The other day there was a discussion over at MadGeniusClub that ended up with a little discussion about the Hugos and the quality and sales of such nominated works. I indicated to Camestrosfelapton that I would look into his claims that recent Hugo Nominations by the Sad Puppies were not up to snuff. As sales data are taking longer than I’d like collect and tabulate, this project (I believe I bit off more than I can comfortably chew) will be released for viewing later.
For the moment I have some preliminary figures regarding the public’s ratings of the nominations. Ultimately I would have preferred to get all of my figures at one moment in time, but as that’s not possible and I don’t expect these numbers to change much, I’ll give you a taste of what I’ve gathered from GoodReads.
The Hugo Best Novel category 1953-2015
Mean Average of all nominations: 3.88
Median Average of all nominations: 3.88
Mean Average of Winners: 3.96
Median Average of Winners: 3.98
From this, it doesn’t appear that the Sad Puppies campaign has much to worry about in terms of quality as determined by rating compared to the previous few years. The Mean Average and Median Average of the winners the last five years are below not just the averages of past winners, they are below the average nominated work from previous years. That just sucks.
In 2015 Skin Game by Jim Butcher (4.55) and The Dark Between the Stars by Kevin J. Anderson (3.58) were Sad Puppy nominees. And while The Dark Between the Stars was the lowest rated of the 2015 field, it’s certainly not alone down there over the last few yeas. Skin Game is actually the highest rated novel ever nominated for a Hugo.
In 2014 Warbound (4.42) was the Sad Puppy candidate and was the highest rated nomination for the year.
There was no SP nomination on the ballot in 2013. But look at all those Hugo Winners below not just the pink lines (the Mean Average and Median Average of all Hugo Winners) but also below the blue line (the Mean and Median Average of all Hugo Nominees). In fifteen years seven of the Winners were below the average nomination. And nine of the winners were at or below the average for Hugo Winners.
And it’s not as if there weren’t popular works available to vote for. Look at all that gray at the top of the chart indicating nominations that are rated higher than the eventual winners.
I think it’s clear people aren’t digging what the Hugo voters consider to be the best SF/F novels of the year.