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Awards! Huh, what are they good for?

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So the Hugo results are in and… ho-hum. The Hugo Award for The Nicest Person Who Happened To Have A Novel Published In The Preceding Year went to Connie Willis for a novel so bloated it had to be published in two volumes. But that’s okay, because the nice people in charge of the award fixed it for both of them to be considered as one book on the ballot. We’ll not mention the fact that the book is riddled with historical inaccuracies – I mean, having the Jubilee Line open during World War II? Wtf? That’s an epic research fail.

On the good news front, the whale rape story didn’t win the best novelette category. But it still got shortlisted, which is shameful. Ted Chiang won the best novella because, well, he would, wouldn’t he? The only time he doesn’t get shortlisted is when he withdraws his stories from consideration. He’s good, but he doesn’t shit gold and it’s about time the Hugo voters recognised that. The short story category was especially weak this year, and the award went to the current VP of the SFWA. This may be a coincidence. It probably is.

As for the rest of categories… I don’t understand the purpose of the two editor awards, or the fan writer and fanzine ones. As for the dramatic presentation awards, well, both movies and televisions have their own awards and they spend a lot more money on them than the Hugo does. Best Related Book? Why not just have Best Work of Criticism? And drop the Best Graphic Story too. Most of the ones that get nominated aren’t science fiction anyway.

In fact, why not limit the Hugos to actual, well, science fiction? Fantasy has its own awards. Let them hand them out to their nice people. Keep the Hugos for sf only. Written sf, and writings about sf. And give it to works, not people – no matter how nice they are.

(With apologies to Edwin Starr.)

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8 thoughts on “Awards! Huh, what are they good for?

  1. I understand that the Hugos have been around for a long time, but I think they really are beginning to look their age too. The voters seem to be stuck in the 80s (,and that’s being nice).

    Was a bit strange seeing two presenters tell us how important the Fan awards were before the internet…sounds like it’s time to let them go then.

    And seriously, why should one conventions awards mean more than anothers? I’m sure there are conventions with more attendees out there who could drum up more votes for an award.

  2. It’s possible that Blackout takes place in an alternate universe where the Jubilee Line was so named for King George V’s Silver Jubilee in 1935… or possibly not.

  3. Dead on.
    The awards should celebrate science fiction, not chase tangental pockets of fans. I’d rather see more awards in sub categories, like hard SF or alternative history, than awards in non-SF categories that are going to get covered somewhere else. The whole point is to raise awareness of the genre. so they should, you know, raise it.

  4. The Graphic Story nominees were all speculative fiction. It would be really weird to limit just that one category to science fiction per se. (I realize you want to limit the whole set of awards to science fiction per se, but your complaint “Most of the ones that get nominated aren’t science fiction anyway” applies as well to every fiction category.)

    • The Unwritten is fantasy, Grandville Mon Amour is anthropomorphic steampunk, Fables: Witches is, I think, urban fantasy… leaving two on the shortlist that were actually sf. Also, this is only the third Graphic Story Hugo and it’s been won each year by the same comic.

  5. Loved the Willis book(s?). Went Ga-Ga over the short stories. Bought them all. Voted for my awards with my coin. Seems to me we are living in our Golden age of science-fiction.

    • If we’re living in a Golden Age, then the sheer prevalence of good stuff would mean some at least would end up on the shortlists. And I don’t see that from this year’s.

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