Barkley — So Glad You (Didn’t) Ask: Chicon 8 Special

The 2022 Hugo Award Fan Writer Award Concession Speech

By Chris M. Barkley: Well, being nominated for a Hugo Award has been both an exciting and singularly special experience in my life and I have cherished every moment of it.

I did a little research during the nervous gulf between the announcement of the nominations and this evening’s Hugo Award Ceremony and I found out that Alex Brown and I are only the third and fourth people of color ever nominated in the Fan Writer category.

I beg you all, please, please, PLEASE, do not let us be the last!

There are seven continents on this planet (and YES, I am including all of the fans at those research bases down in Antarctica reading year old copies of Analog, Asimov’s and the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction). To all of you fan writers I say this: your views of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror and other forms of genre literature, film and television and academic criticism are just as valid and as valuable as everyone else’s. It does not belong to one country, one region, one culture or even one hemisphere. It belongs to us all. I urge you all to stand up, shout like hell and let your voices be heard as well.

I don’t feel like a “Hugo Loser.” I do not feeI disappointed. I think that just being nominated by my friends and fellow fans was an award in itself along with the company I have kept in the Fan writing category these past few months.

I would like at this time to THANK my distinguished peers in this category. I say peers because as my fellow nominee Cora Buhlert pointed out in a helpful editorial last year, we are not rivals or enemies but fellow travelers in the fannish world.

And even though I am not taking the Chicon 8 Hugo Award home with me, I will cherish sharing the experiences I have had with them in Chicago.

Also, a BIG THANK YOU to all of you who voted for my works and granted me this great honor. I owe a special THANKS to my editor, Mike Glyer, and to Olav Rokne and Amanda Wakaruk, whose Unofficial Hugo Book Club Blog posts cast a big spotlight on my work this year and made my nomination possible.

I also owe a debt of gratitude to my journalism teacher, Jon Christopher Hughes of the University of Cincinnati, who taught me that the pursuit of the truth, no matter how shocking and uncomfortable it may make people feel, is a special calling that ultimately helps enlighten, illuminate and inspire people on a daily basis everywhere.

I also thank my fellow members of the Cincinnati Fantasy Group, who’s friendships I have cherished over the past four plus decades. My most profuse thanks goes out to the Resnick family, Michaele and Roger Jordan with a special shout out to Joel Zakem, who was recently hospitalized with a heart ailment and could not attend the convention this week.

I’d like to thank my parents, the late Alice and Erbil Barkley. As I grew up, they were utterly surprised (and frustrated on many occasions) that I turned out to be such an avid fan of science fiction and fantasy. And eventually I told them well, Mom, you’re a teacher and Dad, you’re an aeronautical engineer. What the hell did you expect? It’s ALL your fault!

So, they were of the opinion that all of you were a bunch of weirdos. All I have to say is Thank Goodness they were right!

I would be remiss if I did not include a shout out to my siblings, Anthony, Diane, Robert but especially to Gwen and Janice who love sf as much as I do.

And a big thank you to my favorite first cousin, Michael Howard from Dayton Ohio, whose act of kindness, giving me a comic book in the summer of 1966 (Justice League of America # 46 to be precise), lit a flame of curiosity that literally changed the course of my life.

Thank You to my daughter Laura and her partner Charlie and to Beth and Ben, the proud parents of the most adorable quartet of grandchildren in this solar system, Atlas, Lily, Bowie and Navia.

I did not travel to this point in my life without the help of many l people whom I deeply admire and have influenced me over the decades and are no longer among us; the late Dee Potter, Elliot Shorter, Octavia Butler, Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Harlan Ellison, Nichelle Nichols and Jimi Hendrix.

Among those who are still with us: Spike Lee, Samuel L. Jackson, Rita Mae Brown, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Melinda Snodgrass, Ronald D. Moore, Samuel R. Delany, the fantastic David Gerrold, and my algorithmic clone brother from another mother and the pride of Canada, Robert J. Sawyer and his partner Carolyn Clink.

And I also wish to Thank my Shining Light of Inspiration, the Love of My Life and Lover of My Stupid Face, Juli Marr. Our DEAL is to love each other for Forever and a Day and I am holding you to that contract! I Love You SO MUCH!!!!!

And FINALLY, I have two words.

For a good portion of my life, I have been marginalized, harassed and physically assaulted by naysayers, racists, bullies and trolls who would have liked nothing better to crush my ego and extinguish my creative spirit.

Well today, I have just two words for them.

(Not THOSE two words. THAT would be, as the British say, “bad form”.)

Those two words are: YOU LOSE!

Good Night!


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9 thoughts on “Barkley — So Glad You (Didn’t) Ask: Chicon 8 Special

  1. Many congrats on your nomination, and thanks for spearheading the successful efforts to enable O.D. Ekpeki to attend Chicon. I hope you both are having a marvelous experience.

  2. Like I said last night, as far as I’m concerned we’re all winners here tonight. I also hope that we’ll see you and Alex, Paul, Jason and Bitter on the ballot again next year and maybe up on that stage.

  3. Congratulations on your nomination, which has continued to inspire me. Also, your leadership of the Chicon 8 Press Office was amazing, both passionate (what else would I have expected) and deeply competent.

  4. Much thanks to Chris for the kind words. Your nomination was well deserved and, not that it makes any difference, I did vote for you.

    To clear things up, however, my initial hospitalization and surgery (about 3 weeks prior to the date I planned to leave for Chicago) concerned fluid around one lung rather than a heart ailment. While, other than ruling out a malignancy, the doctors have not decided or shared an exact cause (I see the surgeon again on Wednesday), with me, They did say that it would have been more likely (though not impossible, so we’ll see).that fluid would have been around both lungs if it was cardiac related While I initially felt well enough following surgery to consider attending Chicon, a post hospitalization UTI scuttled those plans. I am feeling a lot better, and hopefully the problem will not return.

  5. This is inspirational and beautiful. Thanks for letting me help (?) in the press office this weekend. In addition to your brilliance and knowledge, you have great management skills.

  6. Love you, love you, love you! I am so proud of you for getting the nomination — and you were awarded a very special trophy for your work: the presence of O.D. Ekpeki!

  7. Pingback: Some Comments on the 2022 Hugo Award Winners and the Hugo Ceremony in General | Cora Buhlert

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