What Works Would You Add to the 2015 Hugo Ballot?

I’m ready to stop dining on sour grapes and fine whine with a side of Hugo nominations. Anyone even marginally involved with science fiction and fantasy has probably heard about the Hugo Award Hoopla that started last weekend because of #SlateGate also known as #PuppyGate, but that term somehow makes the whole thing sound sweet and innocent. So, I’m coining the term #SlateGate since that really gets to the crux of the issue.

As a result of #SlateGate at the Hugos, a lot of great and well-deserving works did not make it to the final ballot. I for one am dying to find out what those works were since this is one of the things I love most about the Hugos — finding new fiction and authors to read. I enjoy getting to see the wide swath of fiction that people in fandom loved enough to consider nominating. So, I have decided to ask you… What did you put on your nomination ballot? What works did you recommend or love enough to submit? What works got pushed aside in favor of the #SlateGate nominees?

Here are a couple of my Hugo nominations:


There were so many choices that I wanted to add to this category, and I can’t remember what I actually added to my ballot other than Skin Game by Jim Butcher. Clearly, the stress is getting to me! This book was on both of the slates in #SlateGate, and it made it to the final Hugo Ballot. Still, I loved this book. I thought Butcher turned a corner with his series and found a way to reinvigorate the Dresden Files. I am a longtime fan of the series, and I thought Skin Game was an excellent read. I know Butcher is taking a break from the series. So, this may be the last one that we get for a long time.


Most of my reading last year was reprints since I was in the process of editing Futuredaze 2: Reprise, a YA reprint anthology. So, the number of new short stories that I read was light and I didn’t feel qualified to add anything onto the ballot in any of the short fiction categories.


The Loncon 3 Philharmonic definitely made my list. I won’t say anything else about it, but if you are a fan and you love music… you have to check this out. You can download the recording here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/myxdnorn40cew7z/AABuWKimdrKEtbVKKplESsnua?dl=0 The file is: Loncon3 Orchestra H.264.mp4 and is very large: 9.89 GB (2:06:12) – there is a shorter (15 mins) preview file also available, so make sure you click the right download button.

GeekTheater-small-lo-resAnother one of my nominations was Geek Theater: 15 Plays by SF and Fantasy Writers. ed, by Jen Gunnels & Erin Underwood. Yes. That’s my book. And, yes, it feels weird nominating my own anthology. However, it’s a one-of-a-kind work that features some absolutely amazing plays. There is nothing like Geek Theater and it really deserves a little extra attention. It has also had some terrific reviews, including the review series being done by Surreal Time Press.


Maleficent. I loved this movie. I nominated it along with several others that actually made the final ballot, but I wanted to give it a shout out because I really liked the twist they put on the original story. There was something simple and beautiful about the relationship between Maleficent and Aurora. I also thought the cinematography and graphics were gorgeous. I was expecting a regurgitated adaptation and was pleasantly surprised by the originality present in the film.


I nominated a bunch of TV shows, but only my Game of Thrones choice made it to the ballot. I was deeply disappointed that “Straw Man” from Almost Human didn’t make it. This was not only a fantastic futuristic cop show, but it was great story telling and great science fiction that had a chance of tapping into the mainstream market. The series delved into all of the things that my SF friends are constantly debating. “Straw Man” was that last and the most poignant of the episodes. I had hoped it would make it to the Hugo Ballot to send FOX a message to stop abandoning shows.

Another TV episode that I nominated deserves a little extra attention was “The Grove” from The Walking Dead. The things this episode deals with, the things Carol does, and the implications of what is left of our humanity if this is what happens to our children is just chilling. I can’t fault Carol and yet…I can’t condone her actions either. The amazing thing is that the screenwriters were so adept in their storytelling that even as the action unfolds you can’t help but to feel like, “Yes, this is exactly what would happen.”


Again, my nomination for Journey Planet made it to the Final Ballot. However, I also nominated a few other choices, including Amazing Stories Magazine because they are doing some terrific work in bringing back the Amazing Stories name. They have an excellent selection of articles, interviews, reviews, etc that give everyone something to enjoy.


I nominated a few people. However, the one I want to mention here is Jennifer Brissett because I found out that she was disqualified from the ballot because her publisher was not at the correct professional level…or something like that…which is complete nonsense. If a person writes an amazing book that garners loads of praise from industry experts, gets great reviews, wins awards, etc. I can’t imagine that the author is not eligible for this award. There is something clearly broken with this process when someone like Jennifer Brissett isn’t qualified. So, boo on the Campbell for that bit of nonsense!

Okay. So, these are a couple of my choices. Please share! What are some of your nominations that didn’t make the final Hugo Ballot?

About Erin Underwood

BIO: Erin Underwood is the senior event content producer for MIT Technology Review’s emerging technology events. On the side, she reads, writes, and edits SF.
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4 Responses to What Works Would You Add to the 2015 Hugo Ballot?

  1. I nominated John Scalzi’s Lock In, which I thought was brilliant and is a fantastic audiobook (both versions). The protagonist, Chris, can be read as either gender. I haven’t seen any reviews that have spotted this – they all assume Chris is male. I marginally preferred Amber Benson’s reading over Wil Wheaton’s, and it was inspiring to hear two such different versions of the same character emerge. Ancillary Sword and The Goblin Emperor were both my nominations.

    I was non-plussed by The Girl With All the Gifts, but have recommended it to several people who aren’t huge SF fans.

    I was very disappointed that The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Pat Rothfuss did not make it.

    Elsewhere I nominated a lot of games. Meg Jayranth’s 80 Days, Brianna Wu’s Revolution 60, Telltale Games’ The Walking Dead Series 2 (this went in Best Graphic Novel as well), Dragon Age Inquisition, Sunless Sea. I would never have been able to choose from these guys!

    Every comic I nominated apart from The Walking Dead series 2 made it, so hurrah! The horribleness surrounding Rat Queens has greatly saddened me; I’m very glad the artist was replaced, but think Ms Marvel should be the One here. No coincidence that this was the category that the SPs missed.

    • Esther, I think we really need a category for games, especially since gaming is taking off in a big way and it’s something that men, women, kids, parents, etc enjoy. If people get used to thinking about Games as a category, I think the turnout would be good!

      That’s interesting about Scalzi’s book having two different versions. I’m going to have to add Amber’s version to my audio book list. Thanks!

  2. Hi Erin,
    Thanks for the kind words about the Orchestra!
    Unfortunately you might find that that recording link doesn’t work any more – basically because of the size, I think we melted it! 🙂
    We are working to get a better version of the recording online – it is about 1.5gb and the sound has been re-balanced. I will email you the link and others are welcome to contact me directly for it.

  3. Terry says:

    When the laughable Hugo list emerged we Brits were in the middle of Eastercon. An unscheduled programme item was promptly added, a panel on the shortlists and the appalling story behind them. Needless to say words were spoken, including some about the ‘weird’ coincidence that so many names seemed to relate to the same publisher. Not to mention that the chances of so many repeated names were so far fetched no one is ever going to believe it anyway.
    As a twice-damned female writer [with a novel almost out, titled Ashamet, which portrays a ‘proper’ warrior hero – who prefers males!] I confess I had to laugh. But no, it isn’t funny, it’s very sad.

    So it was very nice to hear so many Americans in our audience speak out against these unethical, and stupid, manoeuvres, thus presenting the other face of USA’s legitimate fandom, the side that doesn’t want to live in a time warp where the world, never mind SF, never left the 1950s. So thanks to those people.
    I nominate novels only since I don’t feel qualified to vote on the other categories. I’d say Skin Game, Girl with all the Gifts, The Martian, and Cuckoo Song.

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