Some Thoughts on Nominations

The ill-fated women in the Hugos amendment (I’m not going to call it the “Joanna Russ Amendment” until I know that Joanna has sanctioned this – she is still alive and may not agree with the motion) is continuing to attract discussion around the blogosphere. Mostly this is good. I seconded the motion precisely to generate discussion, and I want discussion because I’m tired of the regular rants about how the Hugos are evil and sexist that happen every time the nominee lists come out. If something is wrong, we should discuss how we might fix it, and if nothing is wrong we should stop complaining.

However, some of the posts I have seen have been quite critical of Yonmei for being an extremist, which I think is somewhat unfair because her initial proposal (a year in which no men would be allowed on the ballot) was way more radical. She allowed herself to be talked down to a more reasonable position, whereas some other people were much less willing to talk. Also some of these posts seem to be rather missing the point, because they don’t understand the Hugo process very well.

One post that dismisses the motion as a bad thing is this one by Adrienne Martini on the Locus blog. It was a little surprising to me because if I’m not mistaken this is the Adrienne Martini who, back in 2007, roundly attacked the male dominance of that year’s Hugo nominee lists. She attributed this to sexism on behalf of the Yokohama Worldcon committee and demanded that something be done.

Martini’s post is headlined, “No one wants a pity Hugo”, which shows that she still doesn’t understand how the awards work very well. Nothing in Yonmei’s amendment would have automatically given women writers a Hugo. It would have given some a nomination, but in such cases the women would have had to battle it out in the final ballot against five male writers. Indeed, other people who have attacked Yonmei’s motion have suggested that it would have meant fewer women winners, because if people saw a woman on the ballot they would automatically assume she was there because of the special rule, not by right, and vote her down accordingly.

All of this misunderstands how nominations work. In the final ballot the nominees fight it out on a more-or-less equal footing. The voters generally make an effort to consider them all. But nominating is very different. It is quite impossible for anyone with nominating rights to consider all of the possibilities. (There probably isn’t anyone who reads enough languages to do so.) So the five nominees are by no means necessarily the five best candidates ranked in order. If they were there would be no need for a final ballot — we’d just pick the top-ranked nominee as happens in the Locus Awards.

The Hugo nominee process is an exercise in using the wisdom of crowds. The theory is that with a big enough number of nominators the works that get the most nominations will be those that are the best-liked. The process has acknowledged flaws, because some books don’t get noticed in time for people to nominate them. That’s why we have eligibility extensions. There is an inherent bias against books published late in the year that people may not have time to read, and possibly against books published very early in the year that people may have forgotten. We don’t do anything about this because the system of rolling eligibility that the Nebulas tried was so unpopular.

There are other issues too that people might think about looking at. Sometimes you get ties, so 6 or 7 nominees are listed. But sometimes you get a situation where 6 candidates are well ahead of the pack but the 6th-placed candidate doesn’t quite have enough votes to make a tie and so has to miss out. The cut-off point doesn’t have to be 5. There are other ways the nominee list could be worked out. I’ve seen plenty of situations where I have looked at the final nominations numbers are wished that the 6th-placed candidate had been on the ballot.

And remember, the work or person that gets the most nominating ballots is by no means certain of victory. There are plenty of occasions when that person does not win. I think it has happened to me in the past.

So this idea that the five nominees are fine and worthy, whereas any work that does not feature in that top five is not even fit to shine the nominees boots, is nonsense. We know that the nominations process is flawed. We have some patches already in place. We might consider others. The final text of Yonmei’s motion was an idea that I came up with in 10 minutes in the shower on the Thursday morning of Worldcon to head off an idea that was genuinely outrageous. With plenty of time to reflect and discuss, I am sure we can come up with something better. (Although of course if that idea doesn’t require us to change the mechanics of the process at all, so much the better.)

37 thoughts on “Some Thoughts on Nominations

  1. The whole proposal is immensely patronising and could actually make it harder for women writers to win an award because of the very sexism it’s supposed to address. Imagine a situation where the final ballot consists of six nominees, five of whom are male, and one of whom is female, and that this situation actually arose because of a tie. What we, the voters, do not know is that the woman actually came top in the nominations. But, when it comes to voting, it will be assumed that she is only there because of the sympathy clause, and not through her own efforts, and this will influence how people chose to vote.

    Plus, as writers tend to be a proud lot, expect to see female ones declining nominations if they even begin to suspect that they only got that nomination due to discrimination.

  2. Feòrag:

    Yes, I made that point above. There was no need to make it again.

    And you know, we do have eligibility extensions. I have yet to see a writer decline a nomination that they got because of one.

  3. We don’t release the nominating statistics until after the Hugos are presented because we don’t want them to (subconsciously) influence the final votes.

    If you see a ballot that says:

    Jerry Alternate History
    Joe Author
    Tom Cyberpunk
    John Fantasy
    Frank SF

    You have no idea who got the most nominations and who got the least. Under the proposed plan, that ballot might become

    Jerry Alternate History
    Joe Author
    Tom Cyberpunk
    John Fantasy
    Frank SF
    Jane Steampunk

    and suddenly I have one piece of the nominating statistic which I specifically didn’t have before. If the Hugo administrator is going to provide a nominating statistic (even in general terms) for one of the nominees, it should be done for all of them.

  4. Steven:

    You are also avoiding the issue and going back to attack the original motion. This point has now been made three times. Once by me, once by Feòrag and once by you. Can we get over it now, please?

  5. I’ve noticed 2 specifcs (both in your posts and the responses) to this general issue: it appears that women are not getting a fair share of noms and that some demographic groups aren’t voting

    Addressing both of these issues (assuming I have that part right) may well be a multi-year effort – but a couple of ideas come to mind as starters:
    1. Getting people to vote who say “my vote doesn’t count”
    This is almost the harder one – but perhaps the more vital. If there are women (like me) who don’t read the categories of books that more women are writing in (like paranormal romance), then getting those who *do* read those books to vote is a pretty vital start. We aren’t likely to mandate what is written, but encouraging those who read what *is* written to vote is a good start.

    2. Balancing out the noms to more accurately reflect the percentage of writers in the field
    If there are several years/categories that have 6 or 7 that are head and shoulders above the pack, why don’t we *start* with that as a change? Once that change is established (over a couple of years) – and we see if that makes a difference to the gender balance, we’ve made a good change that had the add’l effect of fixing another problem.

    While neither of these is radical enough for a lot of people, and probably not the totality of what’s needed to make the changes that I hear being argued for, both are a good start that make sense to do regardless of what else is done.

    I’m not sure that Yonmei’s proposal this year was the right (or the wrong) approach – i know it set off something of a firestorm in terms of reaction – which isn’t necessarily bad – and it got a lot of folks talking about the topic – which is probably good. But the specifics of the mechanics, as I understand them, of this proposal have the effect of making people *think* a 6th nom to bring a woman onto the ballot is a “pity” nom (however much crap that statement is, doesn’t make it less what people are *thinking*) – and that could be a problem all unto itself. Changing the basic set up so that the “clear” top vote getters (instead of “top 5”) are on the ballot – so that the numbers vary by category, makes 2 things true – first it makes the ballot more representative of what the votes actually like (instead of an arbitrary cuttoff) and second it allows making changes that are necessary to introduce fairness easier to do without all the misperceptions about how the system works fighting against the fixes.

    If this is an endemic issue, fixing it may well take some time – and that will have it’s own detractors – but at least we’re talking about it now.

  6. So this idea that the five nominees are fine and worthy, whereas any work that does not feature in that top five is not even fit to shine the nominees boots, is nonsense.

    Totally agree with this statement. If you look at the award I am most intimately familiar with, the Sidewise Award, we have a cut-off in mind, but we’re flexible about the number of nominees based on groupings. We’ve had as few as 1 nominee in the past (1999 & 2004 long form) as as many as 7 (1995, 2006, 2007 short form). That said, we’re much more insulated than the Hugos and I pity the Hugo administrator who makes the cut decision that people disagree with following the release of nominating numbers. Woudl 5 be a minimum cut off? Would there be a maximum.

    As above, with nominating numbers (– indicates a reasonable cut-off for the ballot):
    Tom Cyberpunk 172
    Laura Hard SF 154
    Jane Steampunk 147
    Jerry Alternate History 126

    John Fantasy 103

    Frank SF 99
    Diane Urban Fantasy 98

    Joe Author 78

    Would we make this a list of 4 nominees, cut after Jerry AH, 5, cut after John Fantasy, or 7, cut after Diane Urban Fantasy.

    I would probably support the idea, as long as the official record included guidelines and advice to the Hugo Administrator as to the general will of the BM voters who institute the change.

  7. Steven:

    It is worth thinking about. I’ve seen people get really unlucky at times. Poor Lloyd Penney seems especially prone to missing the cut by a hair’s breadth.

    You are absolutely right about needing a firm rule, however. It isn’t something that a Hugo Administrator should be expected to make a judgment call on.

  8. “i know it set off something of a firestorm in terms of reaction”

    This seems an exaggerated metaphor. As issues in fandom/prodom go, this was trivial; who was burned? Anyone moved to quit fandom, or had their career destroyed, or banned from attending a convention over it, or quit a convention committee, or any organization?

    Given the considerable number of times these sort of things have happened in the sf community when people were genuinely furious, or damaged, this blip counts as a match in a campfire in a growing forest, by comparison. It’s, ah, engendered a discussion, not a firestorm. A bit of outrage from a few people pro and con does not a “firestorm” make.

  9. The club recommendation lists appear to have an effect on nominations. It would take quite a bit of work to get participation in a women’s SF/Fantasy recommendation list and bring it to prominence, but it could have an effect.

  10. Gary – you may be right about this “campfire” – but I was making note of a future firestorm – and while this one may have started out as something of a tempest in teapot, that doesn’t mean it won’t go nuclear as we delve into it deeper and talk about it longer.

    However – point taken for the moment :>.

  11. Hi, Cheryl.

    Honestly, I don’t usually like counting things, but I seem to be on a roll. I counted the total number of titles that received 5 or more nominations for the Hugos this year = 82, and the number of those titles written by women = 17, which yields the factoid that 22% of the titles receiving 5 or more nominations were by women. Since about 33% of all SF & F titles are by women, that number seems a little low.

    However, 11 of those titles received 10 or fewer votes. 6 of those titles received between 20 and 11 votes. Only 1 received more than 20 nominating votes. The total number of titles receiving 20 or more votes was 23, and (of course) 1 is about 4% of 23. That number seems a LOT low.

    It may appear that the very low number of titles by women receiving over 20 nominating votes reflects a preference for SF over F conjoined with the fact that women write more F than SF currently. However, I count 7 of the 23 titles as fantasy = 30%, and all of those fantasy titles were by men.

    Women are underrepresented in Hugo nominations for novel. Previously, I’d honestly thought they were only underrepresented on the ballot.

  12. @6: I don’t like the idea of an arbitrary cutoff.

    As a reason why, where is the clear cutoff point in this year’s best novella category? (the numbers were: 45, 44, 43, 40, 40, 37, 34, 32, 29, 27, 25, 25, 24, 20, 18… the first time the gap is larger than 3 is between the 13th and 14th position and it’s only 4!) Being a Hugo Administrator is though enough without adding this hot potato to it.

    @11: Well, yes and no, I think we need a space that encourages recommendations of works by women without pushing the feminist thing too much (an apparent contradiction, I know) — I mean too many guys just won’t spontaneously think to go to a site called feministsf to look for nomination recommendations when the time comes to fill out ballots (I’m the first one guilty of that). Then again, I’m a crappy nominator since don’t consume enough new stuff, of the new novels I purchased in 2008, all of them got a nomination from me (full disclosure: 1 by a woman, 3 by men, two made the ballot)

    @12: You say: “Women are underrepresented in Hugo nominations for novel.” A more accurate statement would be “Women are underrepresented in last year’s Hugo nominations for novel”

    Not dismissing you point, just pointing out that accurate statements will do more to support the fact that women _are_ underrepresented. A full survey of past Hugo nomination numbers (in _all_ categories, we can’t just look at Best Novel) for the past few decades could tell us a lot, including if there is progress being made (a Good Thing) or no (a Bad Thing).

    To achieve better balance, we need to things: 1) to get more women nominating and 2) to get more men to nominate works by women. Those two goals will not be accomplished the same way.

    And finally (I got distracted looking at the numbers…) downloading the nomination stats, it seems that on average, over the last three years there is some slight progress being made. Not the most statistically significant sample, but encouraging nonetheless. (Also, when in doubt I assumed male)

    Quick round up shows 12.7%, 21.5% and 23.6% of those who made the voting ballot were women (for 07, 08 and 09 respectively) and 18.9%, 23.0% and 23.4% of nominated people were women (again for 07, 08 and 09 respectively). (I excluded Best dramatic presentations, best fanzine, semiprozine — because I did not ant to take the time to research who directed/edited/wrote them and graphic story because it’s the first year)

    The best category is Best Editor Short Form (53.3 and 52.2% the last two years) and the worst Best Artist (about 6.5% for the three years) it’s also a category I notice is not listed on the feministsf link Cheryl provided — maybe that’s why it sucks on the equal representation thing?

  13. Rene:

    I see the Feminist SF list as a source of books to read rather than a source of recommendations. It is a place where people who want to read more female authors can go to find out what is available. The sort of people who are likely to be scared off by a feminist web site probably wouldn’t want to do that anyway.

    But we do need people who read those books to them post recommendations on places like SFAW and the LiveJournal recommendations site.

  14. Yes, I agree but, white male person that I am, I would not think of looking there for Hugo recommendations unless it was being pointed out to me (as you did) which is what I was trying to get at.

  15. “…but I was making note of a future firestorm – and while this one may have started out as something of a tempest in teapot, that doesn’t mean it won’t go nuclear as we delve into it deeper and talk about it longer.”

    Also, the fascist octopus of WSFS has sung its swan song, the jackboot of smofdom is thrown into the melting pot of metafandom.

  16. You’re very right about more people participating in recommendation lists, whether the LJ community, SFAW, or club lists. I like Feminist SF Wiki’s call out to hugo_recommend, but it’s not the only recommendation list out there.

    I still think that there is value in a new recommendation list: works by women that fans believe are Hugo-worthy. While Feminist SF Wiki does provide a list of works that are eligible, there’s nobody putting their username or initials to any of them suggesting that they’re Hugo-worthy.

  17. Would it have helped if I’d titled the post “No one wants a pity Hugo nomination?”

    And, yes, I am the same Adrienne Martini who got all bent out of shape a few years ago. And, yes, I’ve learned a lesson or two about posting from a place of blinding rage. But just because I think that something needs to be done about getting more women on the novel ballot, doesn’t mean I’ll get behind *anything* that is suggested.

    If nothing else, yonmei’s proposal opened the discussion again, which is a good thing.

  18. “And, yes, I am the same Adrienne Martini who got all bent out of shape a few years ago.”

    Who probably doesn’t remember me from our professional dealings when I was at Avon Books in the mid-Eighties. 🙂

  19. Adrienne:

    Yes, getting your facts right when you write something does help, especially if you are attacking someone. So, one lesson learned, one more to go, hmm?

  20. My problem with the four fiction categories is the mediocre quality of the nominees. I agree, as you say, that in the final vote the nominees are on more equal footing. It is the nomination process that is seriously flawed.

    What if it were a hybrid? Six nominations in each fiction category: three from the popular vote, three chosen by a panel of judges, and which is which to be revealed only after the final vote. While the judges shouldn’t be required to place a woman or person of color in each category, it would be good if they were to give some weight to such issues. In some cases they might add three women to a category; in some cases none.

    This keeps the fans from being completely disenfranchised during the nomination process and would, I think, create an improved shortlist both in terms of diversity and quality.

  21. “What if it were a hybrid?”

    What if? It’s not going to happen.

    What if the U.S. switched to a parliamentary system?

    It’s nice to debate theoretical notions, but some things are practical suggestions, and some things simply have zero chance of happening in the foreseeable future.

    Meanwhile, there’s hardly a shortage of other awards in the sf field; I’ve long ago lost track of all the dozens of awards now being give out for sf/fantasy in endless profusion.

  22. Strangelove:

    That’s a perfectly valid way of running a set of awards. World Fantasy does something similar. However, such awards would not be the same Hugos, as they have always been purely fan-voted. You would also have to find some way of choosing the judges. Appointed by the current Worldcon? What if they appointed a bunch of fans whose taste the con committee happened to approve of? The difference with World Fantasy is that there is an ongoing Board that appoints the judges every year. WSFS has no mechanism for doing that.

    Which is not to say that your idea isn’t possible, but it would take a lot of effort to enact such a major change.

  23. Gary:

    There may be a lot of other awards out there, but the Hugos are apparently the ones people care about. If that wasn’t the case people unhappy with the results of the Hugos would just found another award and be happy because it did what they want. But they don’t, because the Hugos are high profile, and therefore they want to change the Hugos instead. I’m cool with that. I’d much rather people care so much about the Hugos that they want to change them than that they should not care.

  24. cheryl – I wasn’t attacking yonmei, I was attacking her idea. But, whatevs. I’ll be the villian.

    And, um, Gary, I don’t think that we me. In the mid-80s, I was, and there’s no gentle way to put it, in high school. Sorry.

  25. “There may be a lot of other awards out there, but the Hugos are apparently the ones people care about. ”

    The Hugos are tautologically cared about by the people who care about them. Ditto the Nebulas, the Sideways Award, the Tiptree Award, and all the other awards.

    The Hugos and Nebulas are historically the oldest and “most important,” and have historically had some minor enough commercial appeal that slapping “Hugo Winning” or “Nebula Winner” on the cover was worth the bother.

    And putting any award claim somewhere on the back or front of a book doesn’t hurt, if you can fit it in and don’t have quotes with more heft.

    “Winner of the X Award” is always nice to put into cover copy. The Hugos and Nebulas, and to some degree now, the World Fantasy Award, have some small commercial value. Some of the others, the theme-based ones, can be useful pointers to readers looking for what some of the other awards point to.

    “If that wasn’t the case people unhappy with the results of the Hugos would just found another award and be happy because it did what they want.

    That’s what’s been done in the case of all these other awards, and more:

    * Prix Apollo
    * Arthur C. Clarke Award
    * BSFA Award
    * John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel
    * Philip K. Dick Award
    * Locus Award
    * Rhysling Award – for best science fiction poetry, given by the Science Fiction Poetry Association
    * Saturn Award – film and television SF
    * Seiun Award
    * Edward E. Smith Memorial Award (the Skylark)
    * Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for best short science fiction
    * Tiptree Award
    * Gaylactic Spectrum Awards
    * Lambda Literary Award
    * Sidewise Award for Alternate History
    * Prometheus Award – best Libertarian SF
    * Geffen Award – Israeli award
    * Writers of the Future – contest for new authors
    * Jack Gaughan Award for Best Emerging Artist
    * Illustrators of the Future – contest for illustrators
    * John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer
    * Compton Crook Award For Best first Novel in the genere in a given year.

    Nationality specific awards

    * Aurealis Award – Australian
    * Aurora Award – for Canadian science fiction
    * Chandler Award – for contributions to Australian Science fiction
    * The Constellation Awards – for the best SF/fantasy film or television works released in Canada
    * Ditmar Award – for SF by Australians
    * Endeavour Award- for SF by Pacific Northwest author(s)
    * Janusz A. Zajdel Award – award of Polish fandom
    * Nautilus Award – Polish award
    * Paul Harland Prize – for Dutch SF
    * SFera Award – given by SFera, a Croatian SF society
    * Sir Julius Vogel Award – for SF by New Zealanders
    * Tähtivaeltaja Award – for the best SF novel released in Finland
    * Premio Urania – for Italian SF

    And that’s leaving a bunch of others out.

    “I’d much rather people care so much about the Hugos that they want to change them than that they should not care.”

    Yeah, I’m not trying to discourage it. Of I sounded that way, it’s not how I meant it.

    It’s just that after thirty-five years of reading arguments about the Hugos, and having read twenty years worth of the prior arguments about the Hugo, one might conceivably feel a touch jaded, particularly as regards the more theoretical and less practical discussions. Pray forgive me. Or not.

  26. Adrienne, my apologies. I confused you with Adrienne Martine-Barnes, who subsequently — I thought — dropped the Barnes.

    “Adrienne Martine” and “Adrienne Martini” are awfully close.

    It’s entirely possible that Adrienne M-B never dropped the B and I’ve been confusing you two since I noticed your name, and didn’t notice the one letter difference. Awfully sorry about that. I can only plead senility.

  27. “It’s entirely possible that Adrienne M-B never dropped the B and I’ve been confusing you two since I noticed your name, and didn’t notice the one letter difference.”

    Googling overwhelmingly suggests that’s the case.

    Well, I’m glad to be unconfused about one more error I’ve been making for quite some time.

  28. Just shoot me now. Or take away my keyboard.

    Laurie Mann could perhaps do a better job of raising her Google ranking of her awards page in recent years, it looks like, by the way.

    But now she’ll probably show up to note how wrong I am about that, too.

  29. Gary: Again, there was no gentle way to say it. But you aren’t the first to confuse us and I can easily understand how it happens.

  30. I don’t mind getting schooled on whether my suggestion is practical or not, although Gary’s “it’s not going to happen” is less helpful than Cheryl’s “it would take a lot of effort.” I am encouraged to learn that my suggestion is similar to the method used by the World Fantasy Awards, which can be taken as a model.

    The quality and diversity of the Hugo nominees is an issue worth taking seriously. Adam Roberts recently wrote, “They reflect upon us all. They remain one of the most prestigious awards for SF in the world. These lists say something about SF to the world.”

  31. “Gary: Again, there was no gentle way to say it.”

    Oh, I’m fine; I’m just sorry for my error.

    “I don’t mind getting schooled on whether my suggestion is practical or not, although Gary’s ‘it’s not going to happen’ is less helpful than Cheryl’s ‘it would take a lot of effort.'”

    Cheryl’s more diplomatic than I bother to be around sf fandom these days. To her credit.

    “The quality and diversity of the Hugo nominees is an issue worth taking seriously.”

    I actually do agree, despite my cynicism. But there are also distinct limits to how seriously to take any popularity award.

    And in the history of the Hugo, an excessive number of people have often blown way past any reasonable limits on how seriously the Hugos should be taken, which is part of the context in which I form my remarks, being intimately familiar with how the overwhelming majority of discussions of, and kerfuffles around, the Hugos went through from 1953 through at least the late Eighties.

    And there was no shortage of these, I assure you.

    I’m much less familiar with how it’s gone since then, though by no means am I close to entirely ignorant, either. I’ve especially been recently catching up to the more recent ones, but I’ve also never been entirely completely distant, either.

    “These lists say something about SF to the world.”

    Yes, but they’re still just a popularity contest amongst a small group of self-selected people.

    Where they have a commercial effect on people’s careers, they matter most.

    If you care about standing and popularity in the Worldcon community, they matter to varying degrees. They matter especially if you’re a nominee or want to be.

    Beyond that, lives aren’t changed by the Hugos.

    No one actually dies over a Hugo, and there’s no lack of issues in the world that people, in large numbers, do die over, so a little perspective remains in order.

    In any case, my opinion and words certainly won’t have a significant effect on people’s desire to argue about the Hugos; no one’s words and opinions ever do.

    And you can make small but significant changes, if you’re willing to put a great deal of effort into it, at the right times and places, over the years, if you care enough.

    Heck, I’m one of the four people who, for better or worse, created the Best-Semiprozine Hugo, or, to be more specific and not claim an undue amount of credit, wrote one of the two motions that were combined to form the category, in 1982, and passed by the Business Meetings in 1982 and 1983.

    Yeah, here we go.

    Of interest only to fanatics.

    I wrote a motion and got Craig Miller to co-sponsor it, and Marty Cantor and Mike Glicksohn wrote a motion to the same effect, with different language, and in the end we worked out compromise language between the two motions, which was then passed.

    My primary contribution to Hugo history, fwiw.

  32. Erp, nobody will care, but re-examining those old minutes makes me realize that I had forgotten that Richard Russell also contributed a motion that was part of the compromise language creating the Semi-Pro category; I must remember to give credit where due to Richard in future.

    Also, as a point that will only be amusing to Cheryl, I am reminded, looking at those 1982 minutes, that it was particularly silly of me, the other day, in comments on this blog, to suggest that WSFS could never agree on how to donate profits to any specific group outside WSFS, if you, Cheryl, quickly look at the motions made on Saturday regarding Item 20.

    Which is to say, I made a motion on exactly that clause which passed regarding Worldcon profits, so you’d think I’d remember that.

    But 27 years later, no, I didn’t remember, absent a reminder. Sigh.

    Apologies for diving into the weeds here.

    But if anyone wants some idea of what it takes to change the Hugos — and this doesn’t take into account the lobbying beyond the formal meetings that is, of course, necessary — bore yourselves to tears here.

  33. Gary@27-

    the Sideways Award,… those might have something to do with wine. I think you meant Sidewise Award, named after Murray Leinster’s short story “Sidewise in Time.”

  34. Yes, but in an alternative reality, you see, they’re named the “Sideways Awards.”

    I leave it to you to figure out the point of divergence.

    I’ve always had a nitpick, by the way, about the usages “alternate realities” and “alternate history,” which would seem to describe works that switch between realities in a successive manner, given that that’s what “alternate” means, but I know my opinion on this is clearly in the minority.

    But it really should be “alternative history,” not “alternate history.” Please change the Sidewise Awards usage immediately, because I have the mighty power to Ruin Worldcon, it seems, according to Mike Resnick (see addendum at bottom), and you daren’t suffer my wrath.

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