I eagerly opened the Hugo nomination packet that came in the mail a few weeks ago. As I flipped through the pages, my confidence began to fade. Thoughts like: “How can I possibly give each field a fair evaluation when I haven’t read nearly the amount to make a qualified decision?” or “What works even qualify as a novelette or novella?” or “Where can I find a comprehensive list of everything that’s available?”
As I found myself putting the nomination form aside, those same thoughts evolved into: “I will just have to catch up on everything that was published in 2009, to make the best decision possible.” and “I have to culminate a list of everything that people are putting up for consideration and read it.” and “I shall take note of editors and word counts and artists and…”
The nomination form quickly got buried with the burden of my now self-employed, full time, non-paying job of “Nominatrix Extraordinaire”. For the last twelve days, I couldn’t even tell you where the form went. Sure, I read some books, but they were books I had already decided I wanted to read. I was not as successful coming up with anything else of note.
Then a few days ago, a writer who I was lucky enough to share critiques with at Worldcon sent out a note. Addressed to ‘Devotees of Science Fiction and Fantasy’, it warned of the same mental stagnation that I was experiencing.The email also pointed to an article written by my fellow colleague at Clarkesworld Magazine, Cheryl Morgan. While Cheryl’s point is directly aimed at getting more women on the ballot, I think she nails it on the head that women tend to sabotage themselves when it comes to making decisions of this nature. Granted, this isn’t all women, but it looks like a good portion of the female population tend to crawl inside their own heads. This is not a reaction to fear, but I am clearly one of those women who like to make informed and qualified decisions. The nomination portion of the Hugo Awards does not fit into my orderly world of control.
…reading “everything” is impossible. You just have to look at what you have read and seen, and judge whether you think any of it is good enough to be nominated.
“Really? It’s that easy?” Yep. It is.
Don’t worry if you don’t have views in every category either. If you haven’t read any novellas in the past year, leave that section blank.
I know, this goes against everything single deep-seated desire to fill in every line in every category. I’ve had to train myself that it is necessary and indeed, appropriate in some cases to skip things with which I’m not famliar.
So my lovely ladies of the universe, go vote. Read Cheryl’s post as to why it is imperative that you do. Time is running out on the new supporting memberships, so if you can’t get to it, consider becoming a supporting member in order to vote on the forthcoming short lists.
If you are still gung-ho about being “informed” here are a pile of links to peruse with some ideas for the up and coming awards season.
- Cheryl Morgan – Hugo Voting on the Cheap (This has some great info on award-eligible women in the SF/F field)
- Rachel Swirsky – Nebula Nominations (I think most of these suggestions can be used in Hugo eligibility as well.)
- Mary Robinette Kowal – Hugo Eligibility Post
- John Scalzi – Hugo Eligibility Post
- Cheryl Morgan – Hugo Post
- Cheryl Morgan – Australian Artists
- Neil Clarke – On the Importance of Showing Why Semi-Prozines Should be Supported and Valued (Links to sites eligible for the Semi-prozine Hugo Award)
- John Klima – On Why the Hugos are important for both the writers and fans of SF/F
- The Hugo Recommend Live Journal Community
- Paul Cornell’s Comic Recommendations
- Best Fan Writer Recommendations
- Charlie Stross – Hugo Eligibility
- Beneath Ceaseless Skies Hugo Recommendations
- John Joseph Adams – Hugo Eligibility
If there are more links which point to either eligibility or recommendations, please feel free to leave them in the comments. I will add them to the post.
Also – I didn’t want to leave this post without a gratuitous pimp for Clarkesworld Magazine which is eligible for the Semi-Prozine category. I love working for this magazine as the Podcast Director and would love to see it recognized.