August 11th, 2009

Photographer Anne

So very stupid and infuriating

Sat next to Paul Cornell during the Hugos and tried to distract him from his determination to jump off a bridge if various of the nominees in the "Best Graphic Story" category actually won (I'm glad to note he has not jumped off a bridge yet, SFAIK). Then very frustrated to see by the nomination numbers (released after the ceremony) that he himself should have made the ballot for Captain Britain & MI-13.

I was appalled earlier this year when I actually got around to reviewing the ballot (very late in the game), as to about half of what was on it in that category, and even more appalled when I read a variety of fannish reviews and reactions to realize what stood a good chance of winning. That was when I posted this bit On the Best Graphic Story Hugos. I had not bought my worldcon membership early enough to nominate, having been busy turning life upside-down and not realized the "get your membership by this time to nominate" deadline was a month earlier than the actual nomination deadline.

I am glad the Best Graphic Story category has been affirmed and will be on the ballot next year, giving the community some chance to get and act a little more in touch with the world of comics and with graphic storytelling. I have no idea, however, how the Hugo Administration Committee can possibly make amends to Paul for this appalling oversight. Nor to the rest of us for depriving us of what would have been a higher quality ballot to vote on.

I have not been this upset about a nominations administration decision since I realized the way the 2003 committee's decision to move Lilo and Stitch into the long-form category (at 80 minutes, it qualified for either short or long form) quite possibly eliminated its chances of getting on the ballot since it was only shy of the long form ballot by 4 nominations. By the rules (which were not included on the ballot, so the nominators didn't know this), if a voter nominated Lilo and Stitch in the short form category BUT had already nominated five items in the long form category, Lilo and Stitch was not nominated at all from that ballot. Even though short form was officially a valid category to have nominated it in, and even if it was the person's top pick in short form. (The number of cases in which its nomination was thus eliminated have never been revealed).

That was a very hard decision for the committee to make in 2003 (really what they could have done was make a pre-emptive anouncement as to what category they thought it went into before people nominated, but the committee cannot be expected to do that for every work in every category). This year's decision should not have been half so hard. Captain Britain & MI-13 and Captain Britain & MI-13: Secret Invasion was all the same story, just compiled into larger volumes instead of individual comics; the nominations for them should have been merged, putting Paul in the shortlist. I believe the committee has committed a foul error. Shame on them.