Hugo Awards 2015 – the aftermath

by Otaku-kun on August 24, 2015


The Hugo awards have completed, and it was a definitive rebuke to the Sad Puppy/Rabid Puppy slate. For a great summary, see this article in Wired; for reactions, see Mark (neutral), see Richard (pro-Hugos), and John Wright (pro-Puppies).

I’ve been mostly a lurker with respect to the whole Hugo controversy – though I did strongly support Ms. Marvel over at my non-geek-facing blog. I am grateful to Mike at File770 for due diligence in keeping all sides of the debate visible.

I think that the main lesson here going forward is that the Hugos are vulnerable – relatively small numbers of people can influence the results. If nothing else, we should thank the Puppies for raising the controversy to the level of rallying people to participate.

However, there does need to be a way to broaden the base to make the system immune to coup. The EPH proposal is a good start but it seems to me (and I may be mistaken) that it is designed as a band-aid to the problem arising from the vulnerability, not a genuine solution to that vulnerability.

Make no mistake, EPH or not, it is still perfectly possible for Vox Day and whoever else to interfere with the results next year. There’s nothing I see in EPH that can forestall another wave of Noah Wards, since ultimately the outcomes are still gameable due to the small numbers involved. The time of hiding in the Shire is over – the world beyond has taken notice, and the stakes are higher.

What are the solutions?

For one thing, the Hugos were given a gift in terms of mass media coverage this year. From Wired to WaPo, Puppygate was media catnip as a proxy in the culture wars. This means that there are several dozen journalists who are now experts on Hugo arcana and who are an audience that can and should be cultivated. More importantly, all of their readers are now marginally aware of what the Hugos are, and the involvement of luminaries like GRRM also helps raise that awareness above background noise. Press releases to these journalists and direct advertising in their publications will maintain the interest.

Also, what about more aggressive marketing to Communities of Geekdom? For example, Comic-Con (and it’s satellites around the country, like Chicago’s version last weekend). AMAs on Reddit? A pitch to the writers at Big Bang Theory? How about a big party somewhere, a mass book signing of Hugo nominees?

This is just 5 minutes of brainstorming on a blog post. The point is that the official machinery of the Hugo Awards itself needs to start contemplating solutions to grow the base and keep the Hugos relevant to a broader swath of fandom than has been sufficient till now.

I hope that this wasn’t a banner year for Hugo voting, but rather the beginning of a strong trend. If not, the Hugos really are in danger, long term.

related: Mark’s observations

Nexus by Ramez Naam

by Otaku-kun on May 5, 2015


Nexus, by Ramez Naam, is book 1 in a trilogy that I’d never heard of until book 3 was spotlighted by John Scalzi on his blog. Scalzi has been tireless and diligent in promoting new authors and connecting them with his fanbase, allowing prospective readers to really get a sense for the imagination behind a given book right from the author’s mouth. I’ve found a number of promising reads there (and I hope Auston Habershaw has his slot lined up…)

Check out what Ramez Naam has to say about his new book – and if you’re like me, you’ll be sufficiently intrigued to buy the first volume – which is on sale for $2.99 (Kindle) at Amazon right now.

(Or, read Ars Technica’s review. Also glowing :)

Also, Ramez Naam has the coolest name since Hannu Rajaniemi. :)

meta, metaBLOG

Amazon Prime is only $72 – crazy deal

January 24, 2015

I’m a heavy user of Amazon Prime – just the savings on shipping alone makes it worth it. The original price used to be $75 but Amazon recently raised the price to $99/year – except for today, where it’s discounted to $72. In my opinion, Prime is as essential as Netflix or a cell phone […]

Read the full article →
Movies and Television

The Office Hobbit

December 15, 2014

Martin Freeman. The Office. The Hobbit. It’s just… yes. Yes it is. Now, if only there was some way to fold Sherlock into it… would be the Freeman trifecta

Read the full article →
Movies and Television

the fandom awakens – first trailer for Episode VII

November 28, 2014

Short and teasery – but do a great job of conveying the style and tone. Force Greatswords? Xwings and the falcon? New ways for R2 to get around and funky looking landspeeders. And even some ethnic diversity. (or check it out via iTunes at I am eager but I refuse to be as crazy […]

Read the full article →
Movies and Television

Disney’s Maleficent vs Disney’s Maleficent

November 25, 2014

This is a guest post by Tasneem Mandviwala. Although women have played various roles throughout the global history of war, including leader, organizer, and supporter, the most well-known role tends to be that of victim. This is perhaps justified due to the horrendous number of rape crimes and abuses of women that often happen within […]

Read the full article →
Sports, Uncategorized

NFL week 2: Giants lose, Packers win

September 15, 2014

The Giants lost to the Cardinals, and the Packers beat the Jets. So i’m doing 1-3 overall in my teams’ progress 😛 Well, I did say I wanted narrative… The Packers game was a great example of how that team reacts to pressure. They were down 3-21 in the 2nd quarter. Then they just took […]

Read the full article →

Giants vs Cardinals on Sunday – an NFL newbie’s analysis #AZvsNYG

September 13, 2014

Given that I’m a recent convert to football, I have a lot of catching up to do. I’m reasonably solid on how downs work, I can tell the difference between a WR and a RB, and during last week’s Packers opener I learned what a safety was. Miles to go yet before I can actually […]

Read the full article →

A football newbie chooses a team

September 10, 2014

It only took me 4 decades but I have decided to finally Like football. Why? well, partly because I want to be actually converse with most of my friends during the fall about more than the weather But also because I am enamoured of narratives, and football is possibly the single most narrative-driven sport. There’s […]

Read the full article →
Art, Comics

Bill Watterson just returned to the comics pages this week

June 7, 2014

Yes, that’s not a hoax, it’s true. Bill Watterson was the guest artist on the comic strip Pearls before Swine the last 3 days. Here are links to the 3 strips: Full details here.

Read the full article →