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Pssst! Wanna Know the Truth About the The Hugo Awards?

As many of our readers already know, Cheryl Morgan and Kevin Standlee run two excellent websites: the genre awards blog Science Fiction Awards Watch and the online non-fiction magazine Salon Futura. With awards season in full swing, you can bet they’re busy and that the websites are brimming with great information and articles.

I’ve been invited to participate in an upcoming Salon Futura podcast about genre awards. More specifically, the podcast is about about clearing up any misconceptions about the awards. Many genre fans (myself included) are unclear about the intricate details of the awards process.

This is where you come in. Leave a comment here asking anything you’d like to know about the awards process, or things you believe to be true about the awards (particularly the Hugo Awards, but any awards are open for discussion). Some of the notions that are bandied about include:

  • “Why does it costs hundreds of dollars to vote?”
  • “The Hugos are only for Americans.”
  • “Why isn’t there a Hugo for…[insert category here]?”

When it comes time to record the podcast, I’ll raise these questions to the other participants.

About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

10 Comments on Pssst! Wanna Know the Truth About the The Hugo Awards?

  1. Congratulations on your future participation on Salon Futura, John.


    Here is a question–is there any “bump” in sales for writers who are nominated for, or actually win, Hugo and Nebula awards?

  2. I have always wanted to know why there is no award for best single author collection.

  3. Can I nominate myself?

  4. stlpunster // January 24, 2011 at 6:59 pm //

    Your second point, “The Hugos are only for Americans.”, is not accurate. It is true that only members of the WorldCon can vote, but a number of non Americans have been nominated and have won. The most prominent of theose is Peter Jackson, a New Zealander. Additionally, John Brunner (English) has also won. Hayao Miyazaki was nominated (the same year Jackson won) for Spirited Away. It is true that the vast majority of nominees and winners are English speakers, but that doesn’t mean that the Hugo Awards are in any way restricted to that group.

  5. @stlpunster: Point taken and I agree.  I should have been more clear: these are *false* notions being bandied about.  

  6. When do all the award winners meet in the HUGO Headquarters in Cheyenne Mountain to have the ritualististic orgy, after which they decide the next year’s winners?

    • Why is nomination and voter participation so low and what can be done to increase those numbers?
    • What have the voting trends been in recent years? More voters… or less? Why?
    • Sometimes people will ask, are the Hugo Awards more like the Oscars or the Golden Globes? The answer is really neither, but sometimes people pick the Oscars because the see the Hugo Awards as more of a popularity contest than they ought to be. Are they a popularity contest? If so, what can one do to improve voter behavior.
    • Is enough done to publicize the fact that Hugo Awards voting is open to all members of the current Worldcon, even supporting members. In my experience too little of this is ever done and it should be getting shouted from the rooftops. Do you agree?
    • Why isn’t more done to publicize and popularize the awards?
    • When are the Hugo Awards going to catch up to modern times with permanent categories for things like, best fan website, best SF website, best SF media website, hell best SF mobile device app. There are loads of fringe categories and many missing mainstream ones, particularly in the media and technology arenas.
    • Is there a vision and/or plan for the future of the Hugo Awards, and if so, what is it?
    • What about a Lifetime Achievement Hugo? You might argue that this is the purpose of Worldcon GOH, but they are not really the same thing at all.

    That’s it for now.

  7. -Why is the voting open only to paying members?

    -And is it really fair to call it a popular vote when it is only open to paying members?


    Both questions above are really the same, but I do wonder about this. I can’t see the voting restricted to members as justified by any criteria that has to do with the quality of the winner. Is it done only to make the voters feel like an elite, or is it because you need the money?

  8. Amanda Katz // January 29, 2011 at 10:38 am //

    What about an award for YA novel?  It seems these books seldom get noticed for best novel but that’s where some of the best work in field can be found


  9. Do the Hugos, nebulas, whatever, really matter?

    As I grew up I never paid attention to them, or even gave books with “Hugo/Nebula Award” or “Hugo/Nebula Nominated” splashed on the cover more weight than any other book on the shelf.  Once I learned what those blurbs meant I looked at my collection, and the books in the store, and I came to the conclusion that while some of the “award winning” novels were those I enjoyed, many others were those I did not. 

    I guess what I am saying is that I have never put much faith in awards, or nominations, as marks of quality.


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