The Hugo Podcast, Episode 2

As you may remember, back in February Kevin and I did an SF Awards Watch podcast in which we tried to dispel some of the more common myths and misconceptions about the Hugo Awards. Well, this year’s nominee lists have been announced, and many of the same complaints are being trotted out again. Also there are some interesting new questions, such as why there are only 4 nominees in Short Story. So we are going to do another podcast. John DeNardo of SF Signal has kindly offered to play the role of Joe Phan and ask the questions. Hopefully I will get the podcast online before I have to rush off to London for the British Library events.

If you have any questions that you would particularly like us to address, please ask them in comments below.

12 thoughts on “The Hugo Podcast, Episode 2

  1. Ones that seem to be cropping up are:
    “Randall Monroe? Fan Artist? But he sells t-shirts and a book.”

    “Three Doctor Who episodes? Three? Again?!”

    “A podcast is nominated in X category? How can that be?”

    “Graphic Novel category: recognising excellent comics that are overlooked by other awards, or nominating substandard comics because the voting Hugo community aren’t engaged in comics fandom?”

    My biggest question is “I want my voting pack NOW!”. That’s not actually a question, is it? 🙂

        1. Ugh. I’m glad I wasn’t watching that thread when it was fresh. But we’ll try to address it. Not that anyone who spouts things that amount to “Someone else should do it” will pay attention. 🙁

          1. *muffled snort* I didn’t say it was a nice read, I said it was a good cross-section of Public Opinion *shudder* 🙂

  2. What do you think of the proposal to make podcasts their own category instead of part of fanzines? Do you think it will succeed? Is it just sour grapes because of StarShipSofa? Do you think podcasts fit better in fanzine or related work?

    How come there aren’t more Australians on this year’s ballot? Is it just that there are so many Americans that we’ll always overwhelm any other country’s population?

    1. (Yes, I realize that I’m stealing our own thunder by replying here rather than saving everything for the podcast, but some people won’t listen to the podcast but will read this, and we may not have time to discuss everything that gets raised anyway.)

      For now, I think the complaints about podcasts are making a mistake of confusing medium with message. A parallel might be a suggestion from the earlier days of Fandom that we must have a separate category for “Best Offset-Printed Fanzine” to separate it from “real” fanzines, which Any Fule Kno are printed by mimeograph the way Ghod and Roscoe intended.

      Podcasts are not really eligible in two different places; either they’re episodic in nature and belong in one of the two serial-work categories, or they’re not, in which case they belong in Best Related Work. Complaining that podcasts are eligible in two places is once again not seeing that the purpose of the current rules is to elevate content over delivery medium.

      Remember, it wasn’t too long ago that people insisted that fanzines distributed electronically, via e-mail and/or web site, were not “real” fanzines and shouldn’t even be considered, or should be considered in a different category. We’re seeing the same thing here with podcasts, I think.

  3. Could someone please review the use of No Award? Clearly, if you happened to think that a whole short list was rubbish, you’d put No Award in first position. (That has never happened to me, and in fact I don’t expect it ever will.) What’s the best thing to do if you can easily rank, say, four out of five shortlisted works and feel strongly that you would not willingly contribute to the fifth receiving the award? Do you just not rank that one? Do you vote for No Award in its place? (I like this year’s ballot very much, but I’ve faced the issue in previous years, and I grow less convinced as time passes that I negotiated the problem successfully.) Thank you for performing this public service.

    1. Susan: In the case you describe, don’t vote for the work you dislike, and be sure to include No Award somewhere in your ranking. This would mean that should the candidate you dislike manage to win the initial count, your vote for No Award would be taken into account when doing the final showdown comparing what’s called the “preliminary winner” against No Award.

      You’re not voting for No Award “in its place,” by the way. When you vote No Award, you’re saying, “I would prefer that we not give out the award rather than give it to any of the works I’ve not ranked or that I’ve ranked lower than No Award.”

  4. For example, I’ll be voting No Award above Randall Munroe since I don’t consider him eligible for Fan Artist (the art for which he was nominated is how he makes his living [as no one has said or shown any non-xkcd art for which they’d nominated him], and there’s a past example that this exact situation puts one in Pro Artist, namely Phil Foglio’s last nomination for Pro Artist a couple of years ago). In this case, it doesn’t mean I don’t like his work; I like xkcd a lot. I just think he didn’t do any fan art in 2010 to my knowledge.

    Note that this is different from Scalzi and Pohl winning Best Fan Writer; each had a body of fan writing from their blogs for which they could be nominated for, and made their living from other writing.

    1. I think your decision is the right way to handle your objection to Munroe’s nomination. Without actually commenting on whether I think he should be in the category or not, the real issue here is that there’s no objective technical criteria for “professional” or “fan” in this case. That being the case, the decision of fact (as opposed to “decision of law” like word count, date of publication, etc.) is left up to the jury, which in this case is the electorate. If the Administrator DQ’d a nominee on a decision that is generally left up to the voters, there would be just as many people unhappy as are currently unhappy with Munroe’s placement on the ballot.

      Of course, if more people nominated other artists, the question would be moot.

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