So I’ve been getting a lot of questions about the Hugo Award nominations this year. I’ve been thinking about it all since I was notified of the nomination, and I honestly still don’t know how to feel. Mostly. Kinda.
Let’s start with the basics. Here are Elitist Book Reviews, we are nominated for our second straight Hugo Award for Best Fanzine! This is completely awesome, and not something I ever thought possible. When I started EBR with a good friend, I just wanted to write reviews for novels. I wanted to recommend the books I loved to everyone. EBR was my outlet for that love of fiction in all forms.
So I want to thank everyone who nominated us. All of us here at EBR put in a tremendous amount of work to make sure this little review blog stays active. Each reviewer here has stepped up when things have gotten rough for the others. That’s who we are. Again, thank you, each and every one of you who nominated Elitist Book Reviews. The nomination is something that gives us great pride in our work, yet also amazes us and humbles us.
So what’s the competition like? What are our chances? Well, as to the first question, the competition is fabulous. Just look at this list:
The Book Smugglers
A Dribble of Ink
Seriously, just go look at their sites. They each do different things, and they are each terrific. The great thing is that these are some of the sites that I’ve enjoyed visiting over the past several years, and I love the… newness, I suppose?… of the Fanzine category. I love that there will be a completely new winner. I imagine that winner will be The Book Smugglers or Pornokitsch in some sort of crushing victory that will leave our jaws on the floor. That said, anyone in the category would be just fine by me. They are all top-rate people based on my limited experiences with them.
As for the rest of the nominations? I’d say they are certainly varied, and some come with a measure of drama. I hadn’t heard of Vox Day before hand, and I’m not thrilled (to put it mildly) by some of his antics and views. However, I was pleased to see many of my nominations pass through. Here are some of my favorites:
Speculative Fiction 2012: The Best Online Reviews, Essays and Commentary, by Justin Landon & Jared Shurin (Jurassic London) in Best Related Work.
The Best Professional Artist category is just killer this year. Seriously, look it up. Good grief. It’s stunning work.
The Butcher of Khardov by Dan Wells. I love Dan’s writing. He’s one of my favorite Horror authors. But his story for Privateer Press is something different. Much like how I though Brandon Sanderson’s novella last year was the finest piece of fiction he’d produced, I kinda feel the same about this bit from Dan Wells. I haven’t personally reviewed it because I’m under contract with the same company. Conflict of interests on a professional level, but I can still say it’s freaking amazing.
Fan writer has some awesome people in it. Kameron Hurley is terrific (both in fiction and non, as this award is for the latter), and Mark Oshiro is awesome (had a panel with him in San Antonio, and he has tremendous insight and such a different viewpoint on life).
Both Long- and Short-Form Editors have several of my nominations on them.
The John W. Campbell Award has me very excited. While I’m sad Brian McClellan isn’t on there, seeing both Max Gladstone (high-five, man!) and Wesley Chu on there made be want to fist-pump in the air.
If I didn’t mention a person by name, it doesn’t mean I hate that person or anything. Life tends to get a bit busy if you are the Finance Manager for a Department of Defense Contractor, so I admit to not knowing everything or everyone this year. This does, however, lead me into my next bit of commentary.
Do you want to know how I determine who I vote for? It’s a super-involved process. Highly secret. Spies try to get it from me on a regular basis. Serious business, and all that. Here it is:
I read it all. I look at it all. Listen to it all. Whatever the case may be. Then, whichever thing I like the best gets my vote. There has been all sorts of controversy lately with voting and people’s politics and who they know and who nominated them and blah blah blah.
I care about the work.
This isn’t just about the Hugos, but in general, if your work bores me, I say I don’t like it. If I had fun while reading it, or felt edified, or thought it was the best thing since a root beer float with cookies n’ creme ice cream, then I say I like it. Doesn’t really matter much to me whether I like you as a person or not. Or whether I agree with you or not. I can read and love China Miéville, Joe Lansdale, Larry Correia, Sarah Pinborough, Dan Wells, Steven Erikson, Mark Lawrence, Marie Brennan, Brandon Sanderson and Robert McCammon. I can also dislike anything those same people write that just doesn’t do it for me. Why?
I care about the work.
Seriously, look though EBR’s archive of reviews. Do I look like I give a crap about anything other than a good read? Look at the reviews by my amazing reviewers. Last I checked, they want to be entertained. Doesn’t matter how authors and artists go about it. Have you seen me on panels at conventions? I’m mostly there trying not to sound like an idiot when I’m along side awesome folks like Joe Haldeman or Joshua Bilmes or L.E. Modesitt. I’m there to share my love of what I do.
So you know what? I’m gonna read the nominated works in all the categories. Then I’ll decide for my own personal ballot. And I’ll prolly post it here on EBR. Because why not?
Remember, EBR was made as an outlet for this ex-bookstore guy to channel his love for books. I brought on reviewers who held that same excitement. The excitement for the works these wonderful and varied artists produce.
So, excuse me while I go about geeking out about the nomination, and the terrific company EBR is in on the ballot.
I’ve got some books to read.