Public Statement re the Hugos

As questions have been raised on File770 regarding my involvement in the Chengdu Hugo Award disaster, I am making a public statement.

1. I was not a member of the committee of the Chengdu Worldcon, and was not involved with the convention other than as an ordinary member of WSFS who did not attend the event.

2. I was not involved in any way with the Administration of the Hugo Awards for Chengdu.

3. As a member of the Hugo Awards Marketing Committee it was my duty to ensure that the results of the Hugo Award voting process were posted to the official website promptly and accurately, as they were supplied to us by each year’s Worldcon, including those from Chengdu. We had no authority to comment on or change those results in any way.

4. I am not, nor ever have been, a member of the WSFS Mark Protection Committee (MPC).

5. I am not, nor ever have been, a Director of Worldcon Intellectual Property (WIP), and have no financial stake in that organisation. WIP was created from the corporation that ran the SF&F Translation Awards (of which I was a Director), but no directorships carried over from the one organisation to the other, save for Kevin Standlee who is a Director of WIP because of his membership of the MPC.

6. I resigned from the Hugo Award Marketing Committee, primarily because I no longer wish to be held responsible for (including being subject to legal and reputational risk for) the actions of organisations of which I am not a member and over which I have no influence.

7. Having seen legal advice on the subject, I am confident that the contracts I issued from Wizard’s Tower Press are structured in such a way that no one suing me, either individually or as an officer of WSFS, will be able to obtain the rights to any of the works published by Wizard’s Tower.

Locus Recommends

It is that time of year once more, and the annual Locus Recommended Reading List is now live. I am once again honoured to have been invited to contribute to the creation of the list. I am one person in an increasingly large and diverse group, so I’m afraid I can’t take the blame for anything on the list, but I am very pleased that some books I loved have been included. You can read the list here.

Legal Complications

My thanks to everyone who welcomed the ideas Kevin and I had for reforming Hugo Award administration. However, I regret to say that I no longer believe that solution is possible. Here’s why.

As I explained yesterday, individual Worldcons are incorporated. They have to be, because they as subject to enormous legal risks. But WSFS, famously, is not incorporated. If we were to create an Independent Hugo Award Administration Committee as part of WSFS, that would also not be incorporated. Anyone who was unhappy with the results of the Hugos in a particular year could then sue the members of that committee for damages. No one would serve on such a committee under such circumstances.

There are technical ways around this, but they’d require a lot more wording in the original motion. In particular there is an organisation called WorldCon Intellectual Property Inc. (WIP) that exists to own the WSFS service marks. That could be re-puposed to own the IHAAC. Ironically, WIP was created out of the ashes of the corporation that Kevin and I created to run the SF&F Translation Awards, so it was originally an award organisation. But the creation of WIP was hugely controversial within WSFS, with many people seeing it as creeping incorporation. And of course there are plenty of people within fandom who think it is wrong for WSFS to own the Hugo marks at all.

So we could re-craft the motion so that the IHAAC reports directly to WIP, and its members are therefore protected by WIP’s corporate shield. However, that would leave little for WSFS to actually do. It is incorporation by another name, and it would make much more sense to simply transform WIP into WSFS Inc.. And that, I’m afraid, will not fly.

I may be wrong, but my sense is that there are still way too many people within fandom, and in particular amongst those who run Worldcons, who will fight to their dying breath to oppose incorporation of WSFS. Indeed, I suspect that some old-time fans will be trying to rise from their graves to come and vote against it.

At this point I think WSFS is dead in the water. It can’t enforce its own constitution, and the social contract by which Worldcons agreed to adhere to the Constitution anyway has been broken. The only possible remedy is anathema to too many people in fandom. I’m not sure we can get out of this.

A Smoking Gun?

There has been talk for a few days that Chengdu gave notice in advance that Hugo Administration might be subject to local laws. I’ve been reluctant to support it without proof, but that has now come through (thanks Nibedita Sen on Blue Sky). In Progress Report #2 on page 5 it says the following:

Eligible members vote according to the “one person, one vote” rule to select Hugo Award works and individuals that comply with local laws and regulations. The Chengdu organizing committee will review the nominated works and validate the votes.

Emphasis mine there.

So I guess we were warned.

FWIW, I don’t think there needs to have been direct government interference here. Having lived in the UK through Section 28 (the original “Don’t say gay” law), I have seen first hand how ordinary people, often out of fear, willingly implement, and often go well beyond, censorship required by government. Pressure from sponsors may have played a role, and the Chengdu committee may simply have been afraid for their safety if they did not do this. From the way Dave McCarty is behaving, I suspect they are also afraid of admitting to having done it.

Decoupling the Hugos

In amongst all of the discussion as to what to do about the Chengdu Hugo issue has been one suggestion that can actually be implemented, albeit over a number of years. That is decoupling Hugo Award Administration from the host Worldcon, so that the laws of the host country cannot interfere with the voting process.

I explained my ideas to Kevin, and he kindly drafted a resolution that could be put before the Business Meeting in Glasgow. You can see that here, but it is long and legalistic so I’ll describe the basic idea. (If you want a DOCX or RTF version, ask me.)

WSFS already has an organization called the Mark Protection Committee (MPC), which is responsible for maintaining the service marks that WSFS owns (in particular “Hugo Award” and the logo). I suggest renaming this the Independent Hugo Award Administration Committee (IHAAC) and giving it, rather than Worldcon, the job of administering the voting process. The IHAAC would recruit experienced administrators in much the same way that Worldcon does, but there would be a lot more consistency from year to year.

Worldcon would still have the option of staging a Hugo Award ceremony, and creating a distinctive trophy base, but equally it could decline to do that and pass the job back to the IHAAC.

Kevin and I cannot take this proposal forward ourselves. Kevin is a member of the MPC, and I effectively work for them in maintaining the WSFS websites, so we both have a vested interest. Our involvement could easily be portrayed as a power grab. But we are happy to provide help and advice to anyone who does want to take this forward at Glasgow.

It would also benefit from input from people who have good experience of Worldcon budgets. I don’t know how much running Hugo Administration costs, and the IHAAC would need a share of WSFS membership fees to cover that. Some of that should probably be paid well in advance, just in case the Worldcon later goes bankrupt. Input from people who understand international data sharing laws would also be useful.

There are also changes that might be needed to ensure broad support for the idea. For example, people might want the current MPC members to resign and stand for re-election because their role has changed. They might want IHAAC members to be elected by online ballot of the WSFS membership rather than at the Business Meeting. It might be easier for Worldcons if the IHAAC administered Site Selection as well, and so on. The current motion represents what we think are the minimum number of changes required.

Neither Kevin nor I are wedded to any particular version of this. We are simply putting it out there to help people get started on a change that at least some people appear to want.

Of course there will also be people who think that this will inevitably lead to WSFS being incorporated and having a board of directors. That is entirely possible, and I expect such people to oppose any change of this type. But I also think it is incumbent upon them to propose a better idea, or to explain to fandom why the current chaos is preferable to WSFS Inc..

A Better Analogy for Worldcon

The social media drama about this year’s Hugos continues unabated. Kevin and I are still getting a fair amount of pushback to our attempts explain what can and can’t be done. A lot of this falls into two camps. Firstly there are the people who assume that we must be lying and are probably part of the conspiracy. And then there are people who quote bits of the WSFS Constitution at us as if this was some massive gotcha because of course we can’t possibly understand it ourselves. Neither of these groups are worth engaging with.

However, there are people who are prepared to listen. And one (thank you, Joseph), led me to what I think is a better explanation of how WSFS and Worldcon work.

Traditionally, people have compared Worldcon to the Olympics. Cities bid for the right to hold it. When one wins a bid, the local organising committee is largely responsible for running the event. But this analogy has two flaws. Firstly the International Olympic Committee actually exists. And secondly, they do have some limited power over how each year’s Olympics are run. In contrast, the “Hugo Board” does not exist, and no one has any power over a seated Worldcon.

A better analogy, I think, is that of a parliamentary election. We, the people (i.e. WSFS members), vote for a party to govern us. Once that party is elected, it may or may not do what is promised to do during the election. And it may do things that we definitely didn’t want it to. But, short of taking to the streets and protesting, there is little that we, as electors can do.

Of course a functioning democracy should have checks and balances on the power of the government. There might be a separately organised upper chamber, or a head of state, or a supreme court, or any combination of these. There may also be a written constitution. The only one of these that WSFS has is the constitution. But if the government acts against the constitution, what can be done? Typically you go to another branch of government to rein them in. However, WSFS does not have any other branch of government. In practical terms, the only thing preventing a Worldcon committee from acting against the WSFS Constitution is the shame that will befall them if they do so.

As we are seeing in real democracies, shame is no longer an effective check on elective dictatorship. The UK is a good example. The King is effectively powerless. The House of Lords is being subverted by the Tories by the simple expedient of given lots of their corrupt buddies peerages. (This is helped by their rapid turnover of Prime Ministers, as each one gets to have a Resignation Honours List.) As for the Supreme Court, when they tried to rein in Boris Johnson, he and his allies in the media branded them “enemies of the people”. The current big issue in Parliament is the government ramming through laws that say that the UK has the power to ignore international law, specifically over the policy of deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda. Rishi Sunak insists that he is doing this to protect “the will of the people”, despite opinon polls consistently showing that the people actually oppose this policy.

The Tories, at least, do have to worry about the next election. But Worldcon is an exhausting thing to run, and usually no one fan group will bid more than once every 10 years. By that time there will probably have been substantial turnover in the people involved, and fannish memories are short.

That, I’m afraid, is where we are with WSFS. Once seated, a Worldcon can pretty much do whatever it wants. There is no effective sanction on its behaviour. It is possible, and that is a separate discussion, that Chengdu had very good reasons to do at least some of what they did. But now that they have shown an apparent willingness to flout the Hugo rules, I expect future Worldcons to feel empowered to do so with no reason other than that they want to. I am, I hope obviously, very unhappy about this.

Outrage Season

We have finally got the nomination statistics for the 2023 Hugos, and understandably there is a great deal of concern being expressed. Some very strange things have gone on. Believe me, I’m not happy either.

Fairly inevitably there are plenty of people who know little about how WSFS works who assume that there must be some overriding authority who could, and should, have prevented Chengdu from doing what they have done. Kevin and I try to explain, but often we are met with incredulity because it seems crazy that any organisation would work that way. I’m not happy about how WSFS works either.

What does confuse me, however, is the way that people assume utter idiocy by those involved as the only explanation. For example, Kevin and I have been beset by demands that it is our duty to find out what happened. Do people really think that we don’t want to know? And haven’t asked? I guess they do.

Stupidity is also being ascribed to the Chengdu committee. If I wanted to fix the results of the Hugos, there are two ways I would go about it. The first is that I would put out an entirely falsified set of nomination statistics. After all, the ballots will have been destroyed by now. How would anyone know that they were false?

The other option is to simply not issue the nomination statistics at all. Sure, they are supposed to, but there is no effective comeback if you don’t do it, and the outrage at them not doing so is likely to be far less than what is happening right now.

Instead they have chosen to put out a set of nomination statistics that makes it very clear that shenanigans have taken place. Maybe we should be thinking about why they did that.

In a Business Meeting Far, Far Away

Worldcon is due to start in just a couple of days time. Kevin is on his way to China to keep some of the wheels of WSFS turning. Part of that, of course, involves the Business Meeting, which will have a very different flavour this year as the majority of attendees will probably be Chinese.

Chinese fandom has taken the whole thing very seriously. There are a whole load of new motions listed in the Agenda, many of which have been proposed by Chinese fans. Some of them are good ideas. For example, I’m very much in favour of adding a specific clause to note that works are eligible for the Hugos regardless of language. This has always been the case, but so many people refuse to believe it, and even firmly assert that it is not true, that we could do with some specific langauge.

It is also a good idea to have a specific rule about converting word counts into something that works in non-Western languages.

With several of the other proposals, I suspect that people will suddenly decide that the rule that changes to the WSFS Constitution must be passed by two successive Business Meetings is a good idea after all. But there is only one that I am actively worried about. That motion proposed deleting section 3.4.2 of the Constitution, which reads as follows:

3.4.2: Works originally published outside the United States of America and first published in the United States of America in the previous calendar year shall also be eligible for Hugo Awards.

The commentary on the motion reads:

The original clause reveals a tendency towards regional arrogance and a possibility of discrimination. We strongly recommend a revision to remove it, for impartiality.

I can quite see why the proposers of the motion should feel that way. It certainly seems odd that a particular part of the world is singled out in that way. It also looks like the rule favours American fans, because it gives them two opporunities to vote on a favourite book. However, that’s not what the rule is there for. The Hugo rules don’t, for the most part, care about fairness to fans. They do care about fairness to creators who might be eligible for awards.

The reason that 3.4.2 exists is because it is acknowledged that every year (possibly until now) the majority of voters in the Hugos are Americans. If a work in English is published in the USA, fine, no problem. The voters will have access to it. But if a book is published in the UK, in Australia, Nigeria, India, or any other country with a substantial English-language publishing industry, there is no guarantee that it will be published in the USA in the same year. If the book is successful in its home country, it may then be picked up by a US publisher in a later year, but by that time it will have burned its Hugo initial eligibility. No matter how much US fans like the book, they wouldn’t be able to vote for it if not for 3.4.2. And thanks to 3.4.2 it will have a much better chance of winning than it would the first time around.

No one really likes this rule. It would be much better if all books were published internationally at the same time. But that isn’t going to happen. Indeed, publishing seems to have got more insular of late, not less. So we are kind of stuck with it.

What I’m wondering is whether the same might apply to Chinese-language books. Suppose there was a science fiction small press in somewhere like Vancouver that has a large Chinese population, and it chose to publish a book in Mandarin. The book would sell very few copies in Canada, but it might be picked up by someone who took it back to China and showed it to a publishing house there, resulting in publication in China a year later. Chinese fans would find that they could not vote for it. If we are going to have a significant number of Chinese fans participating in the Hugos in years to come, the right thing to do might be to amend 3.4.2 to be about English language works published in the USA or Chinese language(s) works published in China. Longer term we might want to identify major markets for works in, for example, Spanish and Russian as well.

My hope is that, even if the motion passes in Chengdu, it will be kicked out in Glasgow. After all, Ken MacLeod is someone who has benefitted from 3.4.2. However, given the tendency of British fans to assume that the Hugos are rigged in favour of Americans, it would not surprise me to see the argument being put forward by the Chinese gain traction in the UK too. It would be ironic if a UK Worldcon did something that actively damaged the chances of UK authors winning Hugos, but it could happen.

Pemmi-Con – Day 2

Yesterday I was scheduled to give my talk on the Pre-History of Robotics. As per yesterday’s report, it had to be moved because I’d been put in a room with no screen or projector. I ended up in York 2 in the 5:30pm program slot.

This was progress in that I knew that room did have the necessary kit, but that’s only half the problem. Should I be sending my slides to someone, or could I use my own laptop? And what about the online part of the convention? I figured I should check the room out early. It turned out that the tech kit in the room was an Apple laptop that didn’t have PowerPoint, so I’d have to use my own machine. To do that I needed to be able to log in to Zoom as a panelist. I should have an email with a link, right? Er, no.

Apparently the links for the day were not send out until 1:00pm. Once I had the email, it all went fairly smoothly at my end. Sadly the same was not true for the online participants who had problems with the sound throughout. I don’t blame the tech guy in the room for this. Like many of the con staff, he was a very late recruit. And having to do set-up on a different machine for each program item is far from ideal, especially with only 15 minutes between panels. The Eastercon system of allowing 30 minutes between panels because the tech for a hybrid con needs that much time is sounding more and more sensible.

Anyway, I had a reasonable-sized audience and they seemed to enjoy the talk. My apologies again to the online audience.

The rest of my day was taken up with being photographed. There’s a Bay Area fan photographer called Richard Man who has a project to take high quality photos of prominent people in the field using a lovely old camera. It is one of those things where you have to slide a plate in for each shot, which puts a tremendous amount of pressure on getting each take right. My official photo was taken by Lou Abercrombie using a digital camera and she must have taken at least 300 shots. Richard told me he can only afford two per subject.

As it turned out, I ended up being done twice. Richard, having not been involved with Bay Area fandom when I lived there, hadn’t been entirely sure who I was. After the initial shot he did a bit more research as asked me if I’d come back for a photo using a Hugo trophy. There are three on display in the Exhibits area, one of which is Kevin’s which he got for being co-chair of ConJosé so there was no problem borrowing one.

It will be a while before I see the results as the plates need to be developed, but you can see some of Richard’s work here, and there is more available in this year’s Hugo packet as he is a finalist for Best Fan Artist. Y’all should vote for him ‘cos he’s lovely.

ESFS Awards

I missed the award ceremony yesterday as I was off communing with dead Vikings. The full list of ESFS Award winners can be found here. Special congratulations to my winner friends Sara Bergmark Elfgren (Best Written Work for Grim) and John-Henri Holmberg (European Grand Master).

Talking of John-Henri, I told him about the Sky documentary about Stig Larsson. He knew Stig well (and has written about Stig’s contribition to science fiction fandom). He’s not seen the documentary himself, but he said it sounds like mostly nonsense.

Eastercon Saturday

Well that was a good day. I sold lots of books, and caught up with a bunch of old friends, many of whom I’d not seen since before the pandemic. Last year’s Eastercon felt a bit small and strained. This year feels like a proper convention again. Progress, I hope.

Also there were a bunch of good award winners, from some very strong fields. Most importantly, Aliette won the short fiction, so Asmodeus will not feel that he has to murder us.

Lammy Finalists

I’m trying to post here a bit more regularly. The announcement of this year’s Lammy finalists is a good excuse.

I’m absolutely delighted to see Into the Riverlands by Nghi Vo on the list for LGBTQ+ Speculative Fiction. Spear isn’t there, but maybe it wasn’t submitted, or maybe Nicola thinks she has won enough Lammys.

I’m also delighted to see Wrath Goddess Sing, Maya Deane in the list for Transgender Fiction.

You may have seen both of those reported by Locus and other genre outlets, but what you may not have seen is that Before We Were Trans: A New History of Gender, by my friend Kit Heyam, is a finalist in Transgender Nonfiction. I cite this book in many of the trans history talks I give now, because it provides an excellent framework for demolishing the nonsense “we can’t call them trans because trans people hadn’t been invented” excuse.

A full list of finalists is available here.

The Nebula Finalists

Award season is in full swing now. The announcement of the BSFA Award winners is only a few weeks away. Hugo and World Fantasy nominating is open. And last night SFWA announced the finalists for this year’s Nebula Awards. There are some fabulous books on the list, and a number I’m now looking forward to reading. I’m particularly pleased for my Trini pal, Rhonda Garcia, who has had a pretty rough time of life recently and very much deserves a bit of happiness. You can find the full lists here.

But that’s not why I am writing this post. In the most recent issue of Salon Futura I commented on Hugo eligibility and noted that the Locus Recommended Reading List was sadly literal when it came to category boundaries. I don’t blame Locus for that, because it has always been their policy. The Hugos allow more flexibility, and I’d hoped that the Nebulas would as well. However, they have Spear by Nicola Griffith listed in the Novel category.

From one point of view I’m delighted that Spear got onto the ballot despite having to compete with novels. But I still think it has been disadvantaged. Let me explain why.

The category boundaries do not, no matter what award-haters say, exist solely to increase the number of prizes given out. They exist to try to avoid voters having to compare appples with oranges. I’m not convinced about the distinction between short stories and novelettes, but short stories, novellas and novels are quite different things.

A good way to think about it is to compare it with car classes in motor racing. If you were to send Max Verstappen or Lewis Hamilton out in a Grand Prix in a Formula 2 car, they could come last. That’s because a Formula 2 car doesn’t have the same power as a Formula 1 car. It simply cannot drive as fast. In the same way, in fiction, if you are limited in the number of words you have, then you are limited in the complexity of the story you can tell.

From a reader’s point of view, the difference between a novella and a novel is that the former generally has a single point of view and single narrative strand. Novels are much more complex. To me, Spear reads very much like a novella, though Nicola has very cleverly relied on the fact that her readers will all be familiar with the Arthurian cannon to make the story seem much bigger than it is.

As far as awards are concerned, it is probably unreasonable to expect voters to distinguish between categories based on such distinctions. A word count limit is much simpler to understand. But word counts can and do result in works potentially being put into a catgeory that doesn’t suit them. Which is why the Hugos allow some flexibility. By Hugo rules, Spear could be categorised as a novella.

Sadly, with Spear now having been categorised as a novel by both Locus and SFWA, I suspect that Hugo voters will mostly consider it as such. And I suspect it will fail to make the final ballot because voters will see it as much less sophisticated than the many other fine works in that category. If they vote based on the quality of the writing (which I suspect SFWA members generally do) then there’s no question it should be a finalist, but Hugo voters tend to have a wider set of criteria on which they base their choices.

I’ve already got 12 books I’m trying to whittle down to five for my Novel nominations. I’m grumpy about having to add Spear to that list. But add it I will, because it is one of the best books of last year.

Ah well, at least next year we’ll have an honest-to-goodness Nicola Griffith novel to vote for. Menewood is coming, and you can now feast your eyes on the cover.

Thank You, BSFA

The BSFA Awards were given out at Eastercon this evening. The winners are as follows:

  • Best Novel: Shards of Earth, by Adrian Tchaikovsky, Tor
  • Best Shorter Fiction: Fireheart Tiger, by Aliette de Bodard, Tor.com
  • Best Book for Younger Readers: Iron Widow, by Xiran Jay Zhao, Rock the Boat
  • Best Non-Fiction: Worlds Apart: Worldbuilding in Fantasy and Science Fiction, ed. Francesca T. Barbini, Luna Press Publishing
  • Best Artwork: Glasgow Green Woman, by Iain Clark, Glasgow2024

As you may recall, The Green Man’s Challenge by Juliet McKenna was a finalist in Best Novel. We are not disappointed. It was an incredibly strong field and we both loved Adrian’s book. Seeing the cover of one of my books up there on the screen list of best novels was a tremendous buzz.

You may not be aware that I had an essay in the Luna Press book that won the Non-Fiction catergory. I was one of only two contribuitors present at the ceremony (the other was Allen Stroud) so Francesca kindly made a fuss of us in her speech. All of the other contributors are awesome too, and we are sad that you could not be there. My essay was the one on queer animals, which grew out of my keynote address at the University Of Graz worldbuilding conference back in 2019. So in addition to thanking Francesca, my fellow contributors, and the voters, I should also thank the folks in Graz who first inspired me to do this work.

Here is my tip for the day. If you are going to win an award, do so in the company of someone who gets as excited about it as Francesa. She’s wonderful, and thoroughly deserves all of the success that her litle company is getting.

Trans at the Hugos


The Finalists for the 2022 Hugo Awards were announced today. Given the amount of shit being heaped upon the trans communities in the UK and USA right now, I figured a post about how well we have done (again) is appropriate.

Best Novel – Ryka Aoki’s wonderful Light from Uncommon Stars is a finalist, which makes me very happy indeed. Shelley Parker-Chan lists she/they pronouns on their website. I note also that Arkady Martine and Becky Chambers are married to women.

Best Short Story – José Pablo Iriarte is non-binary and Cuban. I know nothing about Blue Neustifter, but they have a story in an anthology of trans SF&F so… [confirmed as per comment below]

Best Graphic StoryOnce & Future, vol. 3 is coloured by Tamra Bonvillain.

Best Related Work – Charlie Jane adding to her collection.

Best Semiprozine – There are probably several trans folks on the Strange Horizons team, because they are good like that.

Best Fancast – Charlie Jane & Annalee both.

Best Fan Writer – Alex Brown is non-binary. Bitter Karella’s Twitter bio says, “Genderfluid transvestite goblin”.

Lodestar – Charlie Jane again.

Astounding – Shelley Parker-Chan again.

And there are probably a few I have missed because I don’t know everyone in fandom these days. It is a far cry from 2003 when there was just me.

Oh, and Jesi Lipp, who is one of the Hugo Administrators this year, is non-binary.

It’s Nominatin’ Time


The deadline for noinating ballots for the 2022 Hugo Awards is the end of tomorrow (US East West Coast time, and be aware that they’ve just put their clocks forward an hour). This is therefore the point where people will be searching around for something to fill a few slots on their ballot. Here are some suggestions.

I’m eligible in Fan Writer and Salon Futura is eligible in Fanzine. You knew that, right?

More importantly, Ben Baldwin is eligible in Professional Artist, and the Green Man series by Juliet E McKenna is eligible in Series. Both of these, IMHO, are very worthy nominees. Of the four Green Man books, one has been a finalist for the Rob Holdstock Award for Best Fantasy Novel from the British Fantasy Society, and two have been finalists for the Best Novel award from the British Science Fiction Association. That’s a pretty impressive record. They all have Ben Baldwin covers.

And finally, Worlds Apart: Worldbuilding in Fantasy and Science Fiction, is eligible in Related Work. It is already a BSFA finalist, and I’d love to see it on the Hugo ballot too. (I won’t get any recognition, I’m just a contributor, but Francesca is doing amazing work and I’d love to see her rewarded for it again.)

The BSFA Awards

The finalists for this year’s BSFA Awards have been announced, and I am pleased to see that The Green Man’s Challenge is on the list for Best Novel. That’s the second time one of the Green Man books has had this honour. The Green Man’s Foe was also a finalist. And of course The Green Man’s Heir was a finalist for the Rob Holdstock Award from the British Fantasy Society. That’s award nominations for three out of the four books in the series, which is pretty spectacular. Go Juliet!

I’m also pleased to see Worlds Apart: Worldbuilding in Fantasy and Science Fiction on the short list for Non-Fiction. That’s the latest Academia Lunare book, and it contains my essay on worldbuilding with sex and gender, a.k.a. the queer animals essay.

It seems unlikley that either book will win, given the nature of the competition, but it always an honour to be on these short lists and it gives one an excuse to wear a pretty frock to an award ceremony, which I haven’t done in a while.

The full lists, which also include a fiction for younger readers category, and an artwork category, can be found here.

And talking of The Green Man’s Heir, Amazon UK has decided to put the Kindle edition on sale for the whole of March. That will hopefully net Juliet a nice chunk of cash. The book has already sold over 17,000 copies, which is absurdly successful for a small company like Wziard’s Tower. I have dreams of getting past 20,000. To help with that I will be reducing the ebook prices to match (as best I can) on other platforms and other Amazon sites. It takes a while for all of this to go live, and I can’t queue it up in advance because you never quite know whether Amazon will do what they say they will when it comes to special offers. But we have the whole month so hopefully tomorrow all will be in place. If you know of anyone who doesn’t yet have a copy of the book, do let them know.

New Locus – Contains Me

A new issue of Locus was published yesterday, and it is probably the one that people most look forward to each year because it is the one that contains the Recommended Reading List. As usual, I had a part in choosing the books in some of the categories. There are a lot of other people involved, and nothing gets on the list just because I say so. Equally there are books I recommended that didn’t make it. No one is going to think the final list is perfect, but it contains a lot of very good books and stories. You can find the full list here.

This issue also contains an article by me. This coincidence is an artefact of the December Worldcon. I generally write them something about the WSFS Business Meeting, so if you have the magazine you can read that too. Liza and the team have my deepest sympathy for having to do a Worldcon report and the Recommended Reading List in the same issue.

Hugo Nominating Period Opens

We are barely a month since the last lot of Hugo Awards were handed out, and it is nominating time again already. Hopefully we are back to the traditional calendar for Worldcon now, and that sort of thing won’t happen again for a while.

Anyway, you can now nominate. If you are not yet a WSFS member for 2022, you have until the end of January to buy at least a Supporting Membership to Chicon 8.

And if you are a WSFS member, voting details can be found here.

As with last year, Salon Futura is eligible in the Fanzine category, and I’m eligible in Fan Writer. Rather more importantly, Salon Futura contains lots of reviews of wonderful stuff that you might want to consider when it comes to filling in your nominating ballot. The nominating stage of the process will end on March 15th, and Finalists are likely to be announced sometime in April.

If y’all don’t get Ryka Aoki on the ballot this year I shall be deeply disappointed in you.

Hugos Happened

Last night, while I was asleep. There ceremony was delayed by a couple of hours, apparently due to an electrical fire in the hall where it was due to take place.

Anyway, the full results, including all of the usual statistics, are available here. Let’s take a quick tour through the numbers.

In Novel, Network Effect by led throughout, proving that Nora Jemisin is not invincible. I see the Mexican Gothic was only 8 nominations short of reaching the final ballot.

The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo eventually won after a titanic battle with Come Tumbling Down. I do love Seanan, but Empress was magnificent and I’m delighted to see it win. There were a whole bunch of great books in the also rans too. It was a very tough year.

In Novellette Isabel Fall’s “Helicopter Story” got the most first preferences but finished 5th, which is the sort of thing I had expected. I hope that Fall is hearted by seeing how many people loved her story. I liked Sarah Pinsker’s winning story, so I’m not unduly upset.

As usual, I found the short stories fairly forgettable.

Series was dominated by Murderbot.

I did not win Related Work. In fact CoNZealand Fringe came last. I am not surprised, though I am sad for my fellow finalists. We did manage to finish ahead of No Award, which I hope will upset Mike Glyer. I’m and surprised and delighted to see that we almost topped the nominations, losing out narrowly to FIYAHCON after the EPH thing, which is definitely worth celebrating. I’m also delighted that Beowulf won because it is an amazing piece of work.

I’m afraid I know almost nothing about graphic novels this year.

Dramatic Presentation: Long was won fairly easily by The Old Guard, so yay for Amazons. I see that Season 2 of The Mandalorian had enough nominations to make the ballot but, “As two episodes of The Mandalorian also qualified for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form, the administrators removed the full Season 2 from the ballot for Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form.” Because you can’t be a finalist twice for the same piece of work.

Not that this helped the helmeted one, because The Good Place won DP: Short very easily. Those of you who failed to vote for She-Ra are terrible people and will doubtless suffer horribly in lives to come.

Ellen Datlow won Editor: Short (again), but it was a tough tussle with Lafferty & Divya. Lee Harris was unlucky not to make the final ballot.

Editor: Long was an exciting three-way fight between Navah Wolfe, Sheila E Gilbert and Diana M Pho, which Pho eventually won despite having finished 3rd in the first round. This is the voting system showing its power. Poor Lee Harris was the first runner-up in the nominations again. Vote for him next year, folks.

It has definitely been Rovina Cai’s year. She won the World Fantasy Award for Artist last month, and added the Hugo yesterday. I must say that I love the work she has done for Nicola Griffith’s Spear (out next April), but I really wanted Maurizio Manzieri to win. The work he has done for Aliette de Bodard is amazing.

Uncanny has finally been unseated in Semiprozine after four consecutive wins. Well done FIYAH, and hopefully this makes up for FIYAHCON not winning Related Work.

Fanzine was a close run thing between Journey Planet and nerds of a feather, which the latter finally won. I’m all in favour of seeing new names on the list of winners (and very happy for my pal Adri). I see that Salon Futura featured on the long list. 20 of you lovely people nominated me, though I seem to have lost a lot of votes in the EPH system, so next year please get your enemies to vote for me as well as your friends. Not that I actually need any more Hugos, but the SF Award Database people have decided that this year doesn’t count as a real finalist credit, so now I’m offically annoyed enough to want another one in my own name.

Gary and Jonathan have finally won Fancast for Coode Street. I’m delighted for them both, particularly Jonathan as he’s been a finalist 17 times before without a win.

Fan Writer was also very tight, with Elsa Sjunneson and Cora Buhlert being neck and neck through several rounds. I’m sure that Cora will win one day. She easily topped the nominations.

Fan Artist saw another first time winner in Sara Felix, who led throughout. The Long List notes that Tithi Luadthong was removed from the final ballot as he, “informed the Administrators that he had produced no eligible art in 2020.” Hopefully he’ll get another chance because honesty like that should be rewarded.

I know nothing about video games, but Hades seems to be a very popular winner having crushed the oppostion.

Ursula Vernon dominated the Lodestar, which is unsurprsing as she’s already a fan favourite.

And finally the Astounding was a close race between Micaiah Johnson and Eily Tesh, which Tesh finally won.