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Old 07-04-2014, 04:18 PM   #16
Lemurion
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I don't think I can afford a membership this year, which is a pity because I'd really like to vote for Doc Smith in the retros.

In the contemporary novels, I've read the Stross and Correia, I like both authors but neither book struck me as Hugo-worthy. I'm also disgusted about one of the people Correia had on his "slate." I haven't read the Mira Grant (I like her work under Seanan McGuire but not Mira Grant), and don't see the point of WoT (I faded out about 6 or 7 books in many years ago).

I just started Ancillary Justice the other night, and it's very good so far. I'm not sure if it's exactly my cup of tea, but it's clearly the most Hugo-worthy of the ones I've read. (I'm including WoT in that group because I figure 3000+ pages is more than enough to make a decision.)
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Old 07-05-2014, 08:50 PM   #17
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The Stross book is not a direct sequel. It is just in the same universe.
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Old 07-05-2014, 08:53 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by DrNefario View Post
I don't tend to care much about the peripheral categories (how the hell do I know how good an editor someone is?), but I'll vote if I think I have enough information. Or vote No Award if I don't think the category should exist.
No award is a vote for the category. You are just saying that none of the nominations was worth voting on. Not voting in a category can lead to no award being given if not enough people vote the category.
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Old 07-05-2014, 09:51 PM   #19
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This is my first year voting in the Hugos. I think I will be able to make it through all the novels except for WoT but I also have mixed feelings about the fairness of a series competing against single novels. I figure since I won't be able to read it, I will just rank the other 4 and leave the 5th place blank.
I am really glad that I decided to vote because I normally don't read "space operas" but I was really impressed with the character development in Ancillary Justice. I also probably wouldn't have read Parasite because I couldn't get into Feed, by Mira Grant, but Parasite is compelling me to finish it. I will say it does read to me much like a Young Adult novel (and I read quite a bit of YA in horror and sci-fi genre). I'm trying to read Saturn's Children before I read Neptune's Brood. Out of the five nominees I would have read Warbound for sure, so it's amusing to me that it's presence is considered to be illegitimate based on the fan campaign. I didn't even realize until this year that I could buy a voting membership in the Hugo Awards, and I heard about the possibility here, not on any authors' blogs. I wonder if these kinds of fan campaigns will just seem normal in a few year's time, and the Hugo Awards will be voted for by a large minority rather than a small minority of readers?

Edited to add - thanks tompe, for commenting that the Stross book is not really a sequel. I will just skip ahead to reading Neptune's Brood.

Last edited by Laurablue; 07-05-2014 at 10:41 PM. Reason: added a comment
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Old 07-06-2014, 04:36 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by DrNefario View Post
In a way it's not dissimilar to the fan campaign that got WoT nominated. And that's why both of them are going below No Award on my ballot.
As a technical point, if your goal is to see neither work get any points from your ballot, you should completely omit them rather than rank them below No Award. I know it's counterintuitive, but that's how the instant-runoff point allocation system works.

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The simple, quick form, to me, is that there's one book here that obviously deserves to win. If the Hugo doesn't go to Ancillary Justice, then what's the point of it existing?
The Hugo was never supposed to be a "best of" award; that's what the Nebula is for, which is why it's decided by the SFWA membership. The Hugo's a "most popular" award, as nominated by WorldCon members.

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Originally Posted by DrNefario
I kind of have my suspicions that Mira Grant's repeated nominations might be due to similar campaigning, but maybe that's just my personal prejudices.
I disagree, for two reasons. First, I'm a fan and haven't caught a whiff of such a campaign; thus, if it exists, it's ineffective. Second, if her nominations resulted from an organized campaign, it stands to reason that her constituents would nominate one strong work in a category, rather than splitting their efforts between two or even three works...and yet, the latter is what we see.

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Gaming the ballot kind of breaks the award. The award is not about winning the field for your gang, it's about promoting the field outside itself. A good winner is a win for everyone, and a bad winner is a loss for everyone.
I thoroughly agree with this. I mean, if I were Correia and Warbound won under these circumstances, I'd always wonder whether it was good enough to have won on its own merits. The award would haunt me, not make me happy. (But then, I'm not him.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrNefario
I've read Stross and Grant before, and don't get on with them. I'm told that the Grant isn't even as good as her previous nominees, so I think I can rule it out.
I've read the Newsflesh works and Parasite within recent memory, and I think the latter is a more award-worthy book. It's not necessarily a more readable book, but the subject matter and the manner of its approach shows a better mastery of the craft, if that makes sense. It's like comparing Stephen King's It and Christine; the latter tells a faster-paced, more engaging story, but the construction and detail of the former keep me coming back for endless rereads. It is just a better-crafted book.
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Old 07-06-2014, 06:01 AM   #21
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I disagree, for two reasons. First, I'm a fan and haven't caught a whiff of such a campaign; thus, if it exists, it's ineffective. Second, if her nominations resulted from an organized campaign, it stands to reason that her constituents would nominate one strong work in a category, rather than splitting their efforts between two or even three works...and yet, the latter is what we see.
I do not think it is a campaign either. But what we seem to be seeing lately is that books by popular people that have a big following on social media gets nominated. And to me at least the nominated books are not so good and better books was not nominated.

Quote:
I've read the Newsflesh works and Parasite within recent memory, and I think the latter is a more award-worthy book. It's not necessarily a more readable book, but the subject matter and the manner of its approach shows a better mastery of the craft, if that makes sense. It's like comparing Stephen King's It and Christine; the latter tells a faster-paced, more engaging story, but the construction and detail of the former keep me coming back for endless rereads. It is just a better-crafted book.
I am just reading Parasite and that is encouraging. I think the Newsflesh books were flawed. They seemed to be written in a hurry or not enough time was spent thinking through details. People behaved stupidly even when they were supposed to be smart and that made me loose confidence in the writing.
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Old 07-06-2014, 06:09 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by DrNefario View Post
Correia and others put together a slate of conservative/right-wing nominations, along with some spiel about SF being run by liberals, and exhorted all their fans to sign up and nominate that slate. 7 or 8 of the works made the final ballot.

In a way it's not dissimilar to the fan campaign that got WoT nominated. And that's why both of them are going below No Award on my ballot.
I think those are two very different things - the WoT fans have nominated the work because they are fans of the work. Much as I am an unfan of WoT and won't be voting for it, I am content now that it does warrant its place on the ballot of a "most popular" award. It's not common for a series to end up there, but it is well within the rules: none of the individual books were nominated before, and the series forms a complete narrative.
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Old 07-06-2014, 06:31 AM   #23
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Good points on the voting, tompe and Rev. Bob, and it sounds like I ought to give Parasite a fair hearing.

I think the real problem with nominations is that few people read very many brand new books, so the pool is always going to be small enough to distort. I had never nominated until this year - it used to be that the award shortlists were my guide to what new stuff was interesting. I tend to read maybe two or three books in the year of their publication, and they will usually be books by my existing favourite authors. I don't think I've read any 2014 books yet, although I do have one lined up next. I don't know what the solution to that is.
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Old 07-06-2014, 07:14 AM   #24
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I think the real problem with nominations is that few people read very many brand new books, so the pool is always going to be small enough to distort. I had never nominated until this year - it used to be that the award shortlists were my guide to what new stuff was interesting. I tend to read maybe two or three books in the year of their publication, and they will usually be books by my existing favourite authors. I don't think I've read any 2014 books yet, although I do have one lined up next. I don't know what the solution to that is.
I have the same problem. I use the award nominations to see what to read. For this year I only nominated Ancillary Justice since I really loved that book.

And I really do not read shorter works other than the Hugo nominates stories. And this year I think they were very weak. The only one I really thought was science fiction and very good was the Ted Chiang story "The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling". "Wakulla Springs" was well written and a good story but I do not see why it was science fiction or fantasy. Maybe it can be read as American magic realism but even that is doubtful since nothing strange necessarily did happen.
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Old 07-06-2014, 07:46 AM   #25
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And I really do not read shorter works other than the Hugo nominates stories. And this year I think they were very weak. The only one I really thought was science fiction and very good was the Ted Chiang story "The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling".
"Lady Astronaut" was definitely SF, just...quietly so. I quite liked it, but I'm still checking out the other entries.
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Old 07-06-2014, 07:51 AM   #26
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"Lady Astronaut" was definitely SF, just...quietly so. I quite liked it, but I'm still checking out the other entries.
I thought it was just OK. The ending was a bit weak. And I missed the reference to Oz and I still do not know if the reference to Oz was intended to have some deeper meaning or not.
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Old 07-06-2014, 07:59 AM   #27
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I thought it was just OK. The ending was a bit weak. And I missed the reference to Oz and I still do not know if the reference to Oz was intended to have some deeper meaning or not.
The story was written for a themed audio anthology, and the theme was to use the opening line from another work. Apparently it was nominated but disqualified (on a technicality) last year, but a similar technicality made it eligible this year.
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Old 07-06-2014, 09:12 AM   #28
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I'm not a big fan of the Hugos.

I'm not opposed to a most-actively-campaigned-for-amongst-a-small(ish)-pay-to-play-membership, popularity-based award system ... I'd just rather they didn't advertise themselves as being about "The Best," or "The Most Prestigious."

I mean seriously... nothing at all against Mira Grant (Seanan McGuire) but am I supposed to believe that every novel she's written in the last four years is one of the year's five best? That each volume of her Newsflesh Trilogy was better than ALL of the other un-nominated SFF titles for those years?

The books of hers I've read are pretty good--they entertain--but there's nothing consistently stellar in them for her to be top-5 year-in and year-out. Her faction in the World Science Fiction Convention are just very motivated. Good for her.

I'm glad to see something as progressive, worthy and special as Leckie's Ancillary Justice on the "Best" Novel short-list. But the rest are pretty meh.

I take that back: Neptune's Brood is at least challenging and adventurous as far as Hard SF goes, but a love of (or at least more than a passing interest in) theoretical economics is probably required. Not my cup of tea, but I can at least recognize the award potential there.

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Old 07-06-2014, 10:38 AM   #29
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I can't help wondering how much the Hugo's have changed since the internet came about. The discussion about nomination campaigns and suchlike sort of triggered it. Would that have been possible pre-internet? Or just much harder? Anyway, the next category for me was the Best Novella, my ranking was
Equoid - 1
The Chaplain's Legacy - 2
Wakulla Springs - 3
Six Gun Snow White - 4
The Butcher of Khardov - 5

Equoid gets the top spot largely because this was just straight out the most entertaining selection. While I'm not a fan of his hard far future writing (i.e. Neptune's Brood), I quite like his Laundry Files.
IMO Chaplain and Wakulla are both interesting fictional looks at social issuses, (religion for the one, race for the other), and tied for 2nd. I ultimately ranked the way I did since Chaplain has more science in it's fiction, and this is a sci-fi/fantasy award.
Six Gun was....different. Not necessarily bad, but not her best, and very difficult to follow. I really like Catherynne M. Valente's writing, but not really this example.
Butcher was the weakest here IMO. As far as I could tell it was basically Fan Fiction. Not that there's anything wrong with fan fic, but not for this award.
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Old 07-06-2014, 12:10 PM   #30
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I'm enjoying the discussion and hope it keeps up. Butcher of Khardov doesn't fit my definition of fan fiction. The author Dan wells is a well-established and well-respected professional author and the story is well-written. The problem I have with it is that it is a tie-in to the popular Warcaster RPG and is nothing more than an extended character sketch telling the backstory of one of the characters and doesn't tell a complete story at all. Since I know nothing of the game it was pretty meaningless to me and will be ranked low by me, despite the high quality of the writing.

I thought Chaplain's Legacy and Equiod were both excellent and well-dererving of their nominations. Wakulla Springs was also well-written but simply doesn't fit my definition of SF&F at all and will also receive a low rating from me based on this. I didn't care for Six Gun Snow White at all and don't understand how it even made the nominations list.

In the Novelette category, I though all five nominees were worthy of nomination but I have a clear favorite in Lady Astronaut. It's very much in the tradition of classic SF and, for a short work, does a good job of telling a complete, interesting story.

As for the Wheel of Time series, I'm sorry so many feel that it has gamed the system and doesn't deserve nomination. Perhaps, in a sense it has but, to me and to the nominations committee, it falls within the rules as a multi-part serialized single work and belongs on the ballot. I have mixed feeling about where I'll rank it but will definitely consider it for the Best Novel award. To me, all five of the Best Novel nominees are worthy of consideration and this is the only category where I'll have much difficulty deciding on my ranking.

I think the nomination of the entire WOT series for the Best Novel award may open the floodgates for other series in future nominations and am not sure this is in keeping with the intent of the award. A better suggestion would be to create a new award category for Best Complete Series. My recommendation would be that eligibility be limited to completed series of three books or more. Many of us, myself included, like to read series and I'd certainly be willing to vote in such a category. The biggest problem with this is how to know if a series is truly completed since many authors seem to add onto series ad infinitum, such as Lee and Miller's Laiden Universe series, for example. Maybe it's not necessary that the series be completed, so long as there are three or more books in the series.

As I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, I thought all of the short stories were awful and will vote "No Award" for the entire category.

Last edited by jscarbo; 07-06-2014 at 12:37 PM.
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