Yesterday afternoon was exciting. For the first time since becoming involved in the process, I didn’t feel like my Hugo nomination had simply disappeared into a black hole. I also got the thrill of hearing my name as one of the nominations. I am honored and humbled by that. My personal involvement with organized fandom began not too long ago, but from the beginning, I felt like I’d found my home. I can remember when I was much younger, looking for the collections of ‘year’s Best SF’ in the library and devouring them. Then I started to learn that maybe I should avoid the Hugo-award winning ones, because they weren’t all that good. For a few years now, I’ve thought about changing that. I’ve advocated to get more people voting in the Hugo, educating fans that yes, this is an award they ‘can’ have a say in.
Yes, you can. It’s not an insider vote. Fans can, for the cost of supporting or attending Worldcon, become involved in nominating and voting on the “BEST” science fiction and fantasy published in the previous year. It’s pretty exciting. Unfortunately, there are a number of industry insiders who don’t like this information being disseminated, and they are being vocally discouraging about it. Don’t listen to them. You, as a reader and consumer of SFF, can buy into this process at Sasquan or MidAmeriCon (for next year) and you can still read and vote (nominations being over) for the 2014 Hugo Award. I’m not asking people to vote for me. I’m already surprised to find myself nominated, and there are (IMHO) better options for fan writers on the ballot. I am asking that you be willing to consider the works and people on their own merits. Don’t take the coward’s way out, as so many are saying they plan to do, and vote no award based on politics (I’m not talking national or world politics here, but the kind that happen in any large group. A corollary of Pournelle’s Iron Law, if you will).
If I can encourage more and more to get involved with this – that’s the only win I want.
To balance the negativity I’ve been seeing, I’m including some comments I found on facebook this morning. I’m beginning with Toni Weisskopf, who was given a well-deserved nomination for long-form editor. She’s someone I respect and look up to very much. I have learned much from her, and will continue to do so. One of those things is graciousness.
There are fans out there who have no idea they could vote. So let’s make sure that knowledge gets shared around, not restricted.