Black Gate Nominated for a Hugo Award in a Terrible Ballot

Black Gate Nominated for a Hugo Award in a Terrible Ballot

The Goblin Emperor-smallThe nominees for the 2015 Hugo Awards have been announced by Sasquan, the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention, and let’s be blunt: it’s a terrible ballot.

Here’s a brief recap: over the last few years a number of writers (primarily conservative Americans) have become increasingly convinced that the growing number of women and non-white authors winning Hugo Awards is somehow evidence that the awards have been ‘hijacked’ by a minority group of voters and social justice warriors (SJWs). Their concerns are succinctly summarized at the right-wing new site

To make a point about how the awards are influenced by what they perceive as a small group of liberal elites, a handful of authors created a slate of nominees heavily dominated by conservative writers, and asked their followers to support those slates in their entirety. The primary slates were Brad Torgersen’s Sad Puppies 3 and Vox Day’s Rabid Puppies list.

Under cover of this semi-political movement, which added roughly 200 additional nominating ballots to last year’s total (and nearly 800 to the 2013 total), at least one of the organizers heavily seeded his slate with his own works. Vox Day’s Rapid Puppies ballot included no less than ten nominees for his Castalia House publishing company, and listed himself for both Best Editor (Short Form) and Best Editor (Long Form).

The results? As tabulated by Mike Glyer over at File 770, a total of 61 final ballot nominees from Sad Puppies 3 and Rabid Puppies made the final list of nominees. Only 24 nominees did not come from either list.

In short, the Hugo ballot this year was essentially dictated by two individuals who asked their followers to vote for their suggested candidates, regardless of what they actually thought was deserving.

In related news, Black Gate, which was not included in the Sad Puppies slate but was part of Rabid Puppies, received its first Hugo nomination this year. We were not informed of our inclusion, and only found about it after we were contacted by the Sasquan awards committee last week. Black Gate blogger Matthew David Surridge, who found himself in a similar situation when he received a nomination as a result of being listed on both slates, discussed the reasons he declined the nomination here yesterday, in his lengthy article A Detailed Explanation.

Since the Black Gate nomination was for the entire site (which is run by a group of nearly 40 volunteers, many of whom are thrilled by the nomination), we did not decline. That’s a choice that will doubtless expose us to some (perhaps deserved) criticism. I’ll have more to say about all this later.

For now, I’ll just say that I think that an organized campaign to bring new fans into the voting process, while simultaneously urging them NOT to read broadly and make up their own minds, is a Spectacularly Bad Idea. Among other things, it badly damages the Puppies’ cause.

The stated goal of the Puppies slates is to make a very public point, and that point has now been made in a spectacular fashion. Yet there is already excited chatter about Sad Puppies 4, which hopes to have even more success next year.

The only way this will be interpreted is as an attempt to seize complete control of the Hugo ballot (which is already 71% owned by the Puppies), and silence all other voices. Whatever point the Puppies are attempting to make has already been lost. The authors they wished to celebrate by placing them on ballot will be badly hurt in the coming backlash (which is already beginning).

There will be a response, and it won’t be pretty. Last year, I don’t believe a single one of the Sad Puppies who made the Hugo nominating ballot placed above “No Award.” My guess is that virtually the entire awards slate will be rejected out of hand by Hugo voters, who do not take kindly to being dictated to.

The nominees for the 2015 Hugo Awards are:

Best Novel

Ancillary Sword, Ann Leckie (Orbit)
The Dark Between the Stars, Kevin J. Anderson (Tor Books)
The Goblin Emperor, by Sarah Monette (writing as Katherine Addison) (Tor Books)
Lines of Departure, Marko Kloos (47North)
Skin Game, Jim Butcher (Roc Books)

Best Novella

Big Boys Don’t Cry, Tom Kratman (Castalia House)
“Flow,” Arlan Andrews, Sr. (, 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 Novelette

“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)
“Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus,” John C. Wright (The Book of Feasts & Seasons, Castalia House)

Best Short Story

“Goodnight Stars,” Annie Bellet (The End is Now (Apocalypse Triptych Book 2), Broad Reach Publishing)
“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)
“Totaled,” Kary English (Galaxy’s Edge Magazine, 07-2014)
“Turncoat,” Steve Rzasa (Riding the Red Horse, Castalia House)

Best Related Work

“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 (
Wisdom from My Internet, Michael Z. Williamson (Patriarchy Press)

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)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

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)
Guardians of the Galaxy, written by James Gunn and Nicole Perlman, directed by James Gunn (Marvel Studios, Moving Picture Company)
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))

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

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)
Orphan Black: “By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried”, ” written by Graham Manson, directed by John Fawcett (Temple Street Productions, Space/BBC America)

Best Editor, Short Form

Jennifer Brozek
Vox Day
Mike Resnick
Edmund R. Schubert
Bryan Thomas Schmidt

Best Editor, Long Form

Vox Day
Sheila Gilbert
Jim Minz
Anne Sowards
Toni Weisskopf

Best Professional Artist

Julie Dillon
Jon Eno
Nick Greenwood
Alan Pollack
Carter Reid

Best Semiprozine

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
Lightspeed Magazine, edited by John Joseph Adams, Stefan Rudnicki, Rich Horton, Wendy N. Wagner, and Christie Yant
Strange Horizons, Niall Harrison, editor-in-chief

Best Fanzine

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

Best Fancast

Adventures in SF 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)
Galactic Suburbia Podcast, Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts (Presenters) and Andrew Finch (Producer)
The Sci Phi Show, Jason Rennie
Tea and Jeopardy, Emma Newman and Peter Newman

Best Fan Writer

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

Best Fan Artist

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

The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer

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

The Hugos are named after Hugo Gernsback, the founding editor of Amazing Stories, and this year will be awarded  at the 73rd World Science Fiction Convention, Sasquan, in Spokane, Washington, on August 22, 2015.

Read up on last year’s winners here, and the 2014 nominees here.

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Where was the kvetching about slates when scalzi was tossing them up, or when tor did it, or daw, etc?

Why no concern about the dedicated effort of a sizable chunk of worldcon intelligentsia to silence those whose opinion differs from yours?

I guess Worldcom is a place where tolerance, diversity, inclusion, only counts for those that agree with a singular worldview…

Sarah Avery

Congratudolences. What an awkward situation. I wonder whether this nomination is more of a thank-you or an eff-you from the Puppies — surely Theo must have known what kind of position this would put you in. Having repudiated him publicly many times, you keep trying to put him behind you, but here he is trying to drag your reputation back into his arsenal.

For what it’s worth, I’m proud to be a Black Gate blogger, and always have been. If BG wins a Hugo, it will be because the community at large sees the quality of what we do here and chooses to recognize it despite the nomination process.

This is a problem, but it’s a good problem to have. You get a nice big megaphone with which to explain exactly how you differ from your nominators. Maybe you’ll be heard by some of the people who’ve been laboring under inaccurate assumptions.

Sarah Avery

I was on a panel on teaching with Wright last year. He impressed me tremendously as an insightful person with a great capacity for kindness. That came as a surprise, because I’d read some of his blog posts. For all that I disagree with many things Wright has said online, the man I met in person was someone I would have given a chance to win me over as a storyteller. It would be unfortunate if the backlash against the ballot hit him in ways he didn’t go looking for.

Back when Theo put on his best face here at BG, I genuinely enjoyed reading some of his columns, disagreements notwithstanding. The self-aware-curmudgeon persona he cultivated seemed to be a real addition to the site’s diversity. It was sad to watch things go sour. I wish he had turned out to be who he seemed.

Martin Christopher

So this is about two guys nominating which writers other people should nominate for nomination?

[…] In case you haven’t heard about the Hugo fiasco of 2015, Black Gate (who deserve to be on the ballot, IMHO) does a great job of explaining some of the controversy and why they accepted the nomination here. […]

Thomas Parker

Politics is a necessary part of life, but life is more than politics and it’s sad when disagreements over doctrine poison every aspect of existence. Just because the Hugo is vaguely shaped like a club doesn’t mean that it should be used to beat people over the head with.

In my ignorance I’m far removed from the disputes that John and Matthew have detailed – and happy to stay that way. I’m old fashioned enough to think that the purpose of an award is to let those who do the hard labor of creation know that their work has reached and moved people. If an award isn’t an instrument of encouragement then it isn’t worth anything.

I love Black Gate and I think that a Hugo nomination (whatever the positions of Puppies, Anti-Puppies, Curs, Kittens, Mensheviks, Rotarians, etc.) is pretty dran cool, simply because the quality of the work that appears here merits it. The excellence of Black Gate has always been apparent to me, as I’m sure it is to everyone who visits here, but it is only since I’ve started making my own small contribution to the site that I’ve gotten an inkling of the enormous amount of day-in and day-out hard work that goes into keeping this place running.

I know that I certainly appreciate it (and should have said so before now), and as far as I’m concerned the acknowledgement bestowed by a nomination is richly deserved. So – congratulations!

Matthew Wuertz

I am a little confused over the nomination process. Is it possible for an individual or small group of friends/associates to influence everyone else? I mean, doesn’t the majority still have to vote as a majority to get something nominated?

Martin Christopher

I also don’t understand why it is a problem to be nominated because you don’t like one person who voted for you.
So 71% of all nominations are on those two lists? Couldn’t it simply be that those guys actually made lists that reflect what people like? Couldn’t people vote for Black Gate without voting for everything else on the lists too?


I am a reader. It is an addiction. Science Fiction, Fantasy, Westerns, Dectective Novels. My favorite, the one I “go home” to is hard sci-fi. I see this as the latest incarnation of the long debate between lovers of science and lovers of fantasy. The debate should never cease. I want to pull the nominations list every year to add to my readung list. I have an addiction and it must be fed. I want…the two sides here, met on the battlefield, to get down off their high horses and agree they neither want to destroy the world and see if a way can be found that all the champions on all sides get to go to the tournament. Would that be asking too much? I found this site because it was nominated. I’ll visit them all and be a richer person for having done so. No matter who wins the award, I, as a reader, win.

Matthew Wuertz

Martin, I guess that’s what I would like to think, that no matter who says, “Vote for X,” the overall majority of people must agree. I could be wrong, I guess.

But wow. Hugo nomination for Black Gate!

Thomas Parker

I guess the guest of honor for this year’s convention is V.I. Lenin…

Matthew Wuertz


Okay. I think I see what you’re saying. So this is always a possibility then – that someone or some group with influence could say, “Vote for these 5,” which would lock things up, so long as a sizable group agreed (or felt pressured) to go with them.

Is there a solution for something like this? Maybe that each person can only nominate one item per category? Although, I guess people could still organize around that by telling certain people to vote for certain things: Person A and B, you vote for X; person C and D, you vote for Y, etc.

Or maybe this is just a reality of any award – no matter how large or small the pool of people who make the nominations, they could group themselves together for any purpose they choose.

I fear the likely response is to say, well, to prevent this in 2016, we (some other group) will band together with our list of nominations. If it comes to that, then is there even a public vote at all (or maybe we’re already there)? How would a writer who isn’t picked by any “group” able to garner enough votes for a nomination?

Joe McDermott

The legitimizing premise behind the SP and RP slates is the belief (which I share, full disclosure) that the SJW, identity politics, collectivist, hard left economics, aggressively LGBT crowd (apologies for any over-generalizing, but I am going for a broad point) represents perhaps a majority among the editorial class, but a minority of SF readers. Thus grounded, the slates represent, arguably, an attmpt to validate the will of SF readers generally. I see interesting parallels between this situation and opposition to the leftist orthodox clerisy that is modern academia among the class of people actually funding academia, i.e., capitalists large and small.


If you vote “No Award” just to spite the SP slate, and you punish a deserving, talented writer (or writers, like BlackGate) what have you accomplished?
Is it possible that the SP slate was composed precisely to capture those writers they felt were talented, regardless of age, gender, nationality, race, etc? And if their members read all their nominees AND all the others and vote for their slate anyway, that they actually find the slate nominees more talented?
I think a LOT of this fiasco comes from a lack of imagination, as in:
“I don’t like Wright so he is a hack author. I don’t like something KJ Anderson wrote ten years back, so he’s a hack. Obviously, my taste in SF is supreme, so anyone who nominates a writer who isn’t [of color, female, transgendered, Martian native, etc.] is unworthy of consideration or being allowed to vote in the Hugos. Only those writers I approve of should be included.”
OK, fine; prove it. Sign up a few thousand NEW fans (keep the old ones, of course, but this is to expand the pie, not argue over slicing) and get them to vote lockstep for YOUR slate, then the writers you approve of will win and you can thumb your nose at the SP crew.
Maybe expanding the pie (readership of SF and therefore sales) is what the SP bunch was really trying to do. Maybe they WEREN’T being dogmatic or ideological, just nominating what they saw were the best writers. Maybe this controversy will grow SF for a new generation, whether they be of color, ethnic, gendered or even just plain white. Can we hope for a win-win here? Or is there only win-or-lose?


I’d like to be blunt here,

“Christian Libertarian” is about as danged oxymoronic as you could hope to get.

I believe the “father” of Libertarianism, in word or deed (vote), has opposed: The Civil Rights Act, The Holocaust Memorial Fund, and Government Ethics departments.

I don’t believe its too much of an “ergo” to say that these folks would not know Christ if he walked right up and kissed them on the “other” cheek.

The saddest irony of an organized group of “Libertarian Christians” derailing an SF award is that to some extent, the reason a good number of folk read SF/Fantasy in the first place is to ESCAPE the reality that twisted twits like this exist in the “real world.”

How sad…


The complaint seems to be that voting for a slate / in a bloc is unfair, and that each author should be judged individually for their work.

For the last five years, how many Hugo noms went to POC / gendered / minorities vs. SWM or unknown? Were the SP crew mistaken, that talented SWM authors were NOT passed over simply because they were SWM? I really don’t know, and ask the honest question.

I don’t look to see if the author has any particular characteristic, be it male / female, color or proclivity; I would find it offensive to choose books for awards based on anything beyond talent (which is, admittedly, subjective); but then,

“They are now being attacked from all sides, and very few people are willing to listen to them now, no matter how much evidence they have.”

Does this validate their concern, that so many people (how many?) are attacking them for pointing out a perceived injustice? And does the venom I see online create even more motivation for them to continue?

I will read whoever’s SF entertains me, no matter what their background / foreground / backyard or sideyard. I don’t really care if it’s good; the only author I really reject without reading him is Ron Hubbard, because of the other stuff he started. But that’s just me, and if the fanverse wants to give him a Hugo, that’s OK. For someone to ignore a talent (other than Hubbard, say!) because SP nominated them is cutting off one’s nose to spite their face. And if this year’s Hugo awards are “tainted” because of the SP crew, aren’t all the others tainted as well? Someone had to vote for them, for reasons good or ill, and if you choose to bestow “taint” due to ideology, then the awards your favorite authors won are tainted just as badly.

I don’t know where this ends, but then I don’t choose authors to read by ideology. I feel sorry for those who do.


“For the last five years, how many Hugo noms went to POC / gendered / minorities vs. SWM or unknown? Were the SP crew mistaken, that talented SWM authors were NOT passed over simply because they were SWM? I really don’t know, and ask the honest question.”

I really don’t know either, oh wandering one, but somehow your “question” doesn’t sound very “honest” to me. For without significant evidence — proof — that there was bias against SWM authors to BEGIN with, then their entire raison d’etre is mired in oxymoronicdom, yes? If they have not shown you this proof, and it would need to be ROBUST and SIGNIFICANT,then do they need any benefit of doubt?

“It’s the QUESTION that drives us, Neo. It’s the question that brought you here. You know the question, just as I did.”

-Trinity, from The Matrix


You question my honesty? How does one convey sincerity across a million kilometers of copper wire?

I asked because I do not know – perhaps they have this proof, and already posted it somewhere I haven’t read. Do you think I have read the entire internet, or even the SP website (assuming it exists)?

I’ve already said I don’t judge authors based on ethnicity, gender or whatnot; nor do I judge your sincerity based on a comment. If I say the existence of such proof would not change YOUR attitude, am I being unreasonable? You have already attacked my honesty without evidence, shall I attack yours without any?

If you aren’t willing to extend simple civility to both sides of this fiasco, we might as well give up now. Start by considering that when someone asks a question, they do not know; if you do, chime in and provide the answer. Try not to criticize someone’s integrity before you even meet them.

R.K. Robinson

This I such a shame. I’ll certainly not be voting for the obvious hijack items, but will vote for BLACK GATE because it GOOD and not political, but subject-based.

I’ll also not buy or support the people or publishers who have engineered this debacle. Like others, I vote with my wallet as well as my intellect.

R.K. Robinson

As for the Rabid Hyenias, maybe they could go work on the Ted Cruz campaign.


Sorry Wanderer,

But your “need” to preface your question with the “honest” label smells a lot like an oxymoronic “news” station prefacing their their spew with “fair, and balanced.”

Just calling it like I see it… Hey, at least I’m being “honest” 🙂


I put the word “honest” in because I could see someone taking it hypothetically, or rhetorically.
Then again, maybe I’m just tired and touchy.
Be honest all you like, then misunderstanding is unlikely – although not impossible (see previous thread!).
May you have a good night, and better morning.


First of all, congratulations or apologies to John and the entire Black Gate crew, as you prefer.

I recommended a Hugo nomination for Black Gate and for Matthew David Surridge for one very simple reason; they are both among the best in their category in the field. No more, no less. And both deserved Hugos years ago.

I’m not a dictator. I’m not a cult leader. If the folks on the other side are so clueless that they still don’t realize how popular my blog is, how am I to blame for that? John is correct, I read everything I recommended, and while I would have definitely put The Three-Body Problem on the RP list if I’d read it sooner, how is it my fault that Tor never sent the individual with one of the biggest blogs in SF/F so much as a press release, let alone a review copy? If they had, I not only would have recommended The Three-Body Problem, it would have been first on my Hugo voting list.

As for long term harm to the Hugos, that’s really up to the other side. They have a choice. They can accept that we played by the rules, do what we’ve always done and choose the least of the evils while grumbling about it, or they can double-down and No Award everything. Of course, we can do that too, this year or any year in the future. Bitter pill or smoking ruin? Up to them. Either way, it’s an epic exploit and you’d probably be shocked if you knew some of the well-known people who are applauding it.

Regarding our careers, the old rules no longer apply. The Gatekeepers are broken, they just don’t know it yet. But our opinions don’t matter, time will tell.

On a personal note, while I am admittedly the Supreme Dark Lord of the Evil Legion of Evil, I nevertheless think very highly of both Black Gate and John, and I wish you all very well. I’m sorry that my high regard may cause you some difficulty among your friends, but I simply admire excellence in all its forms.

And excellence is something for which you should never apologize, for any reason.

Thomas Parker

I’m currently reading Black Lamb and Grey falcon, Rebecca West’s chronicle of a 1937 trip she took through Yugoslavia – 1150 pages of grudges held for a thousand years and and politics as bloodsport – literally. Today I closed the book and thought I would drop by BG for a little relaxation…and you know the rest. Ain’t life grand?


John, for what it’s worth, after the actual Awards are given out, the con does publish a breakdown of nomination amounts, down to the last candidate to be named on at least 5% of the nominating ballots. 2013’s is at
on page 19 we see the Best Novel breakdown (the report also includes all the various Australian ballot runs to determine all the places in each category, thus the first 18 pages). It was:

Best Novel (1113 ballots)
193 Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas by John Scalzi (17.34%)
138 Blackout by Mira Grant (12.40%)
135 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson (12.13%)
133 Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold (11.95%)
118 Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed (10.60%)
101 Monster Hunter Legion by Larry Correia (9.07%)
91 The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin (8.18%)
90 Caliban’s War by James S. A. Corey (8.09%)
74 Existence by David Brin (6.65%)
69 Glamour in Glass by Mary Robinette Kowal (6.20%)
68 The Drowning Girl by Caitlin R. Kiernan (6.11%)
62 The Hydrogen Sonata by Iain M. Banks (5.57%)
61 Railsea by China Mieville (5.48%)
58 Discount Armageddon by Seanan McGuire (5.21%)
56 Range of Ghosts by Elizabeth Bear (5.03%)
55 Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines (4.94%)

As it happened, yes, 200 bloc nominations would’ve knocked everything that made it off the ballot. It basically took being named on 10% of the nominations to make it on the ballot, and a 12.5% bloc vote would’ve taken 4 of the 5 places. Only 16 books were named on even 5% of the nominating ballots; there’s a very long tail there.

[…] Except, whoops, no we won’t, because this year the Hugo ballot was commandeered by a bunch of nitwits. […]


Wow…sorry the late reply…

>>Um, what?
Are you really trying to argue that when two individuals (Brad Torgersen and Vox Day) dictate over 71% of Hugo ballot, it’s a step towards ‘diversity??’<<

Compared to the last few years, or decades, yes. Look at the previous two decades of hugo ballots, one year or two, or three or four, doesnt come near righting the scales.

For a generation or more "fandom" as described by the SF&F intellegentsia has neither been welcoming, nor tolerant, of political dissent.

Discounting the Sad Puppies, when was the last time a out and proud "right winger" was nominated for or won a novel Hugo? Looking at the list if you go back 10 years, "proud lefties" abound (Leckie, Scalzi Bacigaulupi, Mieville, Gaiman, Chabon…)?

The last time I see "righties" of equal "outness" winning is in the 80s…

IMNSHO Sad puppies, etal, is a bashlash against Worldcon, and the "normal" hugo voters sliding evermore leftward over the years, heck I remember the worldcon I went to in the 90s hearing the sly whispers about right wing authors, lately though those whispers are spoken openly, if not yelled from the heights. Yet anyone that questions the status quo has been at best ignored or attacked outright.

PLus, when you have the yearly fanfaildom BS, and it is directed at those that disagree and the community at large is too afraid to confront (or worse agrees with) the internet bullies, sooner or later they are going to find someone that isnt 1- part of the community (as the worldcon wants it to be, or rather someone who being "shunned" by the clique in power has no meaning) or 2- strong enough in their own right that will hit back. For good or ill, Larry Correia seems to have been that person.

In other words, someone sowed the wind, and everyone is stuck in the whirlwind.

[…]  -Editor John O’Neill’s official statement on the topic. […]


First off, you keep referring to the “other side,” as if there’s some counterpart, liberal-voting SJW bloc out there keeping white males off the Hugo ballot. There isn’t one. You have completely imagined it. You have created an entire, possibly Hugo-destroying campaign to spite an enemy that doesn’t even exist.

With all due respect, John, you’re partly wrong. There is a counterpart liberal-voting SJW bloc out there. We know who they are, we know how big their bloc is, and we know what writers and editors they have been pushing over the years, and we even know what writers they have been trying to suppress. (Not me, just to be clear.) We even have some of the emails they have sent among each other. That being said, they don’t do it to keep white males off the ballot, they do it to advance their own careers and those of their chosen darlings of the year.

Second, you imply that this “other side” now has a choice: to accept what you’ve done, or lay waste to the entire 2015 Hugo ballot with a “No Award” slate. Again, your assumption is based on a major misconception. There is no “other side.” There is only you, raging against a sea change in Hugo readership that you can only rationally explain by imagining some sinister secret cabal unjustly keeping deserving white males off that ballot.

Again, you are simply wrong. It’s not an accident that “Zoe’s Tale” was up for Best Novel in 2009, keeping Iain M. Banks off the ballot. It’s not an accident that in 2008, John Scalzi got 41 votes in Best Novel and 43 votes in Best Fan Writer, keeping JK Rowling off the ballot in the former. It’s not an anti-white male campaign, it IS a white male campaign. Given that SP/RP is led by a Hispanic, a white man married to a black woman, and a Native American, the “white male” theme is not really a fair characterization.

There is a second, smaller, and more recent campaign among a small group of left-wing women, but that is newer and less influential.

For these people, the Hugo has never been about anything but self-promotion. Black Gate would NEVER have come anywhere close to getting a Hugo nomination because you are neither in the clique nor sufficiently connected with anyone in the clique. If you want to know who is, start looking at Making Light. That’s where it all starts. And that’s why they are so outraged. They know the jig is up and we have taken the Hugo out of their greasy little claws.

“The Hugos don’t belong to the set of all people who read the genre; they belong to the worldcon, and the people who attend and/or support it. The set of all people who read SF can start their own award.”
– Teresa Nielsen Hayden, March 29, 2015, 03:43 PM

It’s their award, you see. Now go away. And that message doesn’t just apply to Sad Puppies, it applies to everyone at Black Gate and even authors at Tor who aren’t in their little circle. It’s kind of funny, because if you look at the right people in the Hugo statistics over time, you can see how many people are actually in on it, and how many others are sort of following along but aren’t really in the know. It’s a core of about 30-40 people who vote as a bloc. There was a similar group in SFWA back when they listed the nominations monthly, albeit much smaller, you could easily see how the same 6 people would immediately recommend all the same works all at the same time.

Now, we don’t have access to the individual Hugo voting records, but if we did, you would definitely see confirmation that this bloc vote supports a core set of candidates in much greater lockstep than SP/RP did. They have 3-vote variances across categories, we have 186-vote variances this year and 115-vote variances for the successful categories alone.

The reason they escaped notice for so long is that no one was looking for it. We could have easily done the same and surreptitiously taken a few nominations and perhaps the occasional Award, but we prefer to operate out in the open. In any event, we have broken no rules. And if the other side wants to go No Award, then we can certainly do the same.

Speaking only for myself, I’m mostly curious to see what people choose. And if they choose to blow their own brains out and destroy the Hugos rather than permit a group that has played fairly and by the rules to claim a few rockets here and there, the Awards deserve to die. There is no planet on which you can reasonably claim that recent winners can compete with this year’s nominees.

Can anyone here honestly tell me, with a straight face, that REDSHIRTS is a more deserving Best Novel than SKIN GAME would be? Or that Pornokitsch and A Dribble of Ink are better SF blogs than Black Gate? Or that any of last year’s Fan Writer nominees are comparable to either Jeffro Johnson or Matthew David Surridge? If you can’t, then that should give you at least a glimmer of understanding why so many people have enthusiastically embraced Sad Puppies and why we are wholly unrepentant.

Without Sad Puppies, meritorious works and writers would NEVER have been recognized no matter what. If you want to say it’s my fault that Jim Butcher and John C. Wright and Toni Weisskopf and Black Gate are belatedly being recognized after years of overlooked in favor of their inferiors, that is a crime with which I can quite comfortably live.


By the way, this quote may shed a bit more light on the historical situation. From a definite non-SP/RP:

“You might be surprised how long small block voting has been going on in Hugo nominations. In fact, I was having a conversation with a former Hugo administrator about it last night.

“The thing is, it’s usually only in a category or two, and usually either not enough to add a single nominated work, or just enough to add a single nominated work.”
Deirdre says: April 5, 2015 at 8:50 am


Hi John,
As an avid reader of fantasy and SF in my youth, who has returned to the genres in my dotage, I can safely say that an author being a winner of the HUGO award does not affect my choice of reading matter. I can say the same about Gold Dagger, Man Booker, Pulitzer, Nobel prizes etc. etc. I have never been to a convention and have never voted for a book award. In that respect, I suppose I can closely identify with Matthew Surridge. Sad Puppies, Rabid Puppies all have passed me by. What I do recognise in all of this is the self-importance with which Sad, Rabid and Bad to know are proclaiming themselves. Over here, we are in the midst of an election campaign which focuses on immigration, border control, welfare corruption and any amount of leftist conspiracy. This is backed by statistics, (when it is not being backed by lies and damned lies), which are often skewed to suit whichever party is spouting them. Self-importance, self-aggrandisement is everywhere.

I think you have taken a very balanced view of this whole sorry affair and I can understand fully why you feel the Black Gate nomination to be a poisoned chalice. From now on, if I purchase a book which says it is a Hugo award winner or nominee, I will be thinking twice as to whether it actually deserved it or was part of a wider political campaign. Puppies may say that you deserve the nomination on merit but how can we be sure that it is not just a smoke screen? By putting you on the list, they are showing diversity of a sort. Skewing a list in this way does nobody any favours and only goes to show that Puppies are fools. Skewing a list and stating that “we have only played by the rules” is disingenuous. The list is still biased and unrepresentative.

I spend a great deal of time defending my own political position – white male, socialist, pro feminism, anti-racist, pro LGBT, heterosexual, atheist, pro disability rights, anti-religious prejudice etc. etc. I have spent a great deal of time watching jobs go to white men, watching my wife being passed over because she is female, Irish and disabled. I have watched a government create unemployment on the grounds of solving the national debt. You want conspiracies; I can give them to you wholesale. They are all over the place, these right wing people out to get me. Except I don’t bleat on about it, because, actually, I am not important enough for these right wing people to have an organized conspiracy against me. The Puppies may feel that they have been excluded but are doing so on the flimsiest of evidence. Perish the thought that their work has not previously been nominated because it was not that good. If there is a group of people out there who are actually conspiring against the Puppies, can you give me contact details? I would like to sign up!


Thomas Parker

Who was it who said that the internecine battles fought by academics and other bureaucrats are so vicious because “so little is at stake”?

[…] By (Vox) First, I was pleased to see that Black Gate accepted their well-deserved and long-overdue Hugo nomination. John O’Neill, who is one of the finest and most fair individuals on either side of the ideological aisle, explained why: […]

Learned Foote

I came to this site through the article that Matthew wrote. I look forward to reading more!

Theo, I’m curious as to your methodology and data for calculating variance. One of the primary concerns I have with slates is that they seems to encourage people to copy someone else’s slate rather than assembling their own according to what they’ve read in a given year.

Are the variance numbers you give: Is this simply the absolute number of votes that each work has received? Is there evidence to suggest whether or not these individual votes are correlated with each other?

One of the primary characteristics of the Hugo nominating process seems to be a very long tail, where people spread their individual ballots over a wide selection of work. I would be curious to see whether the AP/RP ballots have an equally long tail.

Wild Ape

@Theo–I’m in agreement with you.

I’m just a reader but I’m sick of the arts and croissant crowd—“dictating” to the rest of us rubes what is and what is not worthy of an award. Sad Puppies played the same game that was played on them but they were better organized and prepped than the social injustice bunch this time around. They POWNED the Hugos. 71% is a LANDSLIDE. In football terms Sad Puppies got 54 on the board and SJW got a lucky 3 to prevent a SHUT OUT.

What I find predictable and nauseating is that the revenge is already on the way. They won’t just disagree with you Theo–they are going to ruin you. They are going to take away the awards because that is how they roll. They would rather ruin a reward and punish those who dared not to bend a knee. That is their idea of “justice”. Total and complete subjugation. They already want to change the rules so that they can go back to DICTATING terms.


What I find predictable and nauseating is that the revenge is already on the way. They won’t just disagree with you Theo–they are going to ruin you.

No, they’re not. They’ve been trying to do that since 2005. I am in a considerably better position than I was then. And now I’m coming for them. That’s why they are so hysterical. They are afraid. They know this is just the start.

They are going to take away the awards because that is how they roll. They would rather ruin a reward and punish those who dared not to bend a knee.

Look up Xanatos Gambit.

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