The sci-fi world is abuzz with talk of this year’s Hugo nominations. The Hugos are a fan-voted award. All you need to do is pay forty bucks, and you can both nominate and vote. Even in the best of years, this leads to a certain level of bloc-voting, log-rolling, and just plain old voting for the popular guy simply because he’s popular. However, this year, all of those things were blown up to epic proportions after a group of writers and fans organized to nominate a bunch of stuff that, in their opinion, represented real, populist science fiction (the kind that, in their opinion, had been ignored by the Hugos in the past) and, I suppose, were so well organized and numerous that they managed to get the majority of the nominations.
If you’re a sci-fi/fantasy fan, it’s immediately obvious what happened, since, when you look at the hugo nominations, you see names that usually aren’t on there, and, more noticeably, small magazines and small presses that usually aren’t on there. It’s a quite a to-do. Some might even call it a foofaraw. I suppose my response will be to pay $40 and vote for ‘No Award’ rather than voting for a bunch of these nominees (if no award gets enough votes, then it’s even possible for no award to be granted in the category).
But, at the same time, it’s hard to be disappointed that this happened. I mean, sure I’m not glad it happened. But at least it’s something. It’s an event! Normally I greet the yearly announcement of the Hugo Awards nominations with something of a shrug. It’s kind of a non-event, since I don’t vote and since I’ve normally read zero of the nominees. This year, though, something happened!