Quick and Possibly Incoherent Thoughts on Awards and Etc


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.

18 Comments on “Quick and Possibly Incoherent Thoughts on Awards and Etc”

  1. Yay,and congratulations!

    Saw the photo first, and was going to compliment you on “cleanin’ up real nice” – but then read your comment on that very thing and collapsed laughing. So, never mind :)

    What a lovely and poignant thing to say about the JWC vs. Hugo awards.

    It’s been fascinating and fun following the awards, from the naming of the nominees through the celebrations, on the blogs. It’s also been a *great* source of book recommendations, and now I’ve got a bunch of new (to me) writers whose books I can snap up at the bookstore, bring home while cackling madly, and settle in with for a long reading weekend – my idea of heaven.

    Thanks again, and I look forward to the Full Report!

  2. John,

    You can add ‘good winner and good loser’ to your long list of fine atributes.

    It is so nice to hang around adults, especially on the internet.

  3. I haven’t read Spin yet (on the reading stack now), but if it truly deserved the Hugo over Old Man’s War and Accelerando, then this must have been a banner year for SF. I’ve seen previous years in which I didn’t think *any* of the nominees deserved to win.

  4. Again, congratulations. Makes me want to write even more.

    The picture of you and Ms. A is awesome! I hope she had fun. Did she go to the festivities or was she kept in the hotel room like all children should be? Just kidding, man!

    My friend Tommy has his acceptance speech readyt for teh oscars. It’s one word. Rhymes with duck.

  5. And Mrs. Sclazi looks amazing. I see I’m yet another husband who pales in comparison to the stunning looks of his wife.

  6. You and Mrs. Scalzi and the Pluto Princess all looked great. Congrats again, John. Spin will be added to the read list if it beat out your book.

    Love the diadem, btw.

  7. Congratulations John!

    Sorry I never posted on your initial victory thread, I’m guilty of having waited for one less trafficked.

    You deserved this Campbell and you most definitely deserved a shot at the Hugo (you are the KING of gracious losers).

    Promise me you’ll put in some serious time at the mirror, trophy in hand and tiara on head, it’s what I’d do.

  8. Hi John. Congrats on the award.

    I’m curious, though: I remember a time when you were vehemently anti-awards. Are those entries still online? I seem to recall you citing a vast array of reasons why awards were a Bad Thing. Didn’t you say they were elitist?

  9. Wow. You really do look nice. Cool shades, man.

    I’d contend that most guys look 10x better if they put any effort into it. The trick is getting them to do it on a consistent basis.

    I now predict [putting index fingers to temple, humming off-tune, and jiggling the table with my knee] you will one day win the Hugo. You’ve shown an ability to improve your writing (I liked TGB better than OMW) and you’ve started at quite a high level of proficiency. AND you’re prolific. It’s practically a done deal.

    Again, Congrats!

  10. Roger Williams:

    I suspect you’re thinking about the Diarist Awards. In that particular case I was nominated for a category that I felt the material I had written was not qualified (it was up for “best experimental journal” and I was writing essays, which were not especially experimental in themselves), so I refused the nomination. They kept me on the ballot and I won anyway. Naturally having refused the nomination, I was obliged to refuse the award.

    The elitism aspect doesn’t ring a bell after seven years, but if I did make it (and it’s possible I did), I imagine it would have been on the idea that personal Web sites are just that — personal — and thus should not be in competition with each other. If indeed this was my line of reasoning (I’d check with archive.org, but its database seems to be down at the moment), clearly I’ve lost that argument because there’s all sorts of Web awards.

    Anne C:

    Re: future Hugos: Well, who can say. A great way to drive yourself mad is to spend any amount of time wondering whether something you’ve written will be considered award-worthy. I focus on making it interesting to read (and then getting paid for it), and save any sort of award anxiety for after I might get nominated.

  11. “I focus on making it interesting to read (and then getting paid for it), and save any sort of award anxiety for after I might get nominated.”

    As a reader, I am glad that’s your strategy. :)

    Your confidence is tempered by your modesty. It’s perfectly natural that your fans, in our exuberant appreciation, wouldn’t feel any such restriction.

  12. Looking pretty hot there, mister! Say, did you get to meet the Hottest Hottie in Publishing in person? She texted me to say how cute you looked inthe tiara. :-)

  13. You bear a striking resemblance to Ringo Starr in this picture. Did anybody mention that?

  14. Yet another example of why you are, as my mother used to say, “a class act.” Good for you!


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