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
Seveneves Stephenson, Neal 10
Uprooted Novik, Naomi 8
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!

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15 responses to “Predicting the Hugos: Checking in with Sad Puppies IV”

  1. Shirley Marquez says :

    The Puppies phenomenon caused the sale of a LOT of supporting memberships to Sasquan, as did the contested site selection vote. Those people are eligible to vote for nominations in 2016 (though not on the final ballot; they will need at least a supporting membership to MidAmericon II for that), but how many will? If the voter turnout increases this year it could be a difficult vote to predict.

    (Full disclosure: I’m one of the people who bought a supporting Sasquan membership so I could vote on Worldcon. I also voted on the Hugos though it wasn’t my primary motivation.)

  2. Airboy says :

    Larry Correia stated on his Blog that he would never accept another Hugo nomination. John Ringo has not made a similar statement to my knowledge.

    I nominated you at SP4 for Best Fan Writer.

    • chaoshorizon says :

      Always good to hear nice things about my blog! :). I’m going to back out of the Hugos completely this year; I don’t think I can accurately report on the numbers/predict the awards and be part of the process in any way. I’ll stick a statement up on Chaos Horizon saying just that.

  3. Jo Walton says :

    I would absolutely reject any Puppy endorsement. In fact I want to do so right now before it becomes an issue.

  4. M. Enright says :

    Anything that get a puppy nod will be Noah Warded. Any author that accepts their endorsement needs leave.

    • davidelang says :

      so you want to punish authors because the wrong people like their work?

      So if Vox Day had read “The Three Body Problem” before posting his list and included it on the list (the way that he said he would have), instead of winning the Hugo, that book should have been no awarded?

      Last year people realized that the movie and TV studios didn’t care about the Hugos and didn’t punish good works just because the puppies liked them. Why can’t that logic extend to others?

      If you feel that someone is campaigning for the award and want to punish them for doing the campaigning, that’s one thing. But to punish someone who is otherwise very deserving of the award just because the wrong people also like them is very wrong.

  5. The Practical Conservative says :

    What’s your email? I compiled a recommendation tracker for all the other categories except novel (I was dreading that one!), and it’s probably easier for me to email you the google spreadsheet than to try to figure out how to make it public. It’s current on all categories except novel through 12/30/2015 (so, since yesterday).

    Thanks for tackling Best Novel, it’s huge!

  6. davidelang says :

    I think the question of ‘most popular’ is going to be far more complicated than just counting the number of posts. There are a lot of people (myself included) who don’t want things clogged up with hundreds of ‘me too’ posts. I expect that the final list posted is going to involve Kate, Amanda and Sarah deciding on their recommendation list with a lot of ‘squishy’ evaluation.

    And this is a good thing, we don’t want any recommendation list (SP or otherwise) to turn into a ‘primary ballot for the hugo awards’

    • chaoshorizon says :

      It’ll be interesting to see the exact methodology used. The Novel thread is already becoming unwieldy, and once this starts to gather a lot of attention—we’re very early in the Hugo cycle—you could see 500-600 recommendations, nested comments, etc. I pity whoever has to count the final list!

      • MadProfessah says :

        Exactly what I was saying earlier. I appreciate the interactivity and openness of the SP4 format but for functionality it leaves a LOT to be desired.

        Exactly how the “will of the people’ (or wisdom of the crowd or relative popularity) of specific works will be a LOT of work to do (heck it’s a lot of work NOW).

        Is someone going to explain to use SASQUAN newbies how exactly we nominate works for potential inclusion on the 2016 Hugo ballot?

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