Novelettes Left Untouched in Revamped Best Saga Proposal

The motion to add a Best Saga category to the Hugos will be stripped of the related proposal to delete the Best Novelette category in response to strong opposition from writers.

One of the movers, Jared Dashoff, provided the update in a comment on Whatever. (And because Whatever comment links never seem to work for me, here is a link to the main post.)

Jared Dashoff: My statement on the Best Saga Hugo proposal:

[Please note that this is my take and only my take on the Saga Hugo proposal. Where I do say we, it was a group action taken by the proposers.]

Over the years, long fiction in the greater speculative fiction category has moved towards publishing works in series, rather than stand-alone works. Stand-alone works are still published and are eligible for Hugos in various categories, but some of us thought that the expansive works, where the individual volumes may or may not stand alone and be worthy of a Hugo themselves, deserved recognition. So we set out to create a Hugo for them. Best Saga became the title mostly because as the work gets longer, the title of the Hugo gets shorter.

Having attended many WSFS Business Meetings between us, and personally having been on the Head Table before and being on it this year, we felt the sense of the Meeting (i.e. how many that generally attend the Meeting feel) was that another professional fiction category would throw off the balance if a category was not removed. Based on long discussions and floating the idea past folks, we settled on the Novelette category. This bumped up the maximum word count for a short story, and dropped down the minimum word count for a Novella. No work that had been eligible was no longer eligible, it was just eligible in a different category.

Before formally submitting the proposal with the addition of the collapse of the Novelette, we floated it informally to the Secret Masters of Fandom (SMOFs) (even though they aren’t secret) email list, the Journeyman of Fandom (JOF) Facebook Group, and via emails to various persons. There was some angst at the inclusion of the Novelette collapse, but not much, and it was overwhelmed by the want to further discuss Saga at the Meeting or outright support for it. We did, in response to the angst over the collapse, structure the proposal so that it was in two distinct and separate clauses, making it very easy, if we were incorrect on the sense of the Meeting, to Divide the Question and debate and vote on each clause separately, meaning both the Novelette could remain and Saga could be added, if that was how those who attended the Meeting voted.

Once the proposal was formally submitted, it saw little publicity. However, once other proposals were submitted, namely “E Pluribus Hugo,” all of the proposals got publicity and the Saga proposal much more than it had seen to-date. The professional community, and many fans, made their opposition to the Novelette collapse known; much more opposition than any of us had sensed from our initial floating of the idea, floating of a draft proposal, or felt the Meeting** had.

**And, by extension the community, as the Meeting is meant to be representative of all WSFS membership and we all are in favor of more people showing up at the Meeting and participating so that it is more representative, even if it was to kill our proposal.

In response to this opposition to the Novelette collapse, we contacted Kevin Standlee, Chair of the Sasquan Business Meeting, to ensure we could amend our proposal so long as it was before the deadline for the submission of New Business. We are now in the process of doing that and amending the discussion text to remove any reference to the Novelette collapse. Some original proposers have decided not to join us in this effort.

Going forward, the proposal will only include the addition of the Saga Hugo and that will need to pass or fail on its own merits. If it fails, we will be sad, but we accept that it was not the Business Meeting’s want to create an award for such works. If others wish to submit a proposal related to the shorter fiction works, that is their prerogative, but I will not be submitting one nor supporting it.