Thursday, March 08, 2012

Some thoughts on the HUGO NOMINATIONS

I wanted to draw your attention to a good piece by Stefan Raets about the Hugo Awards, which are handed out at Worldcon. I’ve never been someone who followed any sort of Awards (except, I do really like Pornokitch’s new awards that involve multi-coloured tentacles). This is not because I think they have no value, but because that’s just not how I like to find out what to read. However, a change that Raets highlights is something that needs addressing, and it’s nice that he does it in such a calm and unaggressive manner. (I can think of a couple venues that would react to this news with frothing insanity – something too many people on the internets are prone to, sadly.)

After giving a quick run down of what the Hugos are all about, Raets turns his attention to the crux of his piece, and that is the criteria for the nomination of “Fanzines, Semi Prozines, [and] Fan Writers”.

Raets has a lot of respect for the Hugo organisation, but has concerns over some rule-changes that come into effect next year. Specifically, the future place of blogs focusing on speculative fiction.

“At last year’s convention, a rule change was enacted that would exclude blogs from the Best Fanzine category in the future… That means this may be the last year blogs are eligible for the Best Fanzine category.”

So what? some of you may ask. Well, it is a bit of a big deal, and Raets explains why:

“How many authors on the ballot have done blog tours? How many have websites that quote reviews from bloggers? How many have done interviews on blogs? How many, for the love of Tehlu, have only achieved the prominence and popularity they currently enjoy because of the enthusiastic, dedicated and unpaid work done by bloggers? AND YOU’RE TELLING ME YOU MAY NOT WANT TO INCLUDE BLOGS IN THIS CATEGORY IN THE FUTURE? For shame.”

As a book blogger, I am very protective of the institution (for that is what we have become, really), and I think the Hugos are missing a trick by excluding blogs. True, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of them out there. But there are a handful of real gems, which I think do deserve a lot of respect and recognition for the good they do for the speculative genres.

With a new category for “FanCasts” (I assume that means Podcasts…?), the Hugos are moving a step in the modern direction. But by excluding blogs, they are moving backwards as well. Raets argues that “We need a Best Blog category, or we need blogs to be included under ‘Best FanZine’. It’s one or the other.” This is an entirely reasonable position to hold. He continues, “You can’t reasonably exclude the place where 90% of fan writing happens right now.” I would add that to do so renders the Hugos somewhat irrelevant.

Mr. Raets is not trolling for votes for his work online (he actually name checks a number of brilliant blogs, all of which I would vote for). His request is simple:

“Just support your favorite bloggers, whoever they are. ”


Stefan Raets is one of, apparently, a bajillion Stefans writing about speculative fiction on the internet. We are legion, as it turns out… He blogs at FAR BEYOND REALITY.

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