The Hugo and Nebula Awards and Repeat Nominees, Part 2
In Part 1 of this report, we discussed how the Hugo and Nebula Award for Best Novel are heavily weighted towards writers who have previously been nominated for those awards, to the tune of 65% for the Hugo and 50% for the Nebula. While those numbers are interesting—and perhaps eye-opening—they don’t tell us how centralized these awards are. Is this a bunch of different writers receiving 2 nominations each, or few select writers receiving 6, 7, or more nominations?
Today, we’ll look at how frequently the most popular writers were nominated in the 2001-2014 time period for the Hugo and Nebula award. The methodology here is simple: I took the lists of the Hugo and Nebula Best Novel nominees form 2001-2014 and counted the number of awards each received. Here are the results.
Hugo Awards: From 2001-2014, 37 unique authors (counting Jordan/Sanderson for Wheel of Time as one author) were nominated for a total of 72 Hugo Award Best novel slots. 24 of those authors received only one nomination, and the 13 other authors shared the remaining 48 nominations. Here’s the list of the “repeaters”:
Table 1: Number of Nominations for Best Novel Hugo Award for Repeat Nominees, 2001-2014
This list would have been even more pronounced if Neil Gaiman hadn’t turned down two Hugo nominations, one for Anasazi Boys and one for The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Even without that, there is still a very definite centralization in the Hugo Award for Best Novel. The top 7 candidates (Stross, Mieville, Sawyer, Bujold, Grant, Scalzi, and Wilson, all of whom have at least 4 nominations in the past 14 years) racked up an impressive 33 nominations (out of 72 total), for 45.8% of the Hugo award slate. The rest of the SFF publishing world received 39 nominations, for 54.2% of the slate.
Nebula Awards: The Nebula is rather more balanced. In the 2001-2014 period, 61 unique authors were nominated for a total of 87 Best Nebula novel slots. 46 authors received only one nomination each, with the remaining 15 “repeaters” sharing 41 nominations. Here’s the list:
Table 2: Number of Nominations for Best Novel Nebula Award for Repeat Nominees, 2001-2014
With the exception of Jack McDevitt’s world-crushing domination of the Nebula nominations, that’s a pretty evenly distributed list: a fair amount of authors getting 2 or 3 nominations, but no one (but McDevitt) getting 4 or 5 nominations. The top 5 “repeater nominees” (McDevitt, Bujold, Hopkinson, Jemisin, and Mieville, each of whom at least 3 nominations) managed 21 nominations between them, accounting for 24.1% of the total nominations. That number is a little misleading since McDevitt alone accounted for 10% of 2001-2014 field. As a side note, I have no idea why McDevitt has done so well in the Nebulas. In any statistical analysis of the Nebulas, his domination distorts the numbers, and certainly makes the Chaos Horizon predictions more difficult. If anyone has insight into his success, please share.
So, in conclusion: the Hugo is heavily centralized around a small number of repeat nominees. The Nebula, with the exception of Jack McDevitt, is spread out over a much greater number of authors, and demonstrates only mild centralization.
In the next part of this report, we’ll look at what impact repeat nominations have on the chances of actually winning the Hugo or Nebula for Best novel.