May. 26th, 2015

So, I did it, kinda. I listened, kinda, to both the people who said that nominated works deserved fair consideration, and to those who said vote order matters, even coming after No Award. So I read, tried to read, or skimmed every nominee in the Hugo packet.

I did this knowing that some of the works would, read or not, be ranked below No Award. Which works? Anything published by Castalia House. I find Theodore Beale's writings reprehensible, and will not do anything that might conceivably lead to his being able to refer to himself as a Hugo winner. But even those, I looked at.

I was strict. I've voted on the Hugos many times, including the last several years consecutively, so I have my own standard of what constitutes good writing. And I've used No Award in the past, when I felt a nominee or two in a given category didn't live up to that standard.

Did I find any nominees from either Puppy slate that I was willing to place above No Award?

Yes, but not many. Here they are:

Skin Game, by Jim Butcher. I've only read the first Harry Dresden novel, so I did feel a little lost without all the backstory, and not particularly inclined to buy the whole book based on the sample included in the packet. But Butcher is certainly a good writer, good enough that I placed him fourth on my ballot, after The Three Body Problem, The Goblin Emperor, and Ancillary Sword. (As to The Dark Between the Stars, sorry, no. I know Anderson has devoted fans. But I read the first few chapters, and, well, it's in sixth.)

Kary English. In the three shorter fiction categories, the only nominee I placed above No Award was the only non-Puppy nominee, "The Day the World Turned Upside Down". Everything else fell short, sometimes way, way, way short. Still, of all the other nominees, the only one that came close for me was the short story "Totaled" by Kary English. In the end, I couldn't quite move it up because I couldn't swallow the huge coincidence at the center of the story. But the writing was good enough that I gave English my first-place vote for the Campbell, ahead of Wesley Chu.

Dramatic Presentation. These are the two categories where I ignored the slates entirely. I ranked the nominees based on my opinions, where I had them. (I haven't seen the "Grimm" or "Game of Thrones" episodes.) I gave my first place Long Form vote to "Guardians of the Galaxy" because I loved it and nominated it. I gave my second place Short Form vote (after "Orphan Black") to "The Flash" because I loved it and nominated it. (Granted, I nominated a different episode, but the pilot is also good.) I didn't list No Award in either category.

Editor, Short Form. I found enough of interest in their two packet-included anthologies that I voted Jennifer Brozek first, and Bryan Thomas Schmidt second.

Editor, Long Form. Sheila Gilbert of DAW is, among other things, the editor of Seanan McGuire's books. Seanan is one of my current favorites, and has acknowledged Gilbert's work many times, so that's enough to get her a first-place vote.

And that's it.



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