ALL BLOG POSTS AND COMMENTS COPYRIGHT (C) 2003-2016 VOX DAY. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. REPRODUCTION WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION IS EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

More Hugo predictions

One Aled Morgan responds to the Chaos Horizon Hugo predictions, which were as follows:
  1. Annihilation, Jeff VanderMeer
  2. Ancillary Sword, Ann Leckie
  3. Monster Hunter Nemesis, Larry Correia
  4. The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison
  5. Skin Game, Jim Butcher  
First, the two I’d be astonished not to see on the ballot:

Lock In
Ancilliary Sword


Then very likely:

The Three Body Problem
Annihilation


Then at about the same level of probability fighting for the fifth slot:

Monster Hunter Nemesis
My Real Children
The Goblin Emperor
Symbiont


Possible but unlikely:

The Peripheral
The Darkling Sea


What you’re overlooking about Scalzi is that he has a massively popular blog, he has orders of magnitude more readers than the “Sad Puppies”, and while he never opersteps the line he encourages his fans to nominate him… and they do. The same goes for Grant, who has made the ballot so often already but doedn’t win — she has the same kind of nominating fans.

For the Hugos, what’s important is not wide readership but readership within Worldcon going fandom. Lots of the measures you’re assessing would be great if this were a wide-constituency vote, but it isn’t. It’ll be around two thousand people. SFWA’s even smaller, and everyone in SFWA knows each other. Butcher’s really really popular in the wider constituency, but his books don’t feel like the kind of thing people nominate for Hugos to the people who nominate, so I’d say it has zero chance except with Sad Puppies. And I expect a backlash against Sad Puppies this year.
I have to admit, The Three-Body Problem looks pretty good. I find the concept interesting, seeing as I used a variant of it to explain some of the problems with Keynesian economic theory in RGD. As a fan of Japanese literature both ancient and modern, I'm curious to see what Chinese SF is like. I tried Vandermeer's Balzac's War and ended up putting it down before long, but perhaps his Southern Reach Trilogy is better. In any event, Holmwood, who both reads the occasional Scalzi book and is a Sad Puppy supporter, offers a mild correction:
John Scalzi is a good author. I enjoyed both Old Man’s War and Agent to the Stars. His books are pushed heavily by his publisher (deservedly so) and Lock-In was a better work than Redshirts which won previously. That said, I believe his blog’s readership is a good deal smaller than (say) that of Vox Day, and certainly smaller than Day, Correia, Wright, Torgersen, Hoyt, etc combined.

Back to the general topic of Puppies, sad and otherwise.

I would be both surprised and disappointed if Puppies locked up overwhelmingly to vote a slate en masse without regard to quality. So far that’s not been the case, though I’m well aware there are those who’d love to poke a stick in the putative SF establishment fans’ collective eyes and do just that.
But this, while very well and good, VIOLATES THE NARRATIVE. Tudor leaps in to explain that Whatever is not merely big. It is ENORMOUS:
Scalzi’s blog is not big, is enormous. There are many good SF writers, but there are only a handful NY Times Bestsellers. Scalzi became one because of his blog. I only like some of his books but even I read his blog regularly. And if an author will write on his blog about her/his new book, than it’s certain that its sales will receive a great boost.
And so it fell to me to actually provide the relevant facts of the matter:
John Scalzi’s blog, Whatever, is not reasonably described as “enormous” and his blog readership is considerably smaller than mine, let alone the combined readership of the various Sad and Rabid Puppy authors. The most traffic Mr. Scalzi ever had is just over 1 million Google pageviews per month back in May 2012. Since then, his blog traffic has declined to around 450,000 pageviews per month. By comparison, my blogs alone now enjoy traffic of 1.5 million pageviews per month, about three times that of Mr. Scalzi's Whatever.

In 2014, Mr. Scalzi’s blog had 5.6 million annual pageviews whereas mine had 15.7 million. Where Mr. Scalzi is very popular, however, is on Twitter, where his 70k+ followers are more than all of the aforementioned authors combined. Whether Twitter followers or blog readerships are more predictive of Hugo success, I leave to Chaos Horizon to predict.

The reason many people have a false impression of Mr. Scalzi’s blog is that Mr. Scalzi has historically been prone to a considerable amount of exaggeration. For example, in an August 2010 interview with Lightspeed magazine, he claimed Whatever had 2 million monthly pageviews. The actual number of pageviews that month was 305 thousand, or about 15 percent of the amount claimed.
I do find it intriguing that more than a year after the greater part of Mr. Scalzi's claimed blog traffic was exposed as nonexistent, there are still those pinkshirts who fail to recognize that the numbers in the science fiction market simply do not add up in the way they apparently believe they do. I wonder what would suffice to convince them otherwise?

As for Holmewood's concern about quality, I would simply urge the prospective Worldcon voter to compare the Rabid Puppy slate to last year's Hugo winners. I contend that the Rabid Puppies are, across the board, considerably superior in terms of both science fiction essence and and science fiction quality to the 2014 winners.

Labels: ,

28 Comments:

Blogger Remo March 22, 2015 8:52 AM  

These people should work for the Federal Reserve and the department of labor. We could use them to calculate GDP, the unemployment rate, and prove Obamacare has lowered costs.

Anonymous scoobius dubious March 22, 2015 8:56 AM  

Somebody wrote a book called "The Goblin Emperor," and they weren't laughed out of town? I have one word for you nitwits: Rossetti. Leave it alone for pete's sake, it's like trying to rewrite Anna Karenina. No wonder I don't read this stuff. Get yourselves "A Wave" and "Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror" by John Ashbery, and find out what real writing looks like.

Meantime since VD says he is a fan of Japanese literature, I'm curious what he thinks of Tanizaki and Oe.

Blogger grendel March 22, 2015 9:14 AM  

I sure hope those puppy voters don't vote the party line regardless of quality said the concern troll.

Anonymous Michael of Charlotte March 22, 2015 9:15 AM  

It is interesting how those claims persist even after being refuted so routinely. It makes me wonder how many other things liberals simply accept as true and move on.

Anonymous Strange Aeons March 22, 2015 9:26 AM  

Everything and anything that gives them the feelgoods, and nothing of that which gives them the feelbads.

Blogger Booch Paradise March 22, 2015 9:28 AM  

When I go over there I can't find your comment. The "Scalzi’s blog is not big, is enormous" comment seems to be the last word on the subject.

Blogger Vox March 22, 2015 9:29 AM  

I sure hope those puppy voters don't vote the party line regardless of quality said the concern troll.

I don't think Holmwood is a concern troll. There is a definite faction among the Sad Puppy voters that is genuinely interested in reaching out to the SF Left, wishes to win them over, and is trying to gently lead them to reason and a level playing field focused on rewarding objective quality through positive example.

The Rabid Puppies, on the other hand, don't give a fuck, and intend to crush the pinkshirts in any and every possible way through excellence, esprit, discipline, and a ruthless disregard for compromise. We'll negotiate settlement terms when the pinkshirts publicly surrender. Until then, we advance.

I respect the intentions of the Sad Puppy liberals. I simply happen to think they are attempting to appeal to unicorns and dodos. Hence the existence of Rabid Puppies. But it is a mistake to think Rabid Puppies is not concerned about quality, as a reading of the Rabid Puppy candidates will readily demonstrate.

Blogger Vox March 22, 2015 9:30 AM  

When I go over there I can't find your comment.

I believe it is in moderation.

Anonymous Mr. A is Mr. A March 22, 2015 9:34 AM  

Vox, if you replied to Chaos Horizon in that thread, it seems they have "limited your scope" in the discussion on Scalzi and his blog statistics. Your comments do not appear there.

Blogger Cataline Sergius March 22, 2015 10:16 AM  

One early result.

Michael Z. Williamson said, he has been privately informed that, Wisdom From My Internet. Has made the short list. So we got that going for us.

Anonymous Red Comet March 22, 2015 10:25 AM  

Vox, since you're a fan of Japanese lit (and presumably at least some Japanese sci-fi), would you and Castalia ever consider translating and publishing some Ryo Hanmura novels?

I've wanted to read Sengoku Jieitai and several of his other books ever since I saw the GI Samurai film based on it and looked up more info on him. Unfortunately it doesn't seem like any of his books were ever published in English.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan March 22, 2015 10:27 AM  

Maybe the white knights could prove that the pink shirts are actually reasonable people. Of course they cannot, but it is polite to ask.

Blogger Vox March 22, 2015 10:46 AM  

Vox, since you're a fan of Japanese lit (and presumably at least some Japanese sci-fi), would you and Castalia ever consider translating and publishing some Ryo Hanmura novels?

Of course. We even contacted an organization that is set up to help Japanese works find English publishers. However, they are still locked into an outdated focus on mainstream publication and they didn't do much more than provide an introduction to various agents, so we abandoned that line of effort.

Anonymous Steve March 22, 2015 10:50 AM  

I've read Skin Game and Monster Hunter Nemesis, and they're both great.

Can't claim to have heard of Jeff VanderMeer or his book Annihilation, but I just checked the Amazon reviews and they're pretty lukewarm - a 3.5 star average.

Skin Game and MH:N both have a 5 star rating, so that rules them out for a Hugo award.

Leckie's book has glowing reviews from the usual places you'd expect (the New York Times and NPR and so on), and Gawker's io9 says it has "a set of rich subtexts about human rights, colonialism -- and (yes) hive mind sex." - so, won't be buying that one. Amazon customers gave it four stars on average, which is decent but not must-read.

The Goblin Emperor, by Katherine Addison, is another one I hadn't heard of. It's got a lot of good reviews on Amazon and rates 4.5 stars overall, but I'm not going to buy it, because swords and sorcery, and because from the description: "he is alone, and trying to find even a single friend . . . and hoping for the possibility of romance", and the fact that most of its top reviews are from women, it looks like it's fantasy chick-lit.

NTTAWWT, fantasy chick-lit is just as valid as any other type of fiction, I just prefer books where people kill monsters and/or aliens without stopping to discuss their feelings or sigh wistfully about their prospects for romance.

Anonymous Tankredi March 22, 2015 10:51 AM  

But this, while very well and good, VIOLATES THE NARRATIVE.

It actually violates YOUR narrative as you lay it out in a comment on the "The ghosts of the machine are pro-Puppy" post.

Blogger Vox March 22, 2015 10:55 AM  

It actually violates YOUR narrative

Perhaps it does, but I have no idea what you mean. Care to explain?

Anonymous JBullington March 22, 2015 12:03 PM  

Steve; or to put it another way, VanderMeer's "Annihilation" has 106 more 4 and 5 star reviews than "Monster Hunter: Nemesis".

Blogger Vox March 22, 2015 12:51 PM  

Steve; or to put it another way, VanderMeer's "Annihilation" has 106 more 4 and 5 star reviews than "Monster Hunter: Nemesis".

It also has 105 more 1- and 2-star reviews.

Two-star ratings: Annihilation 55, Monster Hunter Nemesis 2
One-star ratings: Annihilation 53, Monster Hunter Nemesis 1

That's a lot of people who think it sucks.

Blogger James Dixon March 22, 2015 1:04 PM  

> It also has 105 more 1- and 2-star reviews.

You should know by now that percentages are lost on some people, Vox. :)

Anonymous Steve March 22, 2015 5:14 PM  

Have any Hugo award winning novels of recent times been exceptionally well regarded by the book-buying public? If we define "exceptional" as 4.5 stars or better, Amazon doesn't think so.

2014 - Ancillary Justice - 4 stars
2013 - Redshirts - 4 stars (I was surprised at this, I read it and thought it deserved 3 stars at best, but the people have spoken)
2012 - Among Others - 3.5 stars
2011 - Blackout / All Clear - 3.5 and 4 stars respectively
2010 - The Windup Girl - 4 stars

Obviously none of these are bad review averages, if I could write a book that got 4 stars on average from a few hundred paying customers I'd be very pleased. But... "best novel"?

The last Hugo best novel to garner more than 4 stars from Amazon customers is 2009's The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman. And prior to that, 2000's A Deepness in the Sky, by Vernor Vinge.

Larry Correia's Amazon reviews are better than nearly every Hugo best novel of the past 15 years.

Same, and then some, goes for Jim Butcher, who has somehow managed to maintain tremendously high standards and a massive global fan base for his long running Dresden Files series, even 15 books in. Yet he's never been nominated for best novel. That's insane. It's as if the Oscars ignored the existence of the Harry Potter films.

And, of course, The Martian continues to thrash the competition with an incredible 4.5 star average from over 8,500 reviews so far on Amazon. That's about twice as many reviews as every single Hugo best novel of the past 5 years put together, and the science fiction book buying public loves it.

But Andy Weir doesn't have a SJW blog and didn't go to any cliquey writers workshops, and The Martian doesn't bash gender binary or have a gimmick where you don't know the sex of the main character, and definitely doesn't have anything about colonialism or hive mind sex in it, so...

Anonymous Nathan March 22, 2015 5:23 PM  

The Martian was self-published previous to last year, else I think it could have been the runaway front runner for the Hugo nom. Alas, eligibility issues. Last year's best works seem to have run into that problem.

Anonymous JBullington March 22, 2015 5:30 PM  

Steve, Transformers 4 didn't win an Oscar... but I guess you think it should have?

Anonymous Holmwood March 22, 2015 5:46 PM  

@Vox

Not a Scalzi fan. A mild fan of Old Man's War (which I believe I share in common with John C. Wright, of whom I am a fan), yes. Would prefer you amend "a fan of John Scalzi" even though it does wreck the "rarest of beasts" line. Also typo near end of Holmewood.

You're close to reading my tone and intent correctly though slightly off. I view the extreme SJW's as unreachable, but I think there are still many fans who are part of no particular camp or clique.

@grendel Definitely not a concern troll.

I've commented here a while and been quoted in posts by Vox a time or two.

As for the quality of Rabid Puppies, I incorporated some (but not all) of Rabid Puppies into my nomination. When I did not, it was not because I felt anything Vox had nominated was inferior in quality to last year's works.


Anonymous Steve March 22, 2015 5:51 PM  

Nathan - Dunno about the eligibility rules, you're probably right, but Connie Willis got nominated for Blackout/All Clear
as one "best novel" even though it was published as two separate books, so it seems the Hugo eligibility criteria are a bit skew-whiff.

I think it could have been the runaway front runner for the Hugo nom

I'd like to think so too. It certainly deserves to be recognised, but the Hugo folks seem to have an aversion to popular sci-fi and fantasy books. And... how they managed not to give any awards to Hugh Howey's Silo series, I have no idea.

The last Hugo award winner I was thoroughly impressed with was 2006's "Spin" by Robert Charles Wilson. That one reminded me of the sort of Big Ideas novels that Arthur C. Clarke used to do so well.


JBullington - Transformers 4 didn't win an Oscar... but I guess you think it should have?

Dunno. Is it any good?

Anonymous Red Comet March 22, 2015 6:46 PM  

Of course. We even contacted an organization that is set up to help Japanese works find English publishers. However, they are still locked into an outdated focus on mainstream publication and they didn't do much more than provide an introduction to various agents, so we abandoned that line of effort.

The Japanese manga publishers are fairly resistant to digital distribution so it's too bad to hear the regular novel publishers and rights holders appear to be the same way.

Blogger Vox March 22, 2015 7:09 PM  

Would prefer you amend "a fan of John Scalzi" even though it does wreck the "rarest of beasts" line. Also typo near end of Holmewood.

Fair enough.

You're close to reading my tone and intent correctly though slightly off. I view the extreme SJW's as unreachable, but I think there are still many fans who are part of no particular camp or clique.

I totally agree. I just don't see any point in trying to appeal directly to them. If they genuinely appreciate quality, they'll be drawn to it regardless.

Anonymous Anonymous March 22, 2015 9:40 PM  

Yeah, the skiffy awards haven't meant anything in terms of quality in quite a while now. Look at Rachel Swirsky's "If You were a Dinosaur, My Love," which won a Nebula last year, for heaven's sake. This for a poorly-written, disjointed rant that is neither isn't even science fiction nor fantasy, just one woman's overheated internal monologue committed to paper about how those awful, awful red-state rednecks give her the vapors, presumably voted for by sneering blue-state types who feel the same way. So, that egg is already fried, and it's a little too late for anyone to try to say "but the award is supposed to MEAN something!"

And, as others have noted, Larry Correia's throwaway blog posts about Wendell the Manatee are not only more skiffy and more entertaining but also much better written than anything "Miz" Swirsky has ever produced.

Blogger MidKnight March 22, 2015 11:14 PM  

@"Anonymous" (ya really need to get a name)

And, as others have noted, Larry Correia's throwaway blog posts about Wendell the Manatee are not only more skiffy and more entertaining but also much better written than anything "Miz" Swirsky has ever produced.

And he writes lots of posts far longer than her "winning' story.

Post a Comment

Rules of the blog
Please do not comment as "Anonymous". Comments by "Anonymous" will be spammed.

<< Home

Newer Posts Older Posts