This year is the first year I have signed up to nominate and vote for the Hugo Awards. I’ve considered it a few times, but I always felt like I’d never read enough from a given year to vote. Thanks in part to an article encouraging fans to vote for the Hugo Awards written by Renay from Lady Business, I started to think about it more seriously, especially after reading this part:
There’s no wrong way to participate. There’s no wrong way to be a fan. There’s space on that rocket for everyone, if we want to get all sappy about it, and the more diverse the participants engaging in this fan award are, the more it becomes an inclusive, representative award that’s going to reach more people and bring them into fandom. No, it will never be perfect; no popular award can be. But we can make it better with as many perspectives as possible.
I’ve definitely hesitated to even think about voting before because I did feel that maybe I hadn’t read the very best books worthy of nomination. But you know what? The Hugo is a fan award: all one really needs to do to participate is vote for a work they feel strongly about. No one would ever vote if it was necessary to read EVERY novel, novella, novelette, and short story and watch every movie/TV episode eligible in a given year. And the more people who vote, the more different work can be given recognition. It’s a win/win for everyone when there are more works discussed so more people can discover new work they may not have otherwise. So this year I am getting over feeling like I don’t know enough to vote and voting.
For those not attending WorldCon, you can buy a supporting membership to LoneStarCon for $60. Time to sign up is running out, though—the deadline to register is January 31. After registering, the deadline for receiving nominations is March 10. To learn more about the nomination process, I’d recommend reading this article at Kirkus written by The Book Smugglers which discusses signing up. (It also discusses their own picks for awards and I was pretty blown away to see Fantasy Cafe listed for Best Fanzine!!!!)
Another great point Renay made is that you don’t have to vote for everything. There are certainly categories I can’t vote in, like the Best Short Story category (the one year I read a book of short stories I LOVE published that year it’s a collection of previously published stories). But I definitely have some categories I feel very strongly about, and there are books I’d love to see win Best Novel, book blogs I’d love to see win Best Fanzine, and both book bloggers and authors I’d love to see win Best Fan Writer. While it’s not a Hugo, this does include the opportunity to vote for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, which is another category I’m eager to vote on.
I’m not 100% sure what I’ll nominate yet, but here are some possibilities:
The Killing Moon by N. K. Jemisin
Range of Ghosts by Elizabeth Bear
The Tainted City by Courtney Schafer
The above novels are the three I read last year that I loved the most, other than one novel I read that was published before 2012 (Patricia A. McKillip’s The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, a World Fantasy Award winner). All three are very well-executed fantasy novels with thoughtful characterization and world-building.
SF Signal – They were last year’s winner with good reason. SF Signal has the most comprehensive coverage of SFF of any blog I can think of with reviews, their Mind Meld discussions with several participants, interviews, giveaways, news, and posts on upcoming books.
The Book Smugglers – They cover other genres in addition to SFF, but they cover a LOT of SFF with reviews almost daily. Their 2012 Smugglivus event in which authors and bloggers write about various topics was a treat, and I’d also be quite happy to see either Ana or Thea recognized with Best Fan Writer since I think they write some of the best reviews and articles in the blogosphere. They manage both quality and quantity on their blog, which I think is a HUGE accomplishment.
Calico Reaction – Shara is another blogger who does well with both quantity and quality, and I also think her thoughtful reviews are some of the best written. She writes lots of book reviews, discusses movies and TV shows, and runs a book club on her blog.
Best Fan Writer
This one is tough because there are both authors and bloggers I’d love to see make it to the final ballot. I’d be thrilled to see Ana, Thea, or Shara nominated for this, and there are also some authors I think have written some fantastic articles. My favorite of these is:
N. K. Jemisin – Her own blog is pretty awesome, but she’s also written some amazing articles for other blogs in 2012. One of my favorites is “Don’t Fear the Unicorn,” an amazing article she wrote about sexism and books for the Women in SF&F series that was here in April. (Trust me, just read it. It is AWESOME. It’s personal, thoughtful, and told with a sense of humor. I love this article SO MUCH.) I also enjoyed the article she wrote at The Book Smugglers in 2012, “The Unexotic Exotic.”
John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer
Teresa Frohock – Her novel Miserere: An Autumn Tale really impressed me with its uniqueness and characterization.
Courtney Schafer – The Tainted City had the kind of complex, balanced world and characters that I love. And an intriguing magic system based on engineering!
Are you voting on the Hugo Awards this year? If so, what are you voting for? Does anyone have any recommendations for TV shows? I’m really picky about television and Game of Thrones is the only SFF TV show that I really loved last year.