March 30th, 2013

Hugo Sign

These Hugo Memes Never Get Old

With the Hugo Award Nominations having been announced earlier today, I think it's time for me to point to my post from 2011 about Pernicious Hugo Memes. So far today, the one I've seen has to do with "popular" versus "good" as if the two were polar opposites.

Folks, the Hugo Awards are not the "awards by a tiny group of self-selected critics who have decided what Fine Art is." They are "the awards from the members of Worldcon who take the time to vote saying,'These are the things we like.'" And there were a record number of voters yet again this year, so clearly the enhanced franchise (the combined membership of the 2012-2014 Worldcons were eligible) and the increased attention the Awards have received is having an effect, as more and more people realize that the nominations are the place where the voters can have some of the biggest impact.

On the other hand, a big turnout and a very diffuse field can end up reducing the number of nominees, as we saw in Best Short Story, where once again there were only three nominees because the fourth and fifth-place works couldn't muster 5% of the votes cast in that category, the minimum required by the WSFS Constitution. I've already heard a suggestion that the 5% rule should be scrapped, but personally, I'm in favor of it, because if you have a distribution like 36, 28, 15, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, ..... those works in the "long tail" really don't belong on the ballot.
Hugo Logo

Smooth Sailing and Frantic Paddling at the Hugo Awards

The Hugo Award nominations were announced today, and I was in the middle of it as the lead host of the official online coverage from the Hugo Awards Website and also being primarily responsible for getting the results posted on

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All in all, I was very pleased at how today's Hugo Nomination Announcement coverage went. There were no significant technical glitches and we got a decent turnout of between 100 and 300 people (besides those in person at the four conventions) in the CIL and UStream events. As I said in our live coverage, I thank Chicon 7 for sponsoring the CoverItLive show (CIL is not free; today's event cost $49) and LoneStarCon for working with the Hugo Awards Marketing Committee to provide the coverage. Assuming all of the funding and technical issues are dealt with as they have the past few years, I expect that I'll be acting as host of CIL coverage of the Hugo Awards ceremony on September 1, probably with Mur Lafferty as "color commentator" (although as a Campbell nominee herself, she might be called away at the early part of the event) and with Cheryl Morgan "in the studio from the wilds of Wiltshire" keeping the event going for the benefit of those who can't be with us at San Antonio.