The 2015 Hugo Awards: The Results

The results of the 2015 Hugo Awards were announced just a few short hours ago at Sasquan, the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention in Spokane, Washington. It’s been a controversial year for the awards. But after months of tension, after months of debate, the fan community has spoken – they have staunchly opposed the efforts of those who tried to manipulate the ballot.

Not a single one of the authors promoted by the Sad Puppies or Rabid Puppies campaigns won an award. And in those five categories where every nominee was listed on a slate, the voters chose to give No Award. This number equals the amount of No Awards given in the entire history of the Hugo Awards previous to this year.

The 2015 Hugo Award trophy, designed by Matthew Dockrey
The 2015 Hugo Award trophy, designed by Matthew Dockrey

The winners and nominations for each category are outlined below. Texts highlighted in bold were the winners of each category. Texts highlighted in red were listed in the Sad Puppies or Rabid Puppies slate. I have listed the categories in order of presentation, to provide some commentary on how the ceremony unfolded.

The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer  

  • Wesley Chu
  • Jason Cordova
  • Kary English
  • Rolf Nelson
  • Eric S. Raymond

Chu’s victory as the only nominee not listed on a Puppies slate was an indication of what was about to unfold. His acceptance speech promoted inclusivity for people of all races, genders, and sexual orientations, something that would become the theme of the night.

 

Best Fan Artist

  • Elizabeth Leggett
  • Brad W. Foster
  • Ninni Aalto
  • Spring Schoenhuth
  • Steve Stiles

This was the only category that had no nominations from the Puppies slates!

 

Best Fan Writer

  • Laura J. Mixon
  • Dave Freer
  • Amanda S. Green
  • Jeffro Johnson
  • Cedar Sanderson

 

Best Fancast

  • Galactic Suburbia Podcast, Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts (Presenters) and Andrew Finch (Producer)
  • Adventures in SciFi Publishing, Brent Bower (Executive Producer), Kristi Charish, Timothy C. Ward & Moses Siregar III (Co-Hosts, Interviewers and Producers)
  • Dungeon Crawlers Radio, Daniel Swenson (Producer/Host), Travis Alexander & Scott Tomlin (Hosts), Dale Newton (Host/Tech), Damien Swenson (Audio/Video Tech)
  • The Sci Phi Show, Jason Rennie
  • Tea and Jeopardy, Emma Newman and Peter Newman

Enormously excited for this result, especially since Alisa Krasnostein is part of my university. Great to see Curtin represented again at the Hugos!

 

Best Fanzine

  • Journey Planet, edited by James Bacon, Christopher J Garcia, Colin Harris, Alissa McKersie, and Helen J. Montgomery
  • Black Gate, edited by John O’Neill (Withdrew after ballot finalized)
  • Elitist Book Reviews, edited by Steven Diamond
  • The Revenge of Hump Day, edited by Tim Bolgeo
  • Tangent SF Online, edited by Dave Truesdale

 

Best Semiprozine

  • Lightspeed Magazine, edited by John Joseph Adams, Stefan Rudnicki, Rich Horton, Wendy N. Wagner, and Christie Yant
  • Abyss & Apex, Wendy Delmater editor and publisher
  • Andromeda Spaceways In-Flight Magazine, Andromeda Spaceways Publishing Association Incorporated, 2014 editors David Kernot and Sue Bursztynski
  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies, edited by Scott H. Andrews
  • Strange Horizons, Niall Harrison, editor-in-chief

 

Best Related Work

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

The first No Award of the night confirmed what everyone had already realized – the Puppies were set for defeat.

 

Best Graphic Story

  • Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal, written by G. Willow Wilson, illustrated by Adrian Alphona and Jake Wyatt, (Marvel Comics)
  • Rat Queens Volume 1: Sass and Sorcery, written by Kurtis J. Weibe, art by Roc Upchurch (Image Comics)
  • Saga Volume 3, written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples (Image Comics))
  • Sex Criminals Volume 1: One Weird Trick, written by Matt Fraction, art by Chip Zdarsky (Image Comics)
  • The Zombie Nation Book #2: Reduce Reuse Reanimate, Carter Reid (The Zombie Nation)

Another win for diversity, with Wilson’s reimagining of Ms. Marvel as a Muslim teenager getting a favourable reception from both fans and critics.

 

Best Editor, Short Form

  • No award
  • Jennifer Brozek
  • Vox Day
  • Mike Resnick
  • Edmund R. Schubert (Withdrew after ballot finalized)
  • Bryan Thomas Schmidt

 

Best Editor, Long Form

  • No award
  • Vox Day
  • Sheila Gilbert
  • Jim Minz
  • Anne Sowards
  • Toni Weisskopf

 

Best Professional Artist

  • Julie Dillon
  • Kirk DouPonce
  • Nick Greenwood
  • Alan Pollack
  • Carter Reid

 

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

  • Orphan Black: “By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried”,  written by Graham Manson, directed by John Fawcett (Temple Street Productions, Space/BBC America)
  • Doctor Who: “Listen”, written by Steven Moffat, directed by Douglas Mackinnon (BBC Television)
  • The Flash: “Pilot”, teleplay by Andrew Kreisberg & Geoff Johns, story by Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg & Geoff Johns, directed by David Nutter (The CW) (Berlanti Productions, DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Television)
  • Game of Thrones: “The Mountain and the Viper”, written by David Benioff & D. B. Weiss, directed by Alex Graves ((HBO Entertainment in association with Bighead, Littlehead; Television 360; Startling Television and Generator Productions)
  • Grimm: “Once We Were Gods”, written by Alan DiFiore, directed by Steven DePaul (NBC) (GK Productions, Hazy Mills Productions, Universal TV)

This was a real highlight of the night, with a Dalek coming onstage and providing hilarious banter before presenting the award.

 

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

  • Guardians of the Galaxy, written by James Gunn and Nicole Perlman, directed by James Gunn (Marvel Studios, Moving Picture Company)
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier, screenplay by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely, concept and story by Ed Brubaker, directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo (Marvel Entertainment, Perception, Sony Pictures Imageworks)
  • Edge of Tomorrow, screenplay by Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth, and John-Henry Butterworth, directed by Doug Liman (Village Roadshow, RatPac-Dune Entertainment, 3 Arts Entertainment; Viz Productions)
  • Interstellar, screenplay by Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan, directed by Christopher Nolan (Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros. Pictures, Legendary Pictures, Lynda Obst Productions, Syncopy)
  • The Lego Movie, written by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, story by Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman, Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, directed by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller (Warner Bros. Pictures, Village Roadshow Pictures, RatPac-Dune Entertainment, LEGO System A/S, Vertigo Entertainment, Lin Pictures, Warner Bros. Animation (as Warner Animation Group))

This was the only award of the night that was part of the slate, but I think it was simply a case of everyone agreeing that Guardians of the Galaxy deserved the award.

 

Best Short Story

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

 

Best Novelette

  • “The Day the World Turned Upside Down”, Thomas Olde Heuvelt, Lia Belt translator (Lightspeed, 04-2014)
  • “Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium”, Gray Rinehart (Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show, 05-2014)
  • “Championship B’tok”, Edward M. Lerner (Analog, 09-2014)
  • “The Journeyman: In the Stone House”, Michael F. Flynn (Analog, 06-2014)
  • “The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale”, Rajnar Vajra (Analog, 07/08-2014)

 

Best Novella

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

 

Best Novel

  • The Three Body Problem, Cixin Liu, Ken Liu translator (Tor Books)
  • Ancillary Sword, Ann Leckie (Orbit US/Orbit UK)
  • The Dark Between the Stars, Kevin J. Anderson (Tor Books)
  • The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison (Sarah Monette) (Tor Books)
  • Skin Game, Jim Butcher (Orbit UK/Roc Books)

Translator Ken Liu accepted the award on Cixin Liu’s behalf, giving a speech that recognized the importance of books written in languages other than English. It was a great way to end the night.

Full details of the votes can be found here. The 2015 slate for Sad Puppies can be found here. The slate for Rabid Puppies can be found here.

Chinese author Cixin Liu
Chinese author Cixin Liu

The evening’s outcome celebrates the fact that diversity is an integral part of the science fiction and fantasy community. The panelists both before and after the ceremony noted that Worldcon is not restricted to North America, or even English-speaking countries. Just as science fiction and fantasy are written in all languages, the community of fans extends across the entire world. It’s already been announced that the 2017 Worldcon will be held in Helsinki, Finland – the fourth time that it’s been hosted in a non-English-speaking country. This recognition of diversity became one of the themes of the night – a deliberate response to the Puppies. It’s significant that this year’s winners for Best Novel and Best Novelette are both translated works, coming from countries that have never previously seen strong representation at the Hugos.

Each “No Award” is a powerful statement against slating – it is the fan community standing firm against the manipulation of the ballot. It is also a sign of hope for the future of the award. Although Theodore Beale has threatened further slatings in the future (promising “If No Award takes a fiction category, you will likely never see another award given in that category again”), fans have demonstrated that they have the numbers to outweigh the Puppies slates. Some sites published voting guides on how to defeat the Puppies, and these were certainly instrumental in organizing opposition. Next year’s awards depend on these same fans mobilizing themselves to nominate the works that they think deserve to win.

An early analysis of the results at Chaos Horizon suggests that the combined Sad and Rabid Puppies voters constituted less than 20% of the final votes. This is consistent with the idea that the entire Puppies scare may have been the result of “freeping,” a strategy where a vocal minority create the illusion of a majority by raising their voices. But the Chaos Horizon analysis also indicates that Liu may have won the Best Novel category due to a recommendation by Beale to the Rabid Puppies voters. A curious thought.

This whole debacle has highlighted problems endemic in the nomination process. How will this impact the awards in the future? Will the process be change to discourage slating? If so, how will the democratic process be upheld? Or will competing voting blocs arise, forcing voters to select groups of texts based on their political affiliations rather than any literary merit? I’ve been informed that there is a proposal to modify the nomination process at this year’s Worldcon Business Meeting, so it will be interesting to see how it turns out.

It will also be interesting to read the responses of the various people involved in the Puppies campaigns in the coming days. Their attempts to control the ballot equate to an effort to control who is authorized to produce and disseminate science fiction. By implying that liberal, literary, or progressive writers don’t deserve recognition, they are stifling the diversity within the genre. Without these voices, the genre will never grow, never change, never evolve beyond the simple rocketship pulp. It will stagnate and die. As the Puppies try to “take back” science fiction, they are the ones doing it damage. I hope they’re aware of the irony.

Congratulations to all of the 2015 Hugo Award winners!

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6 comments

  1. There are actually two proposals before the Business Meeting. 4/6 (nominate up to 4 works, 6 make the final ballot–with those numbers possibly subject to modification at the business meeting to become 4/5 or 3/5 or whatever the meeting thinks appropriate) and EPH (single divisible vote, least popular eliminated, called “E Pluribus Hugo” since proposals to the business meeting must have a name.)

    Full Disclosure: I am a co-sponsor of 4/6, but have over the course of watching EPH be developed and tested, come to believe that EPH is actually the better choice, though it is a bit complicated to explain.

  2. The “No Award” nuclear option was not a “powerful statement against slate voting”; it was a temper tantrum by a bunch of whiny, entitled crybabies who dishovered some kids they don’t like playing in their sandbox. Sasquan is the 22nd Worldcon I’ve attended. It’s also the last one I will attend. I’m disgusted to see what SF Fandom has become since this year’s Hugo nominations were announced, and I’ve had enough.

  3. I believe that more comprehensive measures must be taken to keep fringe factions from packing ballots. Every year, WorldCon should appoint a nominating committee to read the year’s SF output and select ballots in all categories. It would be a break with tradition, but we have seen for ourselves that democracy in the nominating phase empowers extremists at the expense of the level-headed majority.

  4. Andrew. I wonder why you comment on this when you seem so ignorant of facts and circumstances. Sad Puppies never set out to control the ballot. They set out to break up the clique that previously controlled nominations. Frankly, part of the issue was they they did too well at the nomination stage and that Rabid Puppies got in on the act too.

    Your references to politics and diversity make no sense. In the best editor (long form) category, Sad Puppies listed three women and one man. Here’s what George RR Martin (far from a supporter of Sad Puppies and someone who’s been involved with Worldcon and the Hugos for 40 years) said about the picks (http://grrm.livejournal.com):

    “[These] four finalists are legitimate editors, however, and deserving of their nominations. I think the contest is between Sheila Gilbert of DAW and Toni Weisskopf of Baen. Jim Minz is a good guy and a good editor, but he’s at Baen, and the Baen voters are going to go for Toni, who is the senior presence there. Anne Sowards of Ace and Roc is a worthy choice too, and it’s nice to see her getting some recognition, but I think she’s a long shot this year. Weisskopf and Gilbert were both nominees last year at Loncon, and Weisskopf was the last one eliminated in the first round of voting, losing out to the eventual winner Ginjer Buchanan. And she had more nominations even than Ginjer last time around. I think this may be her year. The Puppies love Baen the best of all the publishers in the field and will rally around her, but Toni is a solid professional with a lot of friends in fandom and prodom as well, and she’s done a commendable job with Baen Books since succeeding the late Jim Baen. The Nukes and the Moens will be No Awarding this category, since it is all slate, but I think (hope) there are not enough of them to matter. It would be a tragedy if we threw out four good editors just because the Puppies like them too.”

    So those who were anti-Puppies entered up No Awarding a category in which the Sad Puppies had nominated no fewer than three women finalists, two of them previous nominees in 2013 (without being mentioned by Sad Puppies at all) and the third is considered by George RR Martin to be “a worthy choice”.

    My wife is Australian, so I know that higher education there is a mixed bag with too much supply and not much emphasis on quality, but I worry that someone with a PhD and a teacher there would take such a superficial approach to researching and writing about an issue like this.

  5. No, the institution of the Hugos is certainly stronger than that, and the No Award votes were appropriate. Remember that this isn t some fictitious Social Justice Warriors anti-troll cabal acting against Beale and the rest of the Puppies.

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