The Winners of the 2015 Hugo Awards: Puppies Lose, Translations Win

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WorldCon opened this year in Spokane, Washington, amid roiling controversy that’s been brewing ever since Vox Day, editor, publisher, and blogger created a voting slate for the Huge Awards back in February. An industry award for science fiction and fantasy works, the nominees are voted on by fans who pay to become members of World Science Fiction Society (WSFS), and who also determine the eventual winners once the ballots are created. Vox Day’s slate, the Rabid Puppies, joined Brad Torgenson’s “Sad Puppies” slate, and kicked off a campaign to nominate a narrow margin of works that fit their definition of “good scifi,” which essentially boiled down to anything other than “things they don’t like,” “political scifi that leans liberal,” and “intentionally diverse media.” The slates paid off, leading to a ballot full of skewed recommendations.

Vox Day described the nominees for the Rabid Puppy Slate as being similar to his peers’ (Torgenson, Larry Correia) selections for the Hugo Awards because “we value excellence in actual science fiction and fantasy, rather than excellence in intersectional equalitarianism, racial and gender inclusion, literary pyrotechnics, or professional rabbitology.” There was really no hiding that the slates were yet another entry in to the nerd culture war, a push back against the rising trend of diversity in genre media, and an attempt to keep scifi as status quo as possible. Generally, theirs was a belief that politics were making science fiction worse, and the slates would help correct that trend back toward the fiction of Arthur C. Clarke or Robert Heinlein (it has, of course, been noted many times that “classic” scifi has always been political, but this distaste was reserved for current political trends).

This pushback led to predictable backlash from the pro-diversity side of the fandom. Essays were written decrying men like Torgenson for making fandom a more hostile place, for gatekeeping, and making fans feel unwelcome. There were month of arguments, many in the comments section of Mike Glyer’s File 770, where editors, writers, and fans got into slugfests over the direction of science fiction these days. Even George R. R. Martin has been LiveJournaling regularly about “Puppygate.”

So WorldCon was a little tense. This year had the biggest pool of voters for any Huge Awards, spurred on by the coverage of the slates and the discussion, and Hugo voting allows for “No Award” to be bestowed in a category if voters feel none of the nominated works are of merit to receive the award. There were five categories that consisted only of nominees found on the Puppy slates, and “No Award” was selected in each of these categories. The only nominee from a Puppy slate that won its category was Guardians of the Galaxy in the Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form, which some Puppy critics claim show that voters were, in fact, voting on merit rather than mindlessly blacklisting the Puppy nominees.

While Vox Day is now claiming that a string of No Awards was his plan all along, that might be hard news for nominees like John C. Wright who is now, perhaps, the most losingest writer of any Hugo Awards. He was shut out, winning for none of his five nominations, including Best Novella where he was nominated for three different works.

The other controversy hanging over this year’s Hugos was the inclusion of Laura Mixon in the “Best Fanwriter” category. Some argued that the category should be reserved for a full body of work, while Mixon’s nomination was based almost entirely on her blog post, A Report on Damage Done by One Individual Under Several Names.

The blog post itself was a source of much controversy that led to fandom fighting and discussion as well; it details and documents years of abusive behavior by 2014 John W. Campbell Award nominee Benjanun Sriduangkaew, also known as the pseudonymynous critic at the blog Requires Only That You Hate. Her author name was revealed publicly online in 2014 by editor Nick Mamatas, which kicked off a flurry of linking her to other online handles, many of which were linked to a long period of abuse in LiveJournal communities, online forums, and other fandom spaces, and included potential blacklisting of authors by others in the industry.

Mixon’s post has been praised by fans who witnessed Sriduangkaew’s behavior, but it also came under fire. By participating in calling out a writer of color, critics argued, Mixon’s report contributed to the already-racist atmosphere in the scifi and fantasy community, even if many of her victims were people of color themselves. Her report also relied on some anonymous accounts (from people who said they feared reprisal from both Sriduangkaew and her defenders). Some accused Mixon of sourcing her report via a known stalker of Sriduangkaew. Others found it churlish that a hit piece would be nominated for a Hugo at all, even if Sriduangkaew were guilty of its claims.

Sriduangkaew is understandably unhappy about Mixon’s win at the Hugo, tweeting that white men are often forgiven for their crimes by the fandom, and that even though she has issued apologies she is still being targeted. Of course, there are two sides to that narrative as well — many found her apologies insufficient or even insincere, and feel that the community she has wronged has no obligation to forgive under any circumstances.

Regardless of the contraversy, the only non-Puppy nominee for Best Fanwriter took home the award on Saturday. Mixon dedicated her speech to the numerous victims of Sriduangkaew’s alleged stalking and abuse, naming some who she had been in contact with while compiling her report.

On the comics side of things, nominations were mostly drama-free. Guardians beat out  fellow MCU film Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal took the prize for best Graphic Story over three Image nominees: Rat Queens, Sex Criminals, and Saga. The pilot episode of The Flash lost out to Orphan Black for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form, but it could have been hurt by being Puppy-nominated.

And a year dominated by diversity discussions (hint: the industry is still quite white, not to worry), the Best Novel award was given to a translated work for the first time, The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu and translated by Ken Liu. Another translated work, “The Day the World Turned Upside Down,” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt and translated by Lia Belt, won Best Novelette.

 

The full ballot is listed below, with nominees listed in order of most to fewest votes received. RP designates being on the Rabid Puppy slate, SP the Sad Puppy slate. If you’re interested in purchasing them or reading excerpts, check out our post on the nominees. If a story is available for free online, it’s been linked, and all WWAC coverage of a nominee is linked underneath it. So what I’m saying is, you probably have some reading to do.

Best Novel

Best Novella

  • No Award
  • Flow,” Arlan Andrews, Sr. (Analog, 11-2014) – RP, SP
  • Big Boys Don’t Cry, Tom Kratman (Castalia House) – RP, SP
  • One Bright Star to Guide Them, John C. Wright (Castalia House) – RP, SP
  • “The Plural of Helen of Troy,” John C. Wright (City Beyond Time: Tales of the Fall of Metachronopolis, Castalia House) – RP
  • Pale Realms of Shade,” John C. Wright (The Book of Feasts & Seasons, Castalia House) – RP

Best Novelette

Best Short Story

  • No Award
  • Totaled,” Kary English (Galaxy’s Edge Magazine, 07-2014) – RP, SP
  • “A Single Samurai,” Steven Diamond (The Baen Big Book of Monsters, Baen Books) – SP
  • Turncoat,” Steve Rzasa (Riding the Red Horse, Castalia House) – RP
  • On A Spiritual Plain,” Lou Antonelli (Sci Phi Journal #2, 11-2014) – RP, SP
  • The Parliament of Beasts and Birds,” John C. Wright (The Book of Feasts & Seasons, Castalia House) – RP

Best Related Work

  • No Award
  • “The Hot Equations: Thermodynamics and Military SF,” Ken Burnside (Riding the Red Horse, Castalia House) – RP, SP
  • Why Science is Never Settled,” Tedd Roberts (Baen.com) – RP, SP
  • Transhuman and Subhuman: Essays on Science Fiction and Awful Truth, John C. Wright (Castalia House) – RP, SP
  • Letters from Gardner, Lou Antonelli (The Merry Blacksmith Press) – RP, SP
  • Wisdom from My Internet, Michael Z. Williamson (Patriarchy Press) – RP, SP

Best Graphic Story

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

Best Editor, Short Form

  • No Award
  • Mike Resnick, Galaxy’s Edge – RP, SP
  • Jennifer Brozek – RP, SP
  • Bryan Thomas Schmidt – RP, SP
  • Vox Day, Castalia House – RP

Best Editor, Long Form

  • No Award
  • Toni Weisskopf, Baen – RP, SP
  • Sheila Gilbert, DAW – RP, SP
  • Anne Sowards, ACE/ROC – RP, SP
  • Jim Minz, Baen – RP, SP
  • Vox Day – RP

Best Professional Artist

Best Semiprozine

Best Fanzine

  • Journey Planet, edited by James Bacon, Christopher J Garcia, Colin Harris, Alissa McKersie, and Helen J. Montgomery
  • No Award
  • Black Gate, edited by John O’Neill (Withdrew after ballot finalized) –RP
  • Tangent SF Online, edited by Dave Truesdale – RP, SP
  • Elitist Book Reviews, edited by Steven Diamond – RP, SP
  • The Revenge of Hump Day, edited by Tim Bolgeo – RP, SP

Best Fancast

  • Galactic Suburbia Podcast, Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts (Presenters) and Andrew Finch (Producer)
  • Tea and Jeopardy, Emma Newman and Peter Newman
  • No Award
  • The Sci Phi Show, Jason Rennie – RP, SP
  • Adventures in SciFi Publishing, Brent Bower (Executive Producer), Kristi Charish, Timothy C. Ward & Moses Siregar III (Co-Hosts, Interviewers and Producers) – RP, SP
  • Dungeon Crawlers Radio, Daniel Swenson (Producer/Host), Travis Alexander & Scott Tomlin (Hosts), Dale Newton (Host/Tech), Damien Swenson (Audio/Video Tech) – RP, SP

Best Fan Writer

Best Fan Artist

The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer

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About Author

Copyeditor Kat Overland is a displaced Texan now living in Washington, DC, where she is perpetually behind on reading her pull list. A mid-twenties Latina, she can be seen casually cosplaying America Chavez and interrogating texts via queer & disability theory.

1 Comment

  1. I just want to point out that if you don’t think that a string of no-awards was Vox Day’s plan all along that just proves you haven’t been following things. He’s been very, very clear about that from the beginning.