George R. R. Martin Makes A Suggestion

George R. R. Martin used to include quite a few fan Hugo endorsements in his annual post at Not A Blog. His 2015 article “For Your Consideration: Stuff Not By Me” names only one —

BEST FAN WRITER. There have been arguments in the past about what, precisely, constitutes fan writing, and who should or should not be eligible for this award. LAURA J. MIXON is a professional writer, and a very talented one, with half a dozen strong novels under her own name and her pseudonym of M.J. Locke… but this year she published on-line, in a non-professional and unpaid capacity, ‘A Report on Damage Done by One Individual Under Several Names,’ a detailed, eloquent, and devastating expose of the venomous internet troll best known as ‘Requires Hate’ and ‘Winterfox.’ You can find it here: It’s not your usual sort of fan writing, admittedly… but it wasn’t done for money, and it wasn’t published professionally, and it’s a terrific piece of journalism, an important piece that speaks to issues of growing importance to fandom in this internet age. So I’m nominating Mixon for Best Fan Writer, and I urge you to do the same.

I keep an eye on Martin’s recommendations as a kind of sanity check because he knows the field thoroughly. If he has a completely different idea about what should be nominated for the fan Hugos than I do then it’s instructive to ask myself why. In this case, I agree Mixon’s article was a milestone in the field, even though I generally avoid nominating sf novelists for fan awards.

Another reason to check in with Martin is that, as he is just about the most famous sf/fantasy writer alive, I am curious how much clout he has with Hugo voters. So far the answer has been, not as much as you might expect. He plugged 12 fanzines and fanwriters in 2012 and none of them made the final ballot. In 2013 he named three fan writers he considered deserving, his only formal endorsements, and they didn’t make it. The 8 blogs he complimented in the same post didn’t make the 2013 shortlist either, although one of them, A Dribble of Ink, won Best Fanzine in 2014, a year he made no recommendations in the fan categories. And for Worldcon site selection he endorsed Helsinki in 2015, which lost to Spokane.

[Thanks to Janice Gelb for the story.]

11 thoughts on “George R. R. Martin Makes A Suggestion

  1. I dunno. It’s unquestionably eligible as fan writing. But on the other hand, while touching on fandom, the feel of the piece to me is that, with the revelation that Requires Hate was also an apparently respected and liked upcoming writer, it’s aimed at pros more than fans. It covers RH’s attacks on pro writers, and the responses and in article quotes seem to be mostly from pro writers. To put it another way, it feels to me like it’d be more at home in a SFWA publication than a fanzine.

  2. SFWA publications *are* fanzines… (I expect to be attacked for that opinion.) GRRM might not have a great track record with his Hugo suggestions but having read Laura J. Mixon’s excellent essay myself I think George might be on to something here. It’s an important piece of writing about a topic that affects us all – Fan and Pro – and I would very much like to see it elevated with a Hugo nomination. Possibly, it should even with the Hugo itself.

    At the very least, you should all take the time to read the essay in question at the link that Mike provided. It’s well worth your time.

    Curt Phillips

  3. Well, I think he understands what’s eligible. It’s not his fault that the Business Meeting has redefined the category without changing the name.

  4. To me, one article, or even a series on a single topic, does not qualify a fan writer in the way that a body of work across the breadth of fandom does. It may be that this is obvious, or it may NOT be, if Mr. Martin’s suggestion is meant to be taken seriously.

  5. The Breen Affair has hardly been buried in fanhistory (Google “Breendoggle”) and has been discussed and rediscussed many times since the 1960’s. Only our changing views towards the topics involved over the decades have changed. It was and remains an important issue, yes, but I don’t think another article about Walter Breen is something that we should be nominating for a Hugo.

  6. Curt, you might want to read the page Martin tried to link to (I got a 404 when I clicked; the correct link seems to be The key/new thing about those various posts wasn’t “another article about Breen”, but how involved in it Bradley appears to have been, including reports from Bradley’s daughter about her abusing her.

  7. Deirdre Saoirse Moen’s contribution wasn’t to rehash Walter Breen, it was to bring to light that MZB was more complicit than many knew, and to publish MZB’s daughter’s report that MZB was a sexual abuser in her own right, not just an enabler for Breen.

  8. This particular article (which I agree is worthy of recognition) seems perhaps more suitable for the Best Related Work category, no? That way, the work itself (a non-fiction piece related to the SF/F field) is rewarded without having to go through the rhetorical hoops of claiming that a professional writer is also a fan writer (though granted, this seems to often be the case for fan writer)…

  9. I’ve now read the blog posting on MZB by Deirdre Saoirse Moen and the comment string attached to it. I can see why some feel that it concerns an important topic – I can easily agree with that – but I personally don’t feel that it’s signifigent enough to warrant a Hugo nomination. It’s not that well written – in my opinion – and has one or two errors of fact (at least one of which she later corrected after a reader’s comment). Others may feel differently and I respect such viewpoints. My thought is that the topic addressed in Laura J. Mixon’s article is much more of the moment and may not be as widely discussed and understood in our SF world as the Breen/MZB topic. And I think that Mixon’s article is far better written. Just my opinion. Taking a step back I’ll observe that *both* topics concern matters that need to be better understood not only within our SF microcosm, but in the world in general, and thus I think it’s good that we’ve reached a point in time where such matters *can* be examined rationally and thoroughly in some kind of a public forum. It didn’t always used to be that way!

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