Hugo Did What?

April 20th, 2014 | | Categories: Culture | Tags:

The Hugo Awards have very few nominators and no barrier to entry to becoming a nominator other than money, which creates room for an engaged fan base to get just about anything on the ballot. This is not news. We’ve seen Doctor Who dominate the short-form dramatic presentation ballot for half a decade. We’ve also seen an acceptance speech get nominated for short-form dramatic presentation. That went relatively well because people liked the guy who gave the speech. This year, unlikeable people got nominated.

This doesn’t mean there’s a significant chunk of right-wingers rising up to retake SF fandom, despite what Vox Day would like to think. Let’s look at the numbers. References: the LoneStarCon 3 stats for the 2013 Hugos (PDF) and this year’s nominations. Also, the 2013 Hugos had 1,343 nominations.

This year, there were 1,595 nominations for Best Novel. Last year, there were 1,113 nominations. That’s 43% more nominations. This year, there were 728 nominations for Best Novelette. Last year, there were 616 nominations. 18% more nominations.

The Winter 2013 LoneStarCon 3 Progress Report lists 1,773 members as of November 22, 2012. The December 2013 Loncon 3 Progress report says they had 4,282 members as of November 18th, 2013. That’s 141% more memberships. The Hugo nomination campaigning probably isn’t the reason why more people submitted nominations; the increase in memberships purchased more than explains it. I’m not going to assume that the 100+ increase in Best Novelette nominations was all Day/Correia voters.

It took 38 nominations to get on the Best Novelette ballot last year. Apply the 18% adjustment: it probably took between 44 and 45 nominations to get on the Best Novelette ballot this year. That’s not block voting, that’s a mild wave in a fairly shallow wave pool.

(For any kind of rigor I would go back and perform a similar analysis for the last ten years or so, to see if membership purchase rates and nomination rates ever track well together.)

Edit: Liz notes that it took 69 nominations to get on the Best Novelette ballot this year. So much for rigor. Thanks!

  1. April 20th, 2014 at 08:02
    Reply | Quote | #1

    “[I]t probably took between 44 and 45 nominations to get on the Best Novelette ballot this year.”

    If I recall correctly, that’s almost exactly the number of votes VD got in last year’s SFWA presidential election. (Steven Gould, who won, got over 400.) Suggestive! Probably meaningless! But amusing all the same.

    • April 21st, 2014 at 12:22
      Reply | Quote | #2

      Heh. I am reminded of the Alan Keys 27% floor. Does this imply that the floor is lower in SF fandom? Slan!

      Sorry, got carried away.

  2. April 20th, 2014 at 10:58
    Reply | Quote | #3

    According to the stats at the end of the ustream announcement yesterday (see about 26:30), it took 69 nominations to get on the best novelette ballot this year.

  3. Rabbit Hunter
    April 23rd, 2014 at 18:50
    Reply | Quote | #4

    Vox Day will someday crush these phony feminist “sci fi” writers who write shitty “romance novels in space”