Apparent kneejerk nominations is one of the things the Sad/Rabid Puppy contingent was criticized for last year. I’ve already discussed this to some extent. The popular story is that Puppy management asked for works to put on their slate, but nobody in the group had any suggestions, so they all just nominated their friends. This is something of an uncharitable view of how it might have gone. I’ve already noted the difficulty of finding “traditional” SF that actually is SF and of suitable quality to submit for an award. I’ve also noted that the Puppies next step seemed to be picking well-known “traditional SF” authors and submitting their works on the slate. Unfortunately, this seemed to be without evaluating the SF content of the stories.

Do fans do this in the standard (un-slated) nominations as well? Are there certain authors who have a large enough and loyal enough fan base that their works are sure to get nominated? Previous wins certainly count for part of the tendency. I notice Ann Leckie’s Ancillary Mercy is high up on the Nebula Awards’ suggested reading list, although I thought her latest novel was a definite fall-off in quality from the first two installments. I was actually offended by the direction this one took. Oh well, that’s what my opinion is worth.