14 April 2015
In the continuing saga of this year’s Hugo Awards, I discuss commentary from Connie Willis and J. Michael Straczynski.
Connie Willis writes about why she’s turned down the opportunity to present the Campbell Award this year:
I love the Hugos. I can still remember how thrilled I was the first time I was nominated for one. It was the fulfillment of a dream I’d had ever since I was thirteen and had opened up Heinlein’s HAVE SPACE SUIT, WILL TRAVEL and fallen into the magical world of science fiction. I was nominated for a short story called “Daisy, in the Sun,” and I didn’t win–I lost to George R.R. Martin–but just being nominated and being there at the awards ceremony was more than enough, and then on top of that, I got to talk to Robert Silverberg and watch Damon Knight emcee and meet all these famous authors who were my heroes. It was one of the happiest nights of my life.
Since that first time, I’ve won Hugos, emceed the awards ceremony twice, and presented countless awards. I’ve handed Hugo Awards for all kinds of fiction to all kinds of authors, told them congratulations, beamed at them as they made their acceptance speeches, hugged them, and helped them down the dark stairs backstage afterwards. I’ve loved doing it. And I’ve loved everything else about the Hugos–the anticipation and the nervousness when you’re a nominee, the fun of bantering with George R.R. Martin and Mike Resnick and doing comedy routines with Robert Silverberg, the excitement of watching authors and artists you love be awarded for the work they do, and the joy of being in a room with thousands of other people who love science fiction as much as I do. I’ve adored every minute of it. Till now.
She continues, and I’d suggest you read her piece.
Personally, I can’t imagine being a presenter this year. Too fraught.
In a partial response, J. Michael Straczynski has a radical suggestion:
That being said, every indication is that this year the process was hijacked to a degree never before witnessed, if only because those involved seem to have made no pretense otherwise. They not only robbed the bank, they posted photos of the currency on Facebook and dared anyone to come and get it.
If, as many involved in Worldcon believe, the Hugos have been hijacked, if the slate of nominees to go out has been gamed in such a way that the Hugo vote and the awards themselves are not actually legitimate, then you have only one option.
Leave the relationship.
Cancel the Hugos.
If you, the organizers, genuinely feel that the Hugos this year are illegitimate, then why in god’s name are you handing out illegitimate awards?
My problem with that is that the Hugo Awards are consitutionally required by the WSFS constitution. The constitution takes two years to change, so changes initiated this year would need to be ratified next year, then become effective for 2017’s Hugo nominations and awards.
What is not constitutionally required is a Hugo Award ceremony.
Sure, that would hurt any legitimate winners (and the entire fan artist category in particular). But when I read Connie Willis’s piece, I wondered how many other people had been asked to be presenters and turned it down.
Instead, the winners as well as the nominator breakdowns could be circulated before the first business meeting. Or the second, so the old business could get out of the way in the first meeting.
Frankly, I don’t envy the senior members of Sasquan’s concom about now.
I can just hear con chair in memoriam Bobbie DuFault on the entire topic….