There has been a lot of vocal protest over the 2015 Hugo Award nominations.

Before I go further, I need to satisfy full disclosure by informing you that my science-fiction novel Twinkle was nominated for a Hugo in the best novel category and did not make the short list. I knew that winning a Hugo was a long shot from day one, but I do need to declare that fact up front to avoid any conflict. I'm also eligable to vote on the 2015 Hugo awards for what it's worth.

I won't go into the details of the Hugo controversy as they have been well represented by the press and other writers. However, in brief, two groups (Sad Puppies & Rabid Puppies) who have been linked to the GamerGate scandal have successfully had several sponsored works make it to the short list for the Hugo in several catagories. This was done within the stated rules and as far as I can see, not technically illegal. They simply played the system to get works they approve of to get onto the short list of nominations.   

While this has stirred up many vocal voices opposing their actions, hope is still alive for a fair, or at least a satisfactory, outcome.

First, not all of the Hugo nominations were supported by the 'puppy' groups. If you feel the 'puppy' group nominations are wrong, you can simply vote for one of the other candidates they had nothing to do with. Again, the works the puppies nominated are well documented and I will not list them here. If you are able to vote in the 2015 Hugo's I leave it to you to educate yourself and make up your own mind. However, I will tell you how to minimize their impact within the current voting rules of the Hugo Award.

There is a clause where a nominated work can be withdrawn voluntarily. If that happens, the next work with the next highest number of nomination votes is placed on the final ballot. One hopes that pressure can be brought to bear on the controversial authors with Hugo nominations, but being the cynic I am, I don't place much faith in this happening.

This brings me to another clause in the Hugo Award rules; the "No Award" vote. This little known rule can save the reputation of the Hugo Award process.  

If a voting member feels that none of the works presented are fit for a Hugo, they may vote "No Award" at the top of their ballot in any category. If the majority of people choose the "No Award" option, then no award is granted to any of the listed nominees in that category.

I enclosed the full rule quote below on exactly how this works, but it is essentially a veto over the nominations presented. If you truly feel that the 'puppy' groups have usurped the process then this is how you fight back. While the nominations can be massaged by a minority of people, the final vote is open to all members. 

By using the "No Award" vote you state your displeasure loud and clear and no one gets an award. While this may be a blow to the nominees who got onto the ballot fairly, I believe the long standing integrity of the Hugo Award must come first. 

No matter which way you feel on the subject, if you can vote in the 2015 Hugo Award ballot I urge you to review the list of works, understand the voting process and know the options available to you. Then please vote as your conscience dictates. The results will speak for themselves.

I've included the direct link to the voting system page of the Hugo Award site along with several excerpts from that page at the end of this article for your reference.

Please feel free to spread this article to any voting member of the 2015 Hugo Awards. I welcome your comments.



Excerpt from http://www.thehugoawards.org/the-voting-system/ (Go here for the full text)

No Award

Under each category you will also be given the choice of voting for No Award.

You should vote for No Award as your first choice if you believe that none of the nominees are worthy of the Award, or that the Award category should be abolished. If you vote for No Award in any other position it means that you believe the nominees you placed above No Award were worthy of a Hugo, but that those not placed above it were not worthy. However, as we shall see, it is possible to rank nominees below No Award and have an effect on the outcome.



The No Award Test


The final check before a winner can be determined is known as the No Award Test. The valid ballots are divided into three piles: those in which No Award is ranked higher than the prospective winner, those in which the prospective winner is ranked higher than No Award, and those in which neither No Award nor the prospective winner have preferences listed. Note that a ballot that contains a preference for the prospective winner but does not contain a preference for No Award goes into the “prospective winner higher than no award” pile. This is because lack of preference is, by definition, lower than any preference. Having got the three piles, the votes in the “prospective winner higher than No Award pile” and the votes in the “No Award higher than prospective winner” pile are counted. If the number of votes with the prospective winner placed higher is greater then the result is confirmed. If the pile with No Award placed higher is greater then no award is given in the category that year.