With the Hugo awards coming Saturday I thought I would ruminate on the meanings to me personally. This is not a Puppy piece, this is simply ruminating on what will happen. I am not predicting winners or losers. My best guess is that no matter who wins what there will be screams of cheating and declarations that the other side lost.
I wish you people knew how sick of you I am. Oh, not those who are honestly partisan about their favorite authors or books or other element of fandom. That is what this is for. Those who honestly hate the best novel nominee of the other side are fine too. I dislike some of the books too. I also love a couple of books without being sure they are Hugo worthy. I’m not sure Hugo worthy has any meaning. I personally thought Skin Game was a great book. No I didn’t, I thought it was a great continuation of a very enjoyable series.
I’m honest enough to admit I’m not sure what constitutes a great book. The meaning of “great book” is far too subjective. Hell, there are people who still think the works of Hemingway are great books, long after most readers have decided he was an overrated nihilist. Yes, he may have been a great writer a century ago, that doesn’t mean anyone enjoys reading him today. And, to me, being able to enjoy a piece of fiction is part of its greatness. If it isn’t enjoyable it isn’t great fiction. And just because it was enjoyable at one time doesn’t mean it is enjoyable today. After all, making mud pies was enjoyable at one time, I think I grew past that.
Some of the other categories are even worse. Let’s take Best Editor, any form. 98 percent of those eligible to vote on this category have no clue whether the nominees are any good. I am personally rooting for Toni Weisskopf, not because I know that her work is the best, but because I like and admire her. I haven’t a clue about her editing. In all probability neither do you. Editing is an invisible process to anyone not directly involved, usually the editor and author.
Best Fan Writer is the category that personally concerns me the most. Three of the five are known to me personally, one is ok but, I really don’t know him, and the other is, well lets just say my respect for her could be much higher. Naturally I want one of the three I know to win. Which is the question. One is a really good and underappreciated author who could use more exposure, I’d love for him to win for many reasons. I happen to know he doesn’t want the win because he considers himself primarily an author and not a Fan Writer. The second is as good as anyone in the field and could use a little more exposure for her indie work herself. The third is my wife, and I don’t know whether I want her to win or not. While I love her work and think she deserves recognition for it a large part of me looks at the state of fandom and would prefer she not be exposed to any more of the disgusting people who are trying to drive it.
And that is the core of why I am sick of it. The lies and slander, libel and chicanery in fandom makes me want to kick sand over a lot of them. I am aware that the Hugos are a popularity contest and that too many of the people involved are mentally and emotionally middle schoolers. That doesn’t mean that I believe it should be that way. It mostly makes me wish I thought that the Hugos and fandom would be destroyed by this years tempest in a teapot. Sadly it will survive despite the gloom and doom screeches of the infantile.
Some people have suggested that we should start another award and let the Worldcon people have their plastic toy, after all the award has become worthless like the most strident screamers. That would not help, it would simply make for another batch of screaming children fighting over who is the coolest kid in school. And before anyone says that this one would be different let me tell you a truth. It wouldn’t, at least not after a couple of years. This is because such things are so important to middle schoolers that they will game anything started. Most of the people who become important in these little cliques are the totally untalented who have no real life or accomplishments. The people who are competent have jobs, lives, and talents. In other words, they can’t spend most of their lives working for something so unimportant. Yes good people do serious work for cons, running them and organizing, doing good for the community. The people who gain control of awards are usually the totally untalented. Look athe the loudly self-proclaimed TrueFen for an example of this.
All in all, the best thing about the Hugos Saturday? They will be over.