Alyssa Wong did a much more in-depth, comprehensive writeup of the current Hugo situation, so you should probably go read that first (and vote for her for the Campbell, for God’s sake! I don’t need to sing her praises; they are self-evident), as this is mostly just addressing where I stand as one of the current Hugo finalists. I’ll try and make it short, as your time is precious and if you’re anything like me you are sick unto fucking death of hearing about the issue.
So. That silly cyberpulp story I wrote and sold to Lightspeed a year ago has now managed to net itself a hat trick of nominations: Nebula, Sturgeon, and Hugo (EDIT: Make that a quartet; it just got onto the Locus Award ballot as well). I’m honoured. I’m beyond honoured: I’m fucking stunned and honoured. However, making this pretty much the textbook definition of a pyrrhic victory, the Hugos have yet again been hijacked by semi-sentient anal glands, who spewed hot, smelly ass juice all over the ballot, squeezing deserving legitimate work out and smearing the palmful of legitimate noms who got through with expressed butt infection funk. This gunk is straight-up rancid. Stains clothes, kills flowers, soils hope. In an attempt to be very clever doggies, they also stuck several legitimate, worthy works that would have probably gotten on the ballot anyway onto their slates as shields.
So, what’s a nominee to do?
Not a whole lot, honestly. We have two options: Stay on target, or withdraw. Both are perfectly valid choices, but I’m not withdrawing my nomination. The reasons are thus:
A. “Trail of Dead” was NOT on the Rabid slate. It is the only nominee in the Novelette category that wasn’t on their shit-smearing list. Additionally, Hao Jingfang’s Folding Beijing–a fine novelette that would have gotten on the ballot under its own steam–was Rabid-slated, but is definitely worth touching your eyeballs down on, regardless. The entire intent of RPs using legitimate works as shields this year was to make people bounce off them on principal. Don’t give ‘em the satisfaction. Read and use best judgment.
B. It WAS on the Sad ‘Recommended’ list, but ‘eligibility’ for that sideshow was downright farcical and seemed to involve people mentioning things in a comments thread. If I recall correctly from my one glance at their methods, three people brought up my story, and one of them hated the fucking thing (pretty per for the course with “Trail of Dead”). Either way, I don’t believe the Sad List had a huge bearing on this year’s outcomes. At this point they’re just ticks on the frothers’ matted backs. I’m still not happy about my inclusion, but …
C. … This story is also currently a finalist for the Nebula and the Theodore Sturgeon. It was on the 2015 Locus Recommended Reading List (and is apparently a Locus Award finalist, to boot). It was on several end-of-year best-of lists, and earned a spot in Rich Horton’s Year’s Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2016. Tl;dr: Many people really, really, really liked “Trail of Dead.” I can’t say whether or not it’s a good enough story to also belong on the Hugo ballot; I’m a terrible judge of my own work and there are plenty of people who will gladly let you know it’s vulgar, brainless garbage that makes a mockery of the hallowed Nebula, Sturgeon, Locus, and Hugo ballots. Conversely, there are many other people who will tell you it’s one of their favourite stories of the year. Both viewpoints are equally valid; if you read it and it’s not your thing, it’s not your thing. One way or the other, it managed to kick, punch, and claw its way through a wall of slate voting onto a fourth ballot, and I think it deserves a shot, if only to be a two-handed, middle-fingered salute to all slate puppers everywhere. The future is coming, there’s no stopping it, and they won’t always get their precious way no matter how big a howling toy aisle strop they throw, be it on an awards ballot or out in the wider world.
Hard pounding this, gentlemen. Let’s see who will pound the longest. Or, in Rhye terms, got here anyway, you fucks. Let’s see this through to the bitter fucking end.