Hugo Awards Fallout

I’ve been watching the Hugo Awards Twitter Feed with avid interest today. In a previous post I wrote about my frustration with some of the nominated stories, and of course there’s the massive controversy over slate voting.

Twitter has been going off today (it’s today in Australia, just to clarify things) with #HugoAwards trending vigorously. There have been fans just wandering along in the tweeter feed for the ride, while others have been stating in no uncertain terms what they think about the awards, or, this year, the non-awards.

This year was my first year voting in the Hugo Awards. I have no issue with saying that the controversy was what made me get my act together and pay my supporting membership so that I could do so. (And I also wanted to vote for Helsinki – Yay, because I’ll be going!) You see, it was only this year that I realised that the Hugos were voted upon by the fan base. I know, that’s ridiculous, but for whatever reason, I thought that they were voted upon by a panel of some kind, made up of Sci-fi luminaries and literary critics. Anyway, I wanted to have my finger in the pie, so as a result of the controversy, I finally figured out that I was an eligible voter, so I paid my money, read and voted.

As I wrote in my previous post, I was frustrated – frustrated by the lack of quality in a number of the nominations, and frustrated that what I thought would be the pinnacle of Speculative Fiction, clearly wasn’t – or clearly wasn’t, in my opinion. Consequently I voted as I thought was appropriate, as I’m sure, did many others.

And, yes, I did vote ‘No Award’ at least once – not for any political ideology, but simply because I didn’t like any of the entries. I didn’t vote ‘No Award’ in all categories, or even most of them but I did want to make sure that I was voting honestly. I’ve recently been enjoying Ticonderoga PublicationsHear Me Roar anthology. It’s excellent, and honestly, the short stories in that anthology (in my opinion) leave many of this year’s Hugo nominees for dead. (My apologies to the nominated authors, but I clearly have different tastes than the nominations in some of the categories.)

I suppose it’s been a wake up call for me in a lot of ways. Next year I’ll nominate stories I’ve loved (the stuff I like to read, which may not be the stuff you read) and hopefully many others will also, and hopefully some of my favourites will make the short lists.

More than anything, I’m hoping that Speculative Fiction fans all over the world will continue to read widely, and nominate their favourites, not because of any political ideology, but because they’re great stories and wonderful pieces of writing. We’re obviously a pretty diverse bunch, and what I like, may not at all be what someone else likes – and that’s OK. In my opinion, fan based awards should go to the writers who have connected best with the fans – someone whose writing leaves their readers wanting more and makes them say “Wow!”

When I wander back through past Hugo novel nominees, it’s like meeting old friends and revisiting past moments of reading bliss. Not every year has had a nominee that I’ve read, but in some years, I would have been hard-pressed to know which story to vote for, because I loved them all. (And now of course, I wish I’d had the nouse to figure it all out and vote back then.)

The Twitter feed is continuing to be heated as I write. The saddest thing about this year’s awards is the probability that some writers who should have made it to the short lists didn’t as a result of slate voting, and that the authors who were nominated in categories that had ‘No Award’ win are probably feeling pretty awful right now. Some of them will be wondering if it was their writing, or if they were downed by factional voting. We’ll never know. Consequently, this year may well go down as a complete farce.

I sincerely hope that people look at the Hugo Awards and remind themselves (or like me, discover) that they’re fan based awards, and that purchasing that $US40 supporting membership allows you to nominate and then vote. I think that’s pretty empowering myself. Just make sure your say is about the stories and the writing, and not the political stuff. That’s how fan awards should work.

If you want to know who won this year’s Hugos, then click here. 

But on a happier note, congratulations to all the winners, and if I might be allowed to be slightly parochial, especially to the Galactica Suburbia podcast crew (Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce, Tansy Rayner Roberts (Presenters) and Andrew Finch (Producer)) who won best Fancast 🙂

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