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W00T! Hugo nominees out - Zer Netmouse
April 5th, 2010
07:51 am

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W00T! Hugo nominees out
A few days ago Hugo Administrator Vince Docherty told James Bacon and myself that he thought we would be very pleased with the Hugo Ballot, and largely I would say he was quite right.

Very happy to see three Subterranean Press titles on the list, and also to see that Novel and Novella are both tremendously strong categories. Novelette similarly looks good, though my early favorite is Paul Cornell's “One of Our Bastards is Missing” from The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction: Volume Three. The other two categories I'm really going to have to ponder, especially Novella. (An interesting thing about the Novelette category, though, as Farah Mendlesohn pointed out last night, is that only one of the nominees is from the United States).

I'm also quite pleased to see Liz Gorinsky and Juliet Ulman on the Best Editor long form list along with other (also quite worthy) more established names. As we discussed that category, Cheryl mentioned that Juliet edited two of the Best Novel nominees, and I think she deserves serious consideration this year.

Despite the fact that I'm only just now commenting on it, Graphic story was the first category I looked to last night, to see if we improved over last year's ballot, and I think we very much did. Paul Cornell has already started pushing Fables for the Hugo this year (despite the fact that his own Captain Britain And MI13 is also in the running) and I think it may indeed be the year for Fables to take it. In particular, I would oppose seeing it go to Girl Genius - I read the webcomic on a regular, MWF basis and was watching carefully as volume 9 came to a close to see if I felt like a Hugo-worthy storyline had wrapped up within the year. I very much did not. Don't vote for that (or, of course, anything) simply due to name recognition and historical fondness for the work or the creator, please. I generally adore Girl Genius but I don't think it should take the Hugo this year. Also, obviously, nothing can compete with Gaiman's Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? for sheer author and character familiarity, but if it wins that shouldn't be why.

Read each nominee (it looks like an excellent reading list, on the whole, and I'm looking forward to checking out those things I haven't read) before voting in any category. It looks like a good year for the Hugos.

Warm congratulations to all the nominees. :)

Current Mood: pleasedpleased
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From:pnh
Date:April 5th, 2010 12:48 pm (UTC)
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I agree that Juliet Ulman is overdue to be an editor finalist--I don't remember if I nominated her this year but I certainly have in the past; I've cited her more than once as someone who ought be considered. She's exactly the kind of long-overlooked editor I wanted to see honored when I let myself get roped into helping talk the Business Meeting into splitting the old Best Professional Editor category into two categories.

However, I do want to insert a tiny cavil about using the presence or absence of a particular editor's books in the Best Novel category as a metric for determining which editors are more or less deserving that year, because it's just such a wildly contingent thing. For instance, I can't imagine anyone arguing that Lou Anders doesn't deserve a Hugo; his entire career for the last several years has been one long sustained miracle, putting together an extraordinary line of highly original fantasy SF with almost none of the normal resources available to corporate book publishing. Yet for one reason or another there are no Pyr books on the ballot this year. Does this mean Lou had a "bad year" in 2009? I don't think so. I think it means there are only five (or in cases of a tie, six) slots available in the Best Novel category.

Meanwhile, two of the six Best Novel finalists were edited by people who aren't on the final Hugo ballot as editors--The City & The City (Chris Schluep at Del Rey and, I think, Peter Lavery at Pan Macmillan) and Julian Comstock (Teresa Nielsen Hayden at Tor). Probably the single book editor most inexplicably overlooked by the Hugos is Jim Frenkel. Books edited by Jim have won the Hugo four times but he's never come even close to making the final ballot as an editor, before or after we split the category. The oversight is particularly striking since Jim is personally well known to fandom.

I guess what I'm getting at is that as one of its instigators, I want the "Professional Editor, Long Form" category to work, and by "work" I mean I want it to not be limited to a static group of people that changes only slightly every year. Having Juliet Ulman and (holy crap, my assistant!) Liz Gorinsky show up this year is terrific. But having people use recent "Best Novel" finalists as a shortcut for looking at particular book editors' overall output would tend, I think, to cut against what I want the category to do, which is to encourage nominators and voters to make a little bit more effort to learn about who's actually doing what in the field. (Sites like this help; it also helps when book publishers actually credit particular editors. More of both, please.)
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From:netmouse
Date:April 7th, 2010 12:53 pm (UTC)
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*nod* I definitely meant the "and" in "and I think she deserves serious consideration"; didn't mean for it to be taken as a "so". I'll try to make that more clear in the future, as I definitely agree with you.
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