And now, the Hugo post.
* To begin, I can say with some authority that winning a Hugo feels as good the second time as it does the first. Will it feel the same the third, fourth or seventh time? I don’t know, but I am willing to find out.
* Second, I am absolutely delighted to have won the Best Related Book Hugo. As I mentioned in my acceptance speech, I came to science fiction having worked in newspapers and magazines and having written non-fiction books, so having won this one feels very appropriate to me. And as I didn’t mention in my acceptance speech, when I found out that they gave out Hugos for things other than Best Novel, this is the category that always appealed to me the most. I think because some part of my brain went, wow, this category is just random enough that one day I may have a shot at it. So you may take me at my word when I tell you that in a very real way, one of my life goals has been checked off.
Don’t get wrong, one day I wouldn’t mind a Best Novel Hugo, too. But this award speaks to me. I’m hugely chuffed to have gotten it.
* A couple of people asked me if I was at all disappointed that Zoe’s Tale didn’t nab the trophy. The short answer is no, although I fully admit that such a sanguine attitude is easier to have when you get to walk away with another Hugo entirely.
The longer answer is: Dude, did you see this year’s ballot? Allow me to recap: Neil and Neal and Cory and Charlie. So, yeah, really. I took Zoe’s presence on the ballot as very much the equivalent of Juno being on the Best Picture Oscar ballot a couple of years ago: A notation that the work did its own thing very well indeed, and on that grounds deserved some recognition, even if there was only a slim chance it would get the gold in the end. Mind you, I would have taken the award if it’d been sent my way. Trust me. But as a reader and a fan, I loved Anathem and Graveyard and Saturn and Little Brother. There was no bad choice among them. And I’m fond of the people who wrote the books. I was going to be happy with whoever won, no matter which of us did.
* I am in fact disappointed that METAtropolis did not win its category, mostly because it would have been a kick to share a Hugo with Jay Lake, Toby Buckell, Elizabeth Bear and Karl Schroeder (and Steve Feldberg, who produced the entire project for Audible.com). In fact, this was the only category in which I had an actual acceptance speech planned, which would have read thusly: “Somewhere in Hollywood, a very pissed-off robot is on the phone with his agent.” Alas, that same robot stomped us rather well. What can you do.
* One thing I was delighted to see this year at the Hugos was the number of winners encouraging Hugo voters to spread the wealth a bit. Repeat winners Frank Wu and David Hartwell both admonished the voters (gently) to look beyond them to the others in their category, Hartwell going so far as to remove himself from the category entirely, while Cheryl Morgan, winning the Fan Writer category this year, echoed what I said last year, which was “thanks, I love this award, give it to someone else next year.” Good on all three of them.
* I was also generally delighted with all of the winners in the categories, but especially with the Campbell Award, because out of the terrific class this year, David Anthony Durham took the tiara (which looks great on him, much better than it did on me). I’ve been a fan of David’s since Acacia first came out, and for fun I show people my ARC of the book’s sequel The Other Lands just to watch them salivate. Also, like me, he did his time in Fresno. So there’s a spirit of comradeship there.
That said, and with no slight at all intended toward the winners this year, I’m personally looking forward to seeing John Picacio and Paolo Bacigalupi up there on the stage, clutching their own rocketships. Both are at the top of their forms (art and short stories, respectively) and I’m continually blown away with what comes out of their brains. Hopefully it won’t be too long now, and I suspect not. Work as good as they do eventually wins out.
* To get back to me, I’ve been asked if, given my apparently peripatetic wandering through the Hugo categories (four different categories in four years, plus the Campbell), if I’m trying to win one in each possible category. The answer: Oh, maybe.
Now, as a practical matter, every visual artist in the world would have to die before I could even be considered for those categories; there are members of the lower orders of primates who draw better than I do. So I’ll never get a full set, at least not this side of the apocalypse. But as a philosophical matter, I rather like the idea of popping up in various categories, provided my output is genuinely worthy of recognition. I’m not going to make a systematic effort on the matter, not in the least because, as you may have heard, it’s not up to the writer to decide whether he or she wins any category.
Also, of course, it’s also entirely possible I never get nominated for anything again — people who assume they’re going to be a regular staple of any award slate are just asking for a life of grave disappointment. I’m just going to write what I want to write and we’ll see what happens from there.
* As a final note, let me talk about this year’s actual Hugo. In a word: Gorgeous. In another two words: ZOMG heavy. Mine, with its solid granite base, has got to weigh at least ten pounds and I suspect more like twelve. I carried it around all night on Sunday and definitely felt it the next day. I had considered bringing to my autographing session on Monday, but the thought of trekking it from the Delta Centre-Ville hotel to the convention center (several city blocks) and back again just made me take it down to Worldcon ops to get shipped home instead. Yes, because I am a wimp. I have Krissy for all the heavy lifting. I thought everyone knew that.
Be that as it may, artist Dave Howell has every right to be immensely proud of his design this year; he’s made the Hugo that future awards are going to find themselves matched against. It’s a high bar to cross. I’m glad I got a Hugo, but I’m also really glad I got this Hugo. It’s a keeper.