Losing the Hugo Award

Posted: September 6, 2013 in News Tags: Hugo Awards
Losing the Hugo Award

So. The Hugo Awards. Maybe you’ve heard of them. They come in a mixed bag of good and bad, full of second guessing and “should-haves”. Here at Elitist Book Reviews, we were nominated for the 2013 Hugo Award for Best Fanzine. It was a big deal. I didn’t expect us to win, so it came as no surprise when SF Signal was awarded the Hugo.

By nature I’m a rather competitive guy. Those of you that know me are very much aware of this. It’s what’s made me successful in my day-job as an accountant for a Department of Defense contractor. So to be nominated for a big-time award? Heaven have mercy. I knew we weren’t going to win, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t want to win. I wanted to win because I just like winning, but also because it would serve as a recognition of sorts to you readers and to my reviewers who do such an amazing job here at EBR.

But we didn’t win.

A few things happened at the ceremony. First, I was really nervous. I blame Lou Anders. We were hanging out before the ceremony and Lou suddenly says, “Well dang. I’m nervous now.” This naturally made me feel the same way. Nervousness in contagious, and for me, Lou was Patient Zero. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t drink. And I knew I didn’t have a chance at the award. Yikes.

I sat by Stina Leicht and Max Gladstone and their spouses at the Hugo Awards ceremony (they were both up for the Campbell Award this year). Awesome people. Completely awesome. They wished me well before the ceremony, and knew just what to say after losing. When SF Signal won, a few things happened:

1) I was incredibly relieved.
2) I was sooooooo thirsty.
3) I was starving.

I know, I know. Deep, deep thoughts there.

I admit, even though I knew I wasn’t going to win, I still had that hollow feeling of disappointment. For myself, for my reviewers, for our readers, and for those that voted for us to win. I had this odd sensation that I’d somehow let everyone down. And then they announced that Writing Excuses had won the Hugo for Best Related Work. I got to see some of my good friends receive the Hugo Award. Shortly thereafter Brandon Sanderson won for THE EMPEROR’S SOUL. Wow. Just wow.

I was positively thrilled for them all.

And suddenly I didn’t really care that EBR had lost.

After the ceremony I turned into a serial hugger, not unlike Chris Garcia over at The Drink Tank. I may be competitive, but I also love to see my deserving friends succeed. I had a long chat with the fellas at SF Signal (who are incredible people), and as excited I was to see them win, they were equally excited for EBR’s nomination. There’s room for everyone in the category we occupy at the Hugo Awards. As I told John DeNardo at SF Signal, as long as I’m getting people to read books, I’m a happy camper. And as he said in his acceptance speech, it doesn’t matter the format – pixel or paper – we need to be accepting of the good stuff in SF&F in all its forms.

During WorldCon and since, I was and have been flooded with well-wishes. You know who you are. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. There were a ton of people at WorldCon who had no clue who the heck I was, or what Elitist Book Review was. Hopefully I left people with a good impression. I met some of the most awesome people ever (looking at you, Max, Stephanie, Stina, Tacheyon, Wes, Genese, Eric, Justin, Kasey etc, etc, etc…).

We didn’t win the Hugo Award this year. That’s OK.

Because it would be AMAZING to win next year in London. So, to all of EBR’s UK readers, you know what to do (and if you don’t, shoot me an email… seriously).

See you in London.


  • Mike says:

    Sad that you didn't get the Hugo, but, know that I come here almost daily. Your reviews are great, and your tastes seem to align with mine.

    Great site. 🙂

  • Zachary Jernigan says:

    Great post, Steve! You're a great dude, doing a great job, and next year's the year!

  • tyjj says:

    As I told you in San Antonio, I trust your opinion on books. That list is a short one. Keep bringing hidden gems to our attention, and we'll keep reading

  • Justin kropff says:

    I sincerely believe if it wasn't for your site I would be stuck in a mire of reading crap without even knowing it. You and everyone else at EBR have given me new lenses into fiction and for that I'm deeply grateful. So, award or now award, keep doing what you do and cheers regardless of the accolades.

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