Hugo time

Well, it’s that time of the year again: the Hugo short-listed works have been announced.

For those who aren’t familiar with them, the Hugos are awards for fiction, non-fiction and visual storytelling in the spec fic genre,  voted on by members and supporting members of each year’s World Science Fiction convention. Those same members and supporting members are responsible for nominating their favourite work of the year, and it’s from those nominations that the various short-lists are compiled. Because of the supporting membership option, it means the Hugos can be truly representative of what works fandom at large – world-wide – wishes to honour: while comparatively few fans can make the trip to the actual convention, every single fan of science fiction and fantasy can be involved in the Hugo voting process.

Participation in the process is entirely voluntary. All you need to do is pay the supporting member fee and your voice will be heard, your personal preferences taken into account. This means that the Hugos are, potentially, the most egalitarian award on offer in the genre. Bottom line? There is no one ‘right’ way to be a fan, no one ‘right’ kind of book or film or tv show to vote for. This is about individual fans voting for the work that speaks to them most profoundly.

The last couple of years there has been a lot of nastiness swirling around the Hugos. It’s nasty this year too. I find that very disappointing. I am deeply offended by the notion that it’s not the work that matters, but the politics of the author who wrote it. Or their race, or skin colour, or sexuality, or gender. For my money, none of those criteria is relevant to the awards process. Do I want a wide variety of people represented on the nominee ballots? Speaking as a woman, you’d better believe it. But do I want good work ignored – or worse, actively discriminated against – because of various – and sometimes competing – political and social agendas? Absolutely I do not. And I really don’t want to see great writers punished because some people in fandom don’t like the people who support their work. That’s not inclusivity. That’s bullying. That’s a disgrace. As fans we should be better than that.

If you love science fiction and fantasy and you’d like to see the kind of stories you love receive the recognition of a major award like a Hugo, then do get involved in the nominating and voting process. Complaining that you don’t like anything that wins year to year, without getting involved, is pretty silly … and pointless. As someone once said, be the change you want to see in the world!

And in the meantime … my huge congratulations to this year’s nominees. I wish each and every one of you the very best of luck.

2 thoughts on “Hugo time

  1. I saw your comments on Larry Correia’s blog and tracked you back here. I loved all your Mage series books and just started the Rogue Agent series. I am glad to see you supporting the SadPuppies’ stance against the SJWs and hope you don’t get any blowback from that crowd. Looking forward to finishing the Accidental Sorcerer.

    • Thank you so much. The whole thing is such a mess, and far beyond the point of fairness. There is a whole Worldcon culture thing that I understand I might not totally appreciate because I’m not an American. And I also understand the sense of loss and infringement that can arise when something you value gets opened up to ‘outsiders’. I mean, once upon a time Wimbledon and Badminton (a world-prestigious equestrian competition) belonged solely to ‘the locals’ in Britain. Those days are long gone and I do know, from history, that the transition from parochial to international was turbulent. And I know how I feel about ‘foreigners’ coming over to contest ( and win!) the most Australian horse race of all, the Melbourne Cup. It bugs me! I can’t lie. But the thing is, if the competition is open to everyone, it’s open to everyone. And these attempts to gatekeep the Hugos, to stop ‘the wrong people’ from taking part, are simply wrong. And, imho, antithetical to the very spirit and nature of fandom … especially in the world of the internet, where everyone is connected to everyone. But worse than all of that is the hypocrisy of complaining about the Puppies doing what other authors have done with impunity. The deliberate and malicious slandering of Larry Correia and Brad Torgersen, who have not broken a single rule, who have done nothing wrong save speak up for the silenced and say Hey — this is your award too. You get to participate. You get to be heard. Am I impressed by some of the rhetoric coming from the Sad Puppy side? No, I am not. There are some folk in that sandbox who do not, who will never, speak for me. But I have to hope, to believe, that there are people on the other side who are equally dismayed by the vile lies and threats and intimidation that is being perpetrated by people who have forgotten, it seems, that — at least for now — the Hugos are available for every fan in the world to vote on.

      Sorry. Big rant. And I swore I’d stop ranting! I have been pretty stirred up about this, right when I’m supposed to be getting my head back in my own work.

      I’m so pleased you’ve enjoyed my work. I hope that continues to be the case. So far no, I’ve not been gone after. I don’t have the profile of LC or BT! Frankly, I have lacked their spirit to stand up. That seems to be changing. We’ll have to see how it pans out …

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