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July 01, 2008


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I intend to do my bit next year to help correct the female-vs-male disparity among authors. For the first time ever, I'll vote in the pre-selection phase. Had I done that for this year's Hugos, maybe M.K.Hobson would have made it to the final list for Hotel Astarte.

About the Best Editor category... Wouldn't the solution be for people who pre-nominate someone to have to list at least one book edited by their nominee otherwise that nomination is to be ignored? When posting the names of the finalists, the Hugo committee would then list the books that the editor is nominated for.

Maybe it's too obvious.

(As for Lifetime Achievement awards... Did you know that the only Oscar that Cary Grant won was one such Lifetime Achievement, awarded long after he had retired from acting? That's what happens when someone is so good at what he does that he makes it look easy.)

As for the Best Artist category... I'll confess to being a Foglio fan. I was, even 20 years ago, long before there was a Girl Genius. I'll also confess to also being one of those who got others to become fans of Agatha Heterodyne, including a 7-year-old boy.

By the way, what are your thoughts about the Best Fanzine category? That's one category that needs to reflect the fact that, just because a blog isn't printed, it can still be a fanzine. After all, SF is the literature of Change.


Best Fanzine: I often don't vote, because I'm typically only even slightly familiar with two of the nominees (I used to get File 770 and I've enjoyed the one or two issues of Plokta that I've come across.) The treatment of print vs. (say) webbed fanzine-like-things is a topic I was saving for next week.

Best Editor: Since each is required to have four long-form works, listing those on the ballot would be an option (but one that would make for a messily crowded ballot). The problem for me is that I want to compare body-of-work in the calendar year and have no way to get that information easily except for (some) Tor editors. And I think that's unfair. If someone edits my top choice for Best Novel (Buchanan - Halting State) does that make her the best editor of the year or just someone who had a lucky acquisition amidst a sea of dreck? Should I judge Hartwell on Rollback and drop him to the bottom of the list after thinking him a god last year for editing Eifelheim? I'm guessing he did other stuff this year that I'd like better, but I don't know for sure. What if the three books I've read by Nielsen Hayden from 2007 are, respectively (1) Hugo material, (2) good but not great, and (3) throw-it-across-the-room material that I'm going to write a really brutal post about sometime soon? Those three are hardly his total output for the year, but are they even a valid sample set? Should I average them to get my opinion of his talents? And how am I supposed to judge Meacham when I don't think I've read a single thing she edited? Reputation? Should I move all Tor people down one spot on the grounds of unfair advantage in that Tor actually provides this information and other companies don't? (I think Anders is the only editor for Pyr, but I don't know for sure, so don't know whether to credit him with Brasyl or not.)

Even if I'm just too behind in my reading to vote in this category, I honestly don't see how anyone who has to actually work for a living can manage to read enough of a sampling of what each editor produces in a year to make a rational vote in this category, so I think it comes down to guesses and reputation and personal popularity rather than specific work. And I think that's a crappy basis on which to vote. At least in the Artist category you can develop a reasoned opinion based on artistic style; the editors generally work with such a range of material that I can't really tell you what a "Hartwell novel" is. The Locus list that didn't appear this year was some help, but even working with that just mostly transferred the voting basis from hearsay about the editor's talents to hearsay about the virtues of books that I mostly hadn't read.

This is a problem in all the "person" categories (as opposed to "works" categories like Best Novel), but I think it's particularly acute in this one.

In the end, I abstain from voting in that category because I just don't have the necessary information for even a half-baked decision.

I will vote in it with extreme grumpiness.

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