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Hugo Awards - Closing Comments

Hugo
A few final thoughts on this year's Hugo Awards before I move on to other topics...

Besides Best Novel (the Big One), there are three additional fiction awards, for various lengths of short fiction. Best Novella (the Not Quite So Big One), Best Short Story (the Little One), and Best Novelette (the In Between One). These awards are often the place where younger, newer writers first make their names, and tend to be dominated by stories from the magazines... ANALOG, ASIMOV'S, F&SF. That has been changing in recent years, with the rise of e-magazines. I did not read much short fiction last year, either in the magazines or on line, but LOCUS has an excellent recommended reading list for short fiction, and I'm sure the readers of this blog will have their own favorites.

Stories published in anthologies are also eligible in these categories. I would be remiss if I did not mention the anthologies I edited in 2011: FORT FREAK, the latest Wild Cards anthology, and DOWN THESE STRANGE STREETS, the fantasy/ mystery anthology I did with Gardner Dozois. Lots of good work in both, I think. In particular, let me draw your attention to "Lord John and the Plague of Zombies," by Diana Gabaldon, and "The Adakian Eagle," by Bradley Denton, from STRANGE STREETS. Those two stories were recently nominated by the Mystery Writers of America for Edgar Awards. In the Hugos, they would count as novellas. Cherie Priest's FORT FREAK interstitial, "The Rat Race," is also eligible in novella, and the Stephen Leigh triptych from that book, "Hope We Die Before We Get Old," is a novelette tour de force that will break your heart.

There are two awards for editing. For Best Editor, Short Form, I'd recommend my partner in crime, GARDNER DOZOIS, both for his Best of the Year and the books we edit together. And of course I am eligible myself in that same category. For Best Editor, Long Form, my strongest recommendation goes to ANNE GROELL, of Bantam Spectra. An amazing editor who has been with me every step of the way on A SONG OF ICE AND FIRE, since 1996.

The Best Fanzine category is one of the oldest Hugo Awards, but is currently embroiled in controversy. Traditional print fanzines are still around, though both their numbers and their readership are dwindling, and in recent years the fans have been nominating things like e-zines, blogs, and podcasts in this category. Last year at Reno, a rules change was enacted to exclude all those new forms of fanac from this category. If that change is ratified in Chicago, Best Fanzine will once again become the exclusive property of traditional fanzines. If you don't own a mimeograph machine, you need not apply. However, (1) the change needs to be ratified, if it is defeated at this year's business meeting, it will not take effect, (2) it is NOT in effect this year, so this may be the last year when e-zines, blogs, and podcasts can be nominated in the category. As I think you can tell by my sarcastic tone, I am opposed to the change. I think there are some great fannish blogs and e-zines and podcasts out there, I think they are the future, and I'm going to nominate a bunch of them. Some of my own favorites include PAT'S FANTASY HOTLIST, THE WERTZONE, MAKING LIGHT, THE BLOG OF THE FALLEN (okay, he doesn't like my stuff, but it's still a good read), STOMPING ON YETI, CHEESE MAGNETS, HATHOR LEGACY, and PUNKADIDDLE. And for Best Fan Writer, I'd suggest you consider some of the folks who write for these blogs and e-zines, including Patrick St. Denis, Adam Whitehead, Adam Roberts, and John J. Miller.

At the other end of the spectrum, there is Best Graphic Novel, one of the newest categories, added just a couple of years ago. Actually, I am not well acquainted with the eligibility rules for this one yet. Many graphic novels are published initially as monthly comic books, with runs extending over several years; later, when the story is complete, the issues are collected and issued as trade paperbacks. My understanding is that a graphic novel becomes eligible for the Hugo the year it finishes, not the year it starts. (Or any in between years, if the comics series runs for more than two years). So it is the trade paperback that counts. (If this is wrong, no doubt some SMOF will come and correct me. Please do). If my understanding is correct, then the GAME OF THRONES comic book is NOT eligible in this category, since its run is still ongoing. However, I did have two other graphic novels published in trade paperback in 2011: FEVRE DREAM from Avatar and DOORWAYS from IDW. Both of those would be eligible, I think.

As for all the other categories... and the Campbell Award for Best New Writer... I have no suggestions... but maybe you do. Please share them. I try to recommend good work here, but I also like to hear what other people recommend.

Whatever you choose to nominate, please NOMINATE.

The nomination deadline is not till March, so we all have some time to do more reading. However, you must be a member of Renovation (last year's worldcon), Chicon 7 (this year's worldcon), or LoneStarCon (next year's worldcon) by JANUARY 31 to have nomination privileges, and that deadline is almost upon us.

The ballot can be found at: https://chicon.org/hugo/nominate.php

Comments

shsilver
Jan. 29th, 2012 09:12 pm (UTC)
Generally I agree with you about the proliferation of Hugos.

The way the amendment is worded, a publication needs to have discrete issues published on a periodical basis, so most blogs wouldn't qualify, although their writers, of course, are eligible for Best Fan Writer.

Something like SF Revu or SF Site, which are published on a schedule and you could look at and see a specific issue that isn't constantly being changed would still be considered with fanzines.

Part of the idea of moving podcasts to their own category is because comparing a podcast to a fanzine is like comparing an episode of 60 Minutes to a copy of Newsweek. The medium make them fundamentally different. The same would apply to comparing a film to a novella...both tell stories but the format and the skills behind making them, are completely different.

And the Graphic Novel category needs to be re-ratified at Chicon 7 or a sunset clause will kick in to remove it from Hugo categories (a similar sunset clause was written into the amendment creating the podcast category).
grrm
Jan. 29th, 2012 09:38 pm (UTC)
The requirement that a fanzine must have "discrete issues" printed on a "periodical basis" just strikes me as a roundabout way to exclude blogs without actually saying "blogs need not apply." You might as well stick in a clause requiring that fanzines be printed on twilltone.

Even traditional fanzines have never really had a good record of striking to a strict publishing schedule. Oh, sure, there are a few exceptions, but over most of the half century I've been in fandom, I've seen an awful lot of fanzines whose publishing schedule was "whenever the editor pubs his ish."

The best blogs add new material weekly, some even daily. Even if the content isn't organized into "issues," it remains fannish writing. Look at a blog like Pat's Fantasy Hotlist or the Wertzone, and what do you find... book reviews, movie reviews, author interviews, con reports, trip reports... all the sorts of writing that have characterized many fanzines (sercon fanzines more than faanish fanzines, admittedly) for decades.

They ARE fanzines, with or without "discrete issues."
querldox
Jan. 31st, 2012 12:38 am (UTC)
Btw, the podcast Hugo is not yet a permanent Hugo. It's in the position of being midway through the 2-Worldcon process to become such, and Chicon decided to exercise its option to add a one-shot Hugo category by adding Best Podcast. At least some of the intent of this is to let voters who'll determine if BP becomes permanent to get to see how nominations go and if the category seems to be workable in practice.

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