I know, I drop off the internets for two weeks (I have a massive slate of excuses that I’m planning to elaborate on…soon-ish) and then two posts in one day! Zomg! But the Hugo nominations just got released, so I’m going to react in between moving my plate so my cat can’t get to my sandwich.
First off, I’ll cop immediately to the fact that I don’t have as many opinions as I would like about most of the categories because the amount of reading I got done last year was somewhere between deeply pathetic and downright sob-worthy. (And much of what I did read was not published in 2013. Boo.)
I’m super happy for Sofia Samatar; Selkie Stories Are For Losers is one of those rare 2013 stories I did actually read and I loved it so much I nominated it so woo! I helped! The Graphic Story category is very exciting this year (and god I’m already looking forward to throwing Ms. Marvel on the 2014 ballot, you have no idea) and I’m very happy to see Gravity and Pacific Rim in the Dramatic Presentation, Long Form category. Also An Adventure in Space and Time and The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot are my faves out of the
Best Doctor Who Dramatic Presentation, Short Form category. Semiprozine and Fanzine both look exciting this year. And Skiffy and Fanty got nominated in the Fancast category and I love that podcast ferociously so YAY.
Standard congratulations to everyone who got nominated, particularly the five writers up for the Not a Hugo award!
So then there are the things that I’m just sideeyeing so mightily.
First off, Wheel of Time. The whole series. In best novel. Look, I get that it’s technically okay by the letter of the rules, but seriously? I just… I can’t even. And don’t take this as me just being some WoT hater. I mentioned the nomination to Mike, who has read the series and owns many of the books. He likes that massive wood pulp trainwreck in his own way. And when I told him about the nomination, he frowned and said, “Really? That had better not win.” SO IT’S NOT JUST ME.
I’m super disappointed that Her didn’t get nominated in the dramatic presentation, long form. I’m guessing it’s because it wasn’t as massively popular (or well-advertised) as any of the other movies, but goddamn it was phenomenal. (It very much deserved the Oscar it received for best screenplay, and every one of its nominations.) And of course Europa Report, but I had no illusions about that one even having a chance since it was a relatively teeny independent film.
Then the dramatic presentation, short form category. The Best Doctor Who category. But really, The Name of the Doctor? And frankly, I have such a hate/love relationship with The Day of the Doctor that I just can’t even start on that. I guess I’m just glad The Time of the Doctor didn’t get a nomination or I might have punched my fist through my laptop screen. Boy I can’t wait until next year when The Loofah of the Doctor and The Worrying, Hairy Mole That Should Probably Get Looked at of the Doctor battle it out against Game of Thrones: The Lion and the Rose. (I have never watched nor read GoT, and yet it’s very likely even I would vote for that episode because I am an adult human being with an internet connection.)
And then there’s this thing where my sideeyeing hits the sort of level that might indicate incipient eye strain. Natalie Luhrs posted at her blog and there’s also a bit about it over at File770, which is basically the fact that several of the nominees were on sample ballots pushed by the dreaded Vox Day and the not-dreaded-and-is-probably-a-perfectly-nice-dude-in-person-but-online-sounds-like-a-real-asshole Larry Correia.
Now, I have no idea about the quality of most of the work on the ballot this year. I didn’t put nominees in a lot of the categories because I didn’t get to read much new stuff, which is kind of the point. It goes without saying that you shouldn’t nominate things you haven’t read. And for all I know right now, these are all equally fantastic damn stories; I look forward to finding out when I read them. In fact, I had no thoughts beyond, “Oh hey, good for you Brad Torgersen, two nominations!” and so on until I heard about this grossness. (Exception: I did think, “Wow, the Prince of Darkness got nominated for a Hugo? What the hell does that story do, press and iron your shirts while you read?”)
People post their personal ballot picks all the time. I actually look at those when the nomination period is drawing close so I can try to squeeze in a few more things to read and get a better spread on my own nominations. But there is a subtle but very important distinction between, “So this is who I’m going to nominate” and actively exhorting your followers to pony up the $40 for a supporting membership and participate in a “Sad Puppies Hugo stacking campaign” because it’ll… make liberals cry or something.
Bonus points for VD trying to blame it all on the subject of his massive internet hateboner, John Scalzi:
It should be interesting to see how this all turns out. But after John Scalzi – how entirely unsurprising – laid the groundwork for the open politicization of the Hugo Award, it was inevitable that what had always been done quietly behind closed doors would come out in the open.
See! He totally did it first! We’re just doing it better or something!
I get that there is an element of politics inherent in award giving, particularly when it’s “big” awards–all you have to do is observe the Academy Awards to see that. And I get that there is a lot of deck stacking when it comes to platform. (Shit, man, I was just bitching about how a movie I thought was fucking amazing didn’t get a nomination because it was insufficiently popular.) Yet all you have to do is really look over the nominations to see that it’s not just the 900-lb gorillas that get on the slate for these things.
While it might feel good to tell yourself that the only reason the people in your in-group aren’t raking in all the awards is because fancy schmancy people who write stories you don’t like because there’s too much global warming and not enough guns are having a massive circle jerk and didn’t invite you, it’s also pretty goddamn sad. It’s “you plebes just don’t get my genius” in a different form.
It just seems really…pathetic. Yeah, that’s the word I’m looking for.
ETA on 4/20: And since I feel like I didn’t make this point strongly enough in the original post–while my sideeyeing here is mighty, I’m going to do my best to give the fiction in the Hugo packet an open-hearted read. Because if I’m going to complain about this uber-pathetic deck stacking, I feel it’s then my obligation to not play into their game by letting my choices be made by anything outside what I read in the stories. I’m also well aware that I’m operating from a pretty privileged position here, so please don’t read this as a finger-shaking exhortation or some kind of judgment. (And feel free to argue with me on this one, I’m just doing my best and my best ain’t perfect.) At the end of the day you do what you have to do to be right with yourself. Relevant follow-up here.
TBH I feel a bit bad for anyone that’s gotten unwittingly caught in the crossfire of Correia’s incredibly unsubtle “sad puppy” campaign thing because it adds an unhappy shadow of doubt to the nominations, and that seems unfair. Then again, guys, you got nominated for a Hugo! It’s not like you need some random person on the internet feeling bad at you for that.
Anyway, good luck to all the nominees! And may the odds be ever in your favor.