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Hugo Awards - Closing Comments

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


Jan. 29th, 2012 07:48 pm (UTC)
E-zines will still be eligible under the new fanzine rule. Podcasts would be moved to their own category (which is in affect this year).
Jan. 29th, 2012 08:17 pm (UTC)
Interesting. I stand corrected.

Though I don't like this new podcast category, FWIW. The Hugos are going the way of the Grammies, adding more and more categories every year. We should not be adding any more new categories unless we are prepared to eliminate some old ones. Just sayin'

So podcasts are out but e-zines are still in. What about blogs? Where do they stand under the new rule?

(no subject) - shsilver - Jan. 29th, 2012 09:12 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - grrm - Jan. 29th, 2012 09:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - querldox - Jan. 31st, 2012 12:38 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kevin_standlee - Jan. 29th, 2012 11:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - grrm - Jan. 29th, 2012 11:52 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - shsilver - Jan. 30th, 2012 12:02 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mtfay - Feb. 4th, 2012 02:30 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kevin_standlee - Jan. 30th, 2012 01:12 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kevin_standlee - Jan. 30th, 2012 01:24 am (UTC) - Expand
Comment on this discussion - avidreader19701 - Jan. 30th, 2012 03:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
Hugo Categories - kevin_standlee - Jan. 31st, 2012 12:55 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 29th, 2012 09:08 pm (UTC)
I have to admit I agree with George here. I'm a fan, I've never read a printed fanzine. I do however read a lot of blogs and ezines. We live in an electronic age and the effect of the blogs and sites is huge on the genre.
Jan. 29th, 2012 09:21 pm (UTC)
It's been a while since I've gotten a new fanzine printed by mimeograph. The severely traditionalist printed fanzines I receive these days - and I do get a few, including past Hugo winners - are all printed by photocopier.

And I can assure you that trivial proliferation of categories is not a feature of the Hugos. The Worldcon business meeting attendees who decide these things are very reluctant to add new categories unless their need can be assuredly shown. Last year there were 15 categories. Ten years ago there were 12. Twenty years ago there were 13, including one that's since been eliminated.
Jan. 29th, 2012 11:11 pm (UTC)
As shsilver said, Graphic Novel must be re-ratified this year or else it automatically vanishes.

Graphic stories published in multiple parts, such as issues of comic books or as webcomics, are eligible for the Hugo Awards in the year following the publication of the last part of the story. In this respect, the rules are exactly the same as they are to novels serialized in multiple issues of magazine; they're eligible once the last part appears, not when the standalone novelization is published. Thus the trade paperback (to give your example) is not what counts. It may have come out in the same year as the publication of the last installment of the story (in which case there's no distinction), but if it comes out a year later, it doesn't create a new eligibility period for the work.

The rules on serialized works are the same for all of the categories. It doesn't matter if they are words (written fiction), moving images (dramatic presentation), or sequential art (graphic story); the same serialization rules apply everywhere.

I'd point to the reference in the WSFS Constitution, but the Chicon 7 web site, which has the current constitution, seems to be down right now.

Jan. 30th, 2012 12:06 am (UTC)
It's back now at https://chicon.org/constitution.php

3.2.6: Works appearing in a series are eligible as individual works, but the series as a whole is not eligible. However, a work appearing in a number of parts shall be eligible for the year of the final part.

Jan. 29th, 2012 11:12 pm (UTC)
Novella Recommendation
On a different note, one story I've been recommending as a potential nominee is Ken Liu's novella "The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary," which appeared in Panverse 3 and is available over on SFWA's site (for members).
Jan. 30th, 2012 10:29 pm (UTC)
Re: Novella Recommendation
It looks like it's now available to everyone. I've liked several of Liu's short stories this year, so I'll definitely be reading this.
Jan. 29th, 2012 11:20 pm (UTC)
The pending change that divides fancasts (fannish podcasts, just as "fanzine" = fannish magazines) from fanzines doesn't really address the web site issue, but the existing category doesn't, either. Most of the "print" fanzines nominated in that category are being distributed electronically anyway, primarily through efanzines.com. But they are distributed in the nature of discrete issues. It's very unclear whether a web site that didn't have obvious discrete issues would be allowed into the category, but it's also never become something upon which the administrators have had to rule because the voters have never nominated such a web site.

Two Worldcons (2002, 2005) trialed a Best Web Site category, but the Business Meeting resisted efforts to create it as a standalone category, and there have been no recent attempts to do so.

The main argument I've heard made for considering fancasts separately from fanzines is that it's parallel to the distinction we make between written fiction and dramatic presentations, and that if one opposes this distinction, one would have no problem getting rid of the existing dramatic presentation categories and having movies and television shows nominated in the Novel, Novella, etc. categories based on how many words were in their scripts.

This year we have a somewhat odd situation in that Chicon 7 has added Best Fancast, using the same wording as the proposed new category, as a special category, while technically anything eligible for Best Fancast would also be eligible (this year only) in Best Fanzine. I would hope that anyone nominating fancasts would limit their nominations to the Fancast category and leave Fanzine to works of a serial written nature, regardless of the works' distribution medium.
Jan. 29th, 2012 11:35 pm (UTC)
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.

Strictly, as with all other serials, it becomes eligible once the final part appears. Which is probably (but not necessarily) the same as the TP appearing.
Jan. 30th, 2012 01:00 am (UTC)
The Japanese Seiun Awards for best SF comic (aka manga) is awarded on the basis that an ongoing series only qualifies in the year it ceases publication. There was the weird case of "20th Century Boys" which finished in 2006 but it had a 2-volume sequel series, "21st Century Boys" which ended in 2007 so it qualified for (and won) the Seiun in 2008.
Jan. 30th, 2012 03:55 am (UTC)
Actually, eZines have won at least twice (Emerald CIty in 2004 was primarily an eZine, and my zine The Drink Tank is entirely an eZine without a print edition... mostly) and others (like File 770 in 2008, PLOKTA in 2005 and 06, and SF5Y, were also available online). I think excluding blogs from Best Fanzine makes sense, though that's just me. I don't see blogs acting like Fanzines, but maybe I'm just looking at teh wrong blogs. Now, the writers of blogs are certainly eligible for Best Fan Writer.
Jan. 30th, 2012 07:52 pm (UTC)
Can you really nominate Adam Roberts for the best fan writer? He has written over 10 books (even if you don't count the parodies), don't know if they are published in US. He also teaches English literature and creative writing.

Jan. 30th, 2012 09:34 pm (UTC)
Well, Fred Pohl won Best Fan Writer a couple of years ago.

A professional writer can still do fannish writing.
(no subject) - kevin_standlee - Jan. 30th, 2012 09:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - querldox - Jan. 31st, 2012 12:43 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - sini74 - Jan. 31st, 2012 04:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - bibliofile - Jan. 31st, 2012 10:12 am (UTC) - Expand
Larry Nolen
Jan. 31st, 2012 12:26 am (UTC)
Thank you for your kind words about my blog, but just to set the record straight, I'm one of those readers who prefers your short fiction (my first introduction to your writing was seeing "The Pear-Shaped Man" in Omni when I was in 8th grade) to your fantasy, so it's not that I don't "like [your] stuff," but rather I just prefer when you write in a short fiction/horror mode. I am looking forward to seeing what short fiction you produce in the coming years at least as much as I am to reading the sixth ASOIAF book.

Larry Nolen


George R.R. Martin
George R. R. Martin

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