About the Awards

Articles &c. Elsewhere

'Best in Show' - guest editorial for Interzone 265, briefly introducing the award.
'And the Award for Best New Award Goes to ...' - blog post about the Sputniks & the Hugos
Awards tag at All That Is Solid Melts Into Aargh!


Voting for 2015/2016 has now closed, and the winner was announced in October 2017. Thank you to everyone who participated.


The prize is a not insignificant quantity of glory, plus a goodies bag of contents to be determined. Authors, editors, publishers: we are looking to grow the prize, so if you have something you'd like to donate -- books, games, anything cool -- we will be eternally grateful! Get in touch!

Voter Eligibility

Everyone is eligible to vote, one ballot per person, till the ceiling of 400 is reached. The ceiling may be adjusted at the directors' discretion.

How to Vote

Choose your favorite book and make it your Mithril Mech. Choose three more books you like for the other three slots. See the Dungeons of Democracy for more about how the votes will be tallied.

How to Get Involved 

One of the principles of the Sputnik Award was that it would evolve. (For instance, it doesn't always have to be novels). As well as highlighting brilliant new work in speculative fiction, the Award has a secondary purpose: it aims to promote conversation around the nature and purpose of literary prizes, and more broadly, around the different ways we make collective judgements and decisions, especially in the digital era. There are no firm plans to do the Award again next year, but if you are interested in helping to design, administer and/or think about future iterations of the Award, get in touch!

The Sputnik Award Next Time

For now, there are no definite plans to do the award again. But who knows ...

There will probably be several different paths for a work to get onto the next shortlist. We'd like to narrow the eligibility requirements, focusing on work with radical democratic themes. For instance, this could include speculative fiction that explores e-democracy, liquid democracy, consensus decision making, participatory economics, grassroots alternative finance, as well as left anarchist, left libertarian, left transhumanist, full communist, radical ecological, radical transfeminist, post-work and/or post-scarcity themes. Or something like that: it would be great to have a conversation, so please tell us your thoughts.


Many more questions are answered here.


Twitter: @jolwalton.

(Please note: despite the similar name, this is not the Jo Walton who is the author of Among Others, The Just City, etc. She is on Twitter as @bluejowalton).

(By the way, there's also another unaffiliated Sputnik Awards, for music).

Further Reading

Ian Sales initially suggested the name "Sputnik Award" for a somewhat different proposal. With his blessing we gratefully adopt the name. The germ of the Sputnik Award was really this 2015 post, in the context of the Hugo Award Sad Puppies maelstrom. (Note that the system described there is different from what has eventually been adopted, despite similarities). The shortlist for the inaugural year has been gathered by drawing on personal reading, formal and informal recommendations, as well as an analysis of other major awards operating in a similar space.

Faintly related stuff: see this Interzone Hivemind compilation for further recommendations for speculative fiction published in 2015. The term "Battle of the Ballots" is of course inspired by Jonathan Swift's 1704 Battle of the Books. Here's Galactic Journey on the Sputniks that actually go into space. Oh, and here are Sam J. Miller, Amal El-Mohtar, Alyssa Wong, and some owls and cool new tattoos and dinosaurs in The Nebula Battle Tableaux. Finally, here's an interesting thread on File 770, sparked and fanned by Cat Valente, about possibilities for interesting literary awards, as well as a few notes from Lara Buckerton on e-democracy.


Jo Lindsay Walton
Samantha Walton

Advisory Board:
Elizabeth Jones (Books & Pieces)
Anna MacFarlane
Sophie Mayer
Renay (Lady Business)
Christina Scholz
Jonah Sutton-Morse (Cabbages and Kings)
Alice Tarbuck
Paul Weimer (Skiffy and Fanty)

Governance Structure and Official Constitution

Dungeon tiles by various artists at Davesmapper and I voted logo by Justin Kemerling