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09 January 2014 @ 06:35 am
Labor Day Group  
Adam Roberts, who once said that the trouble with Hugoes is that Mack Reynolds won a lot of them (he didn't), is now presenting the latest iteration of the complaint that the award is a popularity contest that goes to self-promoters. John Scalzi, who represents all that Roberts despises in this matter, replies.
Alisonbohemiancoast on January 9th, 2014 11:50 am (UTC)
I had this exact argument with Scalzi about five or six years ago, and eventually concluded that I (and for that matter, the British way of life; this is very deeply ingrained for most Brits, or at least most Brits of a certain age) was wrong and he was right.
El Coyote Gordo: Darthsupergee on January 9th, 2014 12:45 pm (UTC)
Further evidence that the US and UK are two nations divided by a common fandom.
Kalimac: puzzlekalimac on January 9th, 2014 02:45 pm (UTC)
In 35 years in sf fandom, this is the first I'd ever heard of the idea that there's anything of a zero-sum game about boosting your favorite authors. That'd be so unfannish it would never come up. My favorite authors all praise their favorite colleagues, and I appreciate anything that leads me to other good stuff to read, which is what a fan really wants.

Roberts does have one fair point, which is that there's enough lazy nominators that a reminder list could affect what gets on the ballot. The solution to that problem is: more reminder lists.

I disagree with one point that Scalzi says he and Roberts share: that only the well-read should nominate. No: the field is too big, and the last thing we need is people fearing they don't know enough to nominate. The flaw in the Hugo process is not enough nominations, not anything in the final votes. I say: nominate what you know, other people will nominate what they know, and it'll all come out in the wash. Sure, well-known popular stuff will win many nominations, but that's because readers like it.

(Also: nominate the work, not the author, because the award isn't Best Author? Not in the fiction categories, but see Best Professional Artist, Best Fan Writer, etc.)
El Coyote Gordo: nebulasupergee on January 9th, 2014 02:50 pm (UTC)
That is one thing I love about the field. Even combative types like Harlan Ellison are gracious and collegial to other writers.
Kalimackalimac on January 9th, 2014 03:04 pm (UTC)
Even? When he praises, as when he denigrates, Harlan goes all out. To Harlan, if he likes your work you are the best writer in the world, superb, unsurpassed, inimitable. Tomorrow, some other equally deserving person will be the best writer in the world. They're all the best writer in the world, all at once.

Scalzi is right: to an sf fan, the team is the genre.
A Wandering Hobbitredbird on January 9th, 2014 03:47 pm (UTC)
The limit case, which I think is rare but nonexistent, is "I will vote for J. Favorite Author even though I haven't had time to read their latest book." Similarly, when I was going to Worldcons and hence eligible to nominate, I didn't nominate for dramatic presentation because in a typical year I would see about 1.2 movies, selected semi-randomly, and "I liked it okay after I went with my friend because it was a rainy weekend" didn't really seem like a good reason to nominate something." I also have to think it's a good movie/book/etc., not just better than "I want my money and my three hours back" bad.