A Fan Writer Footnote

John Scalzi’s name was missing from the slate of nominees for the 2009 Best Fan Writer Hugo, an outcome he invested sincere effort to achieve, actively drawing his readers’ attention to the work of other fans during the nominating phase. Still, I’d thought it would be impossible for him to shed all the momentum produced by winning the Hugo in 2008 and falling just one vote shy of a victory in 2007.

So I posed the question, had he received a nomination and declined it? Scalzi graciously answered:

No. I was simply not nominated this year. I did spend a fair amount of time during the nomination window encouraging people not to nominate me and to instead nominate other folks who were new and/or had not previously won the category, so I can’t say that I was surprised not to be nominated. I can say that had I been nominated, I would have declined the nomination (although had I declined, I would not have commented until after the the awards ceremony).

2 thoughts on “A Fan Writer Footnote

  1. I’m surprised that you’re commenting about Scalzi not being nominated in Best Fan Writer given that his blog army managed to get him nominated in three other categories: Best Novel for the third volume in a series, Best Related Book, and Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form, for something called METAtropolis.

  2. Well, it’s the fannish questions that interest me most. Looking over this year’s Hugo finalists I wondered about the status of Electric Velocipede and why last year’s Best Fan Writer winner wasn’t nominated.

    I asked Scalzi precisely because he has enthusiastic supporters — he had urged them to vote for other good fan writers but it might have been possible that the only way he could have kept himself off the ballot was to decline, and I wanted to give credit where it’s due. As it happened, they followed his wishes to that extent, though as Cheryl Morgan notes Scalzi didn’t succeed in channeling their enthusiasm to produce any first-time Best Fan Writer nominees.

    I’m not surprised, for as someone whose blog was linked from Scalzi’s list of recommendations, I got literally just half-a-dozen click-throughs from it.

    Many fans read Whatever, but only a few of them are Hugo voters. When you look at last year’s final report on Hugo nominations, it’s evident there is no “blog army” at work, nor massive numbers of votes available to be channeled to other prospective nominees. In 2008, Scalzi got 43 nominations for Best Fan Writer — more than anyone else, but not an “army.” His novel got 41 nominations — no “army” at work there, either. In comparison, File 770 got 33 nominations.

    This kind of analysis shows me that if I want to be a Best Fan Writer nominee again I may have to resort to desperate measures — like writing better!

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