A Hugo For YA Books?

One of the more common suggestions when people are thinking about potential new Hugo Award categories is that there should be a special award for YA books, or children’s books, or both. Mostly such suggestions some to nothing, but this year a motion will be put before the WSFS Business Meeting by Chris Barkley, who has a fine track record in guiding Hugo rules changes through the SMOFish minefield. The key elements of Chris’s proposal are as follows:

  1. That the category should be open to both YA books and those aimed at younger children;
  2. That the category should be for a “book” (presumably published in any medium) as “novels” aimed at younger readers are often below the 40,000 word minimum required for the Best Novel category;
  3. That a work may not be nominated in both the Best Novel and Best YA/Children’s Book category.

The last point is key because one of the things that really upsets the Business Meeting is the prospect of a person getting nominations in multiple categories for the same work, though I think, given the length issue, that it should actually say any of the four fiction categories, not just Best Novel.

Chris doesn’t specify how a work would be allocated to a category if it got enough votes to qualify for YA and a fiction category. However, there are at least two possibilities for resolving the issue. The author could be asked which category she wanted to accept the nomination for, or it could be based on the number of nominations received.

Some people will doubtless ask how the voters know whether a book is YA or not. That’s basically down to the voters. Administrators will place the book in the category where it gets the most nominations, and if it does get nominations in more than one they should combine them. So, for example, if a book were to get 16 nominations in Best YA and 5 in Best Novel, it would be put into Best YA, and the 5 nominations for Best Novel moved over to Best YA, provided that the people nominating in Best Novel did not also nominate it in Best YA, and that the person submitting the ballot had not used all of their 5 YA nominations on others books.

There is, of course, the argument that there are too many Hugo categories already. This is really only an issue with the length of the ceremony, which is pretty much a solved problem these days. The cost of the rockets is negligible compared to the cost of a modern Worldcon.

The real questions we should be asking are as follows:

  1. Are there enough books published each year to provide a broad choice for the voters?
  2. Is there likely to be plenty of variation in the nominees from year to year?

My own view is that the answer to both of those questions is Yes.

We might also ask whether there are any potential useful side-effects. Here are some ideas:

  1. It will shut up some of the people who complain that the lack of a YA Hugo is “not fair”;
  2. It will shut up some of the people who complain about YA books getting into the Best Novel category;
  3. It will please the people who think the Hugos should concentrate on books;
  4. It will engage directly with a growth area in publishing;
  5. It will get readers interested in the Hugos at an early age;
  6. It will add another 5 books to the fabulous Hugo Voter Packet.

The proposal is currently co-sponsored by Mr. Steve Barber of Long Beach, CA and Ms. Juli Hanslip of Lexington, SC.

Chris has asked for discussion on his Facebook page. Doubtless discussion is also taking place on a certain mailing list that I’m not supposed to mention because its very existence is supposed to be kept secret from non-SMOFish types least ordinary fans want to have a say on how WSFS is run. Those of you who are not on Facebook or on any secret mailing lists may discuss here. Kevin will be available to answer technical questions.

60 thoughts on “A Hugo For YA Books?

  1. I didn’t liked the proposal very much, buy you convinced me with:

    “6. It will add another 5 books to the fabulous Hugo Voter Packet.”

    I’m all for it 🙂

  2. Chris’ Facebook page makes it impossible for the discussion to include people who are not his “friends.” Not the most productive way to start an open discussion.

    I agree that the details of exclusion have to be worked out, and I think requiring the author to decline one of the conflicting nominations is a fair solution. It does, though, open up the can of worms when a giant-level author whose publishing house and agent can’t be bothered to respond with a decision; perhaps disqualification?

    1. I get a 404 when I click that link. Does it even work?

      And are Mr. Barkley, Mrs. Hanslip, and Mr. Barber members of Renovation?

          1. Kevin, I can show you a screen shot of what I’m getting. (Or not getting, to be more precise.)

            This needs to be taken to a dedicated page. This has the potential to get heated, and we’ll get to re-live the Elizabeth Moon discussion all over again.

            Are the three sponsors members of any standing Worldcon?

          2. Eva: The links work fine for me as well, and several people appear to be commenting successfully there. I appreciate that you are having technical difficulties, but it looks like the problem is at your end. There’s no evidence that Chris’s FB presence has been removed.

            As to whether the proposers of the change have Worldcon memberships, that’s not really relevant because they have until August to buy them. As I’m sure you know, Chris Barkley has attended many Worldcons and actively participates in the Business Meeting. There’s no reason to suspect he won’t attend Reno.

          3. I’ve received an offlline message that he has me blocked and that is why I can’t read the thread. I guess I could make up a Facebook persona with a fake email address to circumvent that.

  3. I think that if the author doesn’t respond you can use the number of nominations in each category as a tie breaker. Or you could look to see what the publisher had put on the cover.

  4. I think this is a great idea – it’s really an expanding market! And as an agent, I can say that I would definitely make sure my client responded. 🙂

    1. Jo: I’m sure that the vast majority of authors would respond without any prompting. I suspect that Andy was thinking of a certain well known author of a best-selling series of children’s books who has yet to acknowledge that she won a Hugo for one of them.

      1. Although J. K. Rowling may not have acknowledged her Hugo win to the WSFS community, she has listed it on the “About the Author” page of at least one of her later books.

          1. I would be surprised if a publisher would include anything in the “About the Author” page that wasn’t at least approved by the author or the author’s representative.

  5. I am generally against more Hugo awards as I feel it dilutes and diminishes the brand somewhat. Are there plans for YA short fiction Hugos too? The regular Fiction Hugos encompass a range of writing ranges from short story to full novel so should the YA category not follow suit to make it truly equitable and avoid it being considered as a “Fisher-Price” addition to the Award roster?

    I would like to see fewer Hugos issued each year and, when I was eligible I voted against the recent diminuition of the Best Editor Hugo award with the long/short form split. My perfect Hugo setup includes reducing the existing fiction Hugos to two, for long and short fiction (breakpoint to be decided but maybe around the 40,000 word mark). Adding extra categories at all is, I think, generally a bad idea.

    1. There are definitely people who believe that the more categories there are, the less value there is in a Hugo. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you are diluting the brand. From a marketing point of view, if a new category can bring in a significant amount of interest from people who had paid little attention to the Hugos before then it will increase the value of the brand.

      I think it is arguable that Best Graphic Story has diluted the brand because a) it doesn’t appear to have attracted much interest from comics fandom; b) the existing Hugo voters are fairly poorly informed about eligible works; and c) we are seeing many of the same people getting nominated each year.

      So the question here is whether a Best YA category would be seen as a joke, or whether it would be highly competitive. Possibly, like Graphic Story, it should come with an initial sunset clause.

    2. Robert:

      I applaud you being consistent in calling for the elimination of categories, but, why stop there? Eliminate all of the categories except Best Novel and it would raise the prestige even more, wouldn’t it?

      Yes, that’s a reductio ad absurdum argument, but continuing even further, the theory that the prestige of the Hugo Awards is inversely proportional to the number of categories implies that if there were no awards at all, they’d be infinitely prestigious. Since that doesn’t make sense to me, I find myself rejecting the general argument that all proposals to increase the number of categories are bad based on the “dilution” argument. As I’ve said many times before, the existence of the Academy Awards for Best Music doesn’t make the Best Picture Oscar less valuable. For that matter, neither does Best Director, which is even more closely related.

      However, I am troubled by any category that clearly overlaps several existing categories, and this proposal does just that. It doesn’t split an existing category into pieces like the Best Dramatic Presentation or Best Editor splits did. It creates a new category for written fiction that is an overlay, since clearly any work eligible for this category would be eligible in one of the written-fiction categories as well. I don’t think that’s a great idea. The gray zone at a category length boundary is unavoidable; creating more such zones based solely on the content of the work is going to make the Administrators’ job that much harder and subject them to even more criticism than anything they do already.

      (At least right now Hugo Award Administrators can more or less ignore the crackpots who inevitably scream that the “judges” must rescind/extend nominations/awards to works/people because the works/people are horrible/wonderful.)

      1. Kevin: It actually seems to me that the relationship between “number of Hugo categories” and “prestige of the Hugos” is nonlinear. Obviously, the degree of prestige that the Hugo has is subjective, so we can’t literally measure it, but we can make some guesses.

        If there were no Hugo categories at all, the Hugo would have no prestige (at least as to works published after the Hugos were abolished) because it wouldn’t exist.

        On the other hand, if there were a thousand Hugo categories (say, “Best story between 6,500 and 6,549 words,” “Best story between 6,550 and 6,599 words,” etc.), the Hugo would not be particularly prestigious either (it would be too easy to be nominated or win due to the small number of eligible entries in each category).

        I do not think it is unreasonable for Robert Sneddon to believe that the current number is on the down side and that the prestige of the Hugos would be increased by decreasing the number of categories (but not to zero). At least, he is not the only person who thinks that way.

        1. By “on the down side” I meant on the down side of the prestige curve on the graph, where each additional category reduces the Hugo’s prestige.

        2. I do not think it is unreasonable for Robert Sneddon to believe that the current number is on the down side and that the prestige of the Hugos would be increased by decreasing the number of categories (but not to zero).

          I agree that it isn’t unreasonable. I can disagree with someone without saying that they’re unreasonable.

          At least, he is not the only person who thinks that way.

          Agreed again. But I suspect that if you were able to gather all of the people who say “there are too many categories” together and ask them “which categories should be eliminated,” that you’d get a highly-contradictory list with little or no consensus.

          As I wrote on my LiveJournal, I’ve considered introducing fifteen proposals that would individually repeal each category individually. I predict that none of them would pass, although all of them probably have opponents, even Best Novel. (The opponents there are those people who think the Hugos shouldn’t exist at all and would prefer to repeal all of Article 3 of the WSFS Constitution.) In fact, I suspect that few of the proposed repeals would even survive Objection to Consideration, whereby 2/3 of the members may vote without debate to kill a proposal upon its introduction.

          What I think we see with the “Too Many Hugos” argument is a variation of the Legislative Term Limits argument, whereby people agree that overall there are too many categories (too many incumbents being re-elected), but that they categories they personally support are good and must be retained (my own member of the legislature is good and I’ll vote to retain him/her).

          Back in 1994, there was an attempt to pass constitutional amendments that would have capped the number of Hugo Awards at a given level by prohibiting the introduction of constitutional amendments that would have the effect of increasing the total number of Hugo Award categories. One could of course get around this by repealing the constitutional amendment, but that would, in effect, make increasing the number of categories a four year proposition rather than a two-year one. None of the proposals, each of which capped the number of categories at different levels, was able to get a majority.

  6. I posted on Chris’s FB page, he is easily friended, but yes, the conversation should probably be moved to a more open forum.
    But I do agree that a YA or Children’s Hugo makes sense. We ran into the same problem in the Mythopoeic Society Award. There was lots of Books for the younger set that deserved award, but didn’t do well against Adult Books. They are usually not written the same way. But they are Still Wonderful and deserve award. So we created one. Note, we are Fantasy only, no SF.
    And it would make sense to create one for the Hugos as well. And defining it as “Book” with no length deals with the shorter books that are not novel length, but a Real Book none the less. There are very few short stories that are not in books for that level of award.
    As a parent and now grandparent, seeing the nomination/award will help in finding appropriate books for the kids.
    I love the idea.
    There are never enough awards, provided they all get enough recognition from the populous.

  7. I have to say that I like the proposal. It would give writers of both children and young adult fiction an opportunity to compete for awards specifically for them.

  8. I’m worried that this would ghettoize YA. I don’t think YA has an issue being nominated, given the history of the Hugos. And then you have the issue of it crossing not only into the novel (or novella) category, but also graphic novel & best related book. Where would you put Bone? Shaun Tan’s The Arrival?

    Also, the Hugos like to be concrete in terms of parameters–it’s hard enough to say, “this is a novel” or “this is a novella.” The term “book” is just too fuzzy.

    1. the Hugos like to be concrete in terms of parameters

      I’m not sure that they do. What I’ve observed over the year is that whenever a change to the Hugos is proposed various SMOFs obsess over nit-picky detail, insisting that the change cannot possibly work as the wording is too imprecise, and in the end we agree that precise wording is impossible. As Kevin is fond of saying, if the original Hugo categories were held up to the sort of scrutiny that happens these days we would not have the awards at all.

      And the divide between written fiction categories and Graphic Story is fairly clear. Books which use pictures as well as words to tell the story belong in Graphic Story. Chris’s proposal is for a new written fiction category.

  9. I think there is a third question to be asked: Do the Hugo voters read enough YA, or will they be motivated to read enough if this category is created, to produce enough nominations to make the category viable?

    1. That is a very good point. It is already quite difficult to read enough to make good nominations for the existing categories. In fact, I think that may be the problem with the Graphic Story category. There are LOTS of comicbooks and graphic novels coming out every month and it is almost impossible to keep track of all of them. And, in fact, it seems that last year nominations show that Hugo voters read comics almost only when they come from authors which are well-known in the field (Gaiman, Cornell…).

      It may be the case that YA books are more widely read among Hugo voters but if they aren’t then nominations could misrepresent the field and I think that is not a good thing.

      1. The Graphic Novel category is certainly a warning for people who expect a new category to dramatically broaden readership among existing voters immediately. Though I think a big complicating factor is that there are two works which are available free and globally online, and most of their competitors run stories which cover multiple issues or volumes which all have to be individually tracked down and paid for.

        OTOH, and this is a big extrapolation with only two years of data to go on, the also-ran list shows a noticeable broadening of attempted nominations, suggesting it may be pulling in people who previously didn’t participate. (Unfortunately, Aussiecon didn’t provide the number of nominating ballots in each category, so it’s not possible to tell directly if more individuals participated.)

        1. You’re right. Ongoing series are very difficult to follow (especially with Marvel and DC, where certain characters have 50 or more years of previous history) and it makes nominations for the Graphic Story category a bit harder.

          But I’m not that deep into comics (haven’t been reading seriously only for a year and a half) and I miss some quite well-known stories (Echo, Planetary, Air…) which were not even among the most nominated (according to the complete Hugo ballot).

          I think it is more a problem of “interest”. As of today, I think that the average Hugo voter is not that much interested in comics, or at least in comics which are not somehow related to literary SF/F (IMHO, of course).

          However, I find it plausible that with YA books it could be a completely different case, since it is a field which clearly overlaps with “maisntream SF/F” and a number of YA books have been nominated for Hugo awards in the past.

  10. Agreed. It is also possible that having a new category will increase participation from people who might not otherwise have cared, but that’s by no means certain. As Odo says, the fate of Graphic Story is a potential warning here. As I said to Robert, we may need a sunset clause here.

  11. I’d been meaning to read more YA, so I’m in favor of it, though I agree it should eliminate duplication in all fiction categories.

  12. I’ve been thinking a little bit more about the proposal and I see another potential problem. It could happen something similar to the Locus Awards First Novel and Best SF/Fantasy Novel categories. I mean, this year there’s been some controversy about whether The Windup Girl was “only” the Best First Novel or also the Best SF Novel. And something similar may happen with a YA and a Best Novel categories. For instance, The Graveyard Book won the Best Novel award in the Hugos 2009. With a YA category it could have been moved to that category and win a (somehow) “lesser” award.

    Hmmm, the more I think about it the less I like it…

  13. Looking at this from the other end, if we had this award, it would be an award for literature written and published for young adults but nominated and voted on by adult fans. (There are insignificant numbers of actual young adults nominating and voting in the Hugos, and that’s unlikely to change without huge other changes.) There are already YA awards — the Newbery is sufficiently well thought of that I’ve heard of it. SFWA have a YA award. The Mythopoeic Award do. The ALA do. What qualifications do we have, as fans, for judging YA fiction, when so few of us are young adults? We’d be judging it the same way as we do adult fiction, as stuff we want to read — well, OK, if that’s so, I see no sensible purpose in separating it out.

    Looking at the Locus Awards from 2002 when they introduced a YA category, there are certainly more than 5 worthy books every year. But I also see YA winners there that have been Hugo nominees and winners. I get the feeling that a separate award would do the opposite of honouring the really brilliant YA books, it would segregate them. People are talking about “diluting the brand” — a YA category wouldn’t be “the big one”, and if the book’s good enough for “the big one” why split it out? It’s like the New York Times making a YA Bestseller category to get rid of the Harry Potter books. If there’s good work happening in YA, we definitely haven’t been ignoring it in recent nominations.

    I’m not necessarily opposed to this. I am open to argument. I just think there are a lot of things to think about here.

    1. These are good points, Jo, and I’m not 100% convinced by the proposal either. As you say, good YA can and does win Best Novel. But there may be some chicken and egg issues here, in that if the Hugos are seen to be “ignoring” YA by not having a separate YA category (yes, I know that’s not really true, but it is an argument I see made a lot) then people who read YA (mainly teenagers) will take less interest in the Hugos.

      It is a marketing exercise. But, like Graphic Story, it may not work.

  14. There’s good logic for creating a YA award – even beyond Cheryl’s reasoning. One of the complaints I hear most consistently is about “the graying of fandom” – YA books are a solid way to make the Hugos more relevant to a younger audience, if presented correctly. Making a category for books aimed at younger audiences seems a logical choice for a market that’s clearly growing (and has been for a good decade or more now).

    An awful lot of YA is just barely 50K – and a good chunk comes in under that mark – making it impossible to be considered in the market (novel) for which it was written. Creating a YA category solves that issue as well.

    Would some book potentially get the “best YA” instead of the “best novel”? Possibly – but it would also serve to help School Librarians with lists of “good books” to read – beyond the Newberry ;>.

    1. OTOH, how many YA readers actually care about awards? The Newbery (one r, really) and such aren’t marketed toward actual young people; they exist to tell parents and librarians which books to buy.

  15. I’m amazed there hasn’t been a YA category since the beginning. I don’t think I’m the only fan who was brought up on YA sci-fi novels. Heinlein, Bradbury, Asimov, etc.

    The “dilution” argument is only valid for categories which stray from the core competency of the award, for instance I’d be opposed to a “Sparkly Vampires in Media” category, or one which rewards the best left-handed, red-headed graphic novelist. YA novel is definitely within the core competency of the Hugos.

  16. By the way, Cheryl, thank you for hosting this discussion.

    I hope the discussion on Facebook doesn’t turn out like the Elizabeth Moon kerfluffle where the owner of the page takes offense to being disagreed with, and shuts down discussion. It’s dead easy to make a dedicated FB page, I wonder why it wasn’t done?

  17. I do think this award is somewhat insulting to the YA market. We have told them in the past that we respect them so much we consider them as equals to the non-YA market so much so we allow them to compete in the Best Novel category and several times they have won. NOW we’re relegating them to their own sandbox so they don’t bother the grown-ups?

    But as long as we’re expanding the category, let me put in my bid for best serial novel set on a planet with multiple forms of humanity who change physical form. And let’s make it a Retro-Hugo for 35 years ago.

  18. I’m generally in favor of expanding the Hugos to encompass new (or just plain additional) means of SFnal activity which are sufficiently different from the existing ones — I support the Graphic Story Hugo, even if it does have some wrinkles to work out in terms of nominations. I’m on the fence about what to do with the podcast/fanzine kerfluffle, but I think that at some point in the next decade there will be enough non-dramatic, fannish A/V work going on that it will be possible to create a category for it.

    I don’t, however, see a need for a separate YA category, as YA fiction is darn near impossible to define, aside from the marketing choices of publishers. The availability of current categories in which it can — and sometimes does — win without controversy tells me that it’s already got a home. If most YA novels are under 50K, would increasing the lower bound of novel to 50K (combined with the fact that less “novelette” length adult fiction is published than the other category lengths) open up the novelette category to more YA books? I’d be more inclined to support that idea than the current proposal (and see it as a viable alternative to attempting to merge the fiction categories down to a more reasonable three).

    1. I’m inclined to agree with Warren. I enjoy YA fiction, but creating a YA Hugo has the potential to lead to a splintering of the Novel category. Time Travel novels haven’t won a Hugo in a while? Create a new Time Travel category. Space Opera? Why not one for them as well. Best Novel means Best across the spectrum of SF novels, regardless of sub-categorization.

      1. I’m not sure that you can argue simply on the basis that category splitting is bad. Best Fiction is already split into at least 4 categories, 5 if you count Graphic Story. We split Best Dramatic Presentation too. The argument should not be that splitting is bad per se, because unless you really believe that there should be only one fiction category it manifestly isn’t. The argument should center on issues such as whether the split is clearly defined enough to allow voters and administrators to agree, in most cases, where a work belongs; whether the split categories will be viable; and whether the split will enhance the profile of the awards.

  19. Hello,

    I was just reading through the beginning of the comments regarding my proposal here when I discovered (much to my chagrin) that my Facebook page locked to “Friends Only”

    My apologies to all; I will be opening my page to public comment for a limited time only, to the end of this month.

    I do want to caution anyone who wants to post that comments made on my page must be confined to ONLY THE SUBJECT AT HAND.

    Any violators will have their comment deleted and be blocked from further posts.

    Thank you for your interest.

    Chris M. Barkley

    1. I think the discussion is better served by commenting here, so EVERYONE can comment. Didn’t we learn from Elizabeth Moon the dangers of having the discussion on a personal site where the owner can control or delete comments?

    2. I signed up for facebook to view the discussion and I still can’t see it. Your link leads to a blank profile, and the last post on your wall is from April.

  20. I’m not yet convinced that the YA Hugo is justifiable. I’d like to see some evidence that there are worthwhile candidates that have been overlooked in the past. I would also like to see some discussion of what criteria we would expect these YA books to be judged by, and in what way that they differ from the other Hugo fiction categories. If there are differences in criteria does the Hugo electorate understand them? If there are none then why create a new category at all?

  21. I think this would set a dangerous precedent as it is based on genre category rather than length/form. If this passes, why not best fantasy novel, best SF novel, best cyberpunk novel etc.

    Best Graphic Story I think is different as a the combination of words and pictures of a “graphic novel”/comic book make it a different animal from a regular novel.

    YA novels have been nominated and even have won as best novel. So this seems unnecessary.

  22. The discussion has been about defining the category, how this sort of book already fits into various categories, and other inside considerations. To be honest I’d stopped following it.

    But I was chatting with the manager of my local bookstore yesterday and it occurred to me to ask if she thought if this Hugo would be a good idea. She said “Yes!” so quickly and emphatically it rocked me back on my heels. I asked for a brief explanation I could post here.

    Her reasoning is that while there are hundreds of awards almost none go to the books young adults actually read. A Hugo for childrens/YA books would change that. Those readers would finally have a solid basis for choosing books. It would also make them more aware of the Hugos which would help them choose from books that aren’t shelved in age-specific areas.

    Naturally we discussed it further, wandered off into other things, and talked for some time — we always do. But that’s it in a nutshell: this will help readers.

    Please note the past tense of “I’d been indifferent . . . ” After due consideration of what she’d said I’ve switched to “Okay, this should be done, how do we do it?”

    [In answer to various comments: before or at the Business Meeting I’m going to request an amendment to the proposal such that it includes a sunset clause. Adding a new Hugo isn’t something that should be done lightly: it’s far better to have an actual trial period that trying to guess the results.]

  23. While the state of the Graphic Novel category is not perfect, I very much support it. Frankly, I think it should have been introduced years ago, back when Watchmen won a special Hugo.

  24. Unfortunately, I got an FB message that the page was not currently available. Of course, I am blocked from Mr. Barkley’s FB page also. But I do have an opinion.
    If a book wins a Hugo, isn’t that good enough? In other words, will more children be attracted to a book because it is a YA Hugo, than would be to a book that has simply won a Hugo?
    Expanding the medis Hugo and adding a graphic novel Hugo makde sense because, as Ausir said, they are different art forms. Adding HUgos allows more items to win an award, but will it dilute the importance of the award if there are a great many of them?
    Thank you for providing this opportunity to comment.

  25. Oh, and I tried the link Mr. Barkley provided and it took me to someone else’s FB profile.

  26. Hi there:

    I think having a YA catagory in the HUgo’s is a good idea. We want the young people to read SF & F, and to understand the medium in hardback’s and paperback’s as well as just Graphic novels & cartoons on TV. So I’m voting YES! Please have a YA hugo.
    Thank you
    Patricia Williams King (I’ve been in fandom since 1978)

  27. I’ve given some thought to the comparison to the Graphic Story Hugo.

    The graphic story Hugo has augured towards graphic stories written by known F&SF authors and drawn by known F&SF artists, by the kind of creators who already involve themselves in Worldcon. Beyond that, there’s a vast sea of other comic books. I’m not sure, though, that’s a bad thing. I do think the graphic story Hugo would benefit from a split similar to the split for dramatic presentation, but serialized/standalone rather than long/short.

    And truly, in it’s early form, I’m not ready to call it “failed.” Best Pro Artist survived it’s tenure as the Best Michael Whelan award and has come out even stronger. Best Semiprozine seems to finally be growing beyond the Best Locus award. Graphic story needs a bit of time to grow up.

    Back to the YA proposal, though…

    I expect the YA Hugo would augur towards YA works by known F&SF authors. This is also not necessarily a bad thing. It would miss some works by authors who don’t also write “adult” works, but it would bring recognition to authors who might otherwise never be known as great writers of YA books.

    I’m a bit unclear on Petréa’s motivation for pointing out that other YA awards function as buying guides for librarians, bookstore managers and parents. I think it’s a good thing, as children’s and YA librarians guide young readers to books that are like what they’re already enjoying (at least mine did) and parents do buy books for their kids (although I was turned loose on bookstores with my own money early on). Introducing kids to YA works by authors who also write great adult material provides a nice continuity as kids mature.

    I guess what I’m saying is if a YA Hugo helps sell YA books and helps young readers continue the reading habit when they outgrow YA lit (or at least want to read more than just YA lit, some of us never quite outgrow it), then it’s a good thing, and raising the prestige of the Hugos overall is gravy.

    1. I’ve been into comics only for two years or so (compared to about 20 into SF), but even in that short period I can see something “strange” with the Graphic Story nominees. It is something similar to those lists of “the best SF novels” elaborated by people from outside the genre. You begin reading them and find names you have never heard before and others which are obviously missing. Brit Mandelo has expressed it much better than myself:

      “the Hugo voters aren’t big comic readers, and they will nominate work by (A)people they are comfortable with from other corners of the field or (B)webcomics that they can read for free, quality notwithstanding.”

      quoted from this post: http://britmandelo.livejournal.com/645427.html?view=486707#t486707

      However, I hope it gets better, as you say, since I love both comics and SF.

      Regarding the YA category, I guess the average Hugo voter is more well-read in YA literature and hopefully better nominations would come up, but I’m not so sure.

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