This is what I look like dressed up (and taking a picture of myself and Athena in the hotel room mirror). Suffice to say I cleaned up well enough that a number of people who know me reasonably well had no idea who the hell I was, which I find infinitely amusing.
A couple of things. First, inasmuch as I’ve just gotten home and am somewhat narratively challenged due to travel and the lack of sleep travel brings, I’ll hold off on the full Worldcon report until I am rested and able to string together more than one thought at a time (update: here’s the rather more extensive report). Second, to everyone who has posted a congratulations or sent me an e-mail on the same theme: So many very genuine thanks. I do intend to respond more fully soon, but for now I hope you’ll accept this general expression of my gratitude. I’ve really appreciated every comment and e-mail. I just wish I was more coherent to better express it.
I’ll probably discuss this in more detail later (again with the incoherentness), but from my point of view, and with one (and a half) exceptions, the Hugo awards went pretty much the way I think they should have. I personally had pegged Accelerando for the Best Novel, because it’s such an awesome pile of SFnal goodness, and Charlie Stross is on fire these days. But I am really and honestly delighted that Spin took the top award. It’s a really excellent book, and people, Robert Charles Wilson was due. He’s written so many fine books and been on the ballot enough times, and this book was him at the top of his form. Before the ceremony, I told RCW that I would be honored to lose to him later in the evening, and you know what the funny thing is? When I did, I was.
Yes, yes, I know this sounds like the usual trying-to-be-graceful loser thing. But trust me. Connie Willis read off the title and I whooped like a kid. You know why? Because I like Bob and I like Spin. And because by that time I had already won the Campbell. So, you know, I was good for the evening.
Also, now that the contest is over, I can tell you all: I had no illusions I was going to win the Hugo. When the nominations were announced, Patrick Nielsen Hayden, my invaluable editor, started acting in his role as Moderator of Expectations, preparing me, deftly but firmly, for the fact that I wasn’t going to win the Hugo. I appreciated the thought, but I was already way ahead of him on this one. There were indeed scenarios I could imagine that had me walking off with the Hugo last Saturday night, but the operative word for their probability was: low. I had an acceptance speech ready on the off chance I managed to pull through and win, but its content should tell you what I thought of the idea of winning the Hugo in this particular field of competitors: It read, in its entirety, “You’re all high.” The fact I had no expectation of winning the Hugo allowed me to actually enjoy my nomination, and let me tell you, I did. Oh, boy, did I ever. It’s fun being a Hugo nominee.
And anyway: Hey! I got me a Campbell! Anyone who was there at the awards ceremony can tell you how excited I was to get the plaque — and the newly-inaugurated Campbell tiara (actually a diadem, but never mind that now). Why? For one thing, because Chris Roberson and Sarah Monette are friends of mine, and it was excellent to have us all as nominees for the same award, along with Brandon Sanderson (who I met at the awards and who really is an excellent human and writer), K.J. Bishop and Steph Swainston. I get to call these folks my peers, and what a peer group. For another thing, because so many of the people I consider friends and inspirations have held the station I now currently occupy, and I’m delighted (and humbled) to be in their company. Finally, because I needed a new cheeseboard (that’s an inside joke). But beyond that, with luck and skill and the benevolence of science fiction fans, I may find myself with another Hugo nomination. But there’s only a limited time to win a Campbell, and you can only win it once. I’m staggered to have it rest with me awhile.
Robert Charles Wilson has the Hugo — Spin deserves it, and he deserves it, several times over, in my opinion. I’m inexpressibly happy he has it in his possession. I’ll simply note that as he and I were standing there having our pictures taken by fans and by the press, he said to me, about the Campbell, “Can I see it? Because I’m never going to win it.” I was happy to show it to him, and to be able to spend some time with him up there on that stage, each of us with the right award for the evening.