Top 10 Ways to Be Sure You Are Definitely Not Nominating a Slate

10. Share a Facebook meme asking everyone to post a word describing how they feel and their favorite class of mammals, then unfriend all the apoplectic marsupials.

9. Try to avoid the nominees whose names are worth the most Scrabble points.

8. Go back to the place where you got your Siamese cat and ask if they have any Bobtails.

7. Ask random strangers on the subway what their Kindles recommend.

6. Check that your nth-most popular author’s blog doesn’t get more than n times as many page views as most authors.

5. Vote for the writing that falls on you from nowhere.

4. Sneak into the File 770 meetup where they decide which are the slate-free candidates and scramble the letters on their Ouija board.

3. Spend more time reading than you do arguing about Benjanun Sriduangkaew on the internet.

2.  Whatever you do, don’t take a quick peek at the Nebula shortlist to get some fresh ideas.

And the #1 way to be sure you are definitely not nominating a slate:

1. Read no science fiction writers for one year.


The Night They Drove Old Hugo Down


Virgil Canine’s the name and I bought lots of books from Baen
‘Til Noah’s cavalry came and one-star reviewed them again.
In the summer of ‘one-five, on the ballot, we had survived.
By August 23rd, Sasquan had fell.
It’s a time I remember, oh so well.

The night they drove old Hugo down,
And all the Daleks were singing.
The night they drove old Hugo down,
And all the primates were flinging.
They went, “Nya,nya,nya,nya,

Back at a con in Tennessee, one day they called to me,
“Virgil, quick, come see, there goes Sad Puppies 3!”
Now I don’t mind we’re misunderstood, and I don’t care when you vote for what’s good.
You rank what you liked and no-award the rest,
But they should never have booed for the very best.

The night they drove old Hugo down…

Like Correia before us, we will talk to fans,
Like Torgersen before us, we will not disband.
He picked just five friends, a dumb mistake,
But that’s an error we will not make.
We’ll say to those who came to gloat,
You can’t make a pup drop out when she’s here to vote.

The night they drove old Hugo down…

Ten Predictions

  1. As fans start preparing to head over to the INB Performing Arts Center, they will hear a strange buzzing sound and look out the window to see Big Gay Steve, wearing goggles and a rippling white scarf, circling the Doubletree in a biplane trailing a banner that reads, “Am I banned yet?”

  2. To break the ice, David Gerrold will throw Nerf Tribbles at the audience, sing nyah-nyah-nyah, and then ask, “What?”

  3. As the Campbell Award winner (Kary English) is announced, stealth puppies will project a giant hologram of Vox Day’s disembodied head. It will hover over the stage long enough to inform the crowd that it doesn’t care about them at all, then disappear. Laughter will continue to echo throughout the evening.

  4. Jeffro Johnson will not be able to accept his award for Best Fan Writer in person because he is prepping a BBQ pit in a parking lot across the street, but he will send a message that all are welcome – bring your own beer, torches and pitchforks.

  5. In a stunning upset, all the rest of the Hugos will go to Mike Glyer, who will promise to distribute them as equitably as he can at the next File 770 Meetup, especially to those who don’t have a pretentious liberal arts degree.

  6. At the Hugo Losers’ Party, George RR Martin will suddenly pull off his mask, revealing himself to be Tuomas Vainio.

  7. Buwaya will surface from the punch bowl, regard the room dramatically while dripping, and walk out, muttering that he is going to look for a “real man’s book.”

  8. John C. Wright and L. Jagi Lamplighter, who had arrived early to get front row seats, will return home and blog that they had a wonderful time at Sasquan and made a lot of new friends.

  9. A week later, Mid-AmeriCon II will announce the special award category for 2016: Best Mascot.

  10. The Hugo Awards will continue to circle endlessly in the Gyre of FUD.

– Will R. and Brian Z



From the dark barriers of the culture wars,
E’en to the centre of Torlandia’s vales,
Childe Gerrold skimmed o’er many a rant of boors,
Through roundups brimming with hysteric tales:
Yet in famed Sadland blow the fannish gales
Not quite so fierce; nor can grim Torcott boast
A mob they have not; Rabidonia fails,
Though surly ground, and castigated most,
To match the sites that link back to this Twittering coast.

Sad Max: Furry Ode

It’s called Publisherworld.
It’s where Hugotown gets its

Oil, natural gas?


Puppies like those? Bullshit.

Puppy droppings. The lights,
the motors, the vehicles. . .

. . .all run by a high-powered
process called the wisdom of
the crowds. After reading a
lot and sharing what they love
with other fen, then
discussing it, they start to
converge on stuff that lots of
people think is worthy.

Hugos come from puppy droppings.

Have a look. Tell me what you

I see a big guy giving a little
guy a piggyback.

ScalziVoxday. They’re a unit.
They even share the same name.

The little one is called Scalzi.
He’s the brains. He runs
Publisherworld. The other one
is Voxday. He’s the muscle.
Together they can be very
powerful. They are also
arrogant. We want to keep
the brain, dump the body.

He’s big. Is he good?

He can beat most men with his

I want a closer look at him.
How do I get in there?

It’s a fan award. Download the

I know nothing about literary

You can shovel shit, can’t you?

Welcome to the elimination

Listen on! Listen on! This
is the truth of it. Pimpage
leads to campaigning, and
campaigning gets to warring.
And that was damn near
the death of us all. Look at
us now, busted up and
everyone talking about
Kratman. But we’ve learned
by the dust of them all.
Hugotown’s learned.

Now, when fen get to fighting,
it happens during elimination
rounds. And it finishes with
new selection rounds.

Ladies and gentlemen, boys
and girls. . .

. . .EPH time’s here!

EPH’s simple. It selects for
elimination things having shared
support from many fen for any
reason whatsoever.

Do you want jousts in which
innocent bystanders are
knocked down?

Do you think that organized
campaigns for a fan award
deserve to be rewarded with
one or two ballot slots?

Remember, no matter where you
go, there you are.

I know you won’t break the

There aren’t any.


Two fen enter, one fan leaves!


For Mike Glyer.

Hat tip: Glenn Hauman.

Bride of Roundup Returns: A New Hope – Reviews of “Turncoat” by Steve Rzasa

See our review here.

Lyle Hopwood

I quite liked this one, but nopes on the Hugs because too much naka naka naka kerpow, and also because there’s a line after the punchline. Oh, and because the title gives the story away and eeeehhhh Benedict Arnold. I gather he did it for money, which is hardly comparable.


I think this is a quite awfully-written story with a heavy-handed delivery of plot points and a lot of infodumping. You can see the “surprise” conclusion of the story coming from miles away (or by reading the title, actually). A very boring read, overall.

Cynthia Wood

left himself no room to give the story what it most needed. It’s not unreadable, but unless you love to geek out to ship specs, it’s probably not going to grab you. It certainly didn’t grab me.

Adult Onset Atheist

Smade of Smade’s Planet

…it would be interesting to see this story rewritten with a different structure or expanded into a longer piece that would give the author more room to work… A bit formulaic, sure, but with the potential for a Heinleinesque melding of action and philosophy that makes the formula by no means a serious problem.  It’s a true shame that the potential doesn’t get realised despite the author’s obvious intentions.

Ken Richards

The same story as told by Tom Kratman in his nominated novella, told in fewer words, but with higher ratio of weapons porn to storytelling. Blessedly short, and with a massive spoiler in the title.

Lis Carey

It’s a premise with so much promise, and the execution is just so poor. We have badly done weapons porn. We have almost comically cardboard villainy by the posthuman upper command. The hero AI talks about humans in terms indicating utter contempt, and then says it’s humans that make it feel alive–before any of the events that apparently lead to the change of allegiance.

There is no there there…

Lis Carey on the collection Riding the Red Horse

It includes the very good The Hot Equations, by Ken Burnside, and the very disappointing Turncoat by Steve Rzasa. There is, early on, a casual endorsement of the probable “necessity” of genocide on the grounds that Those People aren’t smart enough to modify their behavior. A point Beale’s fans will have difficulty with is that such inflammatory language makes it less likely that readers will take in the point the author was attempting to make. A better editor would have caught it and told the author to dispense with pointless provocation and just make his point.


when I say “Turncoat” is a perfectly adequate late-period Campbellian story I don’t mean it as a compliment.  You can’t even say the characters are cardboard, since there are no characters, just a warship that, for the most part, proceeds along strict logical lines.  There’s no one to like, or even hate, no one to identify with or root for, nothing at stake for the reader.


my favorite story in the collection, and the idea gets explored well enough despite the large amount of previous material with similar subject matter (i.e. The Ship Who Sang, Ancillary Justice, etc…) and it hints at some troubling things about potentially “uploaded” humans that might be weird in the longrun. Will probably make my ballot

Philip Sandifer

The story is facile at best. The basic plot and themes are recycled from Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot, which was a similar series of philosophical explorations of machine intelligence dressed up in plots, although Asimov favored detective plots as opposed to paragraph-long lists of sci-fi weapons and descriptions of space combat.


Two stories that standout above the others were Turncoat by Rzasa and War Crimes by Cheah. Excellent stories that illustrate humanity in inhumane and even entirely non-human protagonists and characters. If Castalia House can maintain this level of quality I’ll be reading this series for years to come.


Rzasa is too focused on the glory of war to probe the provocative philosophical questions that should be the backbone of his story. Instead he describes warfare in graphic, almost obsessive detail

No award

Scott Richardson

One story I absolutely loved was “Turncoat” by Steve Rzasa (Riding the Red Horse, Castalia House). The characterization that took place in that short story was impressive. It was enough to convince me to go buy some other books by Steve Rzasa.

Keith Glass

I’m having a hard time as to which is 1st and which is 2nd on my Short Story ballot: I’m still reading and re-reading “Totaled” and “Turncoat”. Both are, IMHO, Hugo-quality, and by that I mean the stuff that was winning Hugos when most of my SF was borrowed from the public library, a bike-load at a time. . .

Rebekkah Golden

Why does it matter than I can easily think of six better AI stories without even referencing Philip K Dick, Frank Herbert, William Gibson, Pat Cadigan, Arthur C Clark, or Dan Simmons? Because this is for a Hugo and “Turncoat” does not deserve to stand with those authors, the ones who have won and the ones I would have win who haven’t.

Jonathan Moeller

Usually stories about AI involve the AI going psychotic, so it was interesting to see an AI develop a conscience instead.

Screen Burn

Turncoat* by Steven Rzasa (Castalia House isn’t getting my money)

Review of “Turncoat” by Steve Rzasa and “The Day the World Turned Upside Down” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt

To conclude, I’le tell you news that’s right, Christmas was kil’d at Naseby fight: / Charity was slain at that same time, Jack Tell troth too, a friend of mine, / Likewise then did die, rost beef and shred pie, / Pig, Goose and Capon no quarter found. / Yet let’s be content, and the times lament, you see the world turn’d upside down.

– 8 April 1646

Low pulse lasers

wireless skulljacks

Hermes-class corvettes


superannuated-model humans

integrated posthumanity

functional symbiosis

command matrix

the Bio-Prophet

counter-missile pods

hypervelocity penetrators

countermeasure frequencies


Lost all of its mass

our fault

deep, staggering hurt

slicing my wrists

Facebook status

pillars of lava

fed up


seriously fucked up

whirling vortex

turned away in shame

repelled everything

And the goldfish? He deserved something better.

“Turncoat” and “The Day the World Turned Upside Down” are shortlisted for the 2015 Hugo Award for Best Short Story and Novelette. See more reviews here.