How I feel about the Hugo Awards (spoiler: meh)


The Hugos are fine. It’s a popularity contest with a small, self-selected sample, and frankly I ignore most everything everyone says about it (except for the juicy melodrama, naturally[1]). They’re not a bad thing at all; it’s nice that people win them and I’m glad they make people happy.

But they have an outsized profile, as argued here. Frankly, I think the guy argues his point too forcefully (“Twaddle”? Please.) but then I stopped trying to drive traffic to my blog a long time ago. He’s right about the awards having a greater significance than they can really support. They’re small groups of people getting together to vote for things they like, which is 100% legit, but should that really be the basis for the most well-known spec fic award in this part of the world? [2]

Anyway, it’s worth reading down to the comments, because one of the authors the OP criticizes, Larry Correia, pops up to justify his behavior (“The smof cabal is against me!” “It’s all just self-promotion!”) and I made the mistake of following a link back to his blog.

Because as disinterested as I am in the usual award stuff, bullshit like this quote below, about Saladin Ahmed, nominated for his debut novel, is toxic:

Saladin’s a nice guy, and beloved by SMOF (we were up for the Campbell at the same time), but I’m predicting he’ll come in last, becasue this is his only book and he’s not built up a huge SMOF backer faction yet, but just having nominated a guy with an ethnic name will make the SMOFers feel all warm and tingly inside and good about themselves, so that’ll be enough for them.

(Tyops in the original)

That’s grade-A horseshit right there. However small the nominating pool was, whatever value should be placed on the Hugo itself, they nominated the man’s book because they liked the man’s book. Attributing it to “an ethnic name” is racist bullshit.

Awards! They bring out the whacky in people. Now I’ll go back to my previous policy of not talking about them.

[1] An awful lot of people hesitate to say a book is awful unless it has won/been nominated for an award.

[2] It’s obligatory for Certain People to respond to any awards criticism by saying “Oh, so the stuff YOU like didn’t make the ballot and that’s why you think everything SUCKS!” It’s an easy response. It’s the knee-jerk response. It doesn’t fit me. To be honest, I don’t think I read a single new book or story last year. Actually, scratch that: I picked up the latest Dresden Files from the library, but I wouldn’t want to give it an award. I don’t really like reading short fiction on my computer, and most of the books I read are a few years old (or more than a few). I’m not what you’d call “up to date” and I don’t worry about it. [3]

So no, this isn’t a complaint about What I Thought Should Be On The Ballot, because I have no idea what should be on there and have higher priorities when I’m reading new stuff.

[3] Also: No, I didn’t release any new work in 2012 that could have been nominated, since that typically has to be said, too.