18 February 2014

Hugo Nominations

I'm going to WorldCon this year because it's happening in London and that's a lot easier to get to than a whole different country. I'm not sure what to expect as I've never been to such a big convention before, but I've been told its worth doing at least once. Plus plenty of friends are going, so that should make it good.

I realised that being a member of LonCon 3 gives me nominating and voting rights for the Hugo awards. The Hugos are big SF awards, though they usually seem somewhat US/North America-centric (then again so does WorldCon most years). If I have the opportunity to vote for something I usually feel that I should exercise that right (except for TV phone-ins which are clearly for making money and usually about stuff I don't like anyway). In this case it is something I care about and have thoughts on so I've been doing a bit of research and thinking. Some of the voting categories are a little confusing, but this was quite useful in explaining them.

What surprised me when I started thinking about the categories was how little fiction I could think of. I consider myself primarily to be a reader and would have thought those categories would be the ones I was most au fait with, especially novels. As it happens I read hardly any new books last year. I heard about plenty I want to read, but didn't get round to reading most of them. This year I'm gonna try and catch up a little and also try to read some of the new stuff people talk about. Once I finish what I'm currently reading there are 2 eligible novels I could nominate.

I read short fiction, mostly in Interzone and also bits and pieces online or in anthologies. I also listen to PodCastle, but those are all reprints (respeakings? rereadings?). However this year there are only a few stories that really stick out to me. Again looking back on ones I remember as getting to me they are seemed to have been published the year before. Perhaps I'm not looking in the right places, again there are a lot of sites I hear about but don't get around to reading. Or perhaps it just happens that I haven't been grabbed by much this year. Category-wise I find the short story/novelette split confusing. I don't remember if things I've read are more or less than 7,500 words, I didn't count.

I have a lot more opinions about TV and film, which probably isn't surprising if you look at the contents of this blog over the last 12 months. I know Doctor Who does well in these awards, and the 50th anniversary was a big deal, but I can think of other things that are deserving of praise. Film-wise I can think of a lot of big, US films that got attention, I'm also trying to think of UK stuff too. Since WorldCon is in London there's likely to be more Brits in attendance than usual.

I didn't think I'd have many opinions on fancasts, fanzines, semiprozines, editors or best related work. However when I started to think about it I realised that in the last few years I've become a lot more aware of fan stuff and how the publishing industry works and have formed opinions on these things. This is another area where I can think of a lot of British people who I would like to nominate, though there are a fair few US podcasts and sites that I also enjoy.

I must confess I don't know a whole lot about SF art. I see things, I like some of them, I get how book covers work, but I honestly don't feel that that qualifies to make any judgements or suggestions in the art categories. This may be something I should educate myself in going forward.


  1. When it comes to the final short list - after the nominations - Hugo voters get a free electronic packet containing digital versions of all the shortlisted books! short stories! fanzines, prozines etc. So that will help you when the time comes.

    At this nomination stage I usually only nominate a few things. That's ok. I then get a lot of fun at the final voting stage, where I have access to everything I need to vote, just about.

    I'm going to Loncon too. I last went to a Worldcon, for a flying day visit, to Glasgow in 2005. I always said if it came back to the UK I would go properly. I've had voting rights ever since, as a supporting member, but this is my first year for ages when I will be there. Really looking forward to it.

    1. I'd heard people mention voting packs when listening to Hugo discussions in the past, but I'd entirely forgotten about that. At least I can get caught up and feel a bit more involved. Most years it's rare that I've read any of the Hugo nominated short fiction, but as I wasn't nominating/voting before it didn't really matter to me so much.

      Thanks for the reminder. I'm looking forward to Worldcon too.