2014 Hugo Prediction: Storm Clouds

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.

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