Andrew Trembley (bovil) wrote,
Andrew Trembley

Read John Purcell's In a Prior Lifetime #16

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.

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