All Quiet on the Horizon

Chaos Horizon has been dark for a while and is likely to continue to be so. The Hugos just got awarded, and several people have reached out to me to make sure everything is fine on my end. Things are absolutely great for me; I got that dreaded promotion at work, with a a huge pile of new duties and responsibilities. That’s left me with little time for the kind of intensive writing and research that Chaos Horizon took.

The Hugos have also changed; new EPH voting rules and a shifting Hugo demographic mean that data from past years is not that relevant for modelling future Best Novel awards. We need at least a few more years of EPH data for Chaos Horizon to make any interesting predictions, and we’ll need to see who will win the Hugo in a year where Jemisin hasn’t published a novel.

Long and short, expect things to be quiet over here for the foreseeable future. Chaos Horizon was a lot of fun to work on, and I hope to get back to crunching Hugo numbers someday when I’m not as busy. Thanks to everyone who supported the blog and keep on reading SFF!

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8 responses to “All Quiet on the Horizon”

  1. chaoshorizon says :

    And, just for the hell of it:

    2019 Hugo Best Novel Prediction, in alphabetical order by author name:

    Becky Chambers, Record of a Spaceborn Few (prior novel in this series nominated)
    Yoon Ha Lee, Revenant Gun (two consecutive Hugo noms for this series)
    Naomi Novik, Spinning Silver (Uprooted won the Nebula and grabbed a Hugo nom a few years ago)
    Rebecca Roanhorse, Trail of Lightning (based on the strength of her Hugo win in Best short story and winning the Campbell award for best new writer)
    Kim Stanley Robinson, Red Moon (perennial Hugo nominee)
    John Scalzi, The Consuming Fire (Hugo nom for this series)

    I think the new Peter Watts book, The Freeze-Frame Revolution, clicks in as a novella, not a novel, and that the new George R.R. Martin book, Fire & Blood, gets Martin a nomination for Best Series (maybe even Best Related Work), not for novel. Circe by Madeline Miller is hugely popular but doesn’t seem a “Hugo” book. Mary Robinnete Kowal is popular with the Hugo audience, so The Calculating Stars might be a good choice. Cixin Liu won a few years ago, and he has a new book called Ball Lightning out, although this is a translation of an earlier novel. Writers like James S.A. Corey, Alisdair Reynolds, Peter F. Hamilton, are very popular but not necessarily by the Hugo nominators. Anything else likely? A new novel we haven’t heard of yet?

  2. Byron Clark says :

    Look forward to your next writings….

  3. greghullender says :

    Just thought I’d point out that, as designed, EPH makes very little difference in a year with no slates.

    • chaoshorizon says :

      Interesting premise. Looking at this year’s stats, it looks like the Stars are Legion and Autonomous had more raw votes than New York 2140 and The Collapsing Empire, but EPH boosted Scalzi and Robinson into the field. Are you contesting that there was a slate, or that 1/3 of the final nominees makes “very little difference”? :). This was an unusual situation–and I don’t think many other categories were impacted–but this is far from no impact.

      • greghullender says :

        Grin. I think it shows I mainly look at short fiction. That said, the four novels in question are in a statistical tie in terms of raw votes. I didn’t find any evidence of slates in ANY category this year–not even unintentional ones.

        Four things might point to a slate:
        1) The EPH order is different from the raw-vote order.
        2) When a work was eliminated, essentially all of its EPH points went to other stories in the slate.
        3) When a work was eliminated, all of its points disappeared (it was a bullet vote or else the last member of its slate to be eliminated).
        4) The work is popular with a political faction but otherwise seems unqualified.

        Look back at the EPH results for the years when we had real slates and you’ll see just how powerful these effects were. I didn’t see anything like that this year.

      • chaoshorizon says :

        And I only look at Best Novel. I don’t think there’s a slate either–but I do we think a few more years of data to see if the Best Novel category is regularly impacted. EPH does an excellent job of minimizing slate influence, and it’ll be interesting what other ripples it produces in practice, not in theory. Looking at the math, I think the Best Novel category is the one most likely to have works 6 and 7 shuffled in order, as there may be some natural clustering around certain genres and types of authors and a greater chance that big-name authors have more bullet votes. Interesting that EPH gave a leg up to Scalzi and Robinson, who are two SFF authors that already have so many Hugo noms and wins that they didn’t need another one. Something to keep an eye on, but, as I said, I think we’ll need 2-3 years more data before we can say anything.

      • greghullender says :

        Well, we can learn a bit just by looking at the data we’ve got. Here are the Best Novel nominations sorted by “EPH deflator” (ratio between raw votes and points).

        1.5028766 New_York_2140
        1.526543632 The_Collapsing_Empire
        1.678094551 An_Unkindness_of_Ghosts
        1.720624859 Persepolis_Rising
        1.761049724 Artemis
        1.834862385 Winter_Tide
        1.837985024 The_Strange_Case_of_the_Alchemist’s_Daughter
        1.871887343 Seven_Surrenders
        1.904543369 Borne
        1.955008034 The_Stone_Sky
        2.039898005 Autonomous
        2.08871157 Provenance
        2.107648725 Six_Wakes
        2.114197531 The_Stars_Are_Legion
        2.141230068 Raven_Stratagem

        So nothing was mostly bullet voting (deflator == 1) and there’s not all that much difference between them. For “New York” and “Empire” I’d guess a lot of people didn’t read more than that (or didn’t much like anything else).

        When you look at the final round, this is more obvious:

        1.189812233 New_York_2140
        1.233091009 The_Collapsing_Empire
        1.514020242 The_Stone_Sky
        1.623050971 Provenance
        1.652194887 The_Stars_Are_Legion
        1.720947446 Six_Wakes
        1.79047619 Raven_Stratagem

        Best Novella is a bit different:

        2.075151732 All_Systems_Red
        2.076777848 17776
        2.088167053 In_Calabria
        2.100271003 The_Prisoner_of_Limnos
        2.110839446 And_Then_There_Were_(N-One)
        2.136386942 Down_Among_the_Sticks_and_Bones
        2.170443664 The_Furthest_Station
        2.181957382 Binti:_Home
        2.279886006 Passing_Strange
        2.3302342 River_of_Teeth
        2.458649978 Mira’s_Last_Dance
        2.520252025 The_Refrigerator_Monologues
        2.72259014 The_Black_Tides_of_Heaven
        2.863636364 The_Red_Threads_of_Fortune
        2.900326797 Dusk_or_Dark_or_Dawn_or_Day

        This tells me that people who nominated for Best Novella were more likely to nominate two or three–not just one. Looking at the final list:

        1.745566262 Down_Among_the_Sticks_and_Bones
        1.771766051 All_Systems_Red
        1.805255454 And_Then_There_Were_(N-One)
        1.967099965 Binti:_Home
        2.019933555 Passing_Strange
        2.08596713 River_of_Teeth
        2.262443439 The_Black_Tides_of_Heaven

        I might attribute this to the fact that, thanks to Tor, most people nominating novellas did so from a smaller pool and were more likely to overlap.

        Novelette looks more like Novel:

        1.618288711 Wind_Will_Rove
        1.648106904 Pan-Humanism:_Hope_and_Pragmatics
        1.649770986 The_Dark_Birds
        1.752380952 The_Hermit_of_Houston
        1.753063148 Small_Changes_Over_Long_Periods_of_Time
        1.783325903 Children_of_Thorns,_Children_of_Water
        1.843479788 Crispin’s_Model
        1.936842105 A_Series_of_Steaks
        1.938911023 The_Worshipful_Society_of_Glovers
        1.94214876 A_Human_Stain
        2.094514989 The_Fisher_of_Bones
        2.094679514 Uncanny_Valley
        2.131147541 Waiting_on_a_Bright_Moon
        2.159426011 Extracurricular_Activities
        2.1630582 The_Secret_Life_of_Bots
        2.178084323 Angel_of_the_Blockade

        Reflecting both a larger set to choose from and fewer nominators.

        1.319902744 Children_of_Thorns,_Children_of_Water
        1.378809869 The_Dark_Birds
        1.382282996 Small_Changes_Over_Long_Periods_of_Time
        1.408701854 Wind_Will_Rove
        1.50315177 Extracurricular_Activities
        1.610644258 A_Series_of_Steaks
        1.673182174 The_Secret_Life_of_Bots

        So most people got one or two nominees on the ballot, but generally not more.

        I’ll add that when they ran EPH on historical data, it rarely changed the list of finalists. I think what we saw with Best Novel was an exception. I also think it generated a better list, in the sense that most of the folks who nominated “New York” wouldn’t have been represented on the ballot at all had it not been there.

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