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Read John Purcell's In a Prior Lifetime #16

There's a lot of good material about the late, lamented and definitely already-missed Bob Tucker.

But that's not why you need to read it.

There's an article by Ted White about the fan category Hugos.

Now I'm not sure how much of this article is revisionism (probably not much, but definitely a little) and how much is perspective differences that already existed back in the early days of Worldcon even before Ted and continue to this day (probably much), but there's definitely some real food for thought there.

Now I'd probably be last in a really long line to say Ted's a bitter old fan. I think there are a few flaws in his arguments. If conventions and fandom are about the creativity of fans, why shouldn't fans get the same award with the same name as pros? That argument is long over. I think characterizing Worldcon as a "three-ring pro-worshipping circus" and "Relatively few knowledgeable active fans join Worldcons now" is the epitome of bitterness. I think the FAAn awards are great, and I laud the fact that they're much more relaxed than the Hugos, but they're still both popularity contests, one amongst the great unwashed fen and one amongst a small cadre of fanzine fans.

On the other hand, I think he's got a point about circulation. Fan Artist, Fan Writer and Fanzine Hugos win on name recognition, but Pro Artist and Pro Editor have a similar problem. Big circulation gets you big name recognition. It's worked for Langford, it's worked for Charles Brown and Locus, and it's worked for Plokta (not that I have anything against any of these folks). It's still a popularity contest (albeit a popularity contest with arcane rules), and big circulation fanzines, big circulation fanwriters and big distribution fan artists are going to win...

...unless the folks who care have the wherewithal to vote...

...or the wherewithal to nominate. That nominating ballot is a really strong tool, and it often takes little more than two dozen nominations to get on the final ballot (gratuitous pimp for hugo_recommend... consider and influence nominations in an acceptable and proper fashion).

If we really care about the Hugo awards, nominating is where it's at.

When I'm less cranky about this, I'll LoC.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 21st, 2006 06:26 am (UTC)
I tend to agree with the thought that folks aren't reading fanzines anymore by and large, with teh exception of things like the late great Emerald City and Ansible, but I think people are actually reading more fan writing when you factor in LJ and the various lists, all of which counts as fan writing.

Plokta's actually somethign of an anomoly. When it was up against Emerald City in 2005, EmCit probably got 5 pairs of eyes for every one that read Plokta. I know File 770 gets a lot more readers too. It's not all about exposure...it's about the RIGHT exposure. If you're the number one read zine by voters (and nominators)you'll win.

My biggest problem with the article was Ted bringing up that Frank wasn't fannish. I'll always have problems with people saying that stuff that fans do in fandom isn't fannish
Oct. 21st, 2006 05:47 pm (UTC)
That's probably the meat of it.

There's a whole lot of "They're not trufen so it doesn't count" attitude in there.
Oct. 26th, 2006 06:20 pm (UTC)
I tend to agree with the comments you gents are making about circulation being a huge factor in the Fan Hugo voting for best fanzine, and also for the Artist and Writer fan categories. It really is all about the number of nominators and actual voters. Not everyone who reads your on-line zines responds, let alone nominating/voting for some such award. I asked Bill Burns to put a counter on my e-zines that he hosts on efanzines, and since August 17th (when it went on), I have now had 495 viewers of In A Prior Lifetime/And Furthermore (as of this morning). That's a lot of people. And in that same time-frame, I think I have only received about 40 e-mails total as letters of comment. That's only an 8% return.

So the knowledgeable readership may vote, but are they also the ones that loc? Who knows? This is a good question, and the answer is anybody's guess. My personal feeling is that I really don't care about getting awards and such nonsense, but at Quireflu, it will be interesting to see how people feel about my zines both in terms of votes - if I get any - but more importantly to me, how folks will greet me and the conversations we have. THAT is why I'm interested in: the great fannish dialogue. I am in this because of the friends that I have, and not for egoboo or other reasons. I really do enjoy pubbing zines and writing about things fannish. It is, indeed, a lot of fun.

BTW, I don't agree with Ted about some of the points that he makes in his article, but he does raise some very good issues. We'll have to see how the discussion shapes up in the locs I receive in the next few weeks.

Nov. 3rd, 2006 01:25 am (UTC)
I really do hope you loc In A Prior Lifetime #16. It has been so incredibly slow in receiving comments on the latest issue that I really am finding it hard to believe the lack of responses! I mean, come on; there was some meaty material in there! I thought for sure I'd have received more comments from people by now. But, go figger.
Nov. 3rd, 2006 01:35 am (UTC)
Re: LoC
I expect a number of people (much like myself) are having a hard time coming up with a LoC that isn't cranky or vicious about Ted's article.

I'm surprised that you're not getting more LoCs about Tucker, though. I never knew him that well, so I haven't got anything good for a LoC.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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