I’m not going to go into my reasons for disliking the Hugos, which, to anyone who has read about the recent controversies, will be readily apparent. Suffice it to say that the beloved award, which has been given to so many great in the past, has lost its luster. I really hadn’t paid attention to the Hugo Award for over a decade, and now the award is synonymous with a notation that I probably will not like this book or story. Not to say that I won’t eventually read the so awarded story, if I see some other source indicating it might be worth my while, but the Hugo in and of itself is not enough. Also not to say that everything awarded a Hugo is crap, they just don’t seem to fit my tastes, Then came the recent blowups, the five no awards last year, two this year. The harassing campaigns to get people to vacate their nominations so more deserving entries would have a chance. And people I knew and respected were hurt, harassed and dismissed. I wouldn’t want one of these things. Not that I would turn down a nomination, because it would piss off some people I wouldn’t mind seeing outraged to the point where they fell over from an anger induced stroke.
Then to me there has always been the problem with the categories. Fantasy has its own award, the World Fantasy Award. Yet fantasy is lumped in with science fiction for the award that originally went to the best in science fiction. I have nothing against fantasy. I love to read it, love to write it. But some years some really good science fiction was supplanted by fantasy in the award that was supposed to go to the very best of science fiction. Last year there was a call for another award from both sides of the argument. I think the call from the opposition was more a case of ‘get your own damned petty ass award and leave ours alone.’ This was stated in some posts with an assumption that the convention that gave the award would probably be some fly by night con with a couple of thousand attendees, not the mighty five thousand attendee or more World Con. You know, the Con that no one dared to go up against, because it represented the best of the genre. The Con that required a paid membership, even by those who didn’t attend, in order to actually vote in the thing.
Enter Dragon Con, which was actually the con I wanted to host the award in the first place, since Atlanta is close to me and I go every year. Dragon Con is not some petty ass fly by night con. While not as large as San Diego Comic Con, or even the growing Megacon, Dragon officially attracts about seventy thousand people a year. I have heard that it actually draws many more. It is a unique four day con over Labor Day weekend, hosted in five large hotels, three of which are connected by sky bridge. And, wonder of wonders, the award they are going to host, starting this year, is open to public vote, from anyone, anywhere, whether they attend or not. And it doesn’t cost fifty bucks to register to vote. It doesn’t cost anything at all. All you need is an internet connection, and lots of people around the world get on the net without owning a computer or having a home based hub.
Dragon Con’s Dragon Award has also divided the awards into logical categories. So fantasy and science fiction have their own fields, as well as many subfields, including young adult/middle grade, military scifi/fantasy, alternate history, apocalyptic and horror. There are also categories for comic books and graphic novels, TV series, movie, and several for gaming. No short story categories yet, but I would bet they are coming. After this year there will be an eight month nominating period, followed by an August vote. It’s too late to nominate for this year, but the ballots are still open for votes. Register here.
I know several of the people nominated this year, and as far as I’m concerned, all are worthy of consideration. I personally voted for Chuck Gannon’s Raising Caine for best science fiction novel. Chuck’s third book in the series, Raising Caine, like its two predecessors, was nominated for the Nebula award, but was not even under consideration for the Hugo. Chuck writes a tight and well thought out novel, and I encourage everyone who reads my work to read his as well. But whoever you vote for, get online and vote. This is the first year, and don’t give up your chance to help decide the winners of what I hope will one day grow to be one of the more prestigious speculative fiction awards around. And if you want to nominate me next year? Well, I won’t stand in your way.