Hugo Awards: Miscellaneous Thoughts

Just a few thoughts that I've not crammed into the multitude of other Hugo Award posts I've been making of late.
  • For the uninitiated, when you become a member of a given year's Worldcon, you get access to the Hugo Voter's Packet, which contains the grand majority of the nominated works. However, it's an entirely voluntary thing, and the decision generally resides with the publisher, not the author. Indeed, the voter's packet (in its current form, at least), is a relatively recent thing (about 10 years old?) and was not even an official part of the process for the first few years. The reason I bring all this up is that there are a lot of people who seem to be dinging a given work on their ballot simply because it was not included in the packet. This is especially prevalent in the novel category, where three of the 5 nominees only included an extended excerpt in the packet. These included my top two picks, Neptune's Brood and Ancillary Justice, so I hope not too many people are doing that. Interestingly, the two most hated works also seem to have the most generous publishers: Baen included all three books in the Grimnoir Chronicles (of which only the third was actually nominated), and Tor included the entire Wheel of Time (that's 14 books, 11,000+ pages, and 4.4+ million words, mighty generous of them). I even saw one person ding Six Gun Snow White because the packet only included it in PDF format (Which, yeah, is annoying, but really? You're going to hold that against the work?) For my part, while I definitely took advantage of the packet, I also tried not to base my decisions on what was or was not in the packet. I will admit that some of the more obscure categories were more difficult to track down and probably did play into my eventual rankings, but I wasn't consciously trying to punish the artists because of the way the voter's packet works.
  • I only ended up deploying the No Award option (and the associated action of leaving a work off the ballot) twice, in both cases because of general philosophical disagreements (one because I don't think you should be able to nominate 14 books as one work, and the other because it wasn't Science Fiction or Fantasy, and thus should not be in the discussion for a SF/F award). If I'm reading the rest of the internet right, I'm not nearly vindictive enough, as most folks seem to deploy No Award at the drop of the hat, often just because a story had the impertinence to be part of a sub-genre they don't like. I get the reason for the award, but I feel like it's being used way too often.
  • I've read a lot of things I wouldn't normally read. I have obviously found value in that, but the end result will change little of my overall reading pattern. Of all the stories I've read, the only definite thing I'm going to follow up on is to read more Ted Chiang. I will also probably be more open to Charles Stross than I have in the past (still, I've had spotty luck with Stross).
  • Things I'm disappointed didn't get nominated:
And I think that just about covers it. In a few weeks, I'll cover the winners, otherwise, we'll be returning to the Kaedrin of old. I'm sure you're all super excited. Try to contain yourself.