Much of the discussion centers around comments on the A Dribble of Ink blog. Although I expressed bemusement at my relative lack of awareness regarding the fanzine scene (it is a different scene from the one in which I participate), Aidan Moher takes things further and questions why certain blogs were not finalists. It is, on the surface, a good question to ask, but as I thought more about it, it seems to be a misguided one as well.
What does it mean to be "a fan" of SF and to write about it? Does it mean reviewing the newest and shiniest, often neglecting the older works? Does it mean engaging others of like interests and covering the movers and shakers of SF and SF fandom? If it is more the latter than the former, then why fret so much over an award that seems to be designed more to recognize those people who take time to work with others in SF fandom to create pamphlets (or in most cases in recent years, e-prints) that are designed to serve those who take a more active role in the WorldCons and other convention circuits than those who just write a few columns that barely regurgitate publisher press releases while claiming that they write "as fans?"
It just leaves me feeling out of touch. I'm more of a dilettante critic than anything else; I have my likes, but I prefer to explore the inner workings of texts than trying to be a mere "fan," whatever that might mean in the context of reviewing works and commenting on trends in a variety of fields. It is strange seeing those who have earlier defended their book commentaries as being "a fan's point of view" taking the issue of how a convention award apparently intended more for those who spend time interacting with like-minded individuals (especially in the form of writing missives and exchanging views back and forth much better than the monologuish blog format usually accomplishes) chooses who is the "best fan writer" or who writes the "best fanzine." One might be pardoned if she got the impression that those protesting think that they themselves are better "fan writers" than those who involve themselves more directly with the more official SF fandom groups.
Me? I have no dog in this hunt. I don't consider my writings to be primarily associated with SF, nor do I think what is published here would qualify as being a "fan writing" of any sort. Do I wish I had the time and desire to get to know those who do participate in SF fandom activities such as running fanzines? More or less, yes, but as I noted above, it's a different scene and I'm not one inclined to pass judgment over those who are active in that scene only because my own is not recognized. Maybe next year there'll be a Best Squirrelist Fanzine and Best Squirrelist Fan Writer Hugo, but until then, I wish those who do enjoy participating in that field many more happy endeavors.