Now that the Hugo Award statistics have been released, we can try to answer the question that has been bugging me since the nominations came out: just how many Sad and Rabid Puppy nominators were there?
(Note: This post deals with the arcana of voting for the Hugo Awards. Some familiarity with the subject is required to make any sense of it. We’re talking about votes at the nomination stage earlier this year, which determined the final ballot — not the vote on the final ballot, the results of which were announced on Saturday.)
Nominees on the Sad Puppy slate received between 100 (Andromeda Spaceways In-Flight Magazine, in Semiprozine) and 387 votes (Jim Butcher’s Skin Game, in Novel). For nominees that were only on the Rabid Puppy slate (which added a few more items to, and deleted a couple from, the Sad list), the votes ranged from 66 (Daniel Enness in Fan Writer: he didn’t make the final ballot) to 172 (John C. Wright’s “Plural of Helen of Troy,” in Novella). Sad nominees not on the Rabid slate (two semiprozines) got 100 and 111 nominations. (I’m leaving aside the dramatic presentation categories as impossible to figure out.)
So we’re looking at a floor of around 100 Sad Puppies and 66 Rabid Puppies at the nomination stage. The Puppy voting bloc was probably about double that size: add about 100 voters who picked some but not all of the Rabid slate, and another 80 or so Sad Puppies. From what I can see, the Sad and Rabid groups were roughly equal in size (i.e., one was not massively larger than the other).
Getting an exact number is impossible, partly because of the Puppies’ poor voting discipline (only about half of each of them voted the entire slate; as flying monkeys go, they’ve got the airworthiness of an F-35), but also because many works and people on the Puppy slates almost certainly would have gotten additional nominations in their own right even without a slate. (Butcher and even Correia have established fan bases, Analog stories have a dedicated core of support, and Weisskopf and Gilbert have made the editor ballot before.) The high-water mark is therefore not Skin Game’s 387 nominations, but more likely the 338 nominations shared by the top two nominees in Novella, both published by Castalia House.
The fact that Novella was one of only four categories in which Puppy nominees got more than 300 nominations, and those 338 nominations came for relatively obscure Castalia House publications, is somewhat, um, interesting: the other three are Novel, Dramatic Presentation (Long Form) and Editor (Long Form), where the Puppy nominees were, as I said, more likely to have established fan bases. If nothing else, it seems to me that the Novella category was targeted, more so than some other categories; it certainly shows more evidence of slate voting discipline than the other categories.