Hugo ballots are all in. Hugo awards are to be announced 17 August 2014, in Lundin, UK.
This was my first year voting for Hugos. Over all I am quite pleased, but also a tad humbled.
Things I have learnt, or re-learnt...
1) omg there is a lot of good sf out there.
The $40 for a World Con supporting membership was an *awesome* deal, in terms of fiction per dollar. Getting to vote for top stories? A great bonus. Plus, I was exposed to a lot of sff I would not have explored otherwise.
2) The so-called problems with divisions & cliches and dilution of "real sff" or "righteous sff" or "sff of the people" are, imo, not as great as some think.
The stories that I read were all of decent-to-good quality. Further more, the future of the genre is neither doomed to devolve into endless rounds of needlepoint nor of hopeless gazing into the round black barrel of violence-philic facism. My people can still encompass all possibilities.
3) There are, however, significant issues with repetative themes, narrative styles, and foci among SFF as a whole.
This was most noticable to me in the Short Story and the Novel category, where female first person natitives and an strong hint of persecution flavored a majority of stories. I don't want to exclude stories that rely on these tools from SFF. Nor do I want every. single. story. to use them. Specialization is for insects. Nichification is for extinction-philes.
4) There was more out there than I could read (or watch) comfortably in two months.
I ended up not voting at all in several categories. I still have a lot of the mid-length fiction to read. I essentially gave up on the podcasts, the fanzines, the prozines, and the related writing. I never seriously considered voting for editor, on the grounds of not knowing what to use to judge the candidates.
I am still really, *really* annoyed at Orbitz for not including their works in the package. This was a serious issue in not allowing an even look at all candidates for the awards in question.
Correia, et al, have a point about the "sameness" and narrow scope of the "non-Sad Puppies" ballot entries. While I do not agree that all Sad Puppy Ballot nominations were better than the "traditional" ones - I do think that the SP ballot entries represented quality fiction of a type that wasn't being represented elsewise. As a fan, I like to think that all SFF fans are welcome to put their favorites forward.
Speaking of that...
I was very, very tempted to use "no award" liberally through one particular categoy - that of Fan Writer. So many of the writers listed were narrow minded, bigoted, and actively supported bias against particular works based on the gender, race, and/or political opinions of the author. Not. On. Seriously, kids, grow up. In the end, the thought of dealing with that kind of anger - theirs and mine - turned me off voting for that category all together.
Specifically regarding serials:
Short dramatic works: Dr Who, WTF? One, yes, of course. Two, okay, I'm not going to insist that one outstanding episode mean that no others from that work be considered. But four DW works?
Okay, fine, just take that as a long drawn out wail that I am never going to get caught up.
And if DW had gathered in fewer noms, then I would have had even more series to never get caught up with. But. Still.
Graphic Novels: The inclusion of Saga was not a great burden on me, as I already had the first two volumes. That another entry was at episode 13? aaaaggggg
Novel: On the one hand, each of the non-initial serials involved was included in the Hugo packet. On the other hand...WoT? As one novel? Give over already, man.
Fifth and finally:
I really miss the Gardner Dozois Year's Best Science Fiction collections. And by "miss" I mean "need to get back into the habit of reading".