The Best Defense

The best defense is a good offense and Neil Clarke, Publisher/Editor of Clarkesworld Magazine, refuses to let the Best Semiprozine Hugo category go down without a fight. He has launched Save the Semiprozine to rally opposition to the rules change that could end the Hugo Award in that category if it is ratified at this year’s Worldcon.

This could be the last year the Hugo Award for Best Semiprozine is offered. We respectfully disagree with the reasons presented by those pursuing this goal. Through this blog, we hope to make the case against voting out the semiprozine category.

The 2009 Worldcon business meeting will vote whether to ratify the rules change initially passed in 2008. Voting is open to Anticipation members who attend the relevant session.

The case for making the change was based in part on there being far fewer semiprozines than fanzines, and that Locus has almost monopolized the award throughout its 25-year history, arguably proving the category is futile.

Since last fall, the community of people who produce small science fiction magazines has been trying to voice effective resistance to the prospect of losing what opportunity they have to complete for a Hugo. Despite Locus taking a Brobdingnagian share of the Hugos they don’t share in the spirit of nihilism that flavored last year’s fanpolitical discussions. They seem willing to take their chances. A Hugo nomination may help them with marketing, regardless of the prospect for actually winning.

Cheryl Morgan, currently on the Clarkesworld staff, contributed ideas to the new site and her blog supplies additional background.

5 thoughts on “The Best Defense

  1. As I recall, the Best Semiprozine category was created because Locus kept winning the Best Fanzine award.

    In other words, this has all happened before, and it will all happen again. Who gets to be Starbuck this time?

  2. Semiprozines were divided off from the Best Fanzine category by a rule first passed in 1982 that took effect in 1984. At the time the rule was passed, semiprozines (Locus, The Alien Critic/Science Fiction Review, Algol) had won the Best Fanzine Hugo eight straight years but half the time some other zine than Locus had won. There had been a superficial appearance of diversity up to that moment in history.

  3. How would you define a fiction-only category? I mean, it sounds obvious enough, but not even the fiction zines are all fiction. And given a loophole, I’m sure Locus is resourceful enough to find a big-name writer to contribute some fiction to every issue if that’s all it takes to stay eligible.

  4. There are currently three different Hugos for editors who pay their contributors. The Semi-Prozine Hugo (which goes to the editor) and the Editor-Short Form Hugo appear to be the same thing.

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