UPDATED: Hugo 2015 Best Novelette

2nd UPDATE 5/2/2015 – My infant has stopped crying long enough for me to add an official comment policy.

UPDATED 5/2/2015 – Comment policy:
I have never had any aspirations to have a “popular” blog. The purpose of this blog is mainly to keep family and friends informed about my life and interests as well as to double as a personal journal (albeit one the entire world can read). As such, it has never been important to have any policy on allowed comments. Comments were either obviously legit or spam. However, given the controversy around the Hugo nominations this year and my discussion of them, some comments may stray into a gray area.

For those who are new to my blog please be aware that I will not allow comments I feel are abusive, upsetting, or off-topic and I am the sole decider of what constitutes abusive, upsetting, or off-topic. The internet is a lovely place that allows many forums for self-expression including setting up your own blog to disseminate your opinions if they are not allowed elsewhere. That being said, I do enjoy hearing a variety of opinions assuming the opinions can be expressed in a respectful manner.

Because my blog is not popular and most “comments” are spam, all users who have not previously commented go to moderation. This does not mean your comment will not appear, it just means that I have to find the time to manually approve them. These days I have a screaming infant so it may not be instantaneous but usually comments will be approved within 24 hrs.

Now back to the original post . . .

Well . . . I’m still conflicted about what to do with Hugo voting. I’ve read all of the current novelette nominees. If there weren’t any shenanigans in play, this is how I would vote:

  1. “The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale” by Rajnar Vajra (Analog, Jul/Aug 2014)
  2. The Day the World Turned Upside Down by Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Lightspeed Magazine, April 2014)
  3. No Award

“Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust, Earth to Alluvium” and “Championship B’tok” were the first two novelettes I read and they bored me.

“The Day the World Turned Upside Down” was the third story and, as a story, I thought it was much better than the first two I read. The writing was good and compelling. I personally didn’t find the physics a problem because I just put the story in the fantasy category and assumed magic was responsible for the gravity issues. However, the protagonist really rubbed me the wrong way. It’s really hard when a serious relationship ends but I found his level of narcissism very off-putting.

“The Journeyman: In the Stone House” was the fourth novelette that I attempted to read. I say attempted because I didn’t get more than two pages in before giving up. The writing style was way too flowery and contrived for my tastes.

Up to this point, I was feeling really good about the novelette category. I could, without any reservations place the three slate stories below no award because I didn’t feel they were good. However, then I came to “The Triple Sun: A Golden Age Tale”. I felt this was a really good story. It is by far my favorite of the five options. The story pulled me in from the first paragraph. I got bogged down a tad during the journey to the alien world. However, once they landed it picked up again and had a great ending.

So . . . I’m still not sure how I’ll actually vote. I’ll probably vote in the order I’ve listed above. However, any stupidity that appears between now and when I place my vote may change my opinion.

3 thoughts on “UPDATED: Hugo 2015 Best Novelette

  1. Jaeger

    I would like to propose a voting algorithm for the Hugo awards this year:

    In each category, read all of the award nominees, as well as all of the nominees in the relevant category for The Nebula Awards. Rank all of the nominees on both lists in order.

    Only rank the top five stories on the list above No Award in your final Hugo ballot. If there are five Nebula nominees above the top-ranked Hugo nominee on your list, that Hugo nominee should still rank below No Award, since it’s a good-but-not-great story.

    Ideally I’d suggest reading the stories that should have been Hugo nominees if not for certain shenanigans, but we won’t know for sure what stories are on that list until the award statistics are released after the Hugo award winners are announced.

    (I am actually more sympathetic to the “no-award everything on any slate” voting rule. I haven’t quite decided how I’m actually going to vote.)

    1. kiesa Post author

      It depends on what you believe the Hugos should be. I feel there’s a good case for arguing that the “best” works may not have been included this year. I am of the opinion that slate voting itself is dishonest* as by definition individuals may not be voting for what they feel are the best works. That being said, I think it’s fine to say “this is a great story, you should read it and see if you think the same thing.” It’s a pretty narrow line but I personally feel it was crossed this year.

      Because the best works may not have been included, it makes it very hard to judge how to rank the works that were nominated.

      I feel bad for many of the nominated Hugo authors this year. Regardless of the outcome, there will always be doubt about the merit of this year’s winners and whether they could have won without slate nominations.

      *Of course, there is a difference between what is allowed and what is dishonest. The current rules clearly don’t disallow slate voting.


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