Tracking Withdrawals from the 2012 Hugos

A number of past and present Hugo winners, out of a gracious desire to share the wealth, have already announced they will not accept an award nomination in 2012 for a specific category.

Inevitably, these kinds of announcements get distorted in the retelling. Or somebody will post what they wish the person had said, not what they really said. I’ve already seen this happening though Renovation was just last month!

That’s why I thought it would be helpful to run down the correct information about four prior nominees whose real or rumored withdrawals from the 2012 Hugos have made news. Here is their verified status:

Best Graphic Story: Girl Genius (2012 withdrawal)
Best Professional Editor, Long Form: David Hartwell (permanent withdrawal from this category only)
Best Semiprozine: Clarkesworld (2012 withdrawal)

Also, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, who withdrew from the Best Professional Editor, Long Form category in 2011, says he has yet to make up his mind about 2012 — therefore he has not withdrawn as of this writing.

Girl Genius: Phil Foglio must wonder how he could have made it any more clear, with a public announcement at the 2011 Hugo ceremonies, followed by online comic explaining that the decision to bow out affects next year alone.

David G. Hartwell: The popular editor wants everyone to understand he has pulled out of only one category:

I want this to be very clear. I withdrew from one category only, Best Editor Long Form, permanently. I would very much like to be nominated again in Best Editor Short Form, and for NYRSF (or any other category). But I felt after all these years, and finally three wins in four years, that I should withdraw permanently from Best Editor Long Form, as long as it remains a category. And I am pleased to see the way the category has opened up to younger talent.

Neil Clarke, Clarkesworld Magazine: The outspoken champion of the semiprozine category, whose zine won the Hugo in 2010 and 2011, said he wants to see new titles on the ballot:  

Yes, Clarkesworld is withdrawing itself from consideration in 2012. The category has suffered from a history of serial nominees and winners and after two consecutive wins, I felt this was the right thing to do. In stepping down, I hope to encourage people to put their support behind one of the many semiprozines that have never been nominated. There are a lot of worthy candidates. The ballot has been reflecting more of that recently and it’s a trend I’d like to see continue.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden: Patrick withdrew from the Best Professional Editor, Long Form category in 2011 but there’s a reason he has yet to make a decision about 2012:

My only real public statement on the matter was while actually accepting the 2010 Hugo on stage in Melbourne — I said, roughly, that since my colleague David Hartwell and I had now split the four-so-far “Editor Long Form” awards between us, I was going to withdraw from the category in 2011 in order to make sure some other editors got their long-overdue recognition. I meant to write a post on Making Light repeating this, but I never got around to it.

I didn’t commit to withdrawing from the category beyond 2011, and to be honest I haven’t actually made up my mind what I’m going to do next year. I do have one remaining major-SF-award ambition, which is to win a Hugo or something equally whooshy when Teresa is actually in the room. I’ve won a World Fantasy Award and two Hugos, all of them at overseas conventions that Teresa didn’t attend. 

Not that I’m presuming I would automatically make the ballot in future years. As I pointed out to my assistant Liz Gorinsky at the post-Hugos party in Reno, she got the second largest number of nominations, trailing only Lou Anders who actually won. Liz got significantly more nominations than either David or me, and over twice as many as any of the other five runners-up. “That’s crazy,” Liz said. “Hey, numbers don’t lie,” I said. “That’s crazy. That’s crazy. That’s crazy,” was all she would say.

(It is actually a matter of non-trivial pride to me that in 2010, Liz and I were both on the ballot — the first time an editor and his-or-her assistant have been shortlisted for the same Hugo award. In 2010, Liz was also the youngest-ever finalist in any of the editor categories, a record previously set by 31-year-old Jim Baen in 1975.)

[Thanks to Neil Clarke, David G. Hartwell, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, for their comments. ]

Genius Move in the Graphic Story Hugo Category

Girl Genius has won 100% of the Hugos ever awarded in its category – all three given for Best Graphic Story since the category was provisionally added.  

When the online comic’s creators Phil & Kaja Foglio and Cheyenne Wright accepted their latest rocket at Renovation, Phil announced they would withdraw Girl Genius from consideration in 2012.

Now they’ve also produced an installment of Girl Genius explaining that the decision to bow out for a year is “for the good of the category,” because “we want people to see it’s a viable award.”  

The Best Graphic Story category must be re-ratified by the 2012 Worldcon business meeting or else it will be automatically eliminated.

Many years ago, while accepting a second consecutive Hugo in the Best Fan Artist category, Phil Foglio also withdrew himself (permanently, in that case). That winning streak started just after Tim Kirk had dominated the category for several years, a history that influenced Phil’s memorable line to the 1978 Worldcon audience — “As hard as it is to win one of these, it’s even harder to stop.”

[Via Glenn Glazer.]