I’m enjoying reading George R R Martin’s take on the drama that is the 2015 Hugo awards. I’ll link to the boingboing summary as a launching page not because I think Cory has a clear-eyed, unbiased view of the situation (he doesn’t, even though I agree with him), but because it also links to an interesting set of blog posts by Bruce Schneier’s posts on voting systems, and I kinda love that stuff.
I’m a one-time Worldcon member who didn’t vote for the Hugos. I’m occasionally tempted to join as a voting member because you get free ebooks of all the nominees, but then I remember I never bother to read the pile of books I already own.
The Hugos are a clique. The clique is Worldcon. People who are popular regulars at Worldcon by and large get the nominations and win the trophies. But the Hugos are Worldcon’s. It’s their award. It’s weird to be in the room where they’re handing them out, because you kinda feel like you’ve crashed somebody else’s prom when they’re handing out prom king and queen awards. If you don’t go to prom or even to that school, I don’t really see how you’d expect to win those particular popularity contests.
I mean, they nominate stuff like video tapings of the previous year’s Hugo awards ceremony. Everything except for the fiction awards is kind of a joke. A good-natured joke, generally, but I’m not going to be looking to the Hugos to tell me what’s a good comic to read or movie to watch.
Now, you could argue whether the “most prestigious science fiction literature awards” should go to the prom kings and queens of Worldcon, but Worldcon is the hub of science fiction book fandom. Very good writers go there. If you’re a serious science fiction writer and you’re not going there, one has some justification to question your dedication to the field. And they do care about the quality of the work. And the Worldcon people do actually take the fiction awards very seriously. So I feel a bit sad that they’ve had this happen to them. Because the people rushing in to vote don’t care about the Worldcon community or history or whatever. They’re doing it for the lulz.