Proposed Hugo Award Changes

The Hugo Awards are presented annually by the members of the World Science Fiction Convention, to be held this year in Denver, August 6-10.

Two proposals have been made to change the Hugo Award categories by amending the World Science Fiction Society constitution.

Farewell Semiprozine Hugo: Chris Barkley and Ben Yalow propose to delete the Best Semiprozine Hugo category.

Title: One less award

Moved: To amend Section 3.3.11 (Best Semiprozine) by adding a new last sentence:

“No award shall be made for this category.”

Discussion: This removes the semiprozine category, while still leaving the definition in to stop former semiprozines from dropping back into fanzine. Since the Best Editor-Short would now allow the editors of those publications to compete in that category, there is still a category to recognize those works.

Adding a Best Graphic Novel Hugo: Chris M. Barkley and Steve Barber propose to add a category to the awards:

Best Graphic Novel: A science fiction or fantasy story told in graphic form, of at least sixty-four (64) pages in length, published in book form or as a series of consecutive, continuous issues through an online medium as a complete story.

Discussion: Eligible works for nomination are to be any publication devoted to graphic science fiction or fantasy themes, whose story lines end and are published or distributed by the end calendar year.

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9 thoughts on “Proposed Hugo Award Changes

  1. Pingback: Science Fiction Awards Watch » Blog Archive » Proposed Hugo Rules Changes

  2. “published in book form or as a series of consecutive, continuous issues through an online medium”

    That would seem to leave out “published as a series of physical issues but not (yet) in book form.”

  3. I think the graphic novel definition needs to be refined a little more. As I am interpreting the way it is written, the GN definition includes storylines that have been reprinted as single volumes after their original run — for instance, the “Sinestro Corps War” storyline that ran in GREEN LANTERN. If that is the case, I think it should be eligible for this proposed Hugo only after the single volume collection was published.

  4. The semiprozine isn’t just about editors or even short fiction. It’s also about recognising critical venues, something not really covered in any of the other awards (indeed, that award generally goes to Locus, which carries no short fiction at all).

  5. Jonathan: That’s an interesting point, with some valid implications. Though I would begin by saying after 24 years of existence, hindsight can inaccurately suggest that the semiprozine category was intentionally created to recognize ‘critical venues.’ In fact, it just so happened that in the attempt to let amateur zines compete among themselves, what got removed to the semiprozine category were magazines focused on reviews, criticism and pro news like Locus, SF Review, Starship and SF Chronicle. But I am very interested in your main concern.

    For several years a renaissance of sf criticism has been happening online — much of it written by fans, and the rest appearing on the blogs of published or aspiring pro writers. At the same time, the Hugo categories have been systematically revised to make online material eligible. But at the moment, while individual critics can compete for Best Fan Writer, collective efforts of online teams or communities are not honored by a Hugo category as fanzines and semiprozines are. Those two categories still revolve around the idea of a paper (or PDF) magazine, i.e., “publication” and “issues.”

    Some of the most popular online productions of teams or communities are at least semipro, because of the advertising. (SF Signal, for one.)

    A few years ago James Patrick Kelly was arguing in Asimov’s for several more categories for material distributed via website. I am very interested in having the main kinds of nonfiction about sf/fantasy covered by various Hugo categories — I am against defining the categories by the technology used to deliver the writing.

    If someone can describe the nonfiction wordsmithing we are doing in our fanzines, semiprozines, blogs, websites, podcasts, etc. in a way that focuses on that act of creation instead of the medium used to deliver the wordage, we’ll be halfway to having the Hugo Awards we want. (The other half will be the political work in the smof-filled rooms…)

  6. What the graphic novel format really covers is sequential art, but sequential art with a significant storyline.

    Some such “graphic novels” are provided online—just as some science fiction stories live only online.

    I don’t think making a distinction between issues versus the volume makes sense, because collections may take a while to ever come about—especially for independent comics. (E.g., past superhero comics….)

  7. I have been assuming that “published in a book form” encompasses “comic books.” Am I wrong?

  8. Pingback: Cheryl’s Mewsings » Blog Archive » Worldcon Update

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