I have serious concerns about the legitimacy of the 2015 Hugo ballot, as it was largely dictated by a single individual, Vox Day, who campaigned for a slate of nominees on his website (the Rabid Puppies slate). To a lesser extent, it was also influenced by Brad Togersen’s Sad Puppies slate. Together, the two slates successfully placed 61 nominees on the ballot. Black Gate was part of the Rabid Puppies ballot, although we were unaware of our inclusion until we were informed of our nomination.

In short, over the last two weeks I have come to agree with those arguing that the use of a slate — and particularly a slate that has 11 nominees from Vox Day’s Castalia House, and nominates him personally for two awards — is a serious threat to the perceived integrity of the Hugo Awards.

Black Gate‘s John O’Neill on withdrawing from the 2015 Hugos.

It costs between about $2,500 and $20,000 to buy yourself a Hugo,1 depending on the category and whether you’re going for just a nomination or a straight-up win. That’s within the marketing budget of nearly all commercially published SFF novels, in case people were wondering.

Hugos sell books. The reason publishers haven’t tried to game the awards in previous years is less because they couldn’t and more because, weirdly, most people who work in SFF publishing have this funny lil’ old thing called “respect for the genre’s institutions”.

Emphasis on the “most” in most people, I guess.

  1. Plus a little extra to pay for the labour of the ballot stuffing itself. But that sort of thing goes very cheap nowadays. []