The Other Hugo Ballot

One of the biggest problems with the Sad and Rabid Puppies Hugo slates was that slate voting pushed much-loved work off the ballot. That’s a moderate problem for the awards, though I think it became a net positive as so many people signed up to participate in the process. It’s a much larger problem for creators.

One thing the puppies got right is that award winners are often not the most popular representations of their field. Of course, they then turned around and got things desperately wrong by declaring this proof of cliquishness or conspiracy. Unless you have an award that specifically polls your biggest spenders, awards don’t align with revenue. Any time you poll an audience selected for their special relationship to the material, your nominees won’t look like your best sellers. This should be obvious.

It does provide special challenges for those creators who appeal to the specialist market, though. Best sellers are where promotional budgets are spent. Best sellers have lots of readers to carry good word of mouth. Best sellers are easy to find anywhere.

The specialist market is smaller, generally more diverse in its tastes, harder to find, and runs more on love than money. That means that niche awards are far more important for helping consumers find what the creators they will love. Given that, and given that many of the people who read here are part of the specialist market that overlaps with Hugo Awards voters, here is where you can find the works that would have been on the Hugo ballot without the puppy slates.

Disclosure: Science fiction is a small world. Many of these creators are friends of mine or friends of friends. Also, I’m leaving out both the long and short dramatic presentation categories. For the most part, these were already popular works on which there was little disagreement.

Best Novel

Best Novella

Best Novellette

Best Short Story

Depending on the exact number of slate voters, a couple of stories in this category might not have made the 5% of nominations required for the Hugo ballot. I don’t care. They’re still great stories.

Best Related Work

Best Graphic Story

Best Editor, Short Form

Best Editor, Long Form

Best Professional Artist

Best Semiprozine

Best Fanzine

Best Fancast

Best Fan Writer

John W. Campbell Award

Thank you to Rush-That-Speaks and io9 for their analysis of the nominations.

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The Other Hugo Ballot