Party Line Voting for SF/F Awards? Hmm

Here in California there is a statewide ballot proposition (tomorrow) to conduct primary elections for state offices without regard to party affiliation. Instead of Democrats electing a Democratic candidate for governor, and Republicans a Republican candidate, everyone would vote from a ballot listing all candidates, and the top two vote-getters would run off in the final election.

Political merits of the notion aside, has any SF or fantasy or horror award used anything like a primary system? And if one did, say the Hugos, how might that work?

One might guess that contingents of like-minded readers and fans would come together, as ‘parties’, to put forth candidates that reflect their preferences or values.

There might be many such groups — space opera fans, paranormal romance readers, and so on — and the resulting final ballot would be a collection of titles, each representing such a reading faction.

One might imagine, on a ballot for Best Novel of 2009,

the space opera candidate
the new space opera candidate
the military SF candidate
the steampunk candidate
the paranormal romance candidate
the urban fantasy candidate
the sword & sorcery candidate
the vampire candidate
the literary SF candidate

…And so on. Just as in actual political elections, many parties might be represented on the final ballot, but the most votes would likely go to the candidates representing the largest parties.

So which parties would dominate in this scheme? Urban fantasy? Military SF? Who would win?

Feel free to speculate in comments, or even suggest a party-line version of this year’s Hugo ballot.

4 thoughts on “Party Line Voting for SF/F Awards? Hmm

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  • June 7, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    Oy, a system that combines the least attractive traits of party politics and Wikipedia Talk-page arguments. (Space opera has to have good-versus-evil! Hard SF can’t include anthropology! Why can’t we have a Zorastrian SF genre? I just self-published one, so it’s notable!)

  • June 12, 2010 at 12:21 am

    The way both the Hugo and Nebula awards use a preliminary ballot seems like a jungle primary as used in Louisiana (and now California).

    As far a party-line votes, in Frederik Pohl’s The Way the Future Was there’s an exchange between Pohl and a Milfordite (I forget who — Blish?) that runs something like this:
    Milfordite: There’s no such thing as the Milford Mafia.
    Pohl: How many of this year’s Nebula winners went to Milford?
    Milfordite: Umm, all of them.

    Besides, isn’t a party-line vote the best way to explain They’d Rather Be Right?


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