Reactions to the 2018 Hugo Award Winners

I already shared my own reactions to the 2018 Hugo Award winners as well as some reactions from around the web in yesterday’s post. However, since then I’ve come across a couple more reaction posts from around the web.

At Women Write About Comics, Doris V. Sutherland talks about this year’s Hugo winners and also touches upon the earlier WorldCon 76 programming controversy and the even earlier controversy surrounding the short fiction review site Rocket Stack Rank. Doris V. Sutherland has also reviewed all the novel and novella as well as novelette and short story finalists for the 2018 Hugo Awards.

On his blog, Steve J. Wright shares his thoughts on the 2018 Hugo Award winners and the 1943 Retro Hugo Award winners. Like me, he does not much care for The Good Place as well as the two winning Heinlein stories in the Retro Hugos.

Font Folly compares his ballot with the 2018 Hugo winners and realises that he never actually put N.K. Jemisin’s triple Hugo winning trilogy in first place. Coincidentally, neither did I. It’s not that I don’t feel that N.K. Jemisin is a most worthy Hugo winner, for she absolutely is. It’s just that there was always at least one book I liked better. For that matter, the last time and only time my first choice won in the best novel category was Ancillary Justice in 2014.

Font Folly also explains why he feels more drawn to stories by women, writers of colour and LGBT writers, probably in response to the handwringing in various places (for a taste, check out the comments on this File 770 post) that for the second year in a row, all Hugo winners in the fiction categories were women (and psst, don’t tell them, but in 2016 the winners in the fiction categories were four women, three of them women of colour, and Andy Weir). Interestingly, those handwringers worry very much about the statistical improbability of only women winning two years in a row, but seem notably less concerned about the fact that only white men won Hugos for a whole fifteen years in a row, even though we know that women were nominated as early as the third ever Hugo Awards in 1956. I also don’t recall the “But what about the poor menz” brigade being overly concerned that all but one Hugo finalist in the fiction categories was male as late as 2007.

Font Folly also pointed me to this post by Alexandra Erin, in which she muses about WorldCons and the Hugos in general. Alexandra Erin points out that what makes WorldCon so great is the community and how generally welcoming it is (occasional idiots notwithstanding). And what makes the Hugos great is that they arise from this community. I agree with her and indeed I wrote something similar in my WorldCon 75 after-action report last year.

Best fanwriter finalist Camestros Felapton digs into the Hugo numbers to analyse the impact of “No Award” and the EPH system of weighing the nominations to reduce the impact of slates, used for the first time in 2017.

It turns out that “No Award” is a factor even when there is no puppy poo on the ballot due to people no awarding works they dislike/don’t consider Hugo worthy and some people also no awarding entire categories (series, fancast, the editing categories) they believe should not exist. Now I don’t really get the latter – if I don’t want to vote in a category for whatever reason, I simply leave it blank. But I do no award finalists I intensely dislike and/or do not consider Hugo worthy and/or feel do not belong in that category, cause that’s what “No Award” is for. I have also no awarded finalists in the pre-puppy era. The first year, I voted for the Hugo, I was depressed because I had to put several finalists under no award, either because they were just dreadful or miscategorised. I felt quite about that at the time. Then came the puppy years and “no award” became a serious contender. And ever since then, I find that I am far more willing to pull the “no award” trigger.

As for the impact of EPH, it turns out that without EPH, The Stars Are Legion by Kameron Hurley and Autonomous by Annalee Newitz would have replaced The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi and New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson, the two IMO weakest works on this year’s best novel ballot. But then, I suspect that The Stars Are Legion and Autonomous are more likely to appeal to the same voter/nominator pool that also liked The Stone Sky, Raven Strategem or Provenance or Six Wakes for that matter, while John Scalzi and Kim Stanley Robinson both have strong fanbases, but those fanbases, particularly Robinson’s, don’t seem to have as much overlap with the fanbases for the other books. So in short, EPH seems to work as intended, even if I personally would have been happier with The Stars Are Legion and Autonomous.

On a related note, Camestros Felapton also wonders what is a fan writer anyway and what does and does not constitute fan writing.

ETA: Inspired by N.K. Jemisin’s triple Hugo win, Mike Glyer compiled a list of all those who have won three or more consecutive Hugos in the same category. The record holder is Dave Langford BTW who won best fan writer every single year from 1989 to 2007.

ETA 2: Sal Pizarro reports about the 2018 Hugo Awards for the San José Mercury and also particularly focusses on the fact that so many women, including women of colour, won.

Regarding people not happy about the 2018 Hugo winners, the Vox Day post I linked to in my last post ( link) also contains an alleged quote from Robert Silverberg, in which he declares that he hasn’t read N.K. Jemisin’s triple Hugo winning trilogy, but found her acceptance speech vulgar, because she wasn’t properly grateful or something. Like many others I dismissed that quote as Vox making up stuff, but Laura Resnick and John Scalzi have both confirmed that the quote is genuine, though it was apparently a comment made on a private e-mail list that turned out to be not as private as Robert Silverberg thought. Besides, it’s not his place to criticise how other writers celebrate their Hugo wins. I also find it a bit sad that one of the greats of our genre and an annual WorldCon attendant since 1953 can’t find the time to read a Hugo winning novel. It’s okay if he doesn’t like the books and if he doesn’t want to read the whole trilogy, but not having read even one volume is rather sad.

N.K. Jemisin herself has the following response:

At Facebook, Katherine Kerr and Laura Resnick also respond to complaints that N.K. Jemisin and the other Hugo winners and finalists of colour as well as those who have voted for them have engaged in “identity politics” by pointing out that promoting straight white men is also identity politics, especially since straight white men are actually a minority of the world population.

I already posted some reactions from the puppy camp in my last post. For more voices from the puppy camp (all links go to, here is 2016 Campbell Award finalist Brian Niemeier complaining that the Hugo voters are unimaginative, because they awarded N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy three years in a row. As I said above, I never actually placed any of the Broken Earth books in first place either, because there was always at least one book I liked better. Alas, Niemeier fails to tell us what he would have preferred to win instead. He also harbours under the misapprehension that Tor has dropped John Scalzi (they didn’t; his career is going fine) and that Tor publishes N.K. Jemisin (The Broken Earth trilogy was actually published by Orbit). The rest of the usual blah-blah about how traditional publishing is doomed and indies are the future, though there is no mention of the Dragon Awards this time around. Niemeier also can’t resist a swipe at Catherynne M. Valente, who became the subject of truly nasty harassment campaign after she tweeted about the alt-right rally outside WorldCon 76. Cause for some reason, several puppy types and fellow travellers assumed she was calling them Nazis – even though she was referring to the protesters at the rally and none of the various puppies were actually there – and decided to spew hatred and death threats at a pregnant woman.

Meanwhile, Sad Puppies founder Larry Correia wishes to let K. Tempest Bradford (and presumably everybody else) know that he is totally over WorldCon and the Hugos and just doesn’t care anymore. The rest of the post is a mix of Correia bragging about his mountain, his car and his guns, as if he were the guy from this classic 1995 bank commercial, and telling K. Tempest Bradford how utterly irrelevant she is. Because he doesn’t care anymore, you see.

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  1. Pingback: More Reactions to the 2018 Hugo Awards and Other WorldCon 76 Links | Cora Buhlert

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