The Hugo is the oldest of the (now myriad) SF and fantasy awards, and for my money, it is still the most meaningful and prestigious. Where the Nebula is a peer award, given by the members of the SFWA, and the World Fantasy Award is decided by a jury, the Hugo is given by the fans.
By you guys, in other words. By the readers. No one matters more.
To be eligible to nominate, you must be a member of either last year's worldcon (Aussiecon IV, in Melbourne, Australia) or this year's (Renovation, to be held in Reno, Nevada in August). Membership in both is not required, please note. Either one will do. And if you can't make the Reno convention, you can still nominate and vote. Only a supporting membership is required, not the more expensive attending membership.
I urge everyone to support worldcon every year, whether you can attend or not. Other cons have become much larger (see Dragoncon, or just about any comicon or gaming con), but worldcon is the original, the one where it all began, where all the traditions started. It remains the single most important SF and fantasy con, just as the Hugo is the most important award.
What's one more Hugo nomination worth, you may ask? Quite a lot, actually. Hundreds of people vote for the Hugos every year, but far fewer take the time to nominate. In some categories, fifteen nominations are all it takes to make the ballot. In many categories, a single nomination may make the difference between being one of the final five, the shortlist, and just being another also-ran listed on the nomination sheet they hand out on Hugo night. Do you want your favorite story or book to miss out by a single vote? No? So NOMINATE.
Nominations can be made online here: http://hugos.renovationsf.org/nominate/
You will need your worldcon membership number and a PIN.
What's worthy of nomination this year? That, of course, is something each individual voter needs to decide for himself.
Moi? Well, I did not publish a novel last year (you may have noticed). But I did have "The Mystery Knight" in WARRIORS, which is eligible in the Novella category. And Gardner Dozois and I co-edited two original anthologies, WARRIORS and SONGS OF LOVE AND DEATH, which means both of us are eligible in Best Editor/ Short Form.
All of the contents of WARRIORS and SONGS OF LOVE AND DEATH are eligible in one or the other of three short fiction categories (Novella, Novelette, and Short Story). I'm very proud of both anthologies and think there's some terrific award-calibre work in both books. I would mention my own particular favorites... but as editor, I really can't. Editors, like parents, must pretend to love all their children equally. But please read both books, make up your own minds, and keep your particular favorites in mind when filling out your nominations ballot. `
Enough about my stuff. What about the other categories?
Let me mount some of the same pet hobbyhorses I ride every year around this time.
BEST PROFESSIONAL ARTIST. Every year we seem to get the same five or six usual suspects nominated in this category. They are all very talented artists, mind you... but there are other artists, equally gifted, who NEVER seem to get a nod. MICHAEL KOMARCK is one newer artist who is screamingly overdue for nomination, I think. And how about the great trio of Tolkien artists, John Howe, Alan Lee, and Ted Nasmith? I don't think any of them has ever been nominated. Nasmith did the 2011 Ice & Fire calendar, published last year, so this would be an especially apt year to put him on the ballot. And Lee and Howe have been overdue for decades.
BEST EDITOR/ LONG FORM. Another usual suspects category. Let me recommend my own editor, Anne Groell, to your attention. She's just as good as some of last year's final five, and better than others. As fine an editor as I have ever worked with.
BEST FANZINE. Blogs and efanzines are supposedly eligible in this category, but none of them ever actually seem to get nominated. Instead the five slots are inevitably filled by old style paper fanzines, which have a tenth of their readership. I'd love to see some recognition for PAT'S FANTASY HOTLIST, for the WERTZONE, and, yes, for WINTER IS COMING and WESTEROS in this category. They're just as fannish as anything done on a mimeo, full of e-versions of reviews, locs, trip reports, humor, SF/ fantasy news, and other faanish staples.
BEST FAN WRITER. Consider Adam 'Wert' Whitehead and Elio 'Ran' Garcia.
BEST NOVEL. If you don't have your own favorites in this category, you're not a fan.
BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION/ LONG FORM. Ditto.
BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION/ SHORT FORM. Double ditto.
So... who do YOU think deserves a nod this year?
Feel free to chime in with your own choices, for the consideration of your fellow readers.
But remember... there are only hours left before nominations close.