2016 Hugo Finalists Announced

The 2016 Hugo Finalists have been announced. Press release here.

The best novel category played out in this fashion:

Ancillary Mercy, Ann Leckie
The Cinder Spires: Aeronaut’s Windlass, Jim Butcher
The Fifth Season, N.K. Jemisin
Seveneves, Neal Stephenson
Uprooted, Naomi Novik

I got 4/5 right here on Chaos Horizon, and Jemisin was the novel I had as #6 on my prediction. I’ll take that in an unpredictable and chaotic year. I also estimated 3620 votes, and the category had 3695 votes, so at least that part was close!

Jemisin making the list means that a surge of extra Hugo voters broke in her direction, pushing her over the combined weight of the Rabid and Sad Puppy vote and Wright’s Somewhither. Given how well the Rabid Puppies performed elsewhere, that means Jemisin performed very well. The Fifth Season also outperformed Jemisin’s previous novels (this is a scourge of how I model on Chaos Horizon), which may speak to her chances of winning either the Hugo or the Nebula.

The Rabid and Sad Puppies are primarily responsible for the Butcher nomination, and doubtless pushed Stephenson up higher, although Stephenson had a good shot of making it normally. Uprooted appeared high on the Sad Puppy list, and likely picked up voters from that area.

With the exception of Butcher, that looks pretty similar to what I would have predicted the Hugos to be without the Rabid/Sad Puppies. That is certainly not the case lower down the ballot: categories like Best Short Story, Best Related Work, Best Graphic Story, were swept by the Rabid Puppies, and Best Novella and Best Novelette almost swept. I’ll do some more careful analysis over the next few days, but the main reason this happened is because the large number of voters in Best Novel did not carry over to those categories. We had 3695 Best Novel ballots, but only 2451 Short Story ballots and 2080 Best Related Work Ballots. Those missing 1000 voters are the difference between a sweep and a mixed ballot.

My initial thought is that Uprooted will win, as it’s the only novel that seems acceptable to all camps. The typical voters will shoot down the Butcher; the Rabid Puppies will shoot down the Leckie and Jemisin. That leaves Stephenson or Novik. We’ll need to track the dialogue around the Stephenson nomination; if it is deemed a “Rabid Puppy” pick and thus No Awarded, that would seem to clear the path for Novik to win. It’ll take some time for me to sort through the numbers, though.

Perhaps the most interesting categories are Best Novella and Best Novelette, which had 4/5 Rabid Puppy sweeps, with the other book being the #1 story on the Sad Puppy list. While those stories—“Binti” and “And You Shall Know Her By The Trail Of Dead”—doubtless picked up support from other quarters (they were Nebula nominees, after all), that shows the Sad Puppies had a noticeable effect on the Hugos. I’ll give some thought to what that means and report back to you!

As I suspected, the “overlaps” did very well: if you appeared on multiple lists (Rabid + Sad Puppies) or being one of the Nebula nominees + Sad Puppies, you made the ballot. That may be the key to unraveling the fiction ballots: Rabid Puppies won unless a work appeared on both the Nebula and Sad Puppy lists. That makes for an odd alliance, with Sad Puppies possibly being the swing vote against a total Rabid Puppy sweep.

More analysis to come!


13 responses to “2016 Hugo Finalists Announced”

  1. Laura says :

    Very glad to see The Fifth Season get in instead of Somewhither. The Leckie, Jemisin, and Novik were all on my ballot. I didn’t personally like Seveneves, but can definitely see it as a contender even without a puppy push. The only one I haven’t read is Butcher, and it’s one I was curious about anyway.

  2. airboy says :

    Congratulations on your predictions in a choppy environment.

    Butcher’s book is well-written, action SF. The type of book largely ignored by literary SF awards. It would be nice if the Hugo voters read it and the other nominations with an open mind. Only time will tell.

    The retro Hugos are a really good idea. The handful of works I have not read before will probably get read before the year is out. Something that has withstood 50+ years is probably quite good.

    • camestrosfelapton says :

      I enjoyed the Butcher book. I don’t think it stands a chance of winning given the competition but I think it is a better contender than Skin Game was. I’ll be putting it above No Award.

  3. greghullender says :

    ” Those missing 1000 voters are the difference between a sweep and a mixed ballot.” Actually, I think it’s a bit more complicated than that. Because there are so many more short stories to choose from, I don’t think that even those extra 1,000 voters wouldn’t have been enough to prevent the sweep. I’m still thinking about the best way to estimate it–the slates clearly didn’t get anywhere near the 582 votes they could have gotten or else they’d have swept more categories–but I’m pretty sure an additional 1,000 (or even 2,000) votes in short story wouldn’t have made a difference.

    • chaoshorizon says :

      You’re certainly correct that the Short Story category is more vexed because of the greater number of choices, which diminish the impact of extra voters. If the top Short Story is only getting 5-10% of the vote, you’re only generating 50-100 votes with 1000 extra voters, perhaps not enough to top the Rabid number.

      I’m going to take a run tomorrow at estimating the number of Rabid Puppies. Since we’ve got some swept categories and some 4/5 categories, I think we should be able to get pretty close.

    • greghullender says :

      Actually, I’ll qualify that a bit. It’s possible that some of the categories the slates failed to sweep were due to people declining the nomination. We won’t really know for sure until August when we see the complete numbers. That’s going to make any serious analysis really, really hard to do.

      • chaoshorizon says :

        Good thing to keep in mind. Although I’ll add that I’m not sure any Hugo number crunching counts as “serious” . . .

      • Nathan says :

        A big question I’d like answered is if the RP video game nominees for Long Form Dramatic Presentation were deemed ineligible or outvoted by the electorate. Might have to wait for August on that one.

      • chaoshorizon says :

        We won’t know for sure until August, but I’d guess the RP were outvoted in this category. Long Form Dramatic has traditionally been the “movie” category, and so few SFF movies come out in any given year that the category is always pretty centralized. Take 2013, the last Non Puppy Year:
        The Avengers: 48.67% of the vote
        The Hobbit: 26.68% of the vote
        Looper: 21.60%
        Game of Thrones: Season Two: 20.84% (nomination declined in favor of Short Form nomination)
        The Hunger Games: 20.08%
        The Cabin in the Woods: 17.92%

        That’s 4 works over 20%. Run some numbers: 2904 ballots this year. Rough estimate 400-500 Rabid Puppy votes, that leaves 2500 non puppy ballots. 20% of that is in the 500 range. I imagine Star Wars did Avengers style numbers of 50%, Mad Max around 25%, Ex Machina at 20% or so. If Looper got 20%, so could Ex Machina. With that estimate, it looks like a straight outvote.

      • greghullender says :

        Grin. It reminds me of the pre-World-War-I joke about the difference between the German Empire’s problems and the problems in Austria-Hungary.

        “In Berlin, the situation is serious, but not desperate. In Vienna, the situation is desperate, but not serious.”

  4. Shirley Dulcey says :

    It’s hard to say what effect, if any, the Puppies had on the Dramatic Presentation categories. Mostly they were suggesting things that were going to end up on the ballot anyway like The Martian. At the other extreme, they totally destroyed the Related Works category; No Award is looking really good there.

    I was disappointed by the lack of recognition for some good streaming series. Sense8 and The Man in the High Castle were both on my nominating ballot for Long Form but neither made it to the final ballot. (My preference is to consider shows that release all at once as a single work for Long Form, but individual episodes of shows that release on a more typical weekly schedule for Short Form.) I’ll be curious to see how well they did when the full nomination data is eventually released.

    Go, My Little Pony! It’s an unusual nomination, but that two part episode is totally worthy of a place on the ballot.

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