The 2016 Hugo Awards or Fandom 2 : Puppies 0

I did the Retro Hugos (and the Dragon Award nominees) yesterday, so here’s the main event, the 2016 Hugo Awards. My comments on the shortlist BTW are here.

The full list of winners is here, a detailed breakdown of the results and nominations is here and once again, it looks very good. We have a very diverse list of winners. More importantly, the winner list is entirely puppy-free, unless you count some puppy hostages.

As I said in my post about the 2015 Hugos, in spite of the third year of puppy interference, the Hugos are still proving that SFF is becoming more international and more diverse as well as less monolithically white, straight and male. Puppies can whine and moan, but they cannot change that.

Oh yes, and love is real.

So let’s take a look at the 2016 winners:

Last year’s big winner, Noah Ward, couldn’t quite repeat his 2015 triumph, but still got to take home two Hugos, in the best related work and best fancast categories. Best related work going to “No Award” was no big surprise, since the puppies had shat all over that category. Best fancast going to “No Award” was more of a surprise, since IMO there were a few reasonable nominees in that category. However, I guess a lot of people reacted to the gaming podcasts – and for that matter, to the gaming fan writers – like I did. I’m not a gamer, so I have no way of judging the work of these gaming commenters, so I ranked them under “No Award”.

We have two other double winners at the 2016 Hugos. The first is Mike Glyer who won both best fan writer and best fanzine for File 770. It’s a well deserved win, too, for his tireless coverage of last year’s puppy uproar and of SFF news in general.

The other double winner is The Martian, since Andy Weir won the Campbell Award for best new writer and the movie adaptation won best dramatic presentation long form. Now I’m famously not a fan of The Martian. But obviously a lot of Hugo voters disagree. And besides, two real life astronauts accepted the Campbell and the Hugo on behalf of Andy Weir and the film crew of The Martian, which was pretty damn cool. One of the astronauts even wore the Campbell tiara.

The other dramatic presentation Hugo goes to the Jessica Jones episode “AKA Smile” and a highly deserved win it was, too. I’m a bit surprised that both Supernatural and My Little Pony finished under “No Award”, since both have big fanbases, though those fanbases don’t necessarily overlap with the Hugo votership. Plus, neither of them is bad – in fact, Grimm was the only thing in this category I no awarded, since I can’t stand Grimm.

The two art categories go to Steven Stiles, a first time winner but multiple nominee going back to 1967, and to Abigail Larson respectively. Two very good choices, though I was surprised to see that all other nominees in the art categories finished under “No Award”, likely due to being puppy anointed. A pity IMO, since some of the art was really good and one of fan artist nominee Christian Quinot’s pieces even inspired one of the stories I wrote for the July short story challenge.

The Sandman: Overture by Neil Gaiman and J.H. Williams III unsurprisingly won in the best graphic story category. Neither Gaiman nor Williams were there to accept, but Neil Gaiman sent along a speech blasting the puppies. It wasn’t the only jab against the puppies either. All other nominees in the best graphic story category finished under “No Award”, probably due to being anointed by the puppies, since Invisible Republic and The Divine were both rather good and Erin Dies Alone was decent as well.

The two editor categories go to Ellen Datlow and Sheila Gilbert respectively and once again, the wins are well deserved. Puppy darling Toni Weisskopf once again finishes under “No Award”, as do Jerry Pournelle and Vox Day or as toastmaster Pat Cadigan called him once during the ceremony “Voice of Satan” (ETA: According to Ms. Cadigan herself, the “Voice of Satan” remark was not a reference to Vox Day).

Uncanny Magazine wins the best semi-prozine Hugo and once more, it’s a highly deserving winner. Co-editor Michi Trota also delivered a heartfelt speech in favour of diversity and inclusivity in the SFF genre. Coincidentally, Uncanny‘s Hugo win and the fact that many of its stories were nominated for various genre awards and that even more would have been nominated, if not for puppy interference, also makes this essay (nominated for the BSFA Award last year) comparing the then newly launched Uncanny and Terraform look really silly in hindsight.

Let’s go on to the fiction categories, which have another set of excellent winners. Naomi Kritzer wins the best short story Hugo for “Cat Pictures, Please”, which was not just a lovely story, but also one of my personal nominees. The estimable Dr. Chuck Tingle makes a strong showing and finishes in third place after “No Award”, proving once again that love is real. Though I’m a bit sad that we didn’t get to see Zoe Quinn accepting the award on behalf of Dr. Tingle in a rainbow unicorn dress.

The best novelette Hugo goes to Hao Jingfang and translator Ken Liu for “Folding Beijing”, making this the second Hugo win in a row for a Chinese author (and also the second in a row for Ken Liu as translator). Now my personal favourite in this category and maybe my favourite of all the short fiction nominees was Brooke Bolander’s novelette “And You Shall Know Her By The Trail Of Dead”. Nonetheless, I’m very happy for Hao JingFang and Ken Liu and also pleased to see yet another work in translation win a Hugo. Hao JingFang also gave a lovely acceptance speech and seemed so happy just to be there, though she was sad she didn’t get to go to George R.R. Martin’s Hugo losers party. I hope they let her in anyway.

By the way, I feel sorry for David VanDyke, who doesn’t deserve finishing under “No Award”, even if his story appeared in the Castalia House published anthology There Will Be War Vol. X. Though at least he didn’t finish last. I also feel sorry for Campbell nominees Sebastien de Castell and Pierce Brown, both of whom had the misfortune that Vox Day happened to like their work and wound up under “No Award”. Now I didn’t like Pierce Brown’s trilogy, but I don’t think it deserves to be No Awarded. Sebastien de Castell’s series, on the other hand, I actually quite liked and placed him second on my Campbell ballot, after Alyssa Wong.

Best novella goes to Binti by Nnedi Okorafor, which also won the Nebula Award in the same category. It’s another well deserved win and one that should please the puppies, since Binti is the closest thing to a Heinlein juvenile to win a Hugo in a long time. Only that the smart young person who goes off to space academy and averts an intergalactic crisis on the way is not a white boy from Kansas, but a Himba girl from Namibia.

Okay, so the puppies most likely won’t be happy, even though Binti is the most Heinlein-esque Hugo winner in ages. Which should tell you a lot about them.

Finally, the 2016 Hugo Award for best novel goes to – cue puppy heads exploding – N.K. Jemisin for The Fifth Season. Now The Fifth Season wasn’t my first or even my second choice in this category – it’s a great work, but a bit too bleak for my taste. However, it’s a highly deserving winner. N.K. Jemisin’s acceptance speech, read out by Alyssa Wong, who was my top pick for the Campbell Award, was also excellent and called out the puppies.

To sum it up, in spite of canine interference, women won or co-won Hugos in nine of seventeen categories. All four fiction categories were won by women, three of them women of colour (plus a man of colour winning as translator). So inspite of the rabid puppies doing their worst, we still have one of the most diverse list of winners ever. And even though a couple of IMO puppy hostages finished under “No Award”, we also puppy hostages winning. Actual puppies, however, lost and lost badly.

Will this stop the puppies? The Sad Puppies already toned down their tactics this year and weren’t much of a factor, so I think we can ignore them, unless Larry Correia decides that he really wants a Hugo after all. As for Vox Day, I’m not sure if he will ever lose interest, but there are signs that his followers will, because paying 50 USD year after year to stick it to the SJWs, only to end under “No Award”, isn’t a whole lot of fun. And indeed, Chaos Horizon detected a drop-off in rabid puppy participation between the nomination and voting stage, since anybody who wanted to vote had to register for MidAmeriCon II. So, as Camestros Felapton analyses here, the rabid puppies lost pretty badly.

Will these whole shenangigans continue next year? I certainly hope not and I also hope that the newly announced Dragon Awards which seem to cater more to puppy tastes will deflect their attention away from the Hugos. Of course, Vox Day still doesn’t seem to have gotten the message that no one wants him or his choices at the Hugos. We’ll just have to hope he finds a different hobby.

There will be more Hugo reactions from other places to come in the next few days, but for now, let’s have
some squeeing from Amal El-Mohtar.
Andrew Liptak also reports on the winners at The Verge, while David Barnett at the Guardian declares that the Hugo voters saw off rightwingers and celebrate diverse authors.

And though I already linked to it, here is Damien Walter’s epic takedown of the puppies and their fiction again.

Comments are closed. Puppies, whine elsewhere.

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