The 2013 HUGO Voter Packet: Why Would You Not Do This?

The 2013 Hugos are awards for excellence in the field of science fiction and fantasy. The Hugos are awarded each year by the World Science Fiction Society, at the World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon). This year that convention is LoneStar Con 3 in my hometown of San Antonio, Texas August 29 – September 2.

Voting is only open to members of LoneStar Con 3 (71st Worldcon).

To be a supporting member is 50 bucks. And not only does this allow you to vote, but you also get the “Hugo Voter Packet“.

…which contains the five nominated novels (in various formats), all of the graphic novels and several other of the nominated works for novella, novelette, short story, works from those authors nominated for the Campbell award….

As with my post for last year, i have two major points:

  • why would you not do this, given the price of all of the novels alone combined?
  • vote for SFSignal for Best Fanzine and Best Fancast (full disclosure: I occasionally participate in both of these wonderful sites and podcasts)

The Hugo group should be applauded for this most excellent bribery to get people to read the nominated works and voted from the experience of reading, not from the reputations of the authors. This is done with a lot of trust (a fact that is pointed out, as it should be, in several places in the packet and on the website) and with the suggestion that readers support the authors who have contributed their works.

I do not normally follow or worry about the awards given out, as many of them are popularity contests (only 1,343 valid ballots were cast for the 2013 Hugo nominees). But this is an excellent investment, and a great way to participate.

I’ve included some simple math in a table below. Fifty bucks is a lot of money, but there is a ton of material in here.

The big question, as always, is: how much will get read before the voting deadline of July 31st?

2312Kim Stanley Robinson9.999.00Orbit
BlackoutMira Grant7.598.99Orbit
Captain Vorpatril's AllianceLois McMaster Bujold9.9910.58Baen
RedshirtsJohn Scalzi7.9911.47Tor
Throne of the Crescent MoonSalidin Ahmed9.9910.87DAW

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6 Responses

  1. Rodney says:

    Hi Larry, you definitely make some good points about the value of the voter’s packet vs. the registration cost. I will point out, however, that for people who want to read ebooks (that’s me, among others), that several of the titles were provided by Orbit. Unfortunately, Orbit seems to have chosen to provide only password protected PDF files, rather than ebook formats, such as mobi and epub. Additionally, they put a watermark in the background that makes it even more annoying to read. No other publisher has done this. DAW did only provide a PDF copy of Throne of the Crescent Moon for some reason, but at least they didn’t password protect it and put a watermark in the background.

    So, removing 2312 and Blackout from the list of easily read titles provided, that removes approximately $10.50 worth of value that needs to be purchased individually for those who don’t like reading very long books, such as 2312, with watermarks making text harder to read and in a format that isn’t ideal for actual ereader devices. So, if you are registering just for the novels (definitely not the only reason to register for Worldcon), this costs more than simply buying them outright. Assuming, that is, that the poorly formatted works are purchased individually. If you want a real ebook format of Throne of the Crescent Moon, that only adds to the cost as well.

    Why a publisher would bother to submit their books for inclusion in a way that makes it difficult for voters to access is beyond my comprehension.

    Luckily, these days, novels are available in many formats. I listened to 2312 and Blackout as audiobooks, so receiving them in the voter packet was just a bonus anyway. Similarly, I had already purchased and read the Scalzi and Ahmed titles as ebooks.

    Thanks to Baen, Tor, and the publishers of the non-novels for providing easily read electronic copies of their books, in many different formats, though. As you mentioned, the value of the novels is also added to with the inclusion of many shorter works and graphic novels, only one of which seems to have been similarly degraded by Orbit.

    • admin says:

      Rodney, good points. I still have last years voter packet for the novels, and all were non-passworded PDFs except for Among Others which came in multiple formats. Mira Grant’s Deadline was nominated last year, and it was a non-passworded PDF, but her Blackout this year is passworded.

      It is also interesting to note that Among Others which came in multiple formats was the Hugo winner!

    • Neil Ottenstein says:

      I just encountered the password protection. I was at a convention and was going to read the password protected novella and couldn’t because I didn’t have the password with me. You not only need the password when first opening the story, you need it every time you open it up. This is beyond annoying.

      • admin says:

        Neil, I agree. I’m reading 2312 and have to re-input the password every time I open the reader. I’m using iBooks on iPad, mainly because I could not get the password to work in the Kindle reader.

        My conclusion is that they must have decided there was a lot of piracy from last years Hugo Voter Packet (since there was no copy protection on those entries that I could find).

  2. Stacey says:

    Make sure and let the publishers know that you did not like the password protection they required. It doesn’t matter how much the Worldcon committees try to convince them otherwise, it’s hearing from the voters and potential customers that may make a difference.

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