In the end, the Hugos turned out not how I’d hoped, but how I’d expected.
The big question looming over the announcement was who were the people who’d shown up in record numbers to vote in the Hugos. Well, we still can’t say that it was entirely the GRRM “True Fans”, because there were several categories that had incredibly high vote totals for nominees in what are normally incredibly small categories. Toni Weisskopf got what may be a record number of votes in the Best Long Form editor category, with 1216 first pass votes. However this was one of the many categories that was “nuked” by the No Award vote.
Originally, I’d predicted that a lot of the lesser known categories would be nuked because the straight ticket and puppy-free ticket No Award crowd would certainly outnumber good faith voters in those categories. While I was one of those who had been brought in by the Puppy controversy, I was a good faith voter and only voted in categories in which I had read everything and could make an informed choice, so I skipped a number of categories. What surprised me was how large the No Award crowd actually was. I was expecting the Puppies to lose because they were splitting their votes among 5 nominees, not because they were outnumbered by the No Award block from around 3:2 to 2:1 in most categories.
There were a few other shocks which should not have been surprises, but still were. The Asterisk award bit was a huge insult to the nominees and the winners, but what was strange was the fervor of the cheers whenever “No Award” was announced. It was the best thing in the world to a huge number of people that the “wrong” authors didn’t win. In a year that gave an award to The Day the World Turned Upside Down for best novelette when other categories were being nuked because “hurf-blurf quality”, the cognitive dissonance is amazing. I abstained in the Novelette category because I didn’t get around to reading them all, but DtWTUD was one of the worst things I’d read recently. In fairness, it WAS losing to No-Award until the 4th pass.
There were a few bright spots in the categories that did win awards. I’m not unhappy that Guardians of the Galaxy won. It wasn’t my first choice, but it was definitely the kind of movie I’d love to see more of. I’m glad Julie Dillon won; I know nothing about her, and she could be the most horrible person in the world, but her artwork was superb and she deserved the win; I’m sorry that her win has an asterisk by it. I’m also happy to see Ms. Marvel get the win. Ms. Marvel is a flawed work and probably ultimately doomed to either die a withering death or become another zombie title simply because it’s an American comic that is part of the Marvel Universe, but it was certainly the best of the bunch. At least Rat Queens didn’t win, amirite? The Zombie comic had no chance because that dude could not give but a single fuck about the Hugos, and I’ve got to respect him for that.
It was a nice gesture to let that fan from Austria(?) come up and announce some winners. The Dalek was awful, though. No, not because of any ‘exterminate the Sad Puppies’ reference that some people are suggesting, but because the audio was completely borked for that entire portion of the ceremony. How great would it have been if they had to announce a No Award from Outer Space?
So, record turn-out for Worldcon to match a record number of No Awards being given out (doubling the total from all previous years). Saturday night, we may have seen the most epic ‘taking the ball and going home’ in history. Ultimately, there’s a now a stalemate in fandom: the Puppies have proven that they can lock the nominees in the most categories, while the TruFan crowd has proven that they can shut down those categories once nominees are decided. So, the question is, what will happen next time? Who will give first and by the time one side gives, will the Award even mean anything? The Puppies camp is already ratcheting up for next time. While the straight No Award camp was probably only in the few hundreds (else Movie and Comic would’ve been nuked, too), the Puppy-Free camp was certainly in the thousands. That’s a LOT of money being spent by a LOT of fandom to keep those nasty Puppies from taking home an award. With Worldcon membership price jumping up to $50, I wonder what attrition we’ll see? The psychological significance in difference between $40 and $50 is larger than a mere $10, so I would not be surprised if next year did not have the record number of supporting members.
I’m probably not going to register next year. After what I saw Saturday night, I don’t think Worldcon deserves my money.
Breakdown of voting can be found here, if you’re interested.
I was almost surprised Mixon didn’t thank Requires Hate in her acceptance speech.
Minor update: I loved the running joke of an old white guy making fun of Vaishnavism. Progressive Hugos 4 the Win!