By Tammy Coxen:
1976 – GRRM holds the first Hugo Loser’s Party, an unofficial event in his hotel room
1976-1985 – GRRM continues to run the HLP as an unofficial event “usually teaming up with a publisher”
1985 to 1987 – Other people run the HLP, but it continues as an unofficial event
1988 – The people who have been running the party say they can’t do it. The 1989 Worldcon (Noreascon 3) offers to run it. At their con in 1989, they offer the 1990 Worldcon (ConFiction) the opportunity to run it, and it becomes a tradition for it to be done this way.
1989-2014 – The HLP is now an event hosted by the following year’s convention, specifically targeted at the finalists of the current year’s Hugo Awards. It’s generally held at the convention with other parties, and often opens up to the general membership after the Losers have been and gone. It gets progressively more formal as the years go on, with gifts for the finalists provided by the next year’s con. And because conventions and budgets vary, sometimes it’s a great party, and sometimes it’s not so great.
2015 & 2016 – Along come the Puppies, and GRRM revives his Hugo Losers Party. In a much bigger and more extravagant fashion, because he’s now that GRRM and he can afford to throw the best parties ever. The official, next-convention-run party continues in parallel, but attendance is dismal, with many of the finalists not even bothering to stop in before heading off to the exciting party.
2017-2019 – If you can’t beat ’em, join em! Rather than spend money and people points hosting an official convention-run HLP, the next year’s conventions decide instead to team up with George, contributing their labor and paltry budget to his grander extravaganza. This works to varying degrees of success, culminating in 2019 with Hugo finalists (who from 1988 to 2016 were told explicitly that this was a party FOR THEM) not being able to get into the party, and being understandably grouchy about it.