Crunching Hugo Stats

The lovely people at Vector asked me if I wanted to do an article looking back on the decade. This gave me the opportunity to crunch some Hugo data. The results are really quite remarkable. If you take a look here you will see why I titled the article, “The Decade That Women Won”.

I should dedicate that article to Joanna Russ. I wish that she was still alive to see it. We still have a long way to go, but the fight is not impossible.

BSFA Award Long Lists

The British Science Fiction Association has released their long lists for awards for works published in 2019. I’m deighted to note that The Green Man’s Foe features twice on the lists. Juliet McKenna is listed for the novel, and Ben Baldwin for the cover. There is, of course, a long way to go yet. There are two more rounds of voting to go before they end up with winners. But hey, this is unexpected and much appreciated success for Wizard’s Tower. I am really pleased.

Hugo Voting Opens

Unless you have been avoiding social media, you will probably know that Hugo Award voting is now open for this year. If you are eligible to vote you should have had email from CoNZealand explaining how to nominate. If you haven’t then you should contact them.

As a reminder, here’s my eligbility:

The only one I’m really concerned about is Fanzine, and that’s only because participation in the category was very low last year and I’m hoping to encourage people to take an interest in it again. If you have a fanzine that you think is eligible, let me know and I’ll tell my readers about it.

Hugo Eligibility Update

Well this is embarrassing. When I did my Hugo Eligibility Post last week I completely forgot one of the stories I had published this year. That story was “The Poet’s Daughter” in Rainbow Bouquet from Manifold Press. I have updated my original post to take account of that.

Not that I expect to get anywhere near the final ballot for either of them, but if you are going to do an eligibility post you might as well get it right.

Hugo Eligibility Post

It is that time of year again, so what have I been up to in 2019?.

Firstly I have published two Short Stories. They are:

Secondly, as I have now published four issues, Salon Futura is eligible in Fanzine.

Thirdly, as I write most of Salon Futura myself, I am eligible in Fan Writer.

For those just catching up on all this, the main reason why I am tossing my hat into the fan awards ring again, despite having plenty of shiny rockets to keep me company, is that interest in the Fanzine category has been waning of late. I’m hoping to boost participation. If you have a fanzine and want people to nominate it, let me know and I will signal boost for you.

(This post was updated on Dec. 9th to add the second short story.)

Today on Ujima – Books, Theatre, Trans Pride & Tobias Buckell

My first guest on today’s radio show was Kate MacDonald of Handheld Press, a wonderful local publisher based in Bath. Kate will be familiar to people on the UK SF&F circuit as she was at FantasyCon and BristolCon. She doesn’t just publish SF&F, but when she does it is pretty spectacular. You will have heard me enthusing about her Vonda McIntyre reissue, and she has had great success with a Nicola Griffith book. On the show we talked about a book by Rose Maculey which inspired Brave New World. John Clute gets a starring role in the story of how Kate got to publish that one. And if we’d had more time we’d have talked about the new Sylvia Townsend Warner book, Of Cats and Elfins, which has a Greer Gilman introduction and a Neil Gaiman front cover blurb.

That was hard to top, but for the second section of the show I welcomed Nick Young from Creative Youth Network and two wonderful young actors who will be performing in The Edge, a play about the dangers of reality TV. The play is written by my friend Edson Burton, and will be staged at Colston Hall later this month. As the advertising says, it will be an immersive live performance. You’ll have to listen to the interview to find out just how clever they have been.

In part three I welcome Lowie Trevena, the new LGBT+ Affairs correspondent of Bristol 24/7 to talk about the upcoming Trans Pride South West. Lowie did a preview of the event for the paper yesterday, and we went a lot more into detail on that. We also talked about what it means to be a non-binary person, and how non-binary does not mean androgynous.

Finally I re-ran parts of my 2014 interview with Tobias Buckell to celebrate his win (along with Paulo Bacigalupi) in the World Fantasy Awards last weekend. Their book, The Tangled Lands, won the Best Collection catageory. In the 2014 piece Tobias and I talk about hurricanes in the Caribbean, climate change, and some interesting regional politics that allowed Tobias to create a unified Caribbean state for some of his work.

You can listen to the show here.

The playlist is as follows:

  • Pipe – Christina Aguilera & Lewis Hamilton
  • World in Union – Ladysmith Black Mambazo (feat. PJ Powers)
  • Screen Kiss – Thomas Dolby
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Televised – Gil Scott Heron
  • History – Shea Freedom
  • Sticks and Stones – Jackie Shane
  • Hurricane Season – Trombone Shorty
  • 007 – A Fantasy Bond Theme – Barry Adamson

Mind Meld Returns

One of the fun features of the late, lamented SF Signal was the Mild Meld column, in which various people were invited to opine independently on some topic. I participated in several of them and was always happy to do so if I had something worth saying.

I am pleased to report that Mind Meld now has a new lease of life. It has moved across to Nerds of a Feather where it is once again edited by Paul Weimer. The debut column asks people to name their favourite Hugo-winning novel. If you want to know which book I picked, you’ll need to read the column.

As a hint, Charlie Jane Anders and I picked the same book, so we must be right, yes?

The ESFS Awards

The annual European Science Fiction Society Awards were presented as part of the closing ceremony of TitanCon yesterday. Congratulations are due to Carolina Gómez Lagerlöf for getting through the entire suite of awards in under 20 minutes, and to Peadar O’Guilin who shouldered most of the burden of hosting the event as Pat Cadigan has Con Crud.

The full list of award winners, as per Awards Administrator Carol Connolly, is as follows:

European Grand Master : Ian McDonald (United Kingdom)

HALL OF FAME
Best Author : Charles Stross (United Kingdom)
Best Artist Nicolas FRUCTUS (France)
Best Magazine : WINDUMANOTH (Spain)
Best Publisher : Future Fiction (Italy)
Best Promoter : Petra Bulić (Croatia)
Best Translator : Mihai-Dan Pavelescu (Romania)

The ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS:
Best Work of Fiction : The Spire Trilogy, by Laurent GENEFORT (France)
Best Work of Art : Daniel Egneus’ Cover for Neil Gaiman (Sweden)
Best Fanzine : Find a Lumberjack/НайдиЛесоруба (Russia)
Best Internet Publication, other than a fanzine : ORIGEN CUÁNTICO (Spain)
Best Dramatic Presentation : Game of Thrones (Croatia, Iceland, Malta, Spain, United Kingdom)
Best Work For Children : Begone the Raggedy Witches by Celine Kiernan (Ireland)

The CHRYSALIS AWARDS
Croatia : Dalen Belić
France : Floriane SOULAS
Ireland : Sarah Davis Goff
Italy : Franci Conforti
Russia : Andrey Kokoulin / Андрей Кокоулин
Spain : MAR GOIZUETA
Sweden : Gunilla Jonsson and Michael Petersén
Ukraine : Svitlana Taratorina

And the official website is here.

Obviously I am absolutely delighted for Ian and Charlie, both of whom I know well I am equally delighted for Petra Bulić and Francesco Verso. Petra has been busy in Croatian fandom, and internationally, as long as I can remember. Some of you may remember her from the Zagreb in 1999 Worldcon bid. Francesco is the person behind Future Fiction. As well as being a tireless champion of fiction in translation, he is also enormously kind. He helped out both Alisa Krasnostein and I by giving Twelfth Planet and Wizard’s Tower space on his table at Eurocon and Worldcon respectively.

The illustration above is one of the covers that Daniel Egneus did for Neil Gaiman. George presumably has rather a lot of awards for A Game of Thrones, but it is nice to be able to give out an ESFS Award that is the work of multiple European countries.

The Chrysalis Awards are encouragement awards for fans just starting out on their careers. I hope to hear a lot more from them in future.

Whither Fanzine?

This year’s Hugo Administrator, Nicholas Whyte, has written a lengthy blog post looking at some of the interesting features of this year’s voting. The thing that sticks out to me most obviously from the post is his comments on the Fanzine category.

The lack of enthusiasm for Best Fanzine is notable. We were surprisingly close to not giving a Best Fanzine award in both 2019 Hugos and 1944 Retro Hugos this year. The total first preference votes for Best Fanzine finalists other than No Award in both cases was 26.9% of the total number of votes cast overall (833/3097 and 224/834).

The threshold is 25%, so with 59 fewer votes for 2019 or 16 fewer votes for 1944 we would have had to No Award the category. Best Fanzine was also the category with the best percentage for No Award in the final runoff for both 2019 and 1944. (84.4% in 2019, 81.7% in 1944.)

On Twitter Aidan Moher has been calling for more appreciation for video fanzines. (Booktube appears to be the name for such things.) People making them certainly deserve recognition, but they belong in the Fancast category which is for:

Any generally available non-professional audio or video periodical devoted to science fiction, fantasy, or related subjects

Aidan also suggests collapsing Fanzine and Fancast to create a single category of fan-created works. Much as I would like to see fewer Hugo categories, I can’t see that happening. Neither the podcast people nor fanzine fandom would be happy.

There is, of course, also the question of what we are judging. Abi Brady mischieviously suggested that we also collapse Best Novel and BDP: Long Form, which makes the point very neatly. The trouble is that on the Internet it is very easy to mix media. Most “newspapers” already include video and podcasts in their websites. When I started Salon Futura I deliberately set out to include all three formats: text, audio and video.

But that doesn’t solve the problem. What shall we do about Poor Little Fanzine? Well for starters you should all be nominating Rachel Cordasco’s magnificent Speculative Fiction in Translation. Hopefully we can also get a lot of folks doing fanzine reviews between now and the next nominating deadline. And finally, Salon Futura is still a thing. It is no longer semi-pro because I can’t afford to pay people. The website desperately needs a re-vamp. If I were to put all my book reviews and con reports on there, and maybe give it some sort of issue structure, it would most definitely be a fanzine. And then you would all have to rush around finding other fanzines to vote for, because no one wants me winning any more Hugos, do they?

(And yes, it would still include audio. You can’t expect me to pass up the chance to mess with the category police.)

Cancelling Campbell

In the wake of Jeannette Ng’s fantastic acceptance speech, lots of people on social media are asking whether John W Campbell’s name can be removed from the Best New Writer award.

The problem with this is that the award does not belong to WSFS. We merely administer it on behalf of Dell Magazines, who were the original publishers of Asimov’s and Analog. So WSFS cannot change the name of the award without risking them withdrawing funding for it.

The most obvious way forward is for people to write to Dell asking them to change the name of the award. Changing the name to the Dell Magazines Award for Best New Writer would solve multiple problems. It would get us away from any association with Campbell. It would give proper recognition to Dell for their sponsorship. And it would make it much less necessary for WSFS to keep having to explain why the award is Not a Hugo. So get writing, people, and please be polite about it.

Of course it is entirely possible that the senior management at Dell will refuse to do so. If they do the next step would be to bring a motion to the Business Meeting asking that we strike the Campbell from the list of awards, and replace it with a Hugo Award for Best New Writer that has exactly the same rules. That would doubtless make Dell unhappy, and be awkward for anyone involved with Asimov’s and Analog, but if the company refuses to budge we don’t have much choice.

There should be no additional burden on Worldcon for converting the Campbell to a Hugo, except the cost of one more trophy. All of the administration, including eligibility checking, is already done by the Hugo Administrators.

Updates: I have corrected the spelling of Jeannette’s name. Profuse apologies for the error.

Also, if you come here thinking that arguing about the meaning of the word “fascist” can somehow absolve Campbell of all of the awful things he did then I will a) laugh at you; and b) not approve your comment because I will assume you are trolling.

Worldcon #77 – Day 5

I woke up from not enough sleep to discover that social media was aflame with drama at the Hugo Losers’ Party. I’m still not entirely sure what went on, but Twitter is full of ranting by people who know nothing of the history of the event so I will try to get to the bottom of it before I post a con report.

The Hugo Losers’ Party has traditionally been the ugly duckling of Worldcon. For reasons lost in the midst of time it has normally been run by the up-coming Worldcon, which in this case would mean New Zealand. The up-coming Worldcons hated this, because it was a major expense and trouble when they had no money and were exhausted from the bid campaign. It was always a terrible party with a minimal budget and too-small room that was ferociously gate-kept by SMOFs who felt it was their duty to police who was worthy of entry.

Then the Puppies happened, and GRRM decided to throw a big party for the convention to give out his Alfie Awards to people who should have won Hugos but didn’t because we’d had to No Award most of the categories. Although the Puppies have been well and truly routed, George holding the party has become a tradition. This is an example of Cheryl’s Second Law of Fandom in action: anything that has happened twice is a Sacred and Holy Tradition that must be retained at all costs.

In the old days, Hugo Loser Party nonsense wasn’t a big deal. If some snooty SMOF decided that you weren’t worthy of your place on the ballot and wouldn’t let you in, you could just move on to one of the other parties that would probably have more and better food and booze. But George runs his parties at off-site locations and if you can’t get in, which happened to a bunch of finalists last night, you are left outside in your award ceremony finery feeling cold and wet and miserable, with no choice but to get a cab back to your hotel.

Quite why so many finalists were turned away isn’t clear. It isn’t the fault of the Dublin committee, because they have nothing to do with the party other than pass on invitations to the finalists. It probably isn’t the fault of the NZ people because these days I understand that organisation of the event is passed on to people who work for George. People on Twitter inevitably blamed George personally (and doubtless complained that he should be writing books rather than running parties). The fault may lie with the staff at the venue. It is all a bit murky.

What is clear is that a whole lot of people who were not Hugo finalists had got into the party long before the Hugo Ceremony finished. This is the publishing industry in action. If there is a swank party going, publishing people will find a way to get into it. And the fact that they did led to the venue being (allegedly) overcrowded and people being turned away.

It is also clear that a whole lot of people who were Hugo finalists, many of them for the first time, had a really shitty experience.

I confess to being a little lacking in sympathy here. The year I won my first Hugo I had been blacklisted from programming at the convention because the head of Programming thought I wasn’t worthy of being on the ballot. And after I won a rant attacking me was posted on the convention’s website by convention staff. (Deb Geisler, who was the con chair, ordered it taken down as soon as she heard about it.) However, I too hate standing out in the cold and rain wearing party clothes so I can imagine what it must have been like.

I’ll have some more thoughts on how we fix this for subsequent years when I write the con report, but a core issue is that throwing a good party is really expensive and the number of finalists you have to cater for has been going up year-on-year.

Meanwhile there was still a day of convention to go. I sold the last copy of The Green Man’s Foe this afternoon so Wizard’s Tower officially sold out. That’s 45 paperbacks and 5 hardcovers in total. As I had an unexpected vacancy in my luggage I offered to take the remaining Twelfth Planet stock to Belfast with me to sell there. If you are going to be at Eurocon, do come to the Future Fiction table to see what I have.

The rest of the day was spent on things like wrangling luggage, saying goodbye to people I’m not going to see again for years, and listening to people say what a wonderful time they had at the convention.

I am now in Belfast. I will be here for a week. The next two days will be mainly sleep, work and tourism. The Eurocon starts on Thursday.

Worldcon #77 – Day 4

Today was mostly a do nothing day. I didn’t have any panels, and I knew I needed to save my energy for a long evening covering the Hugo Award Ceremony.

I did spend some time in the morning shopping for whiskey, which was very successful. I then spent quite a bit of time just being off my feet. That allowed me to have a chat with Roz & Jo about Airship 2, which is progressing nicely.

To the great relief of all concerned, the Tech team in Dublin had managed to acquire a dedicated wifi connection for Kevin, Susan and I to use for the live coverage of the ceremony. Special thanks are due to Rick Kovalcik for doing all of the leg work on this.

Aside from some rather dodgy speech-to-text conversion software, the ceremony went off very well. The winners seemed very popular except in the Puppyverse. A few of them were even things I had voted first. The full results, with a link to The Numbers, are available here. Kevin and I have been busy getting the official Hugos website updated, so we are not at any of this evening’s parties.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I am going to read those voting breakdowns.

Worldcon #77 – Day 2

Well that was eventful.

I was fortunate enough to be able to sleep in a bit this morning because the first thing I had to do was be at the convention centre for 11:00pm as Juliet McKenna was doing a signing. That went very well. We sold a whole bunch of books, both The Green Man’s Heir and The Green Man’s Foe. We were very happy.

Immediately after that I was moderating a panel on promoting translations. I was very pleased with that. I had a very knowledgeable panel, including Neil Clarke and Francesco Verso who are doing far more to promote translations than I am. We had an interesting discussion on how awards might help, what sort of awards were needed, and why the proposal for a Best Translated Novel Hugo is a bad idea.

While we were doing that, the Friday Business Meeting was in progress. While they rarely do Objection to Consideration any more, they can ask for a motion to be deferred for a year to allow more discussion to take place, and that’s what happened to the translation Hugo proposal. I do hope that the people who put it forward will listen to people in the translation community over the next 12 months rather than stubbornly bring back the same flawed proposal in Wellington.

During the panel, Julie Nováková said that she’d like someone to revive the SF&F Translation Awards (or something like them). The charitable organisation that we set up for them has been disbanded, but the website still exists and I’d be happy to talk to anyone who wants to take this on.

After the panel and a quick lunch I headed down to the other venue to check out the tech situation for tomorrow. I have to give my robotics talk in one of the Odeon rooms at The Point and I needed to make sure everything would work. These rooms are effectively overflow programming space, which is great because the con is much bigger than anyone initially expected. However, they are actually in an Odeon. The rooms are part of a multi-screen cinema. This means that the seating is great, but there isn’t much of it. Screen 4, where I will be, only seats about 80 people. What’s more, there is a queueing system. You can’t go and wait outside the room. If you don’t go through the official queueing process then you may not get in. Please bear this in mind if you are coming to listen to me tomorrow.

While I was at The Point I had a look around the Art Show which is very impressive. There are a lot of really good artists in there, the show itself is very big, and the large amount of natural lighting it gets is ideal. I have finally got to see some of Emma Newman’s art in the canvas, so to speak, and it is very pretty.

Unfortunately I also managed to lose my phone while I was down at The Point. I put this down to being very tired by that point and not thinking straight. Fortunately I was able to cadge favours of friends (thanks to Kevin & Andy and to Alan) and get the deivice disconnnected, and I didn’t have anything irreplaceable on it anyway, but it does mean that no one can phone me right now. I will go and talk to the phone company tomorrow, but I may not be able to get a new phone with my old number until I arrive in Belfast next week. If any of you are in the habit of contacting me on WhatsApp please bear this in mind.

Back at the Convention Centre, I inhaled a sandwich and headed off to moderate a panel marking the 50th anniversary of The Left Hand of Darkness. I was pleased with that, so thanks again to a great group of panelists. We all agreed that the book is very relevant, even if part of modern society are less hidebound in their attitudes to sex and gender than poor Genly Ai.

During the panel Nick Hubble mentioned Genly’s suspicion that the Gethenians were genetically engineered from baseline humans sometime far in the past. Genly thinks this was an experiment of some sort, but we only have his word for it and the details appear to be lost in the mists of Hainish history. I would love to see someone write a novel that tells the story of how the Gethenians came to be. Obviously there would be copyright issues, not to mention the jaw-dropping terror of trying to write a novel in one of Le Guin’s worlds, put I’m putting the idea out there just in case.

That was me done for the day. Thankfully I don’t have to go to the Business Meeting tomorrow to fight the translation Hugo proposal, so I have time to see about the phone situation. Over lunch I am being interviewed by Scott Edelman for his Eating the Fantastic podcast. Then it is off to The Point to give the Prehistory of Robotics talk.

We may have a solution to the issue of internet access for the Hugo Award Ceremony coverage, but there’s no guarantee that it will work. I must say that I am deeply disappointed at how successive Worldcons continue to not care in the slightest whether we are able to do this coverage. Despite Josh Beatty trying really hard for us, the Award Ceremony Director simply doesn’t have enough clout to make this happen. We have to get made an official part of the convention staff, with someone on the committee who can fight to get us what we need from the outset. I think WSFS Division is the only logical place for us, because we are an official WSFS function. I shall probably rant about this again after the convention.

Worldcon #77 – Day 1

Well that was full-on. Welcome to Worldcon!

This morning’s main job was to collect the copies of The Green Man’s Foe and get them on sale in the Dealers’s Room. Huge thanks to Catie Murphy for helping with delivery, and to Francesco Verso for giving me space on his table. If you are at Worldcon and want a copy you can find Francesco at the back of the room sandwiched between Luna Press and the people will the big line of black t-shirts.

I know at least a third of the copies have gone already, which is excellent news.

My next job was to find out where Kevin and I, and Susan de Guardiola, would be based for the Retro-Hugo coverage. There were only a couple of people on the convention staff with that knowledge, and it took a while to track them down. Huge thanks to Josh Beatty for giving us our own office.

In between all this I got to a few panels. The convention centre is lovely, and almost right-sized for the convention. One of my Finnish friends told me that she had queued for two panels and not been able to get in, but I got to all of the panels I wanted without much queueing. There’s a major issue with traffic flow on the Wicklow floor, but the convention is working hard to get something in place. Everything else seems to be working fine, though I haven’t got to the other venue yet.

I went to two panels on translation, which were interesting, and one very well attended panel for queer fans, which was heartwarming. I’ll be doing another translation panel tomorrow. It is good to see so much cross-cultural stuff happening.

This evening saw the Opening Ceremonies and Retro-Hugo Awards. Kevin and I made a decision to do live coverage of this as a trial run for Sunday. The software we normally use for these things is no longer available, and we wanted to give the replacement a run out before the Big Show. We are so glad that we did, because in the process we discovered that the Internet connection we had is terrible. We barely made it through the evening. On Sunday, when the auditorium will be full of people using their phones to do their own coverage, and thereby using up bandwidth, it will be impossible. So we have 2.5 days to find an alternative connection. I do hope the convention has something it can let us have.

The WSFS Agenda

With Worldcon almost upon us, it is time once more to descend into that pit of despair, the WSFS Business Meeting. What delights of Parliamentary Procedure are in store for us this year?

The Agenda for this year’s Business Meetin is available here. There doesn’t seem to be anything urgent to debate on Friday. The days when it was necessary to pack the Friday meeting to prevent conservative fans from squashing important motions with Objection to Consideration motions seem to be finally over. Besides, there’s nothing I’m desperate to see get discussed.

Much of the main business, which will be debated on Saturday morning, is either ratification of items passed in San José, or clean-up of the Constitution. The Nit-Picking & Fly-Specking Committee has been doing its usual fine job of spotting side effects of new regulations and quietly proposing simple ways of bringing everything into line. However, there are a couple of new proposals that will doubtless spark debate.

Motion D1: Clarification of Worldcon Powers, is a NP&FS Motion, but it is one that is personally important to me. What it does it make it clear than an individual Worldcon has no power over the Hugo Awards from previous years, administered by other Worldcons. For years after I won my first Hugo, people were saying that an “error” had been made, and that the award should be rescinded because I should never have been allowed on the ballot in the first place. I don’t want this to happen to other people.

Motion D7: Five and Five, would remove the system of having 6 finalists each year. This was put in place as one of the anti-Puppy measures. Those who study the voting figures claim that is has very little effect, and the EPH system is sufficient protection going forward. But why remove it? I have heard people saying that it is just to make life easier for Hugo Administrators. I don’t think that’s the argument being made. The main issues are the amount of reading that has to be done by voters, and the size of the pre-Hugo reception. In practice 6 finalists isn’t a huge problem for voters except in categories that involve novels. But with the Lodestar we have two novel categories, and we have Series which is a nightmare for voters to judge fairly. So there’s something of a point there. As to the reception, this has always been a nightmare for Worldcons, both in terms of the expense and finding a suitable venue that is both large enough and close enough to the auditorium. That nightmare will have been getting steadily worse as we have added more categories. I can quite see why those who run the event hate the 6 Finalists rule.

Motion D9: Non-transferability of Voting Rights, is one that I think will divide the meeting. I can see merits both ways. Personally I am generally in favour of anything that strengthens the bond between the member and WSFS. People buying a membership of Worldcon tend to see themselves as members of that Worldcon, not members of WSFS, when in fact they are both. Obviously there will be old time fans who will see this as creeping corporatisation of WSFS, but I think the time when a cry of, “To the Barricades! No WSFS Inc!!!”, could pack the meeting are long gone. Where I think this motion will attract opposition is from people who see it as taking away their right to re-sell their voting rights, which it does. But as long as membership of WSFS is relatively cheap I don’t have a problem with that. It will enlarge the voter pool, which is a good thing.

There may be some very convoluted arguments about whether Supporting Memberships and WSFS Memberships are, or should be, the same thing. It is complicated.

Motion D11: Clear Up the Definition of Public in the Artist Categories Forever, is all very well in theory, but is certainly not going to achieve what it says on the tin. There are always going to be new wrinkles in definitions as long as the pro/fan distinction exists. All we can hope for is that this reduces the number of issues. I have no idea whether it will.

Motion D12: Best Translated Novel, is one I’d like to speak to if I am still at the meeting (I have a 12:00 appointment elsewhere). No one I know in the translation community is in favor of this. Neil Clarke has laid into it here. Knowing how much the WSFS community hates the idea of a work being eligible in more than one Hugo category, I fully expect there to be an amendment to this proposal that would also bar translated novels from the Novel category, and possibly Series and the Lodestar as well. Even if such an amendment doesn’t get through, I think that the existence of this category will encourage people to think that translated works are not eligible for any other Hugo category. It is hard enough now to persuade people that they are eligible, even though they always have been. We don’t want to be stuck in a ghetto, so please don’t pass this.

Motion D13: Best Game or Interactive Experience, is something I think will have to happen at some stage in some form. I’m not a sufficient expert on the game industry to tell whether this is a good solution or not. Given that the last trial of a game category was 13 years ago, I’d like to see a trial category run before we make anything like this permanent.

ESFS Awards Finalists

Those of you who are attending the Eurocon in Belfast after Worldcon will get to see the ESFS Awards in action. They are a very different beast from the Hugos, necessarily so because the members of the convention are unlikely to be familiar with most of the finalists because they don’t speak the necessary languages. Instead the ESFS Awards work on a system of national delegations, thereby ensuring equal representation for each member country. The full rules are available here.

The finalists for this year’s ESFS Awards have been announced, as reported by Europa SF. I don’t have a vote, but I am familiar with some of the finalists. Here are a few quick comments.

In Best Author, most people will be familiar with Charlie Stross. That may not count in his favour as delegates tend to mark down people who write in English precisely because they are so much more likely to be translated. I’m hoping for a win for Maria Turtschaninoff who has written some amazingly good feminist fantasies. I’d be happy with a win by Aleksandar Žiljak as well because he has a story in the anthology of Croatian SF that I published.

In Best Artist I’d love my friend Ninni Aalto to win, but it is a tough field with a bunch of professional illustrators, some of whom undoubtedly work internationally.

In Best Publisher I’m rooting for my pals Pete Crowther (PS Publishing) and Francesco Verso (Future Fiction). Pete has a huge track record, while Francesco deserves recognition for his commitment to translations.

In Best Promoter I note that Petra Bulić has worked tirelessly for Croatian fandom for decades (who remembes the Zagreb in ’99 Worldcon bid?), but Toni Jerrman absolutely deserves all of the awards for Tähtivaeltaja.

The only one of the Translator finalists that I know personally is Marko Fančović. Fingers crossed for him.

In Work of Fiction I’d like to highlight Mats Strandberg’s Slutet. Lots of people at Åcon were enthusing about this book. It has a 4-star rating from over 100 reviews on Goodreads. Mats tells me that an English translation has been made because there’s interest from TV companies. It needs an English language publisher.

If you happen to be a member of a national delegation, please take note.

Congratulations, Juliet!

Here’s a piece of news I have been sitting on excitedly for a few days now. The Green Man’s Heir is a finalist in the Best Fantasy Novel category at the British Fantasy Awards. Naturally I think this is thoroughly deserved. Juliet is a great writer. She was a finalist in the BSFA Awards last year in the Non-Fiction category (for an essay in Gender Identity and Sexuality in Current Fantasy and Science Fiction, a book which won Non-Fiction in the BFS Awards), but this is her first major fiction nod since 2000 when The Thief’s Gamble placed 5th in the Locus Award for First Novel. This has been way too long in coming.

Congratulations are also due to Ben Baldwin whose magnificent cover has played a huge part in the book’s success. And to editor, Toby Selwyn, because everyone needs an editor and Toby certainly made the book better.

I am, of course, irrationally pleased that a book that draws its inspiration from a legend of the wild wood is up for the Robert Holdstock Award.

This is the first time that any book I have published has been up for a major award. I am absolutely delighted about it. It shows that even the smallest presses can produce great fiction. And more importantly it shows that the original premise of Wizard’s Tower — the idea that previously successful writers whose sales have taken a dip are not over the hill and can produce great work again if properly supported — is indeed correct. Mainstream publishers please take note.

Obviously I will be in Glasgow for FantasyCon. This will involve a certain amount of rearranging schedules because I was supposed to be elsewhere that weekend. But somehow I have to be at that award banquet.

Congratulations, Tade

The winner of the 2019 Arthur C Clark Award was announced last night. I am absolutely delighted that the prize went to Tade Thompson. I’ve been telling people about Rosewater for over 2 years, and of course it won the Nommo in 2017. It was also a Campbell Award finalist in 2017 (that’s the SF novel award, not the new writer one). Sometimes it can take a book a while to break into the big time.

The upside of this is that I have a couple of interviews with Tade in which he talks about the book.

This one is from 2017. The sound quality is a bit poor, but there’s more about Rosewater in it.

This one is from FantasyCon last year.

Today on Ujima: Section 28, Masculinity, Hugos & Silence

It was a radio day for me today. I barely got the show together in time having been away over the weekend and had much of yesterday hijacked by the Hugos, but I got there in the end.

In the first half hour I played an interview I did over the weekend with Sue Sanders, the founder of Schools Out and LGBT History Month. There has been a lot of talk here in the media about the need for a return to something called Section 28, which attempted to ban the mention of anything to do with LGBT people in schools. Thankfully Parliament has refused to turn the clock back, but lots of the people I get in training courses have never heard of Section 28 so I figured that having Sue, who was in the forefront of the fight against it, explain what went down, would be useful.

Next up I had a studio guest, Elias Williams of ManDem, an arts organisation for young black men. Last week I had been on a panel on the future of feminism at UWE (along with the brilliant Finn McKay). Elias had been on it too, and having heard him speak I knew I wanted him on the radio. Young black men are routinely demonised in the media, and it is wonderful to have someone so articulate and sensible standing up for them.

In the third slot I rambled about the Hugos. There are loads of black writers on the ballot this year, and people of colour in general. In particular 3 of the 6 Lodestar finalists are written by black women, and the Campbell finalists are mostly women of color, and one non-binary person of color. This is very promising for the future.

And finally I played part of my interview with Rachel Rose Reid from the LGBT History Month event in Bristol. This was about the Arthuian legend, Le Roman de Silence, which is basically 13th Century French feminist fantasy. It really is remarkable how modern the themes of that book are. I note that Rachel will be in Bristol again with the show on April 28th. Sadly I’m teaching one of Cat Rambo’s writing courses that evening. She’s also in Frome on the 12th, but that’s sold out. Phooey.

You can listen to the whole show via the Ujima Listen Again service here.

The playlist for the show is as follows:

  • School Day – Chuck Berry
  • We Are Family – Sister Sledge
  • It’s a Man’s World – James Brown
  • Word Up – Cameo
  • Pynk – Janelle Monáe
  • Crazy, Classic Life – Janelle Monáe
  • Mirror in the Bathroom – The Beat
  • Ali Baba – Dreadzone

My thanks as always to Ben, my engineer, and to all of my guests.