With a little more than two days left to nominate for the 2012 Hugo Awards I’m seeing a lot of this floating around the internet:
I am a blogger. My Dad won’t let me have the Best Fanzine Hugo. Please exert your electronic mightiness to halt this injustice.
(Well, I’ve freely paraphrased.)
It’s come to be expected that fannish bloggers will find an excuse to flex their digital muscles and remind the world they exist by propelling something onto the Hugo ballot every year. This year it’s themselves.
And I find that annoying — the flexing, not the idea that bloggers want to be nominated. Unlike some, I don’t feel it’s part of my personal mission to keep blogs out of the Best Fanzine category. Keeping out audio/video productions that ought to be in the forthcoming Best Fancast category, yes. Blogs, not really.
Energizing this year’s protest is resentment of the zine category changes passed at the 2011 Business Meeting. People are aware that fans instrumental in getting the changes through, such as Rich Lynch and Steven H Silver, believe the changed rules restrict the eligibility of blogs and websites to those which are not continually updated, but take down and archive the previous material. (SF Site is an example of a website that already follows this practice.) In their view, most blogs will not qualify as fanzines.
In reality this remains an unsettled question. It is not certain that the mover’s intentions will rule. Those intentions were never made part of the express language of the rules.
The final verdict will rest with the voters and the Hugo Administrator. In that spirit, several bloggers urge their readers to vote for whatever they like – happily adding they’d be willing to accept any votes that come their way. (Why not?)
A subsidiary discussion is whether it would be piggy for the bloggers to ask fans to nominate their work in both the Best Fan Writer and Best Fanzine categories. A couple of well-respected writers argue that bloggers should be recognized in the Best Fan Writer category alone.
I don’t expect many bloggers to listen. How far can anyone push that argument, after all, given the history of the fan Hugos?
If all the living editors of Hugo-nominated fanzines who received Best Fan Writer nominations in the same year are asked to raise their hands, Don D’Ammassa, Claire Brialey, Leigh Edmonds, Dick Geis, Chris Garcia, Dave Langford, Cheryl Morgan, Teresa Nielsen Hayden, Steven H Silver, Leslie Turek and Chuq Von Rospach will be waving back at us and I’m going to have to type this post one-handed. (If they were still with us, the list would include Charles N. Brown, Don C. Thompson, and Susan Wood.) Was there a year when somebody didn’t register a double in these categories?
In fact, here’s your trivia question:
The Best Fan Writer Hugo was first given in 1967. Often since then fan writer nominees have also been nominated in the same year for the fanzines they edit. How many times has the final Hugo ballot NOT presented at least one such double-nominee?
(The answer appears after the jump.)
With bloggers already complaining about inequitable treatment vis-a-via fanzines, why would they forego the dual recognition so many faneditors have enjoyed?
Answer to trivia question: Four times. (1967, 1968, 1969, 1986.) It seems that once people got the idea, they practically never missed a chance to do it.