So this morning I had the following email in my inbox:
As a member of Chicon 7, the 70th World Science Fiction Convention, you are eligible to submit a nomination ballot for the 2013 HugoAwards
This got me wondering. I’ve always had great regard for the Hugo awards and have naive, stars-in-the-eyes dreams of being nominated one day. I always make a point of seeking out the novels that win, along with the short stories. For some reason I never get around to reading the novellas or the novelettes. And, I must admit, that while I appreciate the award when it comes to TV shows I think that for movies it’s redundant. It’s not like Inception will sell more or less copies, or garner more praise after winning the Hugo. But when it comes to fiction, the Hugo is almost always a guarantee of quality.
It is also a great way to discover new talent. Just by looking over that winners for the last few years I see the name Vernor Vinge come up quite a bit (Best Novel 2000 and 2007, Best Novella 2002, 2004). I had never heard of him before writing this post.
Anyway… I’m in the position where I get to nominate eligible work in all categories. This does not mean that what I nominate will end up on the final ballot, just that it is at least on the radar. So I am considering what was good 2012.
For movies there is really only one Science Fiction / Fantasy movie that comes to mind; Looper. The Hobbit is bloated and full of itself, Prometheus was just plain bad (but very pretty) and Batman was disappointing. While Game of Thrones seems the obvious choice, I want Looper to get more attention. Or maybe Dredd, which I have yet to see.
Novels…. of novels I read in 2012 that were published in 2012 and are Sci-Fi / Fantasy I think Justin Cronin’s The Twelve might be the only one. I recently bought China Mieville’s Railsea (signed by the author) and will make sure to read that as well.
Of short stories I read a great bunch, as I subscribe to ClarkesWorlda and eFiction, and bought a whole bunch of issues of others in addition to reading a lot online. My nomination, however, will be Gwendolyn Clare’s All The Painted Stars. This is actually an odd choice, because I prefer fantasy to sci-fi, and Gwendolyn’s story is 100% science fiction.
The complete list of Hugo categories is as follows, and you can see that I have a difficult task at hand.
- Best Novel: Awarded for a science fiction or fantasy story of forty thousand (40,000) words or more.
- Best Novella: Awarded for a science fiction or fantasy story of between seventeen thousand five hundred (17,500) and forty thousand (40,000) words.
- Best Novelette: Awarded for a science fiction or fantasy story of between seven thousand five hundred (7,500) and seventeen thousand five hundred (17,500) words.
- Best Short Story: Awarded for science fiction or fantasy story of less than seven thousand five hundred (7,500) words.
- Best Related Work: Awarded to a work related to the field of science fiction, fantasy, or fandom, appearing for the first time during the previous calendar year or which has been substantially modified during the previous calendar year. The type of works eligible include, but are not limited to, collections of art, works of literary criticism, books about the making of a film or TV series, biographies and so on, provided that they do not qualify for another category.
- Best Graphic Story: A science fiction or fantasy story told in graphic form, such as a comic book, graphic novel, or webcomic.
- Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form): This Award can be given a dramatized production in any medium, including film, television, radio, live theater, computer games or music. The work must last 90 minutes or longer (excluding commercials).
- Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form): This Award can be given a dramatized production in any medium, including film, television, radio, live theater, computer games or music. The work must be less than 90 minutes long (excluding commercials).
- Best Editor (Long Form): This is the first of the person categories, so the Award is given for the work that person has done in the year of eligibility. To be eligible the person must have edited at least 4 novel-length (i.e. 40,000 words or more) books devoted to science fiction and/or fantasy in the year of eligibility that are not anthologies or collections.
- Best Editor (Short Form): To be eligible the person must have edited at least four anthologies, collections or magazine issues devoted to science fiction and/or fantasy, at least one of which must have been published in the year of eligibility.
- Best Professional Artist: Another person category, this time for artists and illustrators. The work on which the nominees are judged must class as “professional” (see above for a discussion of how “professional” is defined).
- Best Semiprozine: This is the first of the three serial publication/work categories. To qualify, the publication must have produced at least 4 issues, at least one of which must have appeared in the year of eligibility (this being similar to the requirements for magazine editors in Best Editor, Short Form), and meet additional requirements as listed below.
Semiprozine is the most complicated category because of the need to define semi-professional. A lot of science fiction and fantasy magazines are run on a semi-professional basis: that is they pay a little, but generally not enough to make a living for anyone. The object of this category is to separate such things from fanzines, which are generally loss-making hobbyist pursuits. To qualify a publication must not be professional (see above) and must meet at least one of the following criteria:
- The publication pays its contributors and/or staff in other than copies of the publication.
- The publication was generally available only for paid purchase.
- Best Fanzine: This Award is for anything that is neither professional nor semi-professional and that does not qualify as a Fancast (see below). The publication must also satisfy the rule of a minimum of 4 issues, at least one of which must have appeared in the year of eligibility.
- Best Fancast: Awarded for any non-professional audio- or video-casting with at least four (4) episodes that had at least one (1) episode released in the previous calendar year.
- Best Fan Writer: This is another person category. Note that it does not just apply to writing done in fanzines. Work published in semiprozines, and even on mailing lists, blogs, BBSs, and similar electronic fora, can be including when judging people for this Award. Only work in professional publications should not be considered.
- Best Fan Artist: The final category is also for people. Again note that the work by which artists should be judged is not limited to material published in fanzines. Material for semiprozines or material on public displays (such as in convention art shows) is also eligible. Fan artists can have work published in professional publications as well. You should not consider such professionally-published works when judging this award.
The John W. Campbell Award
The John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer is not a Hugo. It is voted for and presented alongside the Hugos, but the eligibility rules are not governed by the WSFS Constitution. For further details of the Campbell see its own web site.