Predicting the Hugos: Checking in with Sad Puppies IV
As we turn to the new year and thinking about predicting the 2016 Hugo nominations, it’s important to see what kind of recommendations are emerging from the Sad Puppy IV camp. According to Kate Paulk (one of this year’s organizers with Sarah Hoyt and Amanda from the blog Mad Genius Club), this is how it will work:
To that end, this thread will be the first of several to collect recommendations. There will also be multiple permanent threads (one per category) on the SP4 website where people can make comments. The tireless, wonderful volunteer Puppy Pack will be collating recommendations.
Later – most likely somewhere around February or early March, I’ll be posting The List to multiple locations. The List will not be a slate – it will be a list of the ten or so most popular recommendations in each Hugo category, and a link to the full list in all its glory. Nothing more, nothing less.
It’s a pretty open question of how exactly what kind of impact this will have on the 2016 Hugo nominations. Will these recommendations operate as slate, concentrating 100-300 (or more?) Sad Puppy votes into a unbreakable voting block? Or will a longer list diffuse the Sad Puppy vote, leading to a subtler effect on the final ballot? A lot is going to depend on what the list actually looks like, so, without further ado, here is the Chaos Horizon tabulation of the Sad Puppies IV recommendation, taken from the Best Novel web page:
|Somewhither||Wright, John C.||12|
|A Long Time Until Now||Williamson, Michael Z.||10|
|Honor at Stake||Finn, Declan||7|
|The Aeronaut’s Windlass||Butcher, Jim||6|
|The Just City||Walton, Jo||5|
|Strands of Sorrow||Ringo, John||5|
|The Desert and the Blade||Stirling, S.M.||5|
|Ronin Games||Harmon, Marion||4|
|Son of the Black Sword||Correia, Larry||4|
|Ancillary Mercy||Leckie, Ann||4|
To produce this, I went through and counted each recommendation from the 150 comments. Sometimes the recommendations were a little unclear, so don’t take this as 100% accurate, but rather as a rough picture of the current state of the SP4 list. If anyone wants to count and double-check, please do! Here’s a link to my spreadsheet, which contains all recommended novels.
So, if this were the final list—and I expect it to change greatly by time we reach March—how would this impact the 2016 Hugo nominations?
I immediately see 4 “overlap” situations with more typical Hugo books (Stephenson, Novik, Walton, Leckie). Any number of votes driven to Seveneves, Uprooted, or Ancillary Mercy all but assures those books of a Hugo nomination. I have each of those as very likely to get nominations anyways (Leckie beat several SP/RP recommendations last year; Novik is buzziest Fantasy novel of the year; Stephenson is well-liked by Hugo voters with numerous past noms). Walton is the dark horse here; My Real Children missed the 2015 ballot by only 90 votes. How many votes could being in the #6 slot of Sad Puppies IV get you?
Three other texts stand out to me from this early list as real potential Hugo nominees. A Long Time Until Now is a military-SF novel published by Baen; it has a solid number of Amazon rankings (269); Michael Z. Williamson was in the middle of last year’s kerfuffle with the Hugo nominated Wisdom From My Internet. This could emerge as the “Baen” book for both the Sad Puppies and Rabid Puppies, although RP is much harder to predict. If this overlapped between those two groups, it would be a strong possibility.
Somewhither by John C. Wright was published by Vox Day’s Castalia House, and would seem to be exactly the kind of book the Rabid Puppies would select for their slate. Wright was nominated 6 times for the Hugo last year, although one was rescinded for eligibility reasons. This will be a work to keep your eye on as a test of SP/RP numbers.
Jim Butcher grabbed 387 votes for Skin Game last year. The Aeronaut’s Windlass is the first in a new fantasy series, which might make it easier for new readers to get into. I don’t think this book is as well-liked as the Dresden novels, but is it capable of grabbing tons of votes? Butcher’s reading audience is just that big.
Lastly, will certain writers from this list turn down Hugo nominations? Correia did exactly that last year, and I’ve heard rumors (but not seen sources; if someone has one, please post in comments) that Ringo would do the same. Would someone like Butcher or Stephenson just not want the hassle in 2016? They’re so famous and so sell so many books that they don’t need the Hugos.
There’s still a long ways to go in the Hugo Wars of 2016. What I’ll do at Chaos Horizon is the work I always do—collecting information, posting lists, and speculating as to what might happen. Enjoy the chaos!