Hugo Followup Q&A

To follow-up on some me-centered Hugo-related questions folks have asked via Twitter, Facebook, e-mail and here (and damn if my Internet presence isn’t diffuse these days):

1. Think you’ll win?

My answer to this at this moment was the same answer I had at the same time last year: Don’t know, don’t care.

Yeah, yeah, I know. But look: you don’t know how true “it’s an honor just to be nominated” is until it happens to you. It really is possible to be happy with a place on a ballot, especially when the ballot is as excellent as it is this year. Also, you know. I already have a Hugo. Pressure to win: not so much. Which is not to say I wouldn’t like to win this year; it’d be nice to take one home (winning two wouldn’t suck, either. Winning three might be greedy). But it is to say I’m not going to worry about it right now. Right now, I’m going to enjoy being in the club.

2. Is it some sort of record to be nominated three times in one year?

No. It’s unusual, but it happens. Locus has a list of people with three/four nominations in a single year, so you can see who’s pulled it off before. Note, incidentally, that by Locus’ own manner of accounting, the METAtropolis nomination does not accrue to me, since as the magazine’s web site states, regarding the Dramatic Presentation categories, “the Locus Index to SF Awards notes credits listed on Hugo ballots as comments, but does not compile them as nominees.” Which is fine; on the other hand the Hugo awards folks sent along the nomination to me as the editor to accept or decline, so I feel the actual Hugo folks trump Locus in deciding these things. That said, I happily, necessarily and quite properly share the Hugo love with Elizabeth Bear, Tobias Buckell, Jay Lake, Karl Schroeder and Steve Feldberg (the project’s producer at This was and is a group endeavor. If METAtropolis wins the Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form Hugo, you can expect that the Hugo in question will be shuttled, Stanley Cup-style, between us. Unlike the Stanley Cup, however, none of us is likely to use it to eat cereal. At least, I hope not.

3. Two years ago you were nominated for one Hugo, last year for two, this year for three. Four for next year, you greedy bastard?

Really, no. For one thing, the day you start expecting to be on the Hugo ballot, rather than hoping to be on it, is the day your ego is officially out of control and you must be stopped. Preferably with knives. I’m not there yet, thank God. For another, I have no novel coming out this year, save for the paperback release of Zoe in April, and the limited edition of The Last Colony. The only things officially on the schedule for this year are the print release of METAtropolis this July, a short story in the New Space Opera 2 anthology in June, and if I can finish it in the next couple of weeks, a fantasy novella which will be printed as a stand-alone book by Subterranean Press late this year. I may write up a couple of other short stories as well. But at the end of the day, I suspect the 2010 nominators will have other works on their minds, and I will be forgotten and alone, weeping silently in the corner as the genre passes me by, a dried-up husk, a has-been, if you will. Woe, oh, woe.

4. You won the Best Fan Writer category last year and this year you weren’t even nominated. How do you feel about that?

I feel really good about that, actually. Some of you may recall that when I won that Hugo, I stood up on the Denvention 3 stage, thanked everyone for the award and then asked them not to vote for me next year, and instead to spread the award around among the fan writers to let the award reflect the vitality of the field. They did the first part, since I didn’t get a nomination this year; whether they’ll do the second part and give the award to someone who’s not won this particular award before is something we’ll find out. With no aspersions toward the recent former winners of the award (who, after all, include me), let’s hope the voters this year see the quality that the other nominees bring to the field as well, and vote accordingly.

Thank you once again to everyone who has sent in congratulations and their good wishes about this year’s Hugos. It’s a good feeling to be nominated, and a great feeling to be nominated with such excellent company in Best Novel, Best Related Book, and Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form. One is known by the company one keeps, and I’m really happy to say that the company I’m in is some of the best I could have hoped for.

17 Comments on “Hugo Followup Q&A”

  1. I guess once you’ve got one on the shelf there are some practical considerations. What do you do with two? Put them on either end of the shelf? Then they look like bookends. Put one of them away as an emergency backup Hugo, should anything happen to the first one? That hardly seems fair to the second winning achievement. And once you’ve got two, where does it stop? A decade from now you’re obsessed with getting “the one for the thumb” and the rest of the league despises you for being such a dynasty.
    Wait, what?

  2. I understand that David Langford uses his to line the bottom of his Burmese Tiger Trap.

  3. I understand that Langford has them on a mantel shelf. The better to gloat about how his success means that Oxford has more Hugos than Cambridge.

  4. And there’s one other benefit to not winning:

    The Hugo Loser’s Party, the best event of the night. If you won, you can’t get in.

  5. John,

    I’d love to try your books but cannot find them in eBook form for my Palm reader.

    What’s up with that??


  6. That Locus list of multiple nominees is interesting because the majority of them didn’t win anything the year they were multiply-nominated. Did people think to themselves, “I know Author X, who has three nominations, will win at least once, so I’ll vote for Author Y so that somebody else gets on the podium.” Then poor Author X gets left out in the cold.

  7. You have no objection to serving cheese on the Campbell Award, but you balk at eating cereal with a Hugo? We’ll have to wait and see what Dave Howell did for the base this year- maybe you can use it as a spoon or something.

    Nice Donato you have there, by the way.

  8. Will you be coordinating access to electronic (Kindle) versions of nominated novels, like last year? I have to start reading if I am going to finish the books in time for the voting deadline. (Thank you for doing this last year.)

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