Voting for the 2016 Hugo Awards finalists and the 1941 Retro Hugo Awards finalists closed last nite at 2:59 am, my time, 11:59:59 pm, Pacific time.
This is most likely the final year in which voting will take place under the “old” system. Next year, if ratified at this year’s WSFS business meeting, EPH (E Pluribus Hugo) will go into effect; we may also be able to ratify Three Stage Voting (which in my opinion is the adjustment that retains the spirit of the award, Worldcon and fandom closest to its original intents.
What’s going to happen this year?
I predict a mixed bag of legitimate, wins, puppy wins and shield wins.
Legit wins are those untained by slates and campaigning. Shields will be in there because fans simply can’t help themselves when it comes to community: making a sharp distinction between good and bad is not a fannish thing – we’re always looking to blur the edges, makes special cases, avoid upsetting friends and those with whom we believe we have affiliations.
It is part of fannish nature to seek compromise. Puppies have amply demonstrated what happens when we let go of that principal, and have taken advantage of it yet again.
They’ve done so by including shield nominees on their slates – works that are deserving of nomination, that sought no boost from campaigning, that found themselves endorsed by puppies desperately seeking a win at the Hugos that they can use to prove the success of their movement.
Most nominees chose not to employ their own shields by repudiating slates in their entirety. Whether out of a desire to remain a-political (an impossible and untenable position in this instance) or crass playing the field matters not at this point.
What matters is that fans lost the focus of the fight between last year and this year. The fight was not about the legitimacy of individual works, it was over whether or not WSFS fandom would give aide and comfort to its enemies, by compromising its line against slates.
If any of the slated nominess wins this time around, fandom will have done just that.
Fans will have exchanged one year of discomfort for an uncounted number of years of continued puppy interference. Fandom’s takeaway from the awards this year doesn’t matter. What matters is what it will do for puppies. This year, instead of hitting a stonewall of rejection, some puppy picks will sneak through. A win by puppies will be just the fuel they need to recruit, and to continue their fight.
How, when and where that will take place after EPH has passed is open to question. Actually, what fandom has also done to itself is to insure that the figt will come at them from some new, unexpected direction next time around.
I do have confidence that fandom will win this fight. The downside of this years voting is that instead of being largely concluded this August, the fight will no go on indefinitely.
Regardless, we here at Amazing Stories strongly regret and lament our inability to attend, wish everyone a wonderful convention, and hope for the best at this year’s awards.
Final plug: Business Meeting attendees, PLEASE pass Three Stage Voting.