2016 Hugo Awards: Despite pups, good works still make ballot

The 2016 Hugo Awards final ballot has been announced by MidAmericCon II and, as expected, a good deal of the Rabid Puppies' slate are among the finalists. File 770 has an excellent breakdown of which works and authors made the ballot because of RP slate voting.

The relative good news, though, is that more non-slate works and authors made the ballot than last year, and many of these works and authors are very deserving of Hugo Award consideration. For example, I loved both The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin and Uprooted by Naomi Novik and could easily see either of them winning the novel category. The same with Alyssa Wong in the Campbell Best New Writer category. Most other Hugo categories also have a few award-worthy options.

There are exceptions. The short story category is completely filled with the RP slate, including works like "Space Raptor Butt Invasion" by Chuck Tingle which no one can deny made the ballot for no reason other than outright trolling. The same with the Best Related Work category.

There are also authors who made the ballot with slate support but didn't ask to be included, such as Andy Weir of The Martian fame along with many of the films and semiprozine finalists who were slated without their consent. As a result Hugo voters will have to go through each category, consider the nominated works, and make a decision on how to vote. If that vote is No Award, then so be it.

But never forget that the goal of the Rabid Puppies is to destroy the Hugo Awards. That's why they included publications like Beneath Ceaseless Skies and Strange Horizons on their slate — they want people to vote No Award on publications which are the exact opposite of everything the Rabid Puppies stand for. It's up to Hugo voters to see this trick and not fall for it.

After all, as John Scalzi asks, "how much credit should (the puppies) get for nominating already-celebrated work?" The answer is none.

In the end, read and consider all the works on this year's Hugo ballot and vote for those which are worthy of winning. And as with last year's Hugos, if a category has no deserving finalists then No Award is always an option.

And before anyone asks, yes, rule changes being considering at this year's Worldcon will make it more difficult for slates to dominate the Hugos in the future. I also don't believe a second year of puppy madness will permanently destroy the Hugo Awards' brand or importance. People are able to recognize hateful trolling when they see it, and hateful trolling is what people will remember about this whole affair in the decades to come.