As I have hinted in a couple recent posts (here and here) the Hugo Awards for fiction presented a month ago at Anticipation in Montreal, were a bit of a disappointment, and it’s far from the first year this has been true. In the four fiction categories only one Hugo went to a story that got my top vote (Best Short Story: “Exhalation” by Ted Chiang). None of the weakest nominees won, which perhaps is some consolation.
The final less-than-best result is foreordained by a nomination process that year-after-year places too many mediocre stories on the ballot. The process: whoever purchases a supporting or attending membership in the annual World Science Fiction Convention is eligible to vote twice, both nominations and final ballot, provided they bought their membership early. Why doesn’t it work? What would work better? I am open to suggestions. Hopefully the science fiction community is open to suggestions.
The problem has been expounded by Adam Roberts (Dear Science Fiction Fandom: Your shortlists aren’t very good) and Abigail Nussbaum (The 2009 Hugo Awards: The Best Novel Shortlist, Part 1 and Part 2).