Jay Maynard has proposed “An Award for SF Storytelling” in a post on Black Gate, essentially the anti-Hugos, copying many of the existing Hugo categories and rules but purified of the tendencies Maynard disapproves.
The rationale for the (insert name here) Awards is simple. Over time, the Hugo voters have considered other factors than the most fundamental when evaluating a work. They have chosen works based on their political emphasis, or the race or nationality of the author, or other criteria aside from that which defines SF/F. Attempts to turn the Hugo Awards back to the foundations of SF/F have been met with derision and outright hatred. Despite their previous claims to the contrary, the Hugo Awards voters and others now say that the Hugos represent the World Science Fiction Society’s choices, not those of fandom at large.
The Novelette category would be eliminated, with short fiction receiving just two awards in the new system. There would be no editor or semiprozine categories. On the other side of the ledger, there would be a new YA Story category – one category for all lengths.
- Best Novel – Written SF/F stories of 50,000 words or more in length.
- Best Novella – Written SF/F stories between 5,000 and 50,000 words in length.
- Best Short Story – Written SF/F stories 5,000 words in length or shorter.
- Best Young Adult Story – Written SF/F stories of any length intended to be accessible to and enjoyed by SF/F fans under 18 years of age.
- Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form – Any SF/F story intended to be performed for an audience of over 90 minutes in length.
- Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form – Any SF/F story intended to be performed for an audience in 90 minutes or less.
- Best Graphic Story – Works of graphic art, with or without accompanying text, that tell an SF/F story.
- Best Related Work – Any nonfiction or fiction work that is not itself a work of SF/F storytelling, but serves to advance the SF/F storyteller’s art.
Although he would make a logical ally for a new set of sf awards, none of Eric Flint’s suggestions for adjusting the novel category have been adopted — not that there’s anything keeping them from being considered in a later draft.
In the nominating phase, Maynard will implement the 4/6 and E Pluribus Hugo proposals given first passage at Sasquan. Then comes a most interesting twist — the finalists will be screened by a Judging Committee.
The judges shall evaluate each work solely by its storytelling. The judges may disqualify any work they find to have an emphasis on other than telling a good SF/F story. They may disqualify no more than three nominees in any category. The disqualified nominees will be replaced by reprocessing the nominating ballots from the beginning as though those nominees had never been submitted; the judges may not disqualify the replacement nominees. This power is expected to be used very sparingly, as the awards are intended to reflect the choices of fandom at large….
The Judging Committee shall consist of no more than five members. They shall be chosen by the Foundation Board of Directors, and selected for their knowledge of the fields of science fiction and fantasy and their commitment to uphold the ideals of the (insert name here) Awards. They may serve as long as they and the Foundation Board of Directors wish.
The final ballot will be voted on by the Single Transferable Vote method (which some traditionalists like to call “the Australian Ballot”).
Unlike the Hugo Awards, there will be no provision for No Award. (Take that, WSFSians!)
The awards will be administered by a nonprofit corporation with a 501(c)(3) tax exemption.
The voter eligibility rules seem difficult to reconcile with Maynard’s goal of truly representing all of fandom. To become an eligible voter for Maynard’s awards, a person must be vouched for by one or more existing eligible voters with sufficient status. A voter must have a “trust level of 1 or greater” —
When first registering to vote, a person’s trust level is 0. An existing eligible voter whose trust level is 3 or greater may raise or lower the trust level of up to three other people by 1 each, and this number rises by 1 with each additional trust level until a maximum of a trust level of 10 is reached. The undersigned, as well as prior recipients of a (insert name here) Award and current and past members of the Foundation Board of Directors and Judging Committee, may raise or lower the trust level of any person by 1. A voter may not raise the trust level of anyone who raised his own, nor of anyone in the chain of trust leading back to those holding unlimited trusting privileges.
What could be more welcoming?
Maynard still needs a name for his proposed awards, though he did express a preference:
Part of me wants to name it after Terry Pratchett and have the award be a silver asterisk on a nice mahogany base or some such, just to throw the asterisks back in David Gerrold’s face, but not only do I not know how Sir Terry would take it, the name would get people away from thinking about SF as well. I also want this to not be a Puppy thing, and that would detract from that.
Yes, it might. Have any successful awards been built on a revenge platform?