Uncanny Magazine  edited by Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas, Michi Trota, and Erika Ensign & Steven Schapansky Uncanny Magazine  edited by Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas, Michi Trota, and Erika Ensign & Steven Schapansky
No Award
BEST FANZINE (1455 ballots)
Castalia House Blog  edited by Jeffro Johnson X
File 770  edited by Mike Glyer X* X File 770  edited by Mike Glyer
Lady Business  edited by Clare, Ira, Jodie, KJ, Renay, and Susan X
Superversive SF  edited by Jason Rennie X X
Tangent Online  edited by Dave Truesdale X X
No Award
BEST FANCAST (1267 ballots)
8-4 Play, Mark MacDonald, John Ricciardi, Hiroko Minamoto, and Justin Epperson X
Cane and Rinse, Cane and Rinse X
HelloGreedo, HelloGreedo X X
The Rageaholic, RazörFist X
Tales to Terrify, Stephen Kilpatrick X* Tales to Terrify, Stephen Kilpatrick
No Award
BEST FAN WRITER (1568 ballots)
Douglas Ernst X
Mike Glyer X* Mike Glyer
Morgan Holmes X
Jeffro Johnson X X
Shamus Young X
No Award
BEST FAN ARTIST (1073 ballots)
Matthew Callahan X X
disse86 X
Kukuruyo X
Christian Quinot X
Steve Stiles Steve Stiles
No Award
JOHN W. CAMPBELL AWARD FOR BEST NEW WRITER (1922 ballots)
Pierce Brown * X
Sebastien de Castell * X X
Brian Niemeier X X
Andy Weir * X X Andy Weir *
Alyssa Wong * X
No Award

 

Notes:  Asterisks in the Puppy columns indicate that the creator stated, in some fashion, that they did not want to be included on Puppy slates (whether that request was honored or not – and they weren’t).  Asterisks next to the Campbell Award Finalists indicate an author’s second and final year of eligibility.

You can use this handy-dandy handicapping sheet to follow along with the awards and see how well I’ve done.

For the past several years I have recorded my Hugo winner guesstimates and have achieved no less than 82% accuracy (last year was over 90%).  While this does suggest that if people want to vote for the winners, all they need to do is ask me, it’s probably not the way to go.  (Besides, I charge.)

How do I get so close?  It’s pretty simple.  I’d like to think that I’ve got a fairly good grasp on the fannish zeitgeist.

Some might suggest that this is evidence of collusion (such accusations have been leveled in the past) and certainly proof that I have an inside handle on what the “cabal” is thinking and/or doing.  (On that score – better start building that fallout shelter….).  But it’s really simpler and much cooler than that.

Fans vote for the things that stand out and have a positive impact on the field and/or that are reflective of Fandom’s vision of itself as a progressive force for good.

If, for example, two very well written novels that offer something new are up for the award at the same time, and one author is perceived by fans as having been more active (either within fandom or outside of it) regarding the social issues fandom concerns itself with, chances are that a voter who has read and liked both novels will place the more active individual in the number one slot.

Similarly, particularly in the fan award categories, the finalist receiving the most number 1 votes will likely be the individual (or work) that represents quality AND a positive reflection of fannish values.

Then there’s also the “new” to take into account.  Collective fandom seems to have a place in its heart for new entities – that reflect fannish values.  If, for example, two new things come into the field and both reflect quality, it is more likely that the thing operated by “fans” (especially if they’re known individuals in the field) will get more #1 slot votes than the one that isn’t.  Is that favoritism?  Is it pushing a fannish (SJW) agenda?  No.  It’s people being responsive to those they are familiar with who seem to share their values.  But that extra consideration doesn’t kick in until after taking quality into consideration.  Fan favorite creators who turn out crap (that somehow makes it onto the final ballot) hardly ever finish well.  Works by complete “outsiders” that represent quality (and possibly inadvertently support fannish values) can and have won.  So it is clear that quality comes first and is then tempered by these other considerations, and it is this approach to voting that has seen the awards gain their prestige.

I also take a look at how various works are doing in regards to other major awards, the general reception (what’s being well-received and receiving a lot of press, for example), the history of the awards (someone who has been nominated numerous times in the past but never won, up against a weak field, is likely to get greater consideration than otherwise) and sometimes even the public persona of individuals.  Fans are unlikely to vote for a fugghead even IF they are producing quality work.  This is not contradictory; fuggheads rarely, if ever, reflect fannish values in their works.

What puppies perceive as collusion, cabalism (that’s a pun for Jewish fans, of which, comparatively, there are a lot) and the pushing of an SJW agenda is, in reality, an effort by a cohesive community to reward quality efforts AND reward the values that it holds dear.  People who regularly participate in the community and positively enhance the value of that community are more likely to receive positive attention at Hugo voting time. The work(s) reflective of high quality AND fannish community values receive greater weight than work(s) that is only high quality.

Which  brings me to explaining why I think Chuck Tingle is going to take home a Hugo.

It’s pretty obvious to most of us that Chuck’s work was slated because of it’s title.  Someone thought that it would present a conundrum to “SJW” fans, forcing them to choose between a work that positively reflects diversity and one that was on a Puppy Slate;  and/or forcing fans to choose something that had what some might consider an embarrassing title that would forever be associated with the Hugo Awards.

What those someones don’t get though is this:  Fans are willing to own something regardless of how the mundane world receives it, and so long as the work itself (and the person(s) behind it) reflect quality and fannish values.

It may very well be that Space Raptor Butt Invasion will be claimed as a win by puppies, but the real triumph is fandom’s seeing through the BS and continuing to vote its values.

Final notes:  my picks do not necessarily reflect my actual vote.  They’re what I believe will win, not necessarily what I wanted to win.  (Though in a lot of cases they’re pretty close.)
Also, this was a very difficult year to try and predict the winners.  My other prediction is that I won’t be hitting that 80%+ accuracy mark this year.  But as they say, if you don’t play, you can’t win.

Below, a PDF version of the handicapping sheet for use by anyone as they follow the awards.

2016 Hugo Awards Handicapping Form

9 COMMENTS

  1. Sandman likely winner
    Cat Pictures Please likely winner with Space Raptor Butt Invasion second.
    Close race between Tales to Terrify and No Award?
    All the nominees for Best Picture are good and have their advocates.
    I think The Martian might be the favorite.
    Best Novel also a tough category but I think Uprooted might take it, although I prefer Ancillary Mercy. There are those who oppose Ancillary Mercy, Seveneves, and The Cinder Spheres and buzz appeared to be building more in Uprooted’s direction.

  2. Sandman seems a likely winner, it would surely have been nominated without the man babies, and my feeling this year is that Teddy isn’t allowed to disqualify valid candidates just because he nominated them.
    Space Raptor Butt Invasion seems popular with the File770 crowd, but I suspect that won’t translate to the wider voting population. Cat Pictures Please.
    Sorry to say, I think Fancast will be no awarded. Tales to Terrify is a good podcast, way better than most of the field, but when you combine the historic antipathy to the fancast category with a set of nominees by Teddy then things don’t look good.

    • Reasonable variation; but Tales may pull in a bunch of StarShipSofa folks, many of whom I believe are WSFS members….

      • SSS has been underperforming in the nomination phase for some years.
        Less than 26 nominating votes last year, not in the top 15. I get the impression that WSFS folks generally think fancasts should be panel discussions and writers talking about the writing process. Story podcasts don’t get a look in.

  3. Hi Steve,

    I agree with a lot of your predictions, but want to focus on a few where I disagree – in one case because I think you’ve made an error of fact.

    That one case is Best Short Story, where contrary to your table, “Cat Pictures Please” was not a Rabid Puppy pick (though it was on the Sad Puppy list). That surely counts in its favour. When I first read it, long before the slates were announced, I immediately thought that it was the sort of story that wins a Hugo in a normal year. It didn’t particularly appeal to me, but my survey of bloggers found it far in advance of the field, more so than the leaders of any of the other written fiction categories.

    Apart from that, I think Sandman will win Best Graphic Story because it’s actually quite good and had a lot of non-slate support. Applying the argument in reverse, I expect Best Fancast to be No-Awarded because not only are all the nominees slated, but none of them is well-known among fans in its own right.

    Those are the three categories where I’m pretty sure that you will be wrong and I will be right. OTOH I think you are absolutely right to call the other three written fiction categories and to call No Award for Best Related Work and Best Professional Artist.

    I’d be surprised but not astonished to see Mad Max win BDPLF. I’d have thought both The Martian and The Force Awakens closer to the average of fan tastes. But we’ll see. (And I do hope you are right about Doctor Who.)

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