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Congratulations to Tim!

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The Hugo Awards ceremony took place not so many hours ago in Yokohama, Japan, and the results have been posted in all sorts of places. I'll link to the Hugo results list on Cheryl and Kevin's newish SF Awards Watch site, 'cause the site deserves the traffic.

Also because they have a bunch of interesting commentary/analysis. But more on that in a minute.

First, I have to say: Congratulations to Tim Pratt, for winning the Best Short Story Hugo award! Totally cool! (For anyone who may've missed it, this was for his story "Impossible Dreams," published in Asimov's last year.)

Paul Melko (who, it should be noted, had a good novelette of his own in a different category of the ballot) accepted for Tim, and has an account of the acceptance, and a great photo of the Hugo itself. Nifty. Tim has posted his acceptance speech, which of course he figured wouldn't be read, given that Neil Gaiman had a story on the ballot in the same category.

I am, of course, sad that Ben's "House Beyond Your Sky" didn't win. But given that it didn't, Tim's story was my second choice. Yay, Tim! (And yeah, particularly impressive given that there was a Gaiman story on the ballot; Gaiman has won the last three times he's been nominated, and I had guessed he would win this time too.)

A few notes on other categories:

  • Overall, I'm pretty satisfied with the winners. Either my first or my second choice won in almost all the categories I voted in, and there are no winners that I voted against. (Actually, there were few nominees that I voted against; I'm usually quick with the No Award, but this year I was fairly happy with most of the nominees in most of the categories.)
  • I'm disappointed that William Shunn's "Inclination" didn't win the novella category; I liked it a lot. It got the most nominations among the novellas, but it didn't do so well in the voting.
  • I'm pleased to see Ian McDonald's "The Djinn's Wife" win the novelette award; that was my favorite in that category.
  • I'm pleased to see Julie Phillips's Tiptree book win in the Related Book category, but not at all surprised; that seemed to be the clear favorite. (I didn't vote in this category 'cause I hadn't read any of the nominees; I'm still partway through the Phillips book.)
  • The category I'm least happy about is Dramatic Presentation, Long Form. But I felt it was a particularly strong ballot, and my ballot order was pretty arbitrary, and I would have been happy to see any of them win, so I'm not actually unhappy about Pan's Labyrinth winning; I just liked the other nominees better.
  • I don't think I ever got around to writing up my thoughts about various TV shows in relation to the D.P. categories earlier, and I don't have time now, but I do want to note that there were a couple of story arcs in Battlestar Galactica that added up to being solidly in the Long Form category, and I nominated them as such. On the other hand, I disagree with those who want to nominate the entire first season of Heroes as a single Long Form item; it didn't seem to me to be any more of a single story than various other continuity-heavy series are. To me, if the first season of Heroes counts as a single Long Form item, then the first four seasons of B5 should have counted; likewise the first two seasons of the new Dr. Who; likewise possibly the entire run of BSG. It's not that I don't think those things are complete stories; it's that treating them as single stories for Hugo purposes seems to me to not fit well with the long-form/short-form distinction. (Maybe we need a Very Long Form category? Then again, the same reasoning would suggest that we also need a Series Of Novels category.) . . . Relatedly, I see that the BSG episode "Exodus" part 2 got, in some sense, plenty enough nominations to appear on the ballot, except that its nominations were split between noms for it by itself and noms for parts 1 and 2 as a unit. Me, I nominated "Occupation," "Precipice," and "Exodus" (both parts) as a single unit in Long Form, which was especially silly given that I didn't tell anyone in advance that I was doing so. Anyway, I guess my real point here is that different interpretations of Long Form and Short Form continue to plague these categories, and continue to result in some of my favorite works not making the ballot. (Not that I'm still bitter about Lilo & Stitch or anything.)
  • As Cheryl and Kevin noted, there were some very close ballots. (See the full voting breakdown (PDF) for details.) In particular, Langford beat Scalzi in the Fan Writer category by a single vote.
  • As usual, the full list of nominations provides some food for thought, especially in the numbers of nominations it takes to make the ballot; for example, it took only 16 nominations to appear on the Short Story ballot. Which is not quite as small a number as it looks: it means that, out of the couple thousand sf short stories published last year, and out of the 214 nominators in that category, 16 people agreed (without consulting each other ahead of time) that the story should be on the ballot. That's no small achievement. But I would still, as always, like to see more people nominating in every category.
  • Looking at the top five runners-up in each category, there are almost as few women as appeared on the ballot itself. The nominators this year mostly just weren't nominating women. If anyone wants to try to change that for next year, I urge you to go look at the Women eligible for 2008 SF Awards page on the Feminist SF wiki, and add to that list over the next few months; take a look at some of the works and people mentioned there, and if you think they're deserving of a Hugo, nominate them next year. (To forestall the inevitable complaint: I obviously don't recommend nominating anyone or anything that you don't think deserves an award. The page in question will, I hope, raise the profile of some potentially awardworthy women and works among the nominators, and perhaps inspire more people to nominate.) Remember that the only way to change the face of the ballots is to nominate.
  • Susan got 9 nominations for Editor, Short Form. I'm glad to see her on the long list, but sad that she didn't get more noms. Also of note: Ellen Datlow missed the ballot by one nomination; and Shawna McCarthy actually came pretty close this year. (I don't have the numbers handy, but my vague memory is that she usually doesn't.)
  • I'm glad that at least a few other people agreed with me in nominating Phil Foglio in the Pro Artist category.
  • I see that Strange Horizons got 10 noms for Semiprozine, and a few more for Fanzine. Thank you, those of you who nominated us! However, we don't consider ourselves a semiprozine or a fanzine (we consider ourselves a prozine), so it might've been kinda awkward if we've made the ballot.
  • Sadly, Justine just barely missed the Campbell ballot. Beth B came reasonably close as well.

One last link to round out the entry: somehow I missed the launch, a couple weeks ago, of the new official Hugo Awards site. Provides various info about the Hugos and their history and so on.

'kay, that's all from me for now. Congratulations again to Tim, and to the other winners!

3 Comments

Hi Jed,

Firstly many thanks for the links and kind words.

Also, to reiterate some of what we said in the Hugo analysis, it isn't as if there are no good works by women writers out there. Novels by women were shortlisted for the World Fantasy Awards, the John W. Campbell Memorial Award, and the Philip K. Dick Award (where women won and got the special citation). But, for whatever reasons, women writers got far less attention in the Hugos. Changing that, as you note, is a matter of participation, because the Hugos are awards in which people *can* participate.


16 people agreed (without consulting each other ahead of time) that the story should be on the ballot.

isn't that just speculation? I mean, I've certainly been part of groups of people who discussed stories to nominate, and I suspect it would be rather easy to actually get a group to nominate en masse.


It is indeed speculation, but it's speculation grounded in a certain amount of history and experience. For example:

1. Anything that looks like conspiring to get a particular work on the ballot is heavily frowned on in the sf community at large and by the Hugo administrators in particular. There've been a couple of big blowups over this sort of thing in the past. (There may be a fine line between conspiring and campaigning in some contexts. But campaigning that isn't backed by a belief that the work or person is awardworthy seems to me to also be generally frowned on.)

2. Getting a group of sf fans to agree on something to nominate is a lot harder than it sounds. In the circles of people I discuss Hugo nominees with, it's hard to even agree on which of a given set of five works is the best; when the field is a set of thousands of works to choose from, getting everyone in a group to agree to nominate a particular one of them may take some doing. For that matter, finding a story that everyone in the group has even read may take some doing. To me, having a discussion of stories to nominate is very different from getting a group to nominate en masse. But your group may be different from the ones I've talked with.

3. I'm not sure whether you're talking about a bunch of people agreeing to try to get a work on the ballot even though they don't all think it's awardworthy (because it's by a friend, for example, or because someone's paying them to nominate it), or a bunch of people agreeing because they do all think it's awardworthy. The former is bad; it's rigging the ballot, and I don't see any reason to suspect that any particular work on any particular ballot got there through this kind of illegitimate means. The latter seems to me to be much more legitimate--but in that case, it probably doesn't matter whether the group discusses the stories ahead of time or not.

4. Do you have a group of 16 people who nominate in the short-fiction categories? If so, I'm surprised and impressed -- that's nearly 10% of the total number of people who nominated for short story this year. Most of the people I know don't nominate at all--and about half of the people who nominate don't nominate short stories. I suspect that it would be fairly easy to get, say, 5 or 6 people to agree to nominate a particular story, but 16 together would surprise me.

There are several holes in my argument here. For example, if I'm on the fence about nominating a story, and several friends tell me they're going to nominate it, then that might push me into nominating it. I'm certainly not saying that there aren't or shouldn't be social effects like that. Really, all I'm saying is that I think you're underestimating the difficulty of getting 16 people to legitimately agree on a story to nominate via prior discussion.

(And yeah, my phrase "without consulting each other ahead of time" was an exaggeration--shorthand for everything I'm saying in this comment. I didn't mean to suggest that nobody talks ahead of time about what they're nominating; just that I don't think there was a group of 16 people who got together and agreed that they were going to put that story on the ballot.)


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