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A Proposal: New Awards

Doug Irvin/Contributor

There’s been a lot of hate spewing about on the subject of the Hugo Award. While it seems as though it is mainly emanating from one side, there has been reaction – more or less justified – from the other.

To recap the situation: A small group – comprising some fen (plural of fan), publishing professionals and outraged proponents of social changes – want the Hugos to stay small, with a decreasing number of nominators and voters. The other side, headed by an equally small number of adherents, want the award to grow larger, have more voting input, reach a greater number in fandom.

I think there’s a way for both sides to be happy.

Leave the Hugos to the smaller group, variously called SMOF’s, CHORFs and such, and let the other group, referred to as Sad Puppies, have their own. And since the SP’s insist the awards must reflect both good story telling as well as open-mindedness, the awards could be called thus:

The Heinlein Award – for advancement of the best Speculative fiction, of all categories.

The Adam Selene Award – the best provocative fiction depicting social and political changes
(Due to the original being a computer construct, this award if presented via social media.)

The Clarke Award – the best hard SF for the year.

The Norton Award – the best soft-core SF of the year.

The Piper Award – for the best alt/time fiction

The Tolkein Award – best high fantasy, with a lesser award, The Hobbit, for the best light fantasy.

The Baen Award – in two sets, for both Best Publisher – and Best Editor – of short and long fiction.

And last but not least, The Doc Smith Award. For the most enjoyed space opera of the year

These awards are proposed by all fans worldwide. A Rotating Panel comprised of the previous years winners will oversee the vote tabulation, with a set of members selected at random noting the largest number of votes for each category. We’re supposed to be technically adept – let’s prove it by using technology to do the computing. A suitable program, secure from tampering, should be easy for us to devise. All selection meetings will be open to viewing, by placing a recording on line within 24 hours of the meet.

The awards, with the exception of the Selene award, will be presented at a Science Fiction Convention picked by the Rotating Panel for the next year. At least six calender months must separate the award ceremonies: thus, a presentation made in December of one year puts the next presentation of awards to the following July.

I’m sure there will be lots of dissension caused by this proposal, along the lines of ‘you demoted the Hugo’, to ‘what! You didn’t pick X author’s name for an award?’ and similar attacks. Hey: I’m one person, scarcely genius, looking for a suitable remedy. And I did it before I finished my morning coffee. So go easy. And before you complain too much of the naming, these people are all safely dead, Don’t wish that on your favorite author or editor.

These awards are open for debate, with the exceptions of the Heinlein, the Clarke, and the Tolkein. They should stand as testimonies to our foundations.

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8 comments on “A Proposal: New Awards

  1. There are already awards in the names of Heinlein and Clarke, and their estates might have something to say about diluting the pool like that.

    Apart from that possible speed bump, this is a tempting option, much along the lines I’ve been thinking myself.

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  2. I think there’s a reasonable chance the Hugos are going to be nuked anyway. Another scenario sounds kind of inviting right now.

    Whatever you want to call the awards, the key is to get a lot of voters. To actually be inclusive, not to just talk about it, then resent it when a bunch of outsiders want in.

    And there likely should be a separate category for the social justice message stuff {though if we’re going to go “message fiction”, then we probably should be open to it all}.

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  3. I would propose an award for outstanding urban fantasy, too, but I would hesitate to suggest a name for it. I thought the Chrome Borne series was by McCaffery and would have put her forth, but they are by Lackey and she’s still kicking. 🙂

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  4. I eagerly await Tor being nominated for the Baen award.

    And I propose the Vox for the best-selling SFF book with the most negative reviews on Amazon. With an additional ribbon if over 70 percent of the negative reviewers are not confirmed purchasers.

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  5. I don’t let popularity contests decide whose worth reading and who isn’t. I read as much of it as I can-even the stuff I might not agree with. Too many folks who are supposedly all about the future and the betterment of our species seem to be getting hung up on unimportant things-like shiny metal awards. With all due respect it’s -just- a statue. Winning it isn’t going to find an end to world hunger or figure out how to keep California from turning into another dust bowl so I would suggest everyone focus on more constructive things if they’re going to put that much energy into something.

    That being said I get that there are issues with representation but if the science fiction genre is that unwelcoming why bother with it at all? It wouldn’t be the first time authors have abandoned a genre that had stagnated in order to make their own. Maybe it’s time people left behind the relics of sci-fi’s past and innovated a little. I’m not saying people should GTFO because I don’t want them included. I’m part of the LGBTQA community myself. It’s just that I don’t write ‘sci-fi’. I write stories that just happen to take place in the future or in alternate realities.

    If sci-fi doesn’t want those kind of stories there are plenty of other places and people to share them with. Genre’s are usefule until they’re not.

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  6. Been thinking about this for the last few days – the problem is if we create our own awards, they win. The first time the awards go to the “wrong” writers, they win. I’d rather raise the red rooster to the roof of the Hugos than give them the satisfaction.

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    • Thing is, with Chorfs and Vox Day both saying they’ll nuke the awards, it may already be sunk. The Hugo was supposed to be a recognition of a story’s worth to and by the fans. If it loses out for whatever reason, I do think another suitable recognition would need to be devised.

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