Declined Hugo and Nebula and other SFF Nominations

Since Chaos Horizon is a website dedicated to gathering stats and information about SFF awards, particularly the Hugos and Nebulas, a list of declined award nominations might prove helpful to us. There’s a lot of information out there, but it’s scattered across the web and hard to find . Hopefully we can gather all this information in one place as a useful resource.

So, if you know of any declined nominations—in the Hugos and Nebulas or other major SFF awards—drop the info on the comments. I have not included books withdrawn for eligibility reasons (published in a previous year, usually). I’ll keep the list updated and stash it in my “Resources” tab up at the top.

Declined Hugo Best Novel nominations:
1972 Best Novel: Robert Silverberg, The World Inside (source: NESFA.org’s excellent Hugo website; Silverberg allegedly declined to give his other Hugo nominated novel that year A Time of Changes a better chance)
1979 Best Novel: James Triptree, Jr., Up the Walls of the World (source: NESFA.org; I have no idea what the story is here)
1989 Best Novel: P. J. Beese and Todd Cameron Hamilton, The Guardsman (source: NESFA.org; Jo Walton has an interesting snippet on this from her Hugo series, noting that the book was disqualified because of block voting)
2005 Best Novel: Terry Pratchett, Going Postal (source: 2005 Hugo Page, nomination links at bottom, Pratchett’s statement that he just wanted to enjoy the event)
2006 Best Novel: Neil Gaiman, Anasi Boys (source: Gaiman’s statement, 2006 Hugo Page, nomination stats at bottom)
2014 Best Novel: Neil Gaiman, Ocean at the End of the Lane (source: 2014 Hugo Page, nomination stats at bottom)
2015 Best Novel: Larry Correia, Monster Hunter Nemesis (source: Correia’s website)
2015 Best Novel: Marko Kloos, Lines of Departure (source: Kloos’s website)

An interesting list. Anasi Boys might have won the 2006 Best Novel Hugo over Robert Charles Wilson’s Spin; Gaiman was incandescently hot at the time. I don’t think Pratchett would have won, as Going Postal isn’t his best work, and Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell was a sensation that year. Gaiman wasn’t going to beat Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Justice in 2014.

Declined Nebula Best Novel nominations:
2012 Best Novel: John Scalzi, Redshirts (source: I found this mention on Scalzi’s blog; search the comments for “Redshirts”)

2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson won in 2012; I think Redshirts would have been competitive, although the Nebulas have never been particularly friendly to Scalzi. I’m sure this has happened other times in the Nebula, but the Nebula is more of a closed-shop award, and they don’t publicize what happens behind the scenes as much as the Hugos.

Other Declined Nominations (story categories, other awards):
1971 Hugo Novella: Fritz Leiber, “The Snow Women” (source: NESFA.org; Leiber was up against himself this year, for the eventual winner “Ill Met in Lankhmar”)
1982 Nebula Short Story: Lisa Tuttle, “The Bone Flute” (source: Ansible; Tuttle said that she had “written to withdraw my short story from consideration for a Nebula, in protest at the way the thing is run, and in the hope that my protest might move the Nebula Committee to institute a few simple rules (like, either making sure that all items up for consideration are sent around to all the voters; or else disqualifying works which are campaigned for by either the authors or the editors) which would make the whole Nebula system less of a farce”; she still won, then refused the award)
1990 Hugo Novella: George Alec Effinger, “Marîd Changes His Mind” (sources: NESFA.org; I have no clue why)
1991 Hugo Novella: Lois McMaster Bujold, “Weathermen” (source: NESFA.org;I have no clue why; EDIT: Mark mentioned that the first six chapters of The Vor Game, which won the Best Novel Hugo that year, are a lightly modified version of “Weathermen”; perhaps Bujold withdrew for that reason)
2003 Hugo Novella: Ted Chiang, “Liking What You See: A Documentary” (source: NESFA.org; Chiang allegedly felt it didn’t live up to his best work; I’m also linking this Frank Wu article from Abyss & Apex because it has some more discussion of other declined Hugo noms in other categories)
2015 Hugo Short Story: Annie Bellet, “Goodnight Stars” (source: Bellett’s website)

I know I must have missed plenty—I’m not necessarily plugged in to the inner workings of the SFF world. What other authors have declined, and why?

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5 responses to “Declined Hugo and Nebula and other SFF Nominations”

  1. Mark says :

    I don’t know for sure, but I suspect Bujold declined the novella nom for “Weatherman” because that novella is actually a slightly different version of the first few chapters of “The Vor Game” (which, if I remember correctly, won the Hugo for best novel that same year). Again, not positive, but I can see an author declining a nom for a work that’s kinda on the ballot twice…

  2. Jo Walton says :

    For 1989, there was definitely block voting, the question is who did it. Somebody bought the consecutive money orders and filled in the forms with fake names and sent them from the same post office while claiming they were from all over the country. At first, people assumed this was the authors, later there was doubt thrown on this and it was believed that it was done by overenthusiastic fans. But it was definitely bloc voting and the Hugo admins were right to throw the ballots out.

    For 2005, Terry said to me that winning the Hugo wouldn’t have made any difference to him but it would be lifechanging for anyone else. I think he might well have won if the book had been on the ballot — he was a superstar in the UK at that point.

  3. chaveyd says :

    Two additional declined nominations you don’t have listed:
    1) In 1972 James Tiptree, Jr. withdrew “his” nomination of “The Women Men Don’t See” from the Nebula ballot. Officially no reason was given, but it is widely believed that this was because Alice Sheldon felt that Tiptree had been nominated partly for “his” ability to write women convincingly, and that this was being rewarded under false pretenses.
    2) In 1986, Judy-Lynn del Rey won the Hugo for “Best Professional Editor”, but died before the convention. Her husband declined to accept the award on her behalf.

  4. gregq says :

    JMS declined B5 episode nominations to keep it at one episode a year, after the first time he had two on the ballot, and neither won.

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