Two Hugo final ballot changes, and a question

I would like to take this opportunity (as the coordinator of the Sad Puppies 3 effort in 2015) to note that John C. Wright’s piece, “Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus” was not on the Sad Puppies 3 list. It appears this story was on the copycat Rabid Puppies alter-ego slate, being put forth by Vox Day.

Many people have been conflating the two slates (Sad Puppies, Rabid Puppies) for the past ten days, and I think it’s important to make clear the fact that the two slates are different, while still being similar. I congratulate Thomas Olde Heuvelt, whose story “The Day The World Turned Upside Down” (from Lightspeed magazine) now takes a place on the 2015 Hugo final ballot. Good work, Thomas! And good luck!

One person who was on the Sad Puppies 3 ballot — Jon Eno — has been disqualified. I am sorry about that, Jon! I tried as best as I could to do my due diligence in researching the Hugo qualification rules, when I put you forward in that category. I think you’ve been doing a lot of very beautiful spec fic art, and I hope you continue to share your illustrations with all of us who follow you on Facebook.

Taking Jon’s place on the ballot is Kirk DouPonce, from the Rabid Puppies slate. Kirk’s been doing a bang-up excellent job with cover design, many examples of which can be seen at his site. Congratulations, Kirk! Terrific stuff, sir.

My question for the masses is: the year-to-year interpretations of the rules seem to occasionally be inconsistent. For example, John Scalzi’s Old Man’s War was indie published (to Scalzi’s web site) long before it was licensed by TOR for traditional publication, yet Old Man’s War was on the short list for Best Novel in 2006. Did anyone (at that time) ask for clarification? Seems to me if John C. Wright’s story can be bumped for prior web publication, this would have applied in Scalzi’s case too; unless the specific rules have changed since 2006.


  1. “It’s okay when they do it.”
    It’s trite, I know; but it seems to be the only metric they apply with any regularity.

  2. I do not know that this is the case with OMW, but … if there was substantial revision and/or expansion between Scalzi’s self-web-pub of OMW and the book pub, it would indeed have been eligible as a book pub. That’s been the practice for a long time. An example is DUNE. Won for Best Novel after extensive revision and expansion after being originally published as a serial.

    Or the 2006 admins could have screwed up their due diligence. I don’t know. I would take it as a caution to keep note of such things. Because obviously they will sometimes be thrown back at you.

  3. It’s worth noting that the Hugo admins are (like the rest of Worldcon) unpaid volunteers, trying to run this event in their spare time. If nobody brings an issue to their attention, they may not notice it. It’s also worth noting that each convention has their own people administer the Hugos – it’s not like they’re a constant group of people. Finally, rules like this cut both ways – Mary Robinette Kowal lost a Hugo in 2013 over a rule interpretation, and Paul Cornell didn’t get on the final list in 2007 (IIRC) because people listed the same work by three different names.

  4. If nobody brings an issue to their attention, they may not notice it.

    This might be true, except that according to Vox Day both he and Mr. Wright pointed out the inconsistency. He never received a response.

    Seems like they’re throwing a bone to the SJWs.

  5. Enders Game was a published short story before being reworked into a full novel IIRC.

    Is the “previously published” rule why Weirs Martian is ineligible this year?

  6. re: The Martian. Yes, it is. Weir self-published it as an e-book in 2011 and it sold over 35,000 copies before it was picked up by Crown Publishing.

  7. There was a rules change in 2009 – see here and scroll down to Web Sites, Ebooks and Mediums of Distribution.

    From the link: Works published electronically rather than on paper have always been accepted as nominees. A decision of the 2009 WSFS Business Meeting formally acknowledged this by ratifying a Constitutional Amendment that added the words “or the equivalent in other media” to various category definitions.

    I think the italicized part is misleading in that if Internet-only were generally accepted, no amendment to the constitution would have been needed. Remember – way back in 2005, Internet publishing was a new thing.

  8. I offer this comment without having any inside information. I believe it just never occurred to the Hugo administrator to search the internet for prior publication of Old Man’s War, the way it apparently never occurred to him to search for this John Wright story even though it’s easy to find (else he wouldn’t have accepted it originally).

  9. “Remember – way back in 2005, Internet publishing was a new thing.”

    What the hell are you talking about? A “new thing”? In 2005?

    People have been publishing stuff on the Internet and its predecessors (e.g., the Arpanet) since Day One.

    Day One did not occur in 2005. Or 1995. Or 1985. Or even 1975.

    I have to say, Gerrib, in all my time on the net I’ve never met anyone else with quite the same combination of smug certainty and brutal ignorance.

  10. I thought the purpose of the delay between closing nominations and publishing the list was to determine eligibility and to offer the authors an opportunity to accept or decline the award so that voters would be unaware who had been the 6th place winner. Now we all know who got fewer nominations than anyone else on the ballot.

  11. Mike G., I am prone to believe that as well. I do not think that there’s a vile conspiracy, etc.. regarding nominations criteria. But there are enough oddities stacking up over the years affecting writers of all stripes, that perhaps the eligibility rules could use a revisit. As a fan who offered a few suggestions to Sad Puppies, one of the headaches was what categories some works belonged to, usually those at the intersection of fan and professional. Unfortunately, I don’t think clarifying the eligibility rules will be the emphasis of this year’s business meeting.

  12. “John C. Wright’s piece, “Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus”” replaced by “Thomas Olde Heuvelt, whose story “The Day The World Turned Upside Down” (from Lightspeed magazine)”

    There’s something ironic there.

  13. @ Mike Glyer –

    FWIW, I agree. I am fairly sure that the WC committee is aware *enough* of the mess to have realized that making this decision now, esp in the light of the previous decision on OMW, was going to ruffle feathers. My sympathies to them. For what it’s worth, I think the decision was appropriate, if unfortunate for Wright.

    It is also interesting just how much has changed since 2005 in SFF.

    Fifth and last – this puts a bit of a tweek on the sub-kerfluffle over the number of times that JC Wright was nominated. If in the interest of ‘fairness’ he had declined all but “Yes Virginia”, and then seen this one be disqualified…that would have been…well.

    (I would be delighted to be in the position of being able to honestly say – without using my imagination – what I thought was most appropriate for a person being nominated in more than one category. Or, even, if nominated again for an award they had already won. I suspect the choice might not be as easy to make as many have indicated.)

  14. “One of the Sad Puppy nominees got replaced . . . ”
    ” . . . by a Rabid Puppy.”

  15. @Doctor Your ignorance consistently astounds. Please name one ONLINE pubishers you were reading before 2005? Was it Clarkesword (est. 2006), Lightspeed (est. 2010), Apex (est. 2005)? Or was it one of the older guard who were all publishing in PRINT at the time?

    As for blogs, Wikipedia notes blogs only became “mainstream” in 2004. Don’t think that fact is right? Do on Wiki and change it — see the response you get. The Orwell Awards for blogging were only founded in 2009.

    How old do you think Wright’s blog is? You were no doubt reading his blog in 1993?

    I really can’t stand you, man. You are a fool and liar of the highest order. Get a life. Then get a brain.

  16. “Please name one ONLINE pubishers you were reading before 2005?”

    Salon has been publishing fiction (including the occasional SF piece) online since 1995, and has never had a print version.

    In the SF world, Strange Horizons has been publishing since 2000, and was nominated for a Hugo in 2002.


    “I really can’t stand you, man.”

    Oh, I’m pretty sure I’ll live through the pain of being rejected by a C-List troll. Somehow.

  17. A few others:

    SF Site (founded 1996, Hugo nominee)
    Sci Fiction (founded 2000, Hugo nominee, edited by multiple Hugo winning editor Ellen Datlow)

    Those two and Strange Horizons were all a) founded well before 2005 and b) were actually nominated for Hugo awards well before 2005, which makes Gerrib’s howler even more amusing.

  18. Yeah, the new artist’s stuff is pretty good, including the non-SFF stuff.

    Read the new short piece. It is well written. Totally not to my taste, but well written.

  19. *shrug* Plenty of people were writing fiction online back when I first discovered Usenet in ’93. Awesome thing, being your own publisher.

  20. Curious: Does being published in another language preclude Hugo eligibility? It’s being alleged “The Day The World Turned Upside Down” (“If You Were Weightless, My Love”) was published in 2013 in Dutch.

  21. @Alex – the Hugo rules allow for works to be nominated the year they were published, and the year it was published in English.

  22. The latest revelations of the Hugo-Truthers on Twitter: Baen Books is behind Sad Puppies!

    Could be. Look at all those Baen Books that got nominations this year, like, uh . . . um . . . and then there was . . . uh . . . um . . .

  23. Myself, I think SP is a joint op of the Illuminati, the Elders of Zion, and Barney the Dinosaur.

  24. Two Baen entries — Toni Weisskopf for best editor and “Why Science is Never Settled” by Ted Roberts at That latter one must really stick in their craw.

  25. Yes, but is it the Bavarian Illuminati, or those modern upstarts? 😉

    Thanks for reminding me of the second nom. Still, if this was a set up garner Baen nominations, they sure did a lousy job of it . . .

  26. Ah, but Christopher Chupik, the people at Baen are so CLEVER that they purposefully did a lousy job so that they could have plausible deniability! The evil geniuses! 😉

  27. As for blogs, Wikipedia notes blogs only became “mainstream” in 2004.

    I’ve been reading blogs online since at least 2000/2001 (wiki helpfully tells me that instapundit started in 2001).

  28. Old Man’s War hit the Internet, was picked up by a publisher in a later year, *and* was nominated for a Hugo before internet publishing was much of a thing. E-books and such hit later, and the Hugo rules were changed then.

    Kind of like SFWA only recently started to consider self-published works as qualifying someone for membership if they sell enough–the Internet and especially e-books have changed the field and the rules have been changed to reflect that.

  29. @ Chupik – I’m not so concerned with the Mammoth guys – but also not so impressed. Setting up a “worst” category (and specifically allowing puppy stuff only for that) is so very third grade, I feel like I’m being insulting to 3rd graders. (They also have already run into a problem of people nominating stuff three years old or published this year (2015.)

    It may be that their final selections will point at some good fiction to read, though. Thanks for the pointer.

  30. Marcel Jons says:
    “@Doctor Your ignorance consistently astounds. Please name one ONLINE pubishers you were reading before 2005?”

    Well, back in the 90s, you couldn’t go on Usenet without seeing Hyperbooks mentioned. (And I hope that by mentioning it, I didn’t just summon the great old one who currently slumbers in dreamless sleep.)

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