Hugo Voting Threshold Reform Proposal

By Olav Rokne: Over the past several weeks, a group of fans has been working on a proposal to abolish WSFS constitution clause 3.12.2, which could result in a Hugo category getting no award even when that is not the express wishes of voters. The group proposing this change to the WSFS constitution includes people who are presently or have recently been finalists in the categories most likely to be affected by 3.12.2 of the constitution.

It would be exceptionally embarrassing for a Worldcon to have to explain why a finalist would have won the Hugo except for — oops! — this bit of outdated fine print. The best course of action is to eliminate that fine print before such a circumstance arises.

The list of people who have been working on this proposal includes Olav Rokne, Amanda Wakaruk, Paul Weimer, Jason Sanford, Cora Buhlert, Camestros Felapton, Christopher J Garcia, Marshall Ryan Maresca, Joe Sherry, Adri Joy, Gideon Marcus, Lori Anderson, Kevin Anderson, Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki, Haley Zapal, Amy Salley, Chris M. Barkley, Mike Glyer, and Alasdair Stuart.

Here is the current draft of the proposal that we intend to present to the business meeting:


Hugo Voting Threshold Reform Proposal for the 2022 Business Meeting

Over the past several years, several Hugo Award categories have come close to not being awarded due the current wording of, but not the original intent of, 3.12.2 of the constitution.

The current text of 3.12.2

“No Award” shall be given whenever the total number of valid ballots cast for a specific category (excluding those cast for “No Award” in first place) is less than twenty-five per cent (25%) of the total number of final Award ballots received.

While this clause was designed to guard against categories in which there was a lack of interest, there has not been a significant decline in the categories most at risk of being affected by 3.12.2. Rather there has been a significant uptick in interest in other categories.

Since 2,362 final Award ballots were cast in 2021, if any category received fewer than 591 votes in the final count, then a result of “No Award” would have been declared. Fancast received 632 votes, barely scraping past that 25 per cent threshold. Fanzine (643 votes), Editor – Long Form (667 votes), and Fan Writer (680 votes) were all poised near the abyss.

For context, consider that 591 is more votes than any category received in 1963 when 3.12.2 was first proposed.

At Denvention 3 in 2008, only 302 people voted in the Fanzine category. By absolute terms, this was less than half the number that voted for Fanzine at Discon 3 in 2021, but because only 762 people voted in the Hugos overall, the category had a participation rate of 39.6 per cent, and was in no risk of falling prey to the criteria set forth in 3.12.2. Conversely, despite there being 643 votes cast in Fanzine last year, this only amounted to 27.2 per cent participation.

Worldcon has grown since the 1960s to the point at which this threshold is no longer relevant, and could even be harmful.

The fact that this threshold is based on the overall number of ballots cast in more high-profile categories (like Best Novel or Best Dramatic Presentation), it risks punishing these important and community-oriented categories (like Fancast and Fanzine) – despite the existence of substantial and sustained interest in these categories.

In an era of superhero franchises and a true renaissance of SF/F television worldwide, it is unwieldy to expect community-oriented categories to pull the same interest as multi-million dollar franchises. We do a disservice to the diversity of our community when we establish the latter as the threshold of popularity for the former.

To address this unanticipated problem, we would propose decoupling the viability threshold from the total number of final award ballots with the following proposal:

PROPOSAL – Eliminate 3.12.2

Strike the following words from the WSFS constitution:

3.12.2: “No Award” shall be given whenever the total number of valid ballots cast for a specific category (excluding those cast for “No Award” in first place) is less than twenty-five percent (25%) of the total number of final Award ballots received.


Several other options for reform of this section have been discussed, such as changing the percentage, moving the threshold to an absolute value, or creating other metrics. However, eliminating this viability test altogether is the simplest action that would solve the immediate problems faced in an era of disproportionate increases of interest in some Hugo categories.

Chicon 8 Publishes Progress Report #4

Chicon 8, the 2022 Worldcon, announced today that Progress Report #4 is available for the public to download from their website.

PROGRAM. Chair Helen Montgomery’s message touches on programming:

Our program is looking amazing — we’re going to have close to 700 program items such as panels and presentations and workshops. I’ve seen the list and … wow. The program team has definitely raised the bar for quality Worldcon programing this year! Watch our website and social media for sneak previews!

There is also good news that CART subtitles will be provided “for the Hugo Ceremony, Business Meeting, and the Masquerade at very least. Airmeet, our virtual platform, offers automatic subtitling for all virtual program items.”

There is also a extensive coverage of other Accessibility Services that will be available.

COVID. Those planning to attend in person are reminded about Chicon 8’s COVID-19 Policy:

COVID POLICY Chicon 8 strives to hold a welcoming and inclusive event. As with any community, portions of our population are at high risk for serious complications from Covid-19. Part of our responsibility to our community is safeguarding the health of all our members. To that end, proof of full vaccination for Covid-19 as defined by the CDC or countries with reasonably aligned vaccination protocols are required for entry to Chicon 8. Masks are required in all convention spaces except when actively eating or drinking in designated areas.

The full policy and FAQ can be viewed at the link.

COMMUNITY FUND. The Chicago Worldcon Community Fund, which is providing pay-what-you-can memberships and travel stipends to non-white fans or program participants, LGBTQIA+ fans or program participants, and local Chicago area fans of limited means, made its first set of awards to over 20 people in May. To help even more people they need to replenish their funds. You can make a cash donation by visiting the fund page at the link. And applications for assistance are still being accepted.

VOLUNTEERS. Hundreds of in-person volunteers are needed – check out Volunteer Opportunities. They also are looking for Virtual volunteers. See Volunteering – Chicon 8.

MEMBERSHIP. Progress Report #4 summarizes Chicon 8’s membership demographics as of May 14, 2022. Total membership is 4170, comprised of Adult Attending, 2626; Age Attending (**), 141; Virtual, 32; and Supporting, 1371. [Note: Age Attending (**) includes Young Adults, Teen and Child Attending Members plus Kids-in-To.]

The PR also includes a breakout of United States member statistics plus a map of the states color-coded for membership density. (Wait, that doesn’t sound right.)

Steven Barnes and Tananarive Due to be Guests of Honor at Chicon 8

Chicon 8, the 2022 World Science Fiction Convention, has announced Steven Barnes and Tananarive Due as additional Guests of Honor for this year’s Worldcon. They join Chicon’s roll of Guests of Honor including artist Floyd Norman, fans Joe Siclari and Edie Stern, and the late Erle Korshak (who will be honored in memoriam); and special guests: writer and sociologist Dr. Eve L. Ewing, comic artist Gene Ha, and illustration and concept artist Eric Wilkerson.

Steven Barnes is the NY Times bestselling author of over thirty novels of science fiction, horror, and suspense.  The Image, Endeavor and Cable-Ace Award winning author also writes for television, including The Twilight ZoneStargate SG-1Andromeda, and an Emmy Award winning episode of The Outer Limits. He has taught at UCLA, Seattle University, and lectured at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C.  Steven was born in Los Angeles, California, and except for a decade in the Northwest, and three years in Atlanta Georgia, has lived in that area all his life.

Tananarive Due (tah-nah-nah-REEVE doo) is an award-winning author who teaches Black Horror and Afrofuturism at UCLA. She is an executive producer on Shudder’s groundbreaking documentary Horror Noire: A History of Black Horror.  A leading voice in Black speculative fiction for more than 20 years, Due has won an American Book Award, an NAACP Image Award, and a British Fantasy Award and her writing has been included in best-of-the-year anthologies. Her books include Ghost Summer: StoriesMy Soul to Keep, and The Good House. She and her late mother, civil rights activist Patricia Stephens Due, co-authored Freedom in the Family: A Mother-Daughter Memoir of the Fight for Civil Rights

Steven and Tananarive are frequent collaborators as well as married couple. Working together, they wrote “A Small Town” for Season 2 of Jordan Peele’s The Twilight Zone on Paramount+, and two segments of Shudder’s anthology film Horror Noire. They also co-wrote the upcoming Black Horror graphic novel The Keeper, illustrated by Marco Finnegan. 

Steven and Tananarive have also collaborated to create online courses in Afrofuturism (www.afrofuturismwebinar.com), Black Horror (www.sunkenplaceclass.com), and Screenwriting, as well as co-hosting a podcast, Lifewriting: Write for Your Life!  They live in California with their son Jason. 

[Based on a press release.]

Updates to Chicon 8 Hugo Voter Packet

Chicon 8 Hugo Administrator Kat Jones answered File 770’s request to summarize the changes that have been made in Hugo Voter Packet since its original release on May 27.

Here are the additions, subtractions, and changes:

  • Best Novella: Files updated for Aliette de Bodard’s work
  • Best Short Story: docx version of Alix Harrow’s work was removed
  • Best Editor, Short Form: Files added for Sheree Renée Thomas
  • Best Editor, Long Form: Files added for Sarah T. Guan
  • Best Fancast: Zip file for the category broken into two parts for easier download of materials

Chicon 8 will also distribute this information on its official social media channels today.

Chengdu Worldcon Committee Names Yalow as Co-Chair; Adds Overseas Staffers

The 2023 Chengdu Worldcon committee tweeted April 24 that it has named Ben Yalow one of three co-chairs of the convention. They have also appointed Dave McCarty, Donald Eastlake III, Randall Shepherd as Vice-Chairs.

 In addition, Bill Lawhorn has become a co-division-head.

A number of other overseas fans – Colette Fozard, Nicholas Whyte, Tammy Coxen, Pablo Vazquez, and Dave McCarty – were previously announced as part of the committee in a handout distributed at the DisCon III business meeting.

Here is the committee’s latest organization chart:

CO-CHAIRS

Ben Yalow, Hongwei He, Chen Shi

HONORARY CO-CHAIR

Haijun Yao, Xiaolan Liang

VICE CHAIR

Tong Xia, Yating Wang, Yao Chen, He Huang, Feng Yang, Zhenyu Jiang, Yue Sun, Zi La, Dave McCarty, Donald Eastlake, Randall Shepherd

ADVISER

Colette Fozard, Nicholas Whyte

INTEGRATED PLANNING AND COORDINATION DIVISION

Division Head: Yating Wang, Bill Lawhorn

ARTISTIC DESIGN DIVISION

Division Head: Yue Sun

MARKETING DEVELOPMENT AND BRAND BUILDING DIVISION

Division Head: Yuxi Tan

PUBLIC RELATIONSHIP DIVISION

Division Head: Tong Xia

MEMBER SERVICES DIVISION

Division Head: Yao Chen

TRANSLATION SERVICES WORKING DIVISION

Division Head: Shuang Liang

HUGO AWARD SELECTION EXECUTIVE DIVISION

Division Head: Zhengyu Jiang, Dave McCarty

BUSINESS MEETING EXECUTIVE DIVISION

Division Head: Xue Yao

2025 CONVENTION SITE SELECTION IMPLEMENTATION DIVISION

Division Head: Chi Yao

EVENT OPERATIONS DIVISION

Division Head: Liu Yang

PUBLICITY DIVISION

Division Head: He Huang

NORTH AMERICA, EAST ASIA, EUROPE AGENT

Division Head: Feng Yang

CONVENTION SERVICE DIVISION

Division Head: TBA

Many of the overseas committee members were part of the international array of visiting writers and Worldcon runners who attended the 5th China (Chengdu) International Science Fiction Conference in 2019, including then-DisCon III co-chairs Colette Fozard and William Lawhorn, then-Chicago bid co-chair Dave McCarty, plus Ben Yalow, and Pablo M.A Vazquez who was there as a winner of the Shimmer Program’s Two-Way Exchange Fund.

Below is the handout distributed in December.

[Thanks to Michael J. Walsh for the story.]

Chicon 8 Hugo Voter Packet Available; Online Hugo Voting Opens

Chicon 8 notified members today that the Hugo Voter Packet is available to download at the members’ area.

Online voting for the 2022 Hugo Awards, the Lodestar Award for best Young Adult Book, and the Astounding Award for Best New Writer is also open. All ballots must be received by August 11, 2022, 11:59 pm PDT (UTC-7). 

The committee’s Hugo Voter Packet boasts quite a trove of complete works. A highly convenient index PDF for each category shows the works and formats available. The following checklist is based on the committee’s indexes.

If a finalist has no material in the packet, they are lined through in the list below.

Chicon 8 members may access the voter’s packet by visiting the registration page, logging in, and clicking on “Menu and Account Options” to see the “Hugo Packet” link.

Those with any questions about the Hugo Awards process can contact Hugo Help.

2022 HUGO VOTER PACKET CONTENTS

BEST NOVEL

  • A Desolation Called Peace, by Arkady Martine (Tor) – EPUB, MOBI, PDF
  • The Galaxy, and the Ground Within, by Becky Chambers (Harper Voyager / Hodder & Stoughton) – EPUB, MOBI, PDF
  • Light From Uncommon Stars, by Ryka Aoki (Tor / St Martin’s Press) – EPUB, MOBI, PDF
  • A Master of Djinn, by P. Djèlí Clark (Tordotcom / Orbit UK) – EPUB, MOBI, PDF
  • Project Hail Mary, by Andy Weir (Ballantine / Del Rey) – PDF
  • She Who Became the Sun, by Shelley Parker-Chan (Tor / Mantle) – EPUB, MOBI, PDF

BEST NOVELLA

  • Across the Green Grass Fields, by Seanan McGuire (Tordotcom) – EPUB, MOBI, PDF
  • Elder Race, by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Tordotcom) – EPUB, MOBI, PDF
  • Fireheart Tiger, by Aliette de Bodard (Tordotcom) – EPUB, MOBI, PDF
  • The Past Is Red, by Catherynne M. Valente (Tordotcom) – EPUB, MOBI, PDF
  • A Psalm for the Wild-Built, by Becky Chambers (Tordotcom) – EPUB, MOBI, PDF
  • A Spindle Splintered, by Alix E. Harrow (Tordotcom) – EPUB, MOBI, PDF

BEST NOVELETTE

  •  “Bots of the Lost Ark”, by Suzanne Palmer (Clarkesworld, Jun 2021) – EPUB, MOBI, PDF
  • “Colors of the Immortal Palette”, by Caroline M. Yoachim (Uncanny Magazine, Mar/Apr 2021) – EPUB, MOBI, PDF
  • L’Esprit de L’Escalier, by Catherynne M. Valente (Tordotcom) – EPUB, MOBI, PDF
  • “O2 Arena”, by Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki (Galaxy’s Edge, Nov 2021) – EPUB, MOBI, PDF, DOCX
  • “That Story Isn’t the Story”, by John Wiswell (Uncanny Magazine, Nov/Dec 2021) – EPUB, MOBI, PDF
  • “Unseelie Brothers, Ltd.”, by Fran Wilde (Uncanny Magazine, May/Jun 2021) – EPUB, MOBI, PDF

BEST SHORT STORY

  •  “Mr. Death”, by Alix E. Harrow (Apex Magazine, Feb 2021) – PDF, DOCX
  • “Proof by Induction”, by José Pablo Iriarte (Uncanny Magazine, May/Jun 2021) – EPUB, MOBI, PDF
  • “The Sin of America”, by Catherynne M. Valente (Uncanny Magazine, Mar/Apr 2021) – EPUB, MOBI, PDF
  • “Tangles”, by Seanan McGuire (Magicthegathering.com: Magic Story, Sep 2021) – EPUB, MOBI, PDF
  • “Unknown Number”, by Blue Neustifter (Twitter, Jul 2021) – EPUB, PDF, AZW3
  • “Where Oaken Hearts Do Gather”, by Sarah Pinsker (Uncanny Magazine, Mar/Apr 2021) – EPUB, MOBI, PDF

BEST SERIES

  • The Green Bone Saga, by Fonda Lee (Orbit) – PDF (1 NOVEL)
  • The Kingston Cycle, by C. L. Polk (Tordotcom) – EPUB, MOBI, PDF (1 NOVEL)
  • Merchant Princes, by Charles Stross (Macmillan) – EPUB, MOBI, PDF (2 NOVELS)
  • Terra Ignota, by Ada Palmer (Tor Books) – EPUB, MOBI, PDF (1 NOVEL)
  • Wayward Children, by Seanan McGuire (Tordotcom) – EPUB, MOBI, PDF (1 NOVEL)
  • The World of the White Rat, by T. Kingfisher (Ursula Vernon) (Argyll Productions) – EPUB, MOBI, PDF (1 NOVEL)

BEST GRAPHIC STORY OR COMIC

  • DIE, vol. 4: Bleed, written by Kieron Gillen, art by Stephanie Hans, lettering by Clayton Cowles (Image) — PDF
  • Far Sector, written by N.K. Jemisin, art by Jamal Campbell (DC)
  • Lore Olympus, vol. 1, by Rachel Smythe (Del Rey) — PDF
  • Monstress, vol. 6: The Vow, written by Marjorie Liu, art by Sana Takeda (Image) — PDF
  • Once & Future, vol. 3: The Parliament of Magpies, written by Kieron Gillen, illustrated by Dan Mora, colored by Tamra Bonvillain (BOOM!) – EPUB, MOBI, PDF
  • Strange Adventures, written by Tom King, art by Mitch Gerads and Evan “Doc” Shaner (DC)

BEST RELATED WORK

  • Being Seen: One Deafblind Woman’s Fight to End Ableism, by Elsa Sjunneson (Tiller Press) – PDF EXCERPT
  • The Complete Debarkle: Saga of a Culture War, by Camestros Felapton (Camestros Felapton) – EPUB, MOBI, PDF
  • Dangerous Visions and New Worlds: Radical Science Fiction, 1950 to 1985, edited by Andrew Nette and Iain McIntyre (PM Press) – EPUB, MOBI, PDF
  • “How Twitter can ruin a life”, by Emily St. James (Vox, Jun 2021) – EPUB, MOBI, PDF
  • Never Say You Can’t Survive, by Charlie Jane Anders (Tordotcom) – EPUB, MOBI, PDF
  • True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee, by Abraham Riesman (Crown) – EPUB, NETGALLEY LINK

BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION, LONG FORM

  • Dune LINK TO TRAILER ON IMDB
  • Encanto LINK TO TRAILER ON IMDB
  • The Green Knight LINK TO TRAILER ON IMDB
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings LINK TO TRAILER ON IMDB
  • Space Sweepers LINK TO TRAILER ON IMDB
  • WandaVision LINK TO TRAILER ON IMDB

BEST DRAMATIC PRESENTATION, SHORT FORM

  • The Wheel of TimeThe Flame of Tar Valon LINK TO IMDB EPISODE INFO
  • For All Mankind: The Grey — LINK TO IMDB EPISODE INFO
  • Arcane: The Monster You Created — LINK TO IMDB EPISODE INFO
  • The Expanse: Nemesis Games — LINK TO IMDB EPISODE INFO
  • Loki: The Nexus Event — LINK TO IMDB EPISODE INFO
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks: wej DujVideo (MP4), Script (PDF), Images (JPG); LINK TO IMDB EPISODE INFO

BEST EDITOR, SHORT FORM

  • Neil Clarke – EPUB, MOBI, PDF
  • Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki – EPUB, MOBI, PDF
  • Mur Lafferty & S.B. Divya – EPUB, MOBI, PDF
  • Jonathan Strahan — PDF
  • Sheree Renée Thomas – EPUB, MOBI
  • Sheila Williams – EPUB, MOBI, PDF

BEST EDITOR, LONG FORM

  • Ruoxi Chen – LIST OF BOOKS EDITED; EPUB & PDF OF 4 NOVELS (A MASTER OF DJINN BY P. DJÈLÍ CLARK, THE CHOSEN AND THE BEAUTIFUL BY NGHI VO, STAR EATER BY KERSTIN HALL, A MARVELLOUS LIGHT BY FREYA MARSKE)
  • Nivia Evans – LIST OF BOOKS EDITED
  • Sarah T. Guan — LIST OF BOOKS EDITED; PDF SAMPLES (THE ALL-CONSUMING WORLD BY CASSADRA KHAW, FOLKLORN BY ANGELA MI-YOUNG HUR, AND RISE OF THE RED HAND BY OLIVIA CHADHA)
  • Brit Hvide – LIST OF BOOKS EDITED
  • Patrick Nielsen Hayden – LIST OF BOOKS EDITED
  • Navah Wolfe – LIST OF BOOKS EDITED; PDF SAMPLE (SON OF THE STORM BY OKUNGBOWA)

BEST PROFESSIONAL ARTIST

  • Tommy Arnold– IMAGES (JPG)
  • Rovina Cai — PDF
  • Ashley Mackenzie– IMAGES (JPG)
  • Maurizio Manzieri – IMAGES (JPG); RTF
  • Will Staehle – IMAGES (PNG)
  • Alyssa Winans– IMAGES (JPG)

BEST SEMIPROZINE

  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies – EPUB, MOBI, PDF
  • Escape Pod – EPUB, MOBI, PDF. MP3
  • FIYAH Literary Magazine – EPUB, MOBI, PDF
  • PodCastle – EPUB, MOBI, PDF
  • Strange Horizons – EPUB, MOBI, PDF
  • Uncanny Magazine – EPUB, MOBI, PDF

BEST FANZINE

  • The Full Lid – EPUB, MOBI, PDF
  • Galactic Journey – EPUB, MOBI, PDF
  • Journey Planet – EPUB, PDF
  • Quick Sip Reviews – PDF, DOCX
  • Small Gods – EPUB, MOBI, PDF
  • Unofficial Hugo Book Club Blog — PDF

BEST FANCAST

  • Be The Serpent – SELECTED EPISODES, TRANSCRIPTS
  • The Coode Street Podcast – SELECTED EPISODES
  • Hugo, Girl! – SELECTED EPISODES, TRANSCRIPTS
  • Octothorpe – SELECTED EPISODES, TRANSCRIPTS
  • Our Opinions Are Correct – SELECTED EPISODES
  • Worldbuilding for Masochists – SELECTED EPISODES, TRANSCRIPTS

BEST FAN WRITER

  • Chris M. Barkley — EPUB
  • Bitter Karella – EPUB, MOBI, PDF
  • Alex Brown — EPUB
  • Cora Buhlert – EPUB, MOBI, PDF
  • Jason Sanford – EPUB, MOBI, PDF
  • Paul Weimer – EPUB, MOBI, PDF, AZW3

BEST FAN ARTIST

  • Iain J. Clark – IMAGES (JPG)
  • Lorelei Esther — PDF
  • Sara Felix – IMAGES (PNG)
  • Ariela Housman – PDF, IMAGES (JPG)
  • Nilah Magruder – IMAGES (PNG)
  • Lee Moyer — PDF

LODESTAR AWARD FOR BEST YOUNG ADULT BOOK

  • Chaos on CatNet, by Naomi Kritzer (Tor Teen) – EPUB, MOBI, PDF
  • Iron Widow, by Xiran Jay Zhao (Penguin Teen / Rock the Boat) – EPUB, MOBI, PDF
  • The Last Graduate, by Naomi Novik (Del Rey Books) – EXCERPT PDF; NETGALLEY LINK
  • Redemptor, by Jordan Ifueko (Amulet Books / Hot Key Books) — PDF
  • A Snake Falls to Earth, by Darcie Little Badger (Levine Querido)
  • Victories Greater Than Death, by Charlie Jane Anders (Tor Teen / Titan) – EPUB, MOBI, PDF

ASTOUNDING AWARD FOR BEST NEW WRITER

  • Tracy Deonn  – EPUB, MOBI, PDF, (IMAGES, JPG)
  • Micaiah Johnson – PDF (EXCERPT); NETGALLEY LINK
  • A.K. Larkwood  – EPUB, MOBI, PDF
  • Everina Maxwell – EPUB, MOBI, PDF
  • Shelley Parker-Chan  – EPUB, MOBI, PDF
  • Xiran Jay Zhao  – EPUB, MOBI, PDF

Update 05/30/2022: Added Sarah T. Guan material to list.

Reforming the Short Form Hugo: A Guest Post by Dale Skran

By Dale Skran: For a long time, I’ve felt the Short Form Hugo for Best Dramatic Presentation was not properly organized to give an award to the best “Television” SF of the previous year.  My critique was three-fold:

(1) Requiring a particular episode to be nominated “by name” made it very difficult for a program to receive the award.  Fans often love the show but prefer different episodes.  A great series might get many nominations for different episodes but lose out to a single episode from a lesser series being pushed by an organized fan campaign.  This characteristic also gives an unfair advantage to long-running series like Doctor Who with a large fandom that can run a campaign for a particular episode.

(2) Allowing short-shorts that are not regular TV shows to be nominated has the effect of diminishing the short-form Hugo as an award for series SF.

(3) The requirement to nominate a single episode also tilts the playing field in favor of anthology series or highly episodic television.  This may have been appropriate the 1950s/60s when some of the best SF shows were The Twilight Zone and Outer Limits, and virtually all series programming was rigidly episodic, but is a much worse match to series performances of the modern age that feature long story arcs and tight ties between long sequences of “episodes.”

As the world of “television” has expanded to included Internet shows and has taken on a globalized character, a new problem has arisen.  It may be years before a great SF series makes it to a venue such as Netflix where it has a wide audience such that it might get enough attention to be nominated for the short form Hugo.  Thus, we live in a time in which the short form Hugo simply ignores the best series SF, and is given out to whatever happens to be on BBC, Amazon Prime, Disney, HBO, or Netflix in the previous year.

As an example, consider the 2021 short form nominees and winner:

  • The Good Place: “Whenever You’re Ready,” written and directed by Michael Schur (Fremulon / 3 Arts Entertainment / Universal Television, a division of Universal Studio Group) [WINNER] [you can watch on Netflix]
  • The Expanse: “Gaugamela,” written by Dan Nowak, directed by Nick Gomez (Alcon Entertainment / Alcon Television Group / Amazon Studios / Hivemind / Just So)
  • The Mandalorian: “Chapter 16: The Rescue,” written by Jon Favreau, directed by Peyton Reed (Golem Creations / Lucasfilm / Disney+)
  • The Mandalorian: “Chapter 13: The Jedi,” written and directed by Dave Filoni (Golem Creations / Lucasfilm / Disney+)
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: “Heart (parts 1 and 2),” written by Josie Campbell and ND Stevenson, directed by Jen Bennett and Kiki Manrique (DreamWorks Animation Television / Netflix)
  • Doctor Who: “Fugitive of the Judoon,” written by Vinay Patel and Chris Chibnall, directed by Nida Manzoor (BBC)

As can be readily seen, these programs all appeared on a small number of the most widely viewed net “channels.”  The impact of this phenomenon is that anything that takes a few years to make it to the bigger venues can never win a short form Hugo no matter how excellent it might be.  One example is fantastic Counterpart, which ran for two years on the cable network Starz from 2017 to 2019.  I watched it much later on Amazon Prime. It is also available for purchase on various other services to buy.  Right now, I am watching Motherland: Fort Salem by purchase on Amazon.  It is “free” only on Freeform.  This series has the best fantasy SF/world-building I’ve seen since Counterpart, but not enough of an audience will ever see it to allow it to be nominated for a short form Hugo — ever.

Since the 2022 nominees are just out, let’s take a look at them as well:

  • The Wheel of Time: “The Flame of Tar Valon,” written by Justine Juel Gillmer, directed by Salli Richardson-Whitfield, based on The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan (Amazon Studios)
  • For All Mankind: “The Grey,” written by Matt Wolpert and Ben Nedivi; directed by Sergio Mimica-Gezzan (Tall Ship Productions/Sony Pictures Television)
  • Arcane: “The Monster You Created,” written by Christian Linke and Alex Yee; story by Christian Linke, Alex Yee, Conor Sheehy, and Ash Brannon; directed by Pascal Charrue and Arnaud Delord (Netflix)
  • The Expanse: “Nemesis Games,” written by Daniel Abraham, Ty Franck, and Naren Shankar; directed by Breck Eisner (Amazon Studios)
  • Loki: “The Nexus Event,” written by Eric Martin, directed by Kate Herron, created for television by Michael Waldron (Disney+)
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks: “wej Duj,” written by Kathryn Lyn, directed by Bob Suarez (CBS Eye Animation Productions)

The good news is that mercifully we don’t see yet another Doctor Who episode being nominated. The bad news is that with the exception of Star Trek: Lower Decks [Paramount+] and For All Mankind [Apple+] everything is on one of the major “net” channels — Amazon Prime, Netflix, or Disney+.  At least some of these certainly deserve the nomination, like The Expanse, and even Arcane, which is surprisingly good. For All Mankind is said to be excellent, but Apple TV+ has such a small subscriber base that it will probably get less support than it deserves.  But it is hard to escape the feeling that The Wheel of Time is riding on a vast fan base, and Loki on the shoulders of Disney.  Another 2022 strangeness is that WandaVision[Disney+] has been nominated for the Long Form although it appears in six 30 minute episodes.

There are two ways forward. The Saturn Awards do a much better job of rewarding good SF series work, so perhaps we should just retire the short form Hugo as irrelevant to the modern age.  Somehow, I don’t think this is going to happen, so I offer instead the following reforms:

  • The short form dramatic presentation Hugo should be retitled “Dramatic series Hugo” and the definition changed to exclude “single event” dramatic presentations.  If we want a Hugo for single events, including plays, a new award, or more likely a special occasional award, should be created.
  • The definition of the “Dramatic series Hugo” should be such that the nomination is for the series, not for particular episodes.
  • A minimum number of episodes should be required — I suggest three episodes of at least 40 minutes each, or six episodes of at least 20 minutes.  An open issue is whether to exclude or allow a series of theatrical films such as Twilight, but I lean toward excluding them.
  • The eligibility period should be changed from the previous year to at least the two previous years, and preferably the five previous years. This would allow time for new works to migrate to the larger platforms where they might actually be seen by a larger audience.
  • No series could win the award twice.  This would work against the domination of the award by a single series [Doctor Who] that has a large, organized fandom, or a single very popular series like Game of Thrones.  This raises the question of how to handle a “rebooted” series or something like Doctor Who which is periodically restarted with a new actor playing the title character.  Fairness suggests that a “rebooted” version of a series should once again be eligible to win even if a previous version of the show had already won the short form series Hugo.

It should be noted that anthology or highly episodic series might still win, but only by being consistently excellent.  So, there you have it — my plan to make the world a better place, one Hugo Award at a time!

[Reprinted by permission from MT Void.]

DisCon III Gives $20K Pass-Along Funds Grant to Chicon 8

DisCon III has sent Chicon 8, the 80th World Science Fiction Convention, a grant of $20,000 as an initial payment toward the funds that DisCon agreed to contribute under the Worldcon Pass-Along Funds Agreement.

Since being instituted in 1989, nearly every Worldcon has participated in the Worldcon pass-along funds system. DisCon III agreed to distribute half of the convention’s surplus to the succeeding three Worldcons who likewise decided to join the pass-along system.

DisCon III was held in December, much later in the year than any previous Worldcon, and thus is still wrapping up its operations. Recognizing that Chicon 8 is less than four months away, DisCon has made this significant grant as partial fulfillment of its pass-along obligations and will be making additional pass-along grants to Chicon and the next two eligible Worldcons as soon as possible.

DisCon III’s announcement again expressed the committee’s appreciation to everyone who worked to make the convention a success, saying “We are glad to play our part in ensuring the success of Chicon 8 and other future Worldcons.”

[Based on a press release.]

Chicon 8 Names Some of the People Who Will Be on the Program

Chicon 8 today released an initial list of 118 confirmed Program Participants.

They are in addition to the Guests of Honor Erle Korshak (who died on August 25, 2021, but will still be honored at the convention), Floyd Norman, Joe Siclari, and Edie Stern; Toastmasters Charlie Jane Anders and Annalee Newitz; and Special Guests Dr. Eve L. Ewing, Gene Ha, and Eric Wilkerson.

The list distinguishes some people who will only be doing in-person panels, and some others who will only be part of the virtual program.

More names will be added as they are confirmed continuing up until the convention.

Confirmed Panelists

Scott H. Andrews onsite only
Catherine Asaro
Ali Baker
Chris M. Barkley  
Liz Batty  
Peter Adrian Behravesh  
Gautam Bhatia virtual only
Casella Brookins onsite only
Alex Brown virtual only
Jennifer Brozek virtual only
Cora Buhlert virtual only
Sue Burke  
Pat Cadigan onsite only
James L. Cambias  
Becky Chambers
Wesley Chu onsite only
Neil Clarke onsite only
John Coxon virtual only
Vida Cruz virtual only
Ellen Datlow onsite only
Suyi Davies Okungbowa virtual only
Randee Dawn  
Vincent Di Fate
S.B. Divya onsite only
Vincent Docherty  
Shaun Duke
Meg Elison onsite only
Lorelei Esther onsite only
Sara Felix onsite only
Grace Fong virtual only
Terry Gant  
Chris Garcia virtual only
Laura Anne Gilman  
Jen Gunnels
Joe Haldeman onsite only
Gay Haldeman onsite only
Frances Hardinge virtual only
Jed Hartman  
Ariela Housman  
José Pablo Iriarte onsite only
Bitter Karella  
Diane Kelly onsite only
Marguerite Kenner virtual only
Benjamin C. Kinney onsite only
Marcin ‘Alqua’ Klak virtual only
Mary Robinette Kowal  
Naomi Kritzer onsite only
Mur Lafferty
Geoffrey A. Landis onsite only
Oriana Leckert  
Fonda Lee onsite only
L. D. Lewis
Darcie Little Badger virtual only
Eddie Louise  
Dr. Bradford Lyau  
Maurizio Manzieri onsite only
Gideon Marcus onsite only
Marshall Ryan Maresca onsite only
Freya Marske virtual only
Arkady Martine  
Seanan McGuire onsite only
Foz Meadows onsite only
Farah Mendlesohn virtual only
Rowenna Miller onsite only
Helen Montgomery onsite only
Cheryl Morgan virtual only
Cass Morris onsite only
Andrew Nette virtual only
Alec Nevala-Lee
Brandon O’Brien  
Hannah Onoguwe virtual only
Ada Palmer
Suzanne Palmer onsite only
Charles Payseur  
Tamora Pierce  
Sarah Pinsker
Gillian Polack virtual only
C. L. Polk virtual only
Jennifer Rhorer virtual only
Rebecca Roanhorse  
Olav Rokne  
Sumiko Saulson virtual only
John Scalzi onsite only
Isabel Schechter  
Lawrence M. Schoen onsite only
Alison Scott  
Nibedita Sen
Chuck Serface onsite only
Alex Shvartsman onsite only
Renée onsite only
Steven H Silver onsite only
Elsa Sjunneson  
Priya Sridhar  
Emily St. James onsite only
Raven Stern  
Jonathan Strahan onsite only
Charlie Stross
K.M. Szpara onsite only
Wole Talabi virtual only
Kat Tanaka Okopnik  
Takayuki Tatsumi onsite only
Lynne M Thomas onsite only
Sheree Renée Thomas  
Michi Trota
Valerie Valdes virtual only
Jo Walton onsite only
LaShawn M. Wanak  
Paul Weimer  
Martha Wells
Fran Wilde onsite only
Sheila Williams onsite only
Alyssa Winans  
John Wiswell  
Navah Wolfe virtual only
Gary K Wolfe onsite only
Khan Wong onsite only
Caroline M. Yoachim onsite only
E. Lily Yu onsite only

Chicon 8 Membership News

Chicon 8, the 80th World Science Fiction Convention, reports that April was its best month yet for member sales, with 720 new members joining the con, including 520 who will be attending in person.

COVID. With nearly 4,000 total members, including over 2,600 physical attending members, registered so far, the Chicon 8 committee is “confident of delivering a full and rounded Worldcon experience.” At the same time, they are committed to protecting their staff and members from the residual threat of Covid-19, and to learning lessons from other events over the last two years. Read their Covid policy at the link.

MEMBERSHIP RATES. Full information on all membership types and how to register can be found here.

In person: Chicon 8 membership rates increased on May 1, with a full Adult Attending membership now costing $240, a First Worldcon Attending membership $145, and lower rates for Children, Teens and Young Adults (those aged under 25 as of September 1, when the convention opens).

Virtual: There also are Virtual Attending Memberships available for $80 (or $30 as an upgrade for existing Supporting Members). Virtual Attending Memberships include WSFS rights, and will enable members to vote in the Final Ballot for the 2022 Hugo Awards, nominate for the 2023 Hugo Awards, and vote in Site Selection for the locations of the 2023 NASFiC and 2024 Worldcon.

Dailies: Day Admissions will be on sale from June 1.

ROOMS. Accommodation at the Hyatt Regency is open for booking and rooms are already selling well – full details can be found here.

VIRTUAL PROGRAM PARTICIPANTS. Chicon 8’s Program team has re-opened sign-ups through May 7 to allow Virtual Panel Participants to apply. Interested individuals can fill in the Program Participant Interest Form here.

DEALERS AND ARTISTS. The convention is continuing to accept applications for space in the Dealers’ Room and Art-show.

[Based on information provided by Chicon 8.]