My vote for Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form), Best Fan Writer, John W. Campbell Award

I usually enjoy tracking down the various entries in this category (I rarely have time to watch the movies nominated for the Long Form equivalent). But unfortunately three of the finalists in this category were helped to get onto the ballot by a campaign led by a misogynist racist whose declared intention was to destroy the Hugos. I am not going to vote for them, and am not going to any great lengths to watch The Flash: Pilot or Grimm: Once We Were Gods.

4(?): I did see Game of Thrones: The Mountain and the Viper when it was broadcast, and while I'm generally a fan of the series I thought that there were at least three better episodes last year – #2 The Lion and the Rose (Joffrey's wedding), #4 The Laws of Gods and Men (Tyrion's trial) and #10 The Children (series conclusion). So I'm voting No Award ahead of all of the slate-supported finalists, including this one, with a clear conscience. But I may vary from my rule of simply not giving them a vote of any kind, and give The Mountain and the Viper my fourth preference. It's a reasonable bet that it does not owe its place on the ballot solely to the efforts of the slate-mongers.

3: No Award

2: Orphan Black: By Means Which Have Never Yet Been Tried. It's pretty difficult to judge a show with an insanely complex plot by the episode which ends its second season, especially since the only previous episode I've seen was the one on last year's Hugo ballot. My first instinct was to put this too below No Award, but there are several redeeming features which made it work for me. Even after only having seen two episodes, the revelation about the clones at the end is a stunning reveal. The scene where four different clone sisters, all played by Tatiana Maslany, dance together is absolutely brilliant, not only from the technical trickery point of view but because she clearly differentiates each of the characters she is portraying. And the medical icky stuff is horrible but well conveyed. Some day I may try and watch this from the beginning.

1: Doctor Who: Listen. In a Doctor Who season with one very low point (Kill The Moon) this was very much a high point, Moffat with some of his best lines – Clara in particular getting some good ones ("People don't need to be scared by a big gray-haired stick insect but here you are" balanced by "If you're very wise and very strong fear doesn't have to make you cruel or cowardly – fear can make you kind") in a story that actually makes sense and taps into some deep human fears. Gets my vote without any hesitation or special pleading, and I suspect it will win.

Also, just to record a couple of items here which are not worth separate posts: I'm voting No Award for Best Fan Writer, and giving Laura J. Mixon my second preference. I take very seriously Matt Foster's argument that a ballot with only one non-slate finalist does not offer enough choice to make the award meaningful. I also happen to think that Best Fan Writer should go to a body of work, not a single work, and the article for which Mixon has been nominated belongs in the Best Related Work category (one other piece by her has also been included in the Voter Packet, but you wouldn't know it from the on-line discussion that I've seen). This is not in any way to minimise the importance of Mixon's article, still less to defend or minimise the actions of the person she wrote about (who has clearly learned nothing and forgotten nothing). But if we're concerned about the integrity of the Hugos, that concern needs to be consistently applied. Sure, the Best Related Work ballot has been comprehensively wrecked by the slates this year, perhaps worse than any other category, but to me that doesn't justify nominating or voting for something in the wrong place, no matter how deserving it may be. However, I will happily give Mixon my second preference, to maximise the chance that my vote will count against the slate candidates.

I'll add that I've been entertained by Jeffro Johnson's pieces in the Voter Packet, and by his contributions to the debate on, and I can imagine giving him a preference if he is a finalist in a future year; but not this time. Some of the others in this category have perhaps not chosen terribly wisely in their contributions to the Voters Packet, at least if their intention was to win hearts and minds. That may not have been their intention, of course.

Finally, I am also voting for No Award in the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer. This was an easy choice. Apart from Matt Foster's point above, I couldn't really get into The Deaths of Tao by Wesley Chu, who is the only non-slate finalist in that category (I finished but didn't much like the previous book in the series). I will however give Wesley Chu my second preference, to maximise the chance that my vote will count against the slate.

As noted previously, I am voting for No Award in the three short fiction categories, Best Related Work and Best Professional Artist. Three of those were swept by the slates, and the other two have only one non-slate finalist. We do at least have a decent range of choices for Best Novel, Best Graphic Story and Best Fan Artist. And we can hope for a better ballot next year.

2015 Hugos: Initial observations | Voting No Award above the slates | How the slate was(n't) crowdsourced | Where the new voters are

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1 Response to My vote for Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form), Best Fan Writer, John W. Campbell Award

  1. anonymous says:

    “The Ambassadors of Death” is waaay too low. It’s one of my all time favorites. And honestly, “The Brain of Morbius” was placed at only 40?!? Ugh, fandom and do NOT agree. “Caves of Androzani” was great, but it is not my #1. I don’t even think I would make it to my top 15. Anyway, rant over, I’m just going to do the typical fan thing and say something along the lines of “my opinions are right, fandom is wrong, blah blah blah Daleks.”

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