Here’s my far far too early take on the 2015 Nebula Award, to join my equally Too Early 2015 Hugo Prediction.
Of the Hugos and Nebulas, the Nebula slate is harder to predict. The Nebula is given by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, with the rules explained here. Long story short: the some 1500+ members of the SFWA are eligible to nominate works for the Nebula award.
That’s a small group, and the group making nominations is even smaller. This makes the final slate very unpredictable: every year, there are several wild-card nominees that are total surprises. Just this last year, we had nominations of Charles Gannon’s Fire with Fire and Linda Nagata’s The Red: First Light, both of which would have been near impossible to predict. Unlike the Hugo committee, the Nebula committee does not release statistics to the public, so we don’t know how many nominations it takes to get on the slate. I imagine it’s a very small number. As such, any predictions about the bottom half of the slate are almost 100% certain to be wrong.
That said, here’s a rough prediction. Remember, these are what books are likely to be nominated, not what should be nominated:
1. Ann Leckie, Ancillary Sword
2. Jeff VanderMeer, Annihilation
3. Kameron Hurley, The Mirror Empire
4. David Mitchell, The Bone Clocks
5. Jack McDevitt, Coming Home
6. Some novel I’ve never heard of
7. Mary Robinette Kowal, Valour and Vanity
8. Andy Weir, The Martian
9. Jo Walton, My Real Children
I could also see some literary SFF books creeping in: The Bees by Laline Paull, Strange Bodies by Marcel Theroux, On Such a Full Sea by Chang Rae Lee, or Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes. If the Nebulas want to be truly inclusive, The Three Body Problem by Chinese SF star Cixin Liu might have a shot.
I’ve tried to build these nominations off who has been nominated recently, and the kind of push the books have gotten in the press and blogging community. The top 5 books from my list are all by previously nominated Nebula authors:
Leckie won last years Nebula and Hugo, and is as good a bet as any to return.
VanderMeer received a Nebula nomination for Finch in 2010, and his Southern Reach trilogy, all published this year, has been one the best-reviewed and best-marketed series of his career. Authority even hit the NYT bestseller list. This kind of ambitious series, coupled with the unusual decision to publish three volumes in one year, should attract Nebula voters. My only concerns it that voters won’t know what to vote for: individual books in the series or the series as a whole. I’m putting down the first book—a creepy and disturbing journey into a mysterious Area X—as the most likely to get a nom.
Hurley picked up a Nebula nomination for God’s War in 2012, and this is the start of an ambitious new fantasy series. There’s not a lot of epic fantasy amongst the potential nominees, so Hurley has a good shot of attracting that element of the SFF community.
Mitchell is a hard one. Cloud Atlas got a nomination way back in 2005, and Mitchell’s stature has risen since then. He is, however, a more experimental writer, and The Bone Clocks certainly seems more post-modern than speculative. If a small group of voters really like Mitchell’s book—a strong possibility: you either tend to love or hate this kind of book—they could push him to a nom.
McDevitt: you can never count him out of the Nebula. He has been nominated 8 out of the last 10 years for this award. While he missed out last year, will he return? I’m not sure I understand why McDevitt keeps getting nominated, but you can’t argue against that track record. He must have a core group of very dedicated fans in the SFWA.
Kowal is an intriguing choice. She scored nominations for her 2011 and 2013 for books from her Glamourist history series, in a “Jane Austen meets magic” kind of way. The latest novel in this series, Valour and Vanity, seems to vary up that formula by adding a heist into the regency mix; it’s received some of the best reviews of this series since Shades of Milk and Honey. Has the series run it’s Nebula course, or we will see a return to the slate?
Weir is beginning to trouble me, largely because of the complicated question of his eligibility. I’d have him higher if that status wasn’t so murky. The Martian was indie-published first—it seems somewhat odd that you can’t join the SFWA on the basis of indie-publishing, but that they might exclude a novel from Nebula consideration because of that. Until we get a ruling on eligibility from or the Nebulas, The Martian is going to have to float at the fringes of a potential slate.
Walton won the Nebula two years ago, and I’d have My Real Children higher if it was more speculative. Still, Walton is well-liked, the book is well-reviewd. I should probably have this higher.
A lot of the more commercial novelists who do well in the Hugo noms—authors like Scalzi or Stross, for instance—tend not to show up on the Nebula slates. I’ve largely excluded those books from consideration, but if anyone has a strong reason why one of those should be included, let me know.
Other suggestions? Thoughts? Who else have I missed?
To go with my far Too Early 2015 Hugo Prediction, here are some additional possibilities for the 2015 award season. Some readers have noted that it’s too early to predict the Hugos: I 100% agree. That’s the fun of it. Why so serious?
Having this conversation early gives potential readers more of a chance to read the nominees. If anyone has suggestions for additional candidates, put them in the comments. It would be great if we, as a community, could come up with a comprehensive Hugo (and later Nebula) watch list.
As a reminder, here’s my too early slate (now in order of most likely to be nominated):
1. Ann Leckie, Ancillary Truth: Last year’s Hugo and Nebula winner, due out October 7th.
2. John Scalzi, Lock In: The 2013 Hugo winner, and one of the best reviewed and marketed novels of his career.
3. Larry Correia, Monster Hunter NemesisL who has offered himself up as a conservative alternative to the Hugo slate.
4. Andy Weir, The Martian: NYT bestselling hard SF novelist, that might or might not be eligible, as the book was originally indie published before being issued in hardcover this year.
5. Kameron Hurley, The Mirror Empire: one of the most buzzed about fantasy novelists of the year, and a fantasy alternative to the rest of the slate.
As always, my predictions are who is likely to be nominated, not who should be nominated.
Of course, some big novels will be published between now and the end of the year; Ancillary Justice wasn’t published until October, and it swept the awards.
First, let’s dig into the numbers. Here’s this year’s Hugo nominees and the number of votes they received, taken right from the Hugo website:
368 Ancillary Justice Ann Leckie 23.1%
218 The Ocean at the End of the Lane Neil Gaiman 13.7% * Declined nomination
184 Warbound Larry Correia 11.5%
160 The Wheel of Time Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson 10.0%
120 Neptune’s Brood Charles Stross 7.5%
98 Parasite Mira Grant 6.1%
96 The Shining Girls Lauren Beukes 6.0%
92 A Stranger in Olondria Sofia Samatar 5.8%
91 A Few Good Men Sarah A. Hoyt 5.7%
84 The Golem and the Djinni Helene Wecker 5.3%
81 The Republic of Thieves Scott Lynch 5.1%
74 Under a Graveyard Sky John Ringo 4.6%
70 London Falling Paul Cornell 4.4%
69 Abaddon’s Gate James S.A. Corey 4.3%
67 Steelheart Brandon Sanderson 4.2%
66 River of Stars Guy Gavriel Kay 4.1%
A couple quick things to note: Mira Grant wouldn’t have made it if Gaiman hadn’t declined, and she beat Samatar and Beukes by only a few votes. Correia was solidly in the field, one of the reasons I think he’ll make it this year, even if there is less enthusiasm for a “Sad Puppy” slate.
A fair number of authors on this list don’t have books coming out this year. I wasn’t able to find books by Samatar, Hoyt (Night Shifters is a collection of previously published novels), Wecker, Lynch, and Guy Gavriel Kay. Ringo has two zombie sequels out this year, which probably muddies the voting waters so much that he doesn’t have a chance. Cornell’s sequel to London Falling is The Severed Streets, but sequels tend not to jump up in the Hugo voting. Same thing for Cibola Burn, the latest Expanse novel by James S.A. Corey. It’ll be interesting to see if the Expanse TV series will eventually push up these novels, but that is still a ways off.
From last years close calls, that leaves Sanderson, who I dealt with in my last post, so that leaves Lauren Beukes:
Lauren Beukes, Broken Monsters (less likely to be nominated): Beukes almost broke through with The Shining Girls last year, a time-travelling serial killer story. If that doesn’t sound cool, what does? This novel is due out on September 16th, and has an intriguing jacket copy: a cop in Detroit, a mysterious case that seems to fuse human and animal bodies, and all sorts of trippy and disturbing stuff. It doesn’t, however, sound particularly like a SFF novel, but maybe more like a post-modern take on the cop novel. The description doesn’t really give away the genre, so we’ll have to wait and see how speculative this is. Even if it’s not a Hugo or Nebula contender, it still seems like a very interesting read. I’ve added it to my “to read’ pile, although I can’t pre-order due to Amazon’s feud with Hachette. :(.
Here are some other possibilities suggested by commentators:
Echopraxia, Peter Watts (50/50 chance to be nominated): This was a good suggestion of a potential contender. This is Watts’ long awaited follow up to the well-regarded Blindsight, which received a Hugo nomination in 2007. In those intervening years, I think Blindsight‘s reputation has only increased, winding up as one of the more talked about SF novels of the past 10 years. Watts has tons of challenging and interesting hard SF ideas in these novels, and I can easily imagine that element SF fandom coalescing around this novel. If Weir isn’t eligible, this could be the hard SF novel that sneaks into the slate.
Cixin Liu, The Three Body Problem, translated from Chinese by Ken Liu (less likely to be nominated, but who knows): A real wild card. Cixin Liu, according to the Amazon.com description, is the most popular SF writer in China, and this is his first novel being translated into English. Historically, the Hugos have been completely biased against non-English language books. This is a shame, given that these awards are given by the WorldCon; you’d figured you’d have to honor the rest of the world at some point. This book is due out November 11th, and it’ll be interesting to see how much buzz it gets. I have it on my “to read” list, but it’s too early to say if this is an award contender.
Elizabeth Bear, The Eternal Sky series (less likely to be nominated): Although dead, Robert Jordan is still a trailblazer. By getting his entire series of The Wheel of Time nominated through something of a loophole (that allows serialized works to be nominated as one big work), this has opened the door to other fantasy series being nominated. Bear was brought up in the comments by Niall in the comments as a possibility. On the surface, this makes sense: Bear is well liked, has four Hugos (two for stories and two for podcasts), and this fantasy series is well regarded for its genre-bending. Still, Jordan didn’t make it into the slate that easily: he picked up only 10% of the total vote. How much less popular than Jordan is Bear? To nominate a series, voters have to know to nominate the series, and that takes an organized campaign and a huge fanbase. If Bear’s fanbase is 50% of what Jordan’s is (no offense, but that’s a wild overstatement of Bear’s popularity), she’d wind up outside of the slate. I find it hard to imagine any other complete series getting nominated, because no one beside Martin has Jordan’s huge following, and Martin’s novels already get nominated for the Hugo. Perhaps The Kingkiller Chronicles could be nominated as a series in a few years. Any other possibilities?
Fantasy Novelists: Take your pick of names: Joe Abercrombie. Patrick Rothfuss. Mark Lawrence. I’m sure I could add more. These are some of the most talked about fantasy writers of the past five years, and all have new books coming out this year. For whatever reason, though, authors like this don’t make the Hugo slate. Of those three, there are exactly 0 Hugo nominations between them. If anyone from this type of authors would have a chance, it would be Sanderson with Worlds of Radiance. I might end upgrading his chances to 50/50: if he just doubles his vote from Steelheart—a far less respected book—he’d be in the field.
I’ll continue mining the comments for more ideas, and I’ll try to address the other novels mentioned in the comments in my Hugo contenders post.
Kameron Hurley’s The Mirror Empire, a potential Hugo and Nebula candidate for 2015, was released on August 26, 2014. This is Hurley’s first foray into epic fantasy, and The Mirror Empire is getting some strong pre-release buzz. For the purpose this blog—Chaos Horizon is dedicated to predicting the Nebula and Hugo award winners—The Mirror Empire seems to be this season’s most-promising candidate for a breakout book, a la Ancillary Justice last year. Hurley won two Hugo’s just a few weeks ago (for Best Fan Writer and Best Related Work), and has previously been nominated for the Nebula for her novel God’s War. While you’re here, check out the Too Early 2015 Hugo Prediction and (this Friday) the Too Early 2015 Nebula Prediction.
Pre-release buzz and promise don’t mean much unless reviews are good, so let’s start collecting those:
About the Book:
Kameron Hurley’s Web Page
Kameron Hurley blogging about The Mirror Empire
Publisher’s Web Page (Angry Robot)
Reviews on Angry Robot’s Web Page
Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)
Reviews by WordPress Bloggers:
The Scrying Orb
Drunken Dragon Reviews
Ristea’s Reads (5 out of 5)
Bibliotropic (5 out 5)
Looking for a Good Book (3.5 out of 5)
Joe’s Geek Fest
Bookwraiths (added 8/30/14) (2 out of 5)
Avid Reviews (added 8/30/14) (8.5 out of 10)
Violin in a Void (added 8/30/14) (6 out of 10)
Not a ton of reviews yet, but the book is long and we’re in the early days. Most reviews have been positive. People seem to like the ambition and complexity of the world, including some of its dismantling of fantasy conventions. Other reviewers have noted that this is the first novel in a series, and, at times, can feel like such—leaving some good material for later on.
Let me know if there are any other reviews I should add. I’ll be updating this post as more reviews come in.
I’ll be getting a chance to read the novel over the next week or so, so I’ll come back with my impressions later on.
The main purpose of my blog Chaos Horizon is to use mathematical modeling to predict the winners of the Hugo and Nebula awards. To do this, I use a Linear Opinion Pool constructed by data mining the last 15 years (since 2000) of award-winning data, as provided by excellent websites like SFADB.
The Hugo Formula (see the 2014 prediction here) uses 8 Indicators of Hugo success, each of which is weighted in turn. The percentage afterwards gives the basic reliability of the Indicator, with links to a fuller explanation of each indicator:
Indicator #1: Nominee has previously been nominated for a Hugo award. (78.6%)
Indicator #2: Nominee has previously been nominated for a Nebula award (prior to this year). (78.6%)
Indicator #3: Nominated novel is in the fantasy genre. (50%)
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%)
Indicator #6: Novel was the most reviewed on Amazon.com at the time of the Hugo nomination. (75%)
Indicator #7: Novel won a same year Nebula award. (85.6%)
Indicator #8: Novel received a same year Campbell nomination. (50%)
To generate these, I went through many possible interpretations of the available data. The Indicators are not perfect, nor are they intended to be. For them to be perfect, this would imply that the Hugo award is perfectly predictable—it is not. The pool of voters is too small, and too many outside factors can influence the awards.
Instead, by building a model with multiple indicators like this allows us to not overly-stress one factor, but rather look at a fuller range of issues. Since the point of this model is to generate discussion and have fun, we want the math to be a little elastic to encompass the human element of prediction.
To go along with my Too Early 2015 Hugo Prediction, it’s probably a good idea to have a conversation of what makes a novel a potential Hugo candidate. I see two main factors, although I’d love to hear what other readers think:
1. Front-End (initial attention): Since the Hugo is, by its very definition, a popularity contest (voted on by fans, in this case the attendees of the WorldCon), a Hugo novel has to be popular. On a practical level, this means the novel needs to get in front of a lot of readers: more readers mean more potential voters.
We can think of this factor as being about pre-release and early-release buzz. What novels are hyped in the internet and traditional media? Which novels are effectively marketed? Which authors have a significant pre-existing fanbase, thus resulting in many readers? Who hits the New York Times bestseller list? Is plot/content appealing to a large audience? Does it have a good cover?
For instance, take last year’s most buzzed about novel (before release, that is), Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane. The hype was inescapable; hundreds of thousands read the novel. Despite the short length and somewhat lukewarm reviews, Gaiman scored both Nebula and Hugo nods (although he declined the Hugo nomination). Given the nature of the marketing campaign, Gaiman’s sterling reputation, Ocean was almost guaranteed award nominations before it was even published.
However, pre-release buzz is not enough to guarantee a Hugo nomination. This has to be followed with:
2. Back-End (positive reception): Readers have to actually like the book. A great marketing campaign can sell bunches of novels, but do readers actually respond? This is where reviews come in, but more than that: rankings on Amazon and GoodReads, placement on year end lists, and the general feel as to whether the novel is “important and major” or “fun but minor.” Does the book keep selling, or does it quickly hit the best-seller list and then vanish? Does it start to win awards?
Last year’s winner, Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice, had only a fraction of the initial hype that Gaiman did. However, the back-end of her book was huge: she gained more and more buzz as the year went-on, to the point where the clamor became deafening. She showed up universally across year-end lists, and picked up nomination after nomination. When she finally swept the Nebula and the Hugo, it should have come as no surprise.
So what does all this mean? That an initial Hugo Slate Prediction can only take in the “Front-End” for most of these books, as the “Back-End” has yet to happen. This makes any prediction in August inherently shaky, but fun to think about.
None of the above is analysis of the content (or quality) of a Hugo nominee. Does that matter? Are there any defining characteristics of a Hugo winner? Stay tuned for that post.
NOTE: This post is from August 2014; click here for my most up-to-date Hugo Prediction.
Now that the 2014 Hugo Award for Best Novel has been awarded, we can turn our eyes to the 2015 Award. Today, I’ll predict an initial slate of 5 nominees. It’s definitely too early to do this: there are still almost four months left in the year, and several heavy hitters for the 2015 award season haven’t been released yet. Let’s get to my predicted 2015 slate, with comments below.
Note: this is who I think will be nominated, not necessarily who deserves to be nominated.
Predicted 2015 Hugo Nominees for Best Novel:
1. Lock In, John Scalzi
2. Ancillary Sword, Ann Leckie
3. Monster Hunter Nemesis, Larry Correia
4. The Mirror Empire, Kameron Hurley
5. The Martian, Andy Weir
Book titles link to Amazon, and author names link to their blogs.
Where to start? The Hugos love nominating the same authors over and over again, so it’s likely at least some of the nominees will be drawn from previous slates. Mira Grant, for instance, has been nominated four years in a row now. Will she make it five? How about Charles Stross, another author who has been nominated multiple times over the past few years? Will Ann Leckie score another nomination? How about John Scalzi, returning after not publishing a novel last year? Will Larry Correia return as the “outsider” nominee?
These repeaters are pretty easy to get a sense of. Let’s look at the nominated authors from the past two years:
John Scalzi, Lock In (very likely to be nominated): Scalzi won the 2013 award for Redshirts, and he has a couple of other past nominations. With two of his series being optioned for television (Redshirts and the Old Man’s War series), his profile is only growing. Lock In has received an aggressive marketing campaign, and is almost certain to earn Scalzi another Hugo nomination.
Ann Leckie, Ancillary Sword (very likely to be nominated if it comes out this year): Leckie just completed a dominating award season, sweeping both the Hugo and Nebula for Ancillary Justice. Her percentage total for Ancillary Justice was truly impressive for the Hugo, and if Ancillary Sword is anything but a complete disaster, it’s going to get nominated.
The biggest hurdle here is whether or not the novel comes out this year: Amazon is showing an October 7th, 2014 release date, but it also shows the novel as unavailable for pre-order. Problems or just Amazon skullduggery? UPDATE: Leckie confirms it is just Amazon skullduggery, and the novel is due out on October 7th! Crisis averted!
Larry Correia, Monster Hunter Nemesis (likely to be nominated): Larry Correia crashed the Hugo party this year with Warbound as conservative counter-programming to the perceived overly liberal Hugo slate. If you’re not familiar with this controversy, here’s Correia’s take on the whole thing, and you can find more information by googling “2014 Hugo Controversy.” While I don’t know if Correia is going to push a slate for 2015, Monster Hunter Nemesis is from his more popular military series Monster Hunter, and there are a large number of readers who like the kind of military SF and Fantasy books Baen specializes in publishing. Expect Correia to crash the party again in 2015.
Mira Grant, Symbiont (less likely to be nominated): With four nominations in a row, three from her Newsflesh series and the other being Parasite, which Symbiont is a direct sequel to, Grant may seem like a slam dunk for 2015. However, her new series has not been as popular as the zombie-themed Newsfeed books, and her vote percentage has been declining over the recent years. I think she’s left out this year, but we’ll see. It’ll depend a lot on if other strong contenders emerge between now and December.
Charles Stross, The Rhesus Chart (less likely to be nominated): Stross won a Hugo this year for best novella, and has been nominated multiple times over the past years. However, The Rhesus Chart is from his urban fantasy series The Laundry Files, and urban fantasy books don’t have the same impact on the Hugos as more traditional SF (like his nominated Neptune’s Brood this year). Look for Stross to sit this year out.
Brandon Sanderson, Words of Radiance (less likely to be nominated): You’d think Sanderson would have a decent shot: he’s the most popular fantasy writer not named George R. R. Martin, and he has a rabid fan base due to his involvement with Wheel of Time. Past Hugo awards tell us, though, that fantasy books like this don’t get nominated. This is the second volume of The Stormlight Archives, and although well-liked, it would be something of a surprise if it received a nomination.
Kim Stanley Robinson, Shaman (less likely to be nominated): Robinson has been a stalwart of the Hugos, but Shaman’s unusual subject matter (ancient humans and their religious beliefs) and so-so reception will likely not result in a nomination. When Robinson writes more traditional SF, expect him to return to the slate. Robinson’s book was published in 2013, not 2014, so it won’t be eligible.
Nominees from the past two years that don’t have a novel appearing this year: Saladin Ahmed, Louis McMaster Bujold, Robert Jordan.
So who else is likely to make it? N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season doesn’t look like it will arrive in 2014 (it’s listed with an August release date on her website, but there’s no page on Amazon). Jo Walton’s My Real Children has been well received, and she won the Hugo in 2012, so her book is a possibility. Walton, though, has been drifting away from SFF and more towards realistic fiction. Jeff VanderMeer is a favorite of mine, and his three book Southern Reach trilogy, all published this year, might be a contender if people figure out how to nominate it. William Gibson has a novel coming out with The Peripheral, but he hasn’t been a Hugo contender in years. If the Hugo award wanted to cross over to literary fiction, David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks would be an interesting nominee.
There are two
debut (it was pointed out that Hurley’s novel isn’t a debut; I knew that but forgot. It’s actually the debut of a new series) other novels that stand out as contenders:
Kameron Hurley, The Mirror Empire (likely to be nominated): Hurley won two Hugo awards this year, one for Fan Writer and one for Best Related Work. This year, she’s moving in to fantasy in a big way, with an ambitious fantasy novel that’s gotten plenty of pre-publication buzz. We won’t know how well The Mirror Empire will do until we get some fan reaction, but this novel is poised to be this year’s Ancillary Justice: a debut novel that might capture the imagination of the SFF fanbase. Definitely a book to keep your eye on.
Andy Weir, The Martian (likely to be nominated): Weir’s book, although self-published in 2012, had its major publisher debut in 2014. Although the eligibility issue is confusing, let’s assume it’s eligible this year. If it is, this should be a strong contender: the novel rode the wave of the film Gravity to NYT bestseller status, and would represent a more classic “Hard SF” novel amongst this group. The paperback is coming in November, so it should receive another strong round of publicity late in the year, making it perfectly positioned for a Hugo nomination. I’ll be interested to see how this does on critic’s year end lists: it might even be the favorite.
Anything I missed? Who do you think will end up on the 2015 slate?
The 2014 Hugo results were announced on August 17, 2014, with Ann Leckie winning the Hugo for Ancillary Justice. The Hugo website has the official results here. Unlike the Nebula, the Hugo gives the voting details of the award in an extensive .pdf, also locating at the Hugo website.
Those details can give us a good idea of how the prediction formula worked, and suggest future fixes to the formula. While the Hugo has an “instant run-off” system, the raw data from first place votes is the most important piece of information:
1. Ann Leckie, Ancillary Justice, 1335 first place votes, 43.8% (prediction: 33.6%)
2. Robert Jordan, The Wheel of Time, 658 first place votes, 21.6% (prediction: 17.2%)
3. Charles Stross, Neptune’s Brood, 445 first place votes, 14.6% (prediction: 24.9%)
4. Larry Correia, Warbound, 332 first place votes, 10.9% (prediction: 11.9%)
5. Mira Grant, Parasite, 279 votes, 9.2% (prediction: 12.4%)
All in all, the model worked fairly well. Leckie performed much better than the model, nearly 10% higher, drawing her votes primarily from Charles Stross. What likely happened is that voters gave Stross the Hugo for best novella (which he won) and didn’t want to give him two awards. The influx of new Hugo voters didn’t seem to have much effect on the overall numbers.
Leckie thus completes one of the most dominant award seasons in recent memory. Her Hugo vote percentage was much higher than last year’s winner. John Scalzi pulled down 24.7% of the first round vote for his winner Redshirts. The year before, Among Others by Jo Walton pulled down a similar 25.3%. Leckie’s 43.8% was almost 20% higher. As the formula is revised for next year, Leckie’s dominating win will shift the prediction a little more towards same-year Nebula and Campbell winners and away from previous winners. I’ll be back to discuss possible changes to the formula in the coming days.
Ann Leckie has won the 2014 Hugo Award for Ancillary Justice, as predicted by the prediction model.
More results and discussion of the formula tomorrow.
Here’s the final prediction for the 2014 Hugo, not taking into account the increased amount of voters due to various issue (see the Hugo Award Prediction: Storm Clouds post) below. Based on past Hugo performance, here’s how things would go:
1. 33.6% chance to win: Ann Leckie, Ancillary Justice
2. 24.9% chance to win: Charles Stross, Neptune’s Brood
3. 17.2% chance to win: Robert Jordan, The Wheel of Time
4. 12.4% chance to win: Mira Grant, Parasite
5. 11.9% chance to win: Larry Correia, Warbound
From a statistical perspective, Leckie is a clear frontrunner. She not only won the Nebula, but dominated the rest of the award season, winning the Clarke, the British SF Award, and racking up nominations for pretty much every single major award.
You might think Jordan is a little low, and he probably is. However, Jordan has zero Hugo history, and almost zero award history at all. If he wins this year, it’ll be because his fans have made a considerable push for him, not because he’s a natural for an award like the Hugo. Series fantasy simply doesn’t win awards like this, or hasn’t in the past.
Loncon (the convention award the Hugo award) has announced a huge increase in Hugo voters for this year (from here):
London, 7 August 2014 – Loncon 3, the 72nd World Science Fiction Convention being held at London ExCeL from 14-18 August, is proud to announce that it received 3,587 valid ballots for the 2014 Hugo Awards. 3,571 ballots were submitted online through the Loncon 3 website and 16 paper ballots were received. This total eclipses the previous record participation of 2,100 ballots (set by Renovation in 2011) by over 50%. Participation in the 1939 Retro Hugo Award process was strong as well with 1,307 valid ballots being received: 1,295 submitted electronically and 12 by postal mail.
This substantial increase—by at least 50% over any previous Hugo—is going to severely compromise any statistical analysis of the Hugos. Remember, anyone can vote for the Hugo, as long as you register and pay the fee (somewhere in the range of $40). More voters = more passion = more unpredictable results.
So what is causing this surge in voters? There are a number of factors, and we won’t know what is the most prominent until after the results come in:
1. There was a highly organized and vigorous campaign to nominate Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time. Jordan had never received a nomination before, and this time his whole series was nominated. How many people have joined just to vote for Wheel of Time?
2. Larry Correia ran a somewhat less organized and less vigorous campaign (a few posts on his blog) to nominate some more socially conservative SFF texts to the Hugo slate. While the “controversy” is complex, this campaign undeniably pushed some nominees onto the Hugo slate (including Correia himself), and at least some of those additional voters are coming solely to vote for said texts. How many?
3. In response to the Correia campaign, there has been clamors of outrage on the SFF left, who see such interventions in the slate as problematic. Why Correia would be faulted but the Wheel of Time fans praised is beyond me, but that isn’t the point of this blog. The reaction to point #2 is going to cause some more liberal voters to register when they wouldn’t have.
How will this affect the outcomes? No one knows.