How do I avoid the troll picks in the Hugo nominees?
May 20, 2016 9:19 AM   Subscribe

I want to separate the wheat from the chaff.

There's this group of roughly 200 people that's ballot-stuffing and trolling the Hugo awards. The blog File770 identified all the Hugo nominees that were on this troll group's list of things for its members to vote for (marked in black). But File770 itself is on the list. Last year the troll group was mainly cheating to promote its own vanity press, but this year out of spite it has nominated a fairly random assortment to try to wreck the awards system. Things that might actually deserve a Hugo and are unrelated to the troll group, like the book Seveneves or File770, are on the trolls' list. So just being on their list isn't enough to disqualify an item for me this year.

I'm wanting to identify not just which items were on their list, but which items deserve to be removed from consideration.

Has anyone put together an analysis of the Hugo nominees that goes into more detail than just the fact that certain items were also on the troll slate?
posted by Sleeper to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Here's George R. R. Martin's take on it. I tend to follow his advice.
posted by purplesludge at 10:21 AM on May 20, 2016


File770 got on the list because the trolls didn't completely sweep the category, or because someone on the trolls' list got knocked off.

The non-troll list would be: anything the Rabid Puppies didn't nominate (the Sad Puppies nominated a bunch of legitimate stuff), as identified by File770, and then anything that would have made the shortlist regardless because it was huge and/or associated with a big name (Star Wars TFA, Neal Stephenson, Neil Gaiman, etc.)

Does that help?
posted by suelac at 10:23 AM on May 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


File770 was on both the Sad Puppy and Rabid Puppy slates for Best Fanzine.

And while it's easy to identify "anything that would have made the shortlist regardless because it was huge and/or associated with a big name (Star Wars TFA, Neal Stephenson, Neil Gaiman, etc.)", it's hard to identify the smaller/less popular works that still deserve consideration even though they are also "puppy approved."

Like, for example, I haven't read Slow Bullets, and while Alastair Reynolds is a big name in SF, he's not Neil Gaiman big, and if I didn't know about how he feels about the Puppies, I might be tempted to give his works a pass.

I was hoping that maybe some cross-corroboration with the Nebula nominees could help, but there isn't a ton of overlap between the two this year (that isn't the big obvious ones).
posted by sparklemotion at 11:11 AM on May 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


It seems to me like any list that attempted to guess the mindset of the Puppies and tell you not to vote for a nominated work would be as politically charged as nominating a slate in the first place. If you were not already familiar with the work of Lois McMaster Bujold, whose novella "Penric's Demon" was slated, and I told you either that nah, she's cool, or naw, she's a raving reactionary, why would you or should you believe me?

Seriously consider this essay by Big Name Writer Brandon Sanderson. How would you vote if you had never even heard that the Sad or Rabid Puppies existed?
posted by muddgirl at 12:05 PM on May 20, 2016


I don't think I'm going out on a limb when I say you can skip the Dinosaur Erotica short story from Chuck Tingle, unless Dinosaur Erotica is a sub-genre that floats your literary boat, in which case he has many other offerings, I'm reliably informed.
posted by Sunburnt at 12:52 PM on May 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think this is the Sanderson essay that muddgirl is referring to, above.

He says, in part: In many cases, I feel it’s going to be impossible to separate which nominees are the result of trolls throwing rocks at us and which are the result of passionate fans who simply have different views from the mainstream.
posted by Sunburnt at 1:00 PM on May 20, 2016


Last year the troll group was mainly cheating to promote its own vanity press, but this year out of spite it has nominated a fairly random assortment to try to wreck the awards system.

This is actually a pretty good rule of thumb - a high number of nominees are published by Castalia House, or write for the Castalia House blog, or were published on Vox Day's blog, which cuts things down pretty fast if you leave them out.

For fiction categories, I would look at whether the author has had previous award nominations (Hugo or otherwise), or look at the venue it is in, or whether it is on the Locus recommended reading list. Other categories are a bit trickier, but here it's useful to look at Hugo nominees and near-nominees from previous years (full breakdowns for most years are linked from the Hugo Awards page for each year). For instance, in semiprozine Beneath Ceaseless Skies and Strange Horizons are both previous nominees without being on a puppy slate, and similarly Daily SF was nearly nominated in previous years.
posted by penguinliz at 1:10 PM on May 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


Read a lot and vote for what you like?
posted by ridgerunner at 3:04 PM on May 20, 2016 [3 favorites]


How would you vote if you had never even heard that the Sad or Rabid Puppies existed?

Read a lot and vote for what you like?

I'm not the question asker (but I did vent about this on the blue), and I don't know what Sleeper is planning to do. For me though, I use the Hugo nominees as a kind of "short list of things that it's worth spending time/money on."

So "read a lot" isn't really an answer because the idea is to find some shorthand to avoid reading everything.

If someone were going to actually vote, I'd recommend reading all the nominees, but I'm not sure that that's the question being asked.
posted by sparklemotion at 3:16 PM on May 20, 2016


Yes, of course read a lot and vote for what you like.

But I don't want to waste time with garbage deliberately put on the list just to screw with people.

I've already crossed out everything published by castalia house, "vox day" and jeffro johnson. They're part of the troll group. I just wanted to see if there's anything else that's as clearly disposable that I had missed.
posted by Sleeper at 3:17 PM on May 20, 2016 [2 favorites]


So "read a lot" isn't really an answer because the idea is to find some shorthand to avoid reading everything.

Sorry, I read this as being about the politics of SF/F, not reading recs.
personally, I think the Sads should defect to their own awards at Dragon Con. Something like the "Doc Smiths" and "Robert E. Howard's". Sense I like my SF to be escapist, their nomination list might be useful to me.
posted by ridgerunner at 3:57 PM on May 20, 2016 [1 favorite]


Seriously consider this essay by Big Name Writer Brandon Sanderson. How would you vote if you had never even heard that the Sad or Rabid Puppies existed?

FWIW, that's one of two schools of thought -- the other (which I subscribe to) is that, since a few small names were willing to back out despite having more to lose (e.g., Black Gate (*)), the Big Names who didn't back out don't deserve the time of day. (I discovered Matthew David Surridge last year because he -- quite epically -- dropped out. Jim Butcher is dead to me.) Gaiman may rack up another Hugo, but I hope he'll spend more than a few nights wondering who might have won that Hugo in a fair fight.

But to answer your question: the good thing about a Hugo packet is that you can stop reading at any point. Pick your poison this year, and remember that you can place works after "No Award". If the title sounds like crap, the content is probably no better.

(*) They made my ballot this year -- and them backing out makes me all the happier I put them on.
posted by steady-state strawberry at 7:45 PM on May 20, 2016


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