Like the Nebula Award prediction model, the Hugo Award prediction uses date from previous Hugo winners and nominees from 2000 to find mathematical trends. Most of this data is mined from the excellent Science Fiction Awards Database, as well as other sources like Amazon and Goodreads.
Much like the Nebula, the Hugo Award shows a bias towards previous awards winners, although this bias is much less pronounced than the Nebula. While the Nebula constantly goes to past winners and the most honored nominees, the Hugo is a very different award. Past winners don’t show any statistical advantage, nor does a handful of prior nominations seem to help much. Charles Stross, for instance, has been nominated for 7 best novel Hugos (and 15 total Hugos, with 2 wins for short fiction), and has never won for best novel. The Hugos, unlike the Nebulas, are also not prone to giving lifetime achievement awards (well, unless Jordan gets one this year). Past winners of the Hugo award are just as often passed over as not.
What does seem statistically valid, though, is being known in the field. The Hugo rarely goes to a brand new nominee, with this only happening in 3 of the previous 13 years for both the Hugo and the Nebula. Note: this does not factor in a same year Nebula nomination or win; that’ll be factored in later. So this leads to our first two indicators:
Indicator #1: Nominee has previously been nominated for a Hugo award. (78.6%)
Indicator #2: Nominee has previously been nominated for a Nebula award (prior to this year). (78.6%)
So how do this year’s nominees fare?
As you can see, this isn’t a group that has received a lot of prior awards consideration. Leckie’s profile has certainly improved in the last 6 months, winning a Nebula this year. That’s going to give her a huge boost in a later indicator. Jordan’s lack of award nominations may be surprising, and this says something negative about the support for Jordan’s work in the Hugo/Nebula realm. Given this indicator alone, Stross would leap to the front, although these two Indicators are going to be given relatively little weight in the final formula.
The finalists for the 2014 Campbell Award have been announced:
The Adjacent, Christopher Priest (Gollancz)
Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie (Orbit)
The Circle, Dave Eggers (Knopf)
The Cusanus Game, Wolfgang Jeschke (Tor)
The Disestablishment of Paradise, Phillip Mann (Gollancz)
Evening’s Empires, Paul McAuley (Gollancz)
Hild, Nicola Griffith (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Lexicon, Max Barry (Penguin)
Neptune’s Brood, Charles Stross (Ace)
On the Steel Breeze, Alastair Reynolds (Gollancz)
Proxima, Stephen Baxter (Gollancz)
The Red: First Light, Linda Nagata (Mythic Island Press)
Shaman, Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit)
Strange Bodies, Marcel Theroux (Faber & Faber; Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Karen Joy Fowler (Marian Wood/Penguin)
A Campbell nomination is a solid predictor for the Hugo Award (and would be for the Nebula, but the nominations are given afterwards). Two Hugo nominees received Campbell nominations: Ann Leckie and Charles Stross.
It’s an odd list—Shaman doesn’t come out until September of 2014, so I don’t know why it’s eligible, and a book like The Circle, while good (about a crazed Google-like company) is only vaguely SF.
The Hugo Award nominations have been announced at the Hugo website:
Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie (Orbit US/Orbit UK)
Neptune’s Brood, Charles Stross (Ace / Orbit UK)
Parasite, Mira Grant (Orbit US/Orbit UK)
Warbound, Book III of the Grimnoir Chronicles, Larry Correia (Baen Books)
The Wheel of Time, Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (Tor Books / Orbit UK)
Chaos is everywhere. Due to a little known rule and a vigorous online campaign, the entirety of Jordan’s Wheel of Time has been nominated, meaning that we have now have a multi-authored 14 book series going up against individual novels. How exactly voters are going to resolve that question is up in the air. Likewise, Warbound received a significant push from its fandom. Given that the Hugo is a fan award, largely determined by an author’s popularity, these kinds of campaigns are simply par for the course.
What is unclear, though, is whether web campaigns affect final voting. For every die-hard Wheel of Time fan who passionately read all 14 books, there are multiple readers who gave up after a few books. A passionate fanbase leads to nominations; wide supported is needed to win.
The biggest thing to come out of the nominations is Ann Leckie’s continued domination in this award season. Since she was nominated and Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane was not, this is going to significantly boost her chances of winning the Nebula. The lack of a nomination for Ocean is a little surprising, given Gaiman’s popularity, but this also says something about Gaiman’s short novel being consider “too slight” for a major award.
Over the next month, I’ll be putting together a prediction model for the Hugo. For now, stay tuned for the finalization of the Nebula prediction.
Chaos Horizon is a blog with a simple purpose: to predict the winners of the Nebula and Hugo Awards for best novel. To do so, I’ll be examining past trends in the Nebula and Hugo awards. By closely data mining this information, I’ll develop a predictive model that will allow us to make some educated guesses as to the eventual winner.
Given the prestige of these two awards, they receive remarkably little analysis or prediction on the web. Hopefully Chaos Horizon can close that gap.