Even though I felt that the nomination process and the organized voting blocs violated the spirit of the Hugo Awards (see my earlier post about how "Fans Disagree"), I still tried to treat the nominating ballot fairly and not vote something under "No Award" just because it came in via an organized voting bloc. There have certainly been organized fan blocs in the past ("Doctor Who" fans in the Media Short Form category immediately comes to mind) and I've always tried to be fair anyway.
So my ballots in general went:
- Works I felt were strong enough for a Hugo, ranked in order
- No Award
- Works I didn't feel were strong enough for a Hugo, but I could see getting a Hugo, ranked in order
- Works I felt were just bad and not good enough for a Hugo (left off the ballot)
Here we go, in reverse order of the ballot.
- Campbell Award for Best New Writer (Not A Hugo)
My vote: Kary English; Wesley Chu; Jason Cordova; No Award
I enjoyed both Kary's stories and Wesley's novel. Wesley's novel was the only work I could find by him, so Kary got the edge due to producing more work so far. I liked Jason's stories, but not as much as the first two. I left the other writers off the ballot because each only had one story which I did not enjoy and I felt that was too thin a resume to receive the Campbell.
- Best Fan Artist
My vote: Elizabeth Leggett; Spring Schoenhuth; Steve Stiles; Brad W Foster; No Award; Ninni Aalto
Really liked Elizabeth's work especially the style and scope. Spring, Steve and Brad's work were each solid and fun, I went for the jewelry ahead of the art. I felt that the work submitted for Ninni was too little and too similar in style to receive my vote.
- Best Fan Writer
My vote: No Award; Laura J Mixon; Jeffro Johnson
This was a very tough category for me. Laura was one of my instructors at Viable Paradise and I really enjoyed hearing her talk and our discussions about science fiction and writing and storytelling while at VP. I've also really liked conversations with her, since then, at various cons. The investigative work on the scope of the actions of Requires Hate aka Wintermute was amazing.
But it was one work and beyond that I didn't find any other fan writing from her. So I didn't feel like I could call it the Best Fan Writer. I wish it had been nominated for Best Related Work because it would have been my vote getter there.
Of the four remaining works, Jeffro's reviews were related to speculative fiction and I liked reading them. The other three didn't really appear to be anything about spec fic but mainly about culture warring.
- Best Fancast
My vote: No Award; Adventures in SF Publishing; Galactic Suburbia Podcast; Tea and Jeopardy; The Sci Phi Show; Dungeon Crawlers Radio.
There's nothing here I regularly listen to. I did listen to quite a few AiSFP podcasts as part of my descent into Hugo neepery and they were interesting though not quite appealing to me. I didn't leave anything off because I would have been find with any of them winning.
- Best Fanzine
My vote: Journey Planet; Tangent SF Online; Elitist Book Reviews; No Award
I don't read any of these regulary but thought the first three were well-done and had interesting articles. Black Gate I left off because they withdrew. Revenge of Hump Day? I don't know what that was, but it wasn't a SFF Fanzine.
- Best Semiprozine
My vote: Andromeda Spaceways Interflight Magazine; Abyss & Apex; Strange Horizons; Beneath Ceaseless Skies; Lightspeed Magazine
An incredibly tough decision. I like all five, I read all five at times, I think all five do good work. In the end, it came down to the one I like the most and ASIM just edged the others out.
- Best Professional Artist
My vote: Nick Greenwood; Julie Dillon; Kirk DouPonce; Alan Pollack; Carter Reid
Good stuff here. The first four were incredibly close in my voting, Nick won out because his work appealed to me just a little bit more than the others.
- Best Editor, Long Form
My vote: Anne Sowards; Sheila Gilbert; Toni Weisskopf; Jim Minz; No Award
I'm not the best qualified to judge here, because I mainly read short fiction and I never really know how to judge this award. This is one of the categories I could see doing away with in the future. But I looked at the listed works for the authors, read about the novels to see what I thought, and voted based on what appealed to me. I left the last candidate off the ballot because there were no referenced works so I had no way to judge and the books I could find from the press I wasn't impressed by at all.
- Best Editor, Short Form
My vote: Jennifer Brozek; Mike Resnick; Bryan Thomas Schmidt; No Award
The top three all produced solid work and I have respect for all three of them and the collections they edited. In the end, I liked the collections from Jennifer more than from the other two. I left Edmund Schubert off because he requested as much and left the other name off for the same reasons as in Long Form (no referenced work and what I could find was not impressive).
- Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form
My vote: Orphan Black; Game of Thrones; Grimm; Flash; Doctor Who
Yes this is supposed to be about episode, but I admit I voted based completely on my love of the shows. (I consider this to be "Best TV Series", anyway). I watch the first three, love the first two, but this was certainly from the beginning going to be Orphan Black, Orphan Black, Orphan Black! Flash I haven't seen yet but have heard good things about. Doctor Who I've never really watched and frankly I'm tired of Doctor Who winning this category (no matter how good my daughter said the episode was).
- Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form
My vote: The Lego Movie; Guardians of the Galaxy; Captain America: The Winter Soldier; Edge of Tomorrow; Interstellar
Another tough one. I watched and liked all five movies. In the end, Lego Movie won for its heart, characters, and fun and touching twist at the end.
- Best Graphic Story
My vote: Saga Volume 3; Ms Marvel Volume 1; Sex Criminals Volume 1; Rat Queens Volume 1; Zombie Nation Book 2
Yet another tough one. Really liked the first four a lot. In the end Saga won out for the story and the characters and the world building though the next three were very close.
- Best Related Work
My vote: Letters From Gardner; The Hot Equations; No Award
I liked the first two but the writing-centric aspect of the Letters from Gardner won out for me. The other three nominees didn't click for me at all so I left them all off the ballot.
- Best Short Story
My vote: Totaled (English); A Single Samurai (Diamond); Turncoat (Rzasa) ; No Award
None of the stories blew me away or were my favorites of the year, but I was content with any of the first three winning the award. Totaled was definitely the most touching and interesting, and my favorite. The other two works didn't work for me and I didn't feel they were strong enough to receive a Hugo so I left them off.
- Best Novelette
My vote: Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust (Rinehart); Triple Sum (Vajra); Championship B'tok (Lerner); The Day the World Turned Upside Down (Heuvelt); Journeyman In the Stone House (Flynn)
Again, nothing blew me away here but I enjoyed reading them all so I ranked them all. Ashles to Ashes was the most enjoyable so it got my vote
- Best Novella
My vote: No Award; Flow (Andrews); Big Boys Don't Cry (Kratman);
Really, nothing here worked for me thus I put No Award first. The two listed after that I would have been content with either winning though one was really a novel fragment and the other was telegraphed from the early parts. The other three works, by Wright, just didn't work for me - I felt they were impenetrable and dense and not on my wavelength, though there were interesting concepts in a couple of them.
- Best Novel
My vote: Three Body Problem (Liu); Ancillary Sword (Leckie); Goblin Emperor (Addison); Skin Game (Butcher); Dark Between the Stars (Anderson)
Very tough to choose between the first two but in the end I just liked Three-Body Problem more. All five novels appealed to me and I enjoyed reading them so all five got a placement above No Award on my ballot.
That's it! An interesting year to vote on the Hugos, for sure. But there was some interesting and enjoyable reading and I did experience works I wouldn't normally have read. So that's something positive out of this. But I did use No Award a lot more than I have in the past. I have a feeling this year will give me more respect for the No Award option and that I will use it more in the future.