2014 Hugo Prediction: Indicators #4 and #5
For the next part of our model, and just like the Nebula model, we’ll move on from awards history to critical and reader response.
Unlike the Nebula, critical response isn’t that important. Fans vote for the novels they like, not the most “esteemed” novels. There will be some critical response worked into same-year awards performance, but for Indicators #4 and #4 we’ll focus in on reader votes.
There are two reliable reader votes currently taking place: the Locus Awards and the Goodreads Choice Awards. The Locus Awards is the more established of the two. The readers of Locus Magazine vote in a variety of major categories (Science Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult, First Novel). The statistics are pretty good here: 57.1% of the time, the eventual Hugo winner won one of the major categories. Often, both the first place Fantasy novel and the first place Science Fiction novel make the final slate, so you have a face off amongst different categories winners.
The Goodreads Choice Awards, voted on by the readers at the Goodreads website, hasn’t been around as long, and it isn’t showing the same reliability statistically. My hope is that as time passes, this becomes a more reliable Indicator. As of now, 33% of the time the book that received the most votes wins the Hugo, but that only gives us 3 years of data. As a consequence, this Indicator will be lightly weighted in the final rankings.
That leaves us with:
Indicator #4: The nominated novel wins one of the main Locus Awards categories. (57.1%)
Indicator #5: The nominated novel receives the most votes in the Goodreads Awards. (33%)
Where are we at this year? Well, the Locus Awards are usually given in late June. Finalists have been announced, and this years nominees haven’t done too well. Only Neptune’s Brood is a finalist for best SF novel and Ancillary Justice was nominated for First Novel.
The Goodreads vote has been held, and here’s how our novels fared. I counted the votes of A Memory of Light, the last volume of The Wheel of Time), for Jordan/Sanderson.
Wheel of Time 28,470 votes
Ancillary Justice 3,815 votes
Parasite 3,431 votes
Warbound 1,509 votes
Neptune’s Brood 1,144 votes
This is the first category where the popularity of Wheel of Time shines through. The gap between A Memory of Light and Ancillary Justice is enormous, and may factor into the final Hugo vote.