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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. 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.
Jan. 30th, 2012 09:43 pm (UTC)
Absolutely! As you know (but not everyone reading this does), the states of "fan" and "pro" aren't mutually exclusive. Indeed, while I'm hesitant to mention it, you are eligible for Best Fan Writer, George, for your writing here on LJ.

The key thing here is that the terms "fan" and "pro" don't have technical definitions. That means that deciding whether someone's writing is fannish (and thus eligible for Best Fan Writer) or professional is a "question of fact," and just like in US courts (and others following English common law as I understand it), it's a matter for the jury to decide. In this case, the "jury" consists of the Worldcon member who vote. "Matters of law" such as publication date and length of work are determined by the judge, which in this case is the Hugo Administrator.

There are lots of things in the Hugo Awards that are left up to the discretion of the voters, and deciding whether someone is a fan or not is one of them. In fact, someone can be be both a fan artist and a pro artist simultaneously. (Jack Gaughn won both awards in the same year many years ago. WSFS changed the rules to prohibit that, but a few years ago changed it back.)
Jan. 31st, 2012 12:43 am (UTC)
Although there was the, to me, unfortunate bit last year when Randall Munroe both made the ballot for Fan Artist and lost the Hugo by only one vote.

Don't get me wrong; I really like xkcd, but no one ever suggested any other art which he produced in 2010 which would've been fannish. And while he doesn't get paid directly for xkcd, it's also how he makes his living, making it Pro in my opinion (whereas Fred Pohl and John Scalzi were/are not making a living off their fan writing/blogs). It is somewhat complicated that, if he'd been nominated for xkcd back when he was doing it for kicks rather than money, he would've been eligible in my opinion.
Jan. 31st, 2012 04:09 pm (UTC)
Thank you George and Kevin for explaining the rules to me!
Jan. 31st, 2012 10:12 am (UTC)
Yes! (Note that kevin_standlee gives more detail in a comment to grrm's comment to you.)


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

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