Announcing The Mulligan Awards

NOTE:  This post is outdated.  Please visit this other article to find out about the updated plan.  Other than this introductory note, I leave this post and its comments unchanged so that you can read about the idea if you like.


The Mulligan Awards are a response to the joke that is this year’s Hugo ballot.  This is for the people who want to compare and contrast great stories and publications that were chosen by the two thousand people who registered and nominated, rather than the opinion of just two or three.

So there will be a final ballot which is based on what non-voting-bloc Hugo voters nominated, an opportunity to vote and, depending on what can be arranged with the parties of interest and the level of interest from fandom, there may be trophies, or a reprint ebook anthology of those on the final ballot who are interested in participating.



There are a lot of people very upset about how the Hugo ballot turned out this year.  No mystery why, since the final ballot is conspicuously off-kilter, matching the Sad Puppies voting bloc slate almost exactly with a bit of Rabid Puppies mixed in.  The Hugo rules are set up so that anyone with the price of entry can vote, and there’s nothing to prevent a hivemind like the Correia-Torgersen-Vox collective from forcing whatever they want onto the ballot to take a stance on somethingsomething and prove the point about mumblemumble while only actually accomplishing in transforming the award from something that boils down interests of a bunch of interesting subsets of fandom into a ballot that only the collective itself thinks is worthy.

I will point out that the collective has not broken any rules, but they have made the ballot very dull because it only represents the opinion of three people, rather than the opinion of two thousand.

The biggest loss is the loss of discussion about new and interesting stories that rise out of the woodwork from a group voting in an uncoordinate fashion, which is what I look forward to the Hugos every year for.  So the Mulligans are an attempt to salvage something worthwhile from the Hugo year, and give some recognition to authors who deserve it.



You already have or haven’t.  The nominations will be based on Hugo nomination numbers rather than being a completely separate procedure.  Each year the Hugo committee publishes a list of the top 15 nominees with voting counts for each one.  The Mulligan nominations start with the Hugo nomination list, but estimates what the top 5 would be in the absence of the voting bloc.

How will it do this?  Well, since the bloc has succeeded so thoroughly in sweeping the ballot, this implies that the members of the group followed their leader’s orders and voted slavishly for everything suggested.  This should make them easier to spot in the nomination numbers because there will be some things from the voting bloc’s slate that didn’t get votes from anyone else, or almost no one else.  That lowest number will give an estimate of how many actually followed orders–the lowest rather than the highest because some of the voting bloc’s choices may have been popular in their own right, and perhaps could have made it on the Hugo ballot without collusion.  Then, by subtracting the estimated bloc count from all of the nominees that came from the bloc’s slate, that will be a rough estimate of what the ballot would look like without the bloc’s effects.

Note that this doesn’t automatically knock all stories from the voting bloc off the ballot–if they were legitimately popular in the overall vote, then they could be on the Mulligan ballot too.

These numbers aren’t released until after WorldCon, so the Mulligan final ballot can’t be released until September.



The details for this are still being determined and will be advertised at a later date.  Ideally, if there’s some way that eligibility for actual Hugo voting can be verified by those who choose to vote, that would be the best way to keep the voting group similar–but I’m not sure if that will be possible.  There will definitely be a way to vote, and it will be based on a rank-order instant-runoff system with “No Award” as an option–and counting will generally work like the published Hugo rules.  Except that there will be no 5% minimum for a nominee to be listed.



No.  Not even slightly.



At the very least I will post a ballot and provide some way to vote.  This I can set up for limited cost.

If there is enough interest, I might run a Kickstarter for the Mulligans–if enough of the Mulligan nominees are interested, a reprint ebook anthology paid at 1 cent per word or more.  Whether I set up the Kickstarter will depend somewhat on how much interest people express, so if you’d be willing to kick in a few bucks to get a copy, let me know.



If you are a member of the collective, then you can console yourself with the Hugo Awards.



I sincerely hope it won’t need to.  But if a bloc dominates again, I’ll consider it.

Published by

David Steffen

David Steffen is an editor, publisher, and writer. If you like what he does you can visit the Support page or buy him a coffee! He is probably best known for being co-founder and administrator of The Submission Grinder, a donation-supported tool to help writers track their submissions and find publishers for their work . David is also the editor-in-chief here at Diabolical Plots. He is also the editor and publisher of The Long List Anthology: More Stories From the Hugo Award Nomination List series. David also (sometimes) writes fiction, and you can follow on BlueSky for updates on cross-stitch projects and occasionally other things.

11 thoughts on “Announcing The Mulligan Awards”

  1. Heh, groovy concept. FYI, though, when you wrote “matching the Sad Puppies voting bloc slate almost exactly with a bit of Rabid Puppies mixed in.” – from what I’ve read elsewhere, this is inaccurate (but unfortunately widely repeated). Various places have pointed out that the final nominee list most closely matches Rabid Puppies, i.e., they were more successful. I believe I first read it on File770:

    Anyway, cool, I support this and love the name you chose – The Mulligan Awards, heh! 🙂

  2. Nice idea! I think you should probably figure out the slate vote counts of Sad and Rabid Puppies independently, though, and then subtract one or the other (or both) from the totals to get the right picture.

    There are some works that or only one of the slates, so that’s doable, I guess.

  3. Will there be shiny awards? Maybe planet-decorated lucite spheres or something?

    I’m actually kinda serious. I think it would be cool.

  4. spacefaringkitten–you are correct. When I first drafted this I hadn’t yet heard of Rabid Puppies because SP got more attention ahead of time. So I do intend to separate out the two.

  5. kimiko:
    Pending some Kickstarter funding, I do plan to have SOME kind of physical award. Probably a pin for the nominees and a plaque for the winner with their name, category, name of the work.

    I’d love to have something fancier, but:
    1. It would be more expensive to manufacture
    2. I have no idea how to even get something like that designed or manufactured
    3. Shipping would become a much bigger problem. I don’t have an in-person award ceremony planned, so all of the awards will have to be shipped somewhere, and since I don’t know who any of the nominees will be, that could be any place in the world. A plaque can fit in a large padded envelope, so is much easier to manage.

  6. If the kickstarter raises enough, you could have an in-person award ceremony as a stretch goal (beyond the anthology naturally, which I see as the more important “reward”)

  7. I’m not opposed to an in-person ceremony per se and would be happy to use raised money to have one, but I have no idea how to go about arranging one, where I’d have it, when I’d have it (the timing is kind of awkward because the ballot won’t be announced until WorldCon-ish, then giving a similar amount of time for reading and voting will probably put it into Christmas or so before final choices).

    I’m trying to do enough stuff that trying to organize such a thing (exciting and fun as it would be) freaks me out just thinking about it.

Leave a Reply to David Steffen Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.