The OF Blog: If I could reform the Hugos...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

If I could reform the Hugos...

No, this isn't one of those negative gripes, as I try (believe it or not) to be "positive" whenever it is possible for my warped, often-cynical soul to imagine such treacly thoughts. Rather, it is a thought that has emerged from reading the results of certain national awards in recent months, strengthened by a decision earlier this week to look into buying anthologies of national SF/F from various languages and/or cultures.

The thought is this: If national associations such as those who issue the Premio Ignotus, Seiun, Prix Imaginales, Premio Italia, Deutscher Phantasik Preis, etc. feature awards for Best Translated Novel (novella, novelette, short story, etc.), why not consider in the future adding a category (if, of course, the percentage of translated-into-English SF/F rises) for translated fictions?

Of course, since I myself cannot raise this issue directly (since my profession keeps me from even thinking about traveling in late July/early August, much less to a convention), I guess it's just a little something to let sail into the wind. Thoughts on this?


Fabio Fernandes said...

You know, it´s an excellent idea. I can´t see why it wouldn´t work.

Joe Sherry said...

Seems like the sort of think that might work better on a juried award like World Fantasy.

I mean, if the voting numbers of the Hugos are low already (though increasing), I don't know how many nominations you'd be getting for translated novel (let's limit it to novel for now).

It's a good idea, but I don't know that the Hugo Awards is the forum for it. Technically it should be, but I don't know that there is enough awareness of translated novels in fandom already to get the support / interest.

Larry said...

Yeah, that's the problem I thought of as I wrote this piece, Joe, that of how to make sure the voters are "educated" enough. Maybe someone involved with WSFS or another organization that deals with awards can speak more on this?

Otherwise, I guess the closest we'll get to this for a while might be those few like myself who'll discuss it in annual Best of _____ blog posts.

Cheryl said...

Question: if there were a Hugo for translated novels, would that make those novels ineligible for Best Novel.

If your answer is "no", that would potentially give a foreign language novel four shots at a Hugo (it can already get three if it is published in its native language, published in English outside of the USA, and published in English in the USA, all in different years).

If your answer is "yes" then you are moving towards defining the Hugos as awards that are mainly for works in English, which I think would be a Very Bad Thing.

Also Joe is right about the depth of field and level of fannish knowledge.

Larry said...


But that begs the question of has a work been a finalist in its original language? The three shots that I also presume English-language novels written in other markets is interesting and I guess understandable, considering the traditional nature of the markets (now changing somewhat with the advent of global communities and global shipping).

But the key stickler is, of course, the awareness of the audience and their willingness to read translated fictions. Perhaps it'll just take several more years with a few voices crying in the wilderness for any increase in awareness to occur.

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