The OF Blog: Ah, must be Worldcon/Hugo hunting season again

Monday, July 20, 2009

Ah, must be Worldcon/Hugo hunting season again

Been reading a few posts recently devoted to the perceived flaws in the Hugo Awards and the various ways that people ought to respond to such perceptions. I used to care more about the entire deal (and I guess this post indicates that I still care somewhat), but I find the interesting point being not whether or not the WSFS award needs to be reformed or have its voters select a "better" shortlist (frankly, I do agree with those who say that the novel shortlist this year is rather bland, to say the least), but that in a day and age of different "tribal groups" (yes, that term will be used to explain several facets of online/group behavior, lest some think I'm thinking just in pejorative terms of a few), that such an award as the Hugo could carry even a modicum of authority proclaiming "this is the best of the previous year."

Is it a matter of mere age bestowing increased respect? Are the awards surviving on the nostalgic memories of past winners whose works appear to be surviving the test of time? Is there an "exclusivity" factor to be considered? Why not consider a combination of various juried and "popular vote" awards and then find the only thing of importance in what you yourself take from your own encounters with these works?

As for myself, I am awaiting the shortlist for the World Fantasy Award (I could have missed its announcement, admittedly) more than I am discovering who will win the various Hugos this year. I do like to see various personalities displayed in juried picks than I care for a presumed "safe medium" that most "popular" awards convey. But then again, since when have I been known as a lover of the middle-of-the-road?

What about you? Do you find yourself drawn to other awards than the Hugos? Are the Hugos still worthy of your attention? Are there solutions to the annual gripefests? Will world peace and/or world domination by wildebeests be achieved first?


Joe Sherry said...

Last year I posted the World Fantasy Award nominees on August 6, and because nomination lists interest me a great deal, it had to have been within a day of the announcement. I would imagine the new list would be around the same time.

I rather enjoy the whole awards period of the year, rolling from the Nebula to Hugo to World Fantasy. I'll enjoy it more next year when the Nebula calendar finally makes sense.

The Hugo and Nebula Awards are mostly interesting to me because I get a chance to read more of the nominated short fiction and sometimes make some discoveries of writers I might not have encountered otherwise. Same with World Fantasy, but I'm also interested in the World Fantasy novels - much moreso than the Hugo or Nebula novels.

I don't get bent out of shape about it. The Hugos are nominated by members of Worldcon. Next year I plan to purchasing a supporting membership so I can nominate and vote. Why? Because I honestly think I'm going to get more than $40 to $50 worth of enjoyment in being part of the conversation and having a say in this AND that I will have more value from that than I did from a not-very-interesting con a few weeks ago.

Each award has a particular set of factors which influence who will be nominated and win. The Nebulas are SFWA members and as I understand it, the nominations are NOT secret. I'd like to see how things shake out for a nominee list if the nominations were (unless I'm wrong). the final votes are. World Fantasy is juried. Different criteria each time.

And that's cool. That's what I like.

About all of it.

Fabio Fernandes said...

I agree with Joe. Even though, unfortunately, I´m not going anymore to Montreal, I´m still happy that I purchased a membership and voted for the Hugo.

I´ve been avidly watching several other awards along this year, but I admit not all of them interest me as much as the Hugo and the Nebula. There was also the PKD, but, man, what just happened this year? I couldn´t believe in that weird (and most unbalanced) tie.

So, I´ll still be on watch - and, even though I´m not going, I´ll still sort of be there, because I´ll be editing the Convention Reporter site ( But in 2010 it´s Australia or bust!! :-)

Fish Monkey said...

I find that my tastes tend to align more closely with Tiptrees, Mythopoetic Awards, Carl Brandons and World Fantasy. Shirly Jackson awards also have been offering interesting slates. Arthur C Clarke shortlists are not bad for SF suggestions too.

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