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Chesley Nominations

ASFA has announced this year's nominations for the Chesley Awards.

I was very pleased to see that Magali Villenueve was nominated for her extraordinary and beautiful work on this year's Ice & Fire calendar.

My congratulations to Magali. She faces some formidable competition, but we'll be rooting for her. She's a very talented young artist, and I hope we'll be seeing a lot more of her work in the years and decades to come.

Also, I see that Richard Anderson is up for best hardcover cover for his cover for my friend Vic Milan's novel DINOSAUR LORDS. Well deserved. It's a stunning cover.

FILE 770 has the whole list here:


((I do wish that the Hugo Awards would get rid of the 'Best Professional Artist' category, and go with a Best Cover award instead, like the Chesleys. Reward the work, not the person)).



Jun. 11th, 2016 06:38 am (UTC)
We had a Best Original Artwork Hugo Award for several years. It got so few nominations that we had fewer than five works qualify for the final ballot, and therefore we voted to remove the category. For all that it sounds like a good idea, in practice it didn't work.
Jun. 11th, 2016 07:04 pm (UTC)
It didn't work because we did it wrong.

The new category should have replaced "Best Professional Artist" instead of simply being added as an additional Hugo. Keeping the old category just encouraged the voters to keep on nominating as they had before, while ignoring the new category.

Also, it should have been "Best Cover" instead of "Best Original Artwork." I understand the desire to be inclusive and allow people to nominate interior illustrations, gallery art, and whatever, but the truth is, covers have always been what the artist Hugo is all about. Let's stop pretending it's not. Freas, Emshwiller, Whelan, Eggleton, Donato, Picacio and all the rest won their rockets on the strength of their cover work. No artist who does not do covers has ever won a Hugo.

Making it "Best Cover" makes it about the art, not the artist. Writers have a big advantage over artists in that their names are emblazoned on the covers of their books. With artists, we can see a spectacular piece of work without knowing who did it... like, for instance, the incredible cover for Vic Milan's novel, mentioned above. People nominate the same artists year after year because those are the only artists whose names they know. It's very hard for someone new to break through and get their name known.

It would be easier if the voters could just nominate say, "the cover of DINOSAUR LORDS," without having to know the artist's name.

Jun. 11th, 2016 08:38 pm (UTC)
You have a reasonable point about cover art over other works, but would you then exclude the "cover" artwork for e-books because they weren't printed on pieces of paper? For that matter, should we narrow Best Dramatic Presentation to exclude anything not shown on "broadcast" television (thus excluding Game of Thrones and anything released through YouTube, Vimeo, etc.) or shown in a Major Motion Picture Chain? I know this sounds sarcastic, but it's not! There are people who, when we split BDP, said only "television shows" and "movies shown in theaters" should be considered. Maybe that would still be a popular change?

(There are people who have proposed carving out an even shorter form category aimed at works of less than 15 minutes running time and probably mainly on YouTube, Vimeo, et al. It didn't fly the last time it was proposed, but I expect that it will be back.)

Now I don't expect any fiddling with Hugo Award categories this year — trying to hash out all of the proposed changes to the nominating rules is going to probably force a Day 5 meeting for the second year in a row as it is —, but would you support a five year trial of removing Best Professional Artist in favor of a Best Professional Artwork category? BPA would include any cover art, but wouldn't exclude other pieces.
Frank Probst
Jun. 11th, 2016 10:21 pm (UTC)
Best Professional Artwork/Day 5 Business Meeting
I think Best Cover would shut out some really deserving works. Charles Vess for the original Stardust graphic novel immediately comes to mind. Yes, the individual issues had some spectacular covers, but it was the interior art that really deserved recognition, not only because it was fantastic, but also because it meshed so well with the Neil Gaiman's text. (He didn't get a Hugo nom, but he won the World Fantasy Award.)

On the other hand, the big problem I see with a Best Professional Artwork category is that you might get noms for books with numerous illustrators. If someone writes down "Whoever illustrated The World of Ice and Fire", do you put it on the ballot?

As for a Day 5 business meeting, do we need a rule change to have a cash bar in the back?

Jun. 11th, 2016 11:38 pm (UTC)
Re: Best Professional Artwork/Day 5 Business Meeting
Vess is indeed an incredible artist, but...

"He didn't get a Hugo nom," you say. Exactly.

Look, I love interior art in books. Once I had enough clout to get my own books illustrated, I did so. Look at the gorgeous Meisha Merlin and SubPress limiteds of I&F, and the more recent trade of A KNIGHT OF THE SEVEN KINGDOMS. None of the art from which has ever been nominated. Much like Vess and STARDUST.

There is no point in structuring the category to include interior art if no interior art is ever going to win or be considered.

It's like saying, "well, dramatic presentation should include ballet too." Maybe it should. But no ballet will ever win, why not make it explicit what the category is actually about?
Jun. 12th, 2016 12:55 am (UTC)
Well, as you know from the discussions over the split of Best Dramatic Presentation, I was opposed to any change that would have led to the sum of the two new categories being less than the original one, so we possibly will never be able to agree on this. And for that matter, have there not been BDP finalists and even winners (see "Gollum's Acceptance Speech" in the 1994 Hugo Awards) that would be excluded from consideration if we required them to be exclusively "television shows" and "theatrical motion pictures?" Indeed, if we had been excessively narrow in our definitions in such a hypothetical "TV/movie" split, Game of Thrones episodes would not have been eligible on the grounds that HBO isn't "broadcast" television. You know how obsessive people can be about definitions. I wouldn't do it, but I can certainly see other people fussing about it.

I think that in general we should let the definitions be pretty broad and not worry about walling off the edge cases. They'll take care of themselves. It's almost as bad as trying to define "science fiction and fantasy," which we do not do, much to the dismay of some of those previously mentioned obsessive types.
Frank Probst
Jun. 12th, 2016 01:31 am (UTC)
Re: Best Professional Artwork
Hmmm. I think I'm going to admit that I've lost the argument here. You're right. If Vess couldn't get a nom, then it ain't going to happen. I'd like to hear what the artists think, but I'd be willing to support a Best Cover award.

And now I'm going to go spend the rest of the night trying to get the Star Wars Ballet out of my head. Chewbacca is giving a standout performance right now.
Jun. 12th, 2016 04:54 pm (UTC)
Re: Best Professional Artwork/Day 5 Business Meeting
There is no point in structuring the category to include interior art if no interior art is ever going to win or be considered.

They didn't win, but Phil Foglio and Fiona Staples were both finalists in recent years. And Shaun Tan (twice a winner, twice a runner-up) is, I think, more popular for his picture books than for his covers; I really wouldn't conclude that his nominations were on the strength of the latter rather than the former.

Even discounting the past two years for obvious reasons, I see the Hugos as having become friendlier to non-cover art within the past decade. I also think that--in the absence of interference by bad actors--this would be an upward trend, partly due to the internet, and partly due to Hugo voters' growing interest in comics.
Jun. 12th, 2016 11:15 pm (UTC)
Re: Best Professional Artwork/Day 5 Business Meeting
Phil Foglio and Fiona Staples were finalists in Graphic Novel, not Professional Artist, unless I am misremembering.
Jun. 13th, 2016 12:55 am (UTC)
Re: Best Professional Artwork/Day 5 Business Meeting
It's true that Girl Genius and Saga have both been Best Graphic Story finalists and/or winners multiple years, but Phil Foglio was also a Best Professional Artist finalist in 2008 and Fiona Staples was one in 2014.
Jun. 12th, 2016 12:46 am (UTC)
If someone writes down "Whoever illustrated The World of Ice and Fire", do you put it on the ballot?
Possibly nowhere, because people wouldn't be eligible for a work category. The book itself would be eligible for Best Related Work if so nominated. However, there's a precedent for Best Original Artwork, in that Dinotopia: The World Beneath won the 1996 Hugo Award for Best Original Artwork, a decision that did not sit well with everyone.
As for a Day 5 business meeting, do we need a rule change to have a cash bar in the back?
No rule change needed, just money. Lots of it. Convention center catering is phenomenally expensive.
Frank Probst
Jun. 12th, 2016 01:34 am (UTC)
I'm never going to get away with bringing a cooler into the meeting, am I? Looks like I'll be bringing in a flask or two.
Jun. 14th, 2016 07:33 pm (UTC)
That's between you and the Convention Center security. It's not the convention being mean; it's convention centers enforcing their contractual monopoly.
Jun. 12th, 2016 04:45 am (UTC)
This former Hugo administrator would have had no problem accepting the clearly-worded nomination "the cover of DINOSAUR LORDS" (it has only one cover, as far as I know) without the name of the artist. This former Hugo administrator actually did accept nominations for TV episodes that were worded in the form of descriptions of the plots without the titles of the episodes. In this administrator's opinion, it is the administrator's job to do whatever research is necessary to figure out what the nominator intended and gather whatever additional information about the nominees that will go on the final ballot.


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

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