In Which The Author Engages In Some Unseemly Whining

Damn it, where the hell is my Hugo? It was supposed to have been shipped as of the 11th, and here it is the 21st, and I don’t have it. Is it being couriered by tortoises? Has Fed Ex been replaced by a league of snails? Will sloths in UPS caps show up at my door, eventually, and hand it to me coated in their thick, insect-catching drool? I mean, hey, if any or all of the above is the case, that’s cool, I just wanna know.

Don’t mind me. I’m just incomplete without my phallic object.

97 Comments on “In Which The Author Engages In Some Unseemly Whining”

  1. You shipped your Hugo without a tracking number?!? This would be a good time for the Picard facepalm.

  2. Don’t mind me. I’m just incomplete without my phallic object.

    You’re just trying to win an argument the Harlan Ellison way. (I saw you in that MeFi thread …)

  3. Perfectly understandable. You want it. You know you want it. You want it all.

    Okay, that sounded kinda dirty, didn’t it?

  4. Maybe they broke it in shipment and are trying to get it repaired so you won’t notice.

    Just trying to bring a little joy to your day.

  5. Seriously, it might be held up in Customs. A while back, we were supposed to get some buckets of rock[1] from South Africa, and they ended up being held by Customs for *six months*![2]

    [1] It had to do with work. Research project.

    [2] Although, sometimes Customs isn’t the only culprit. Years ago, my brother made the mistake of sending a box from Ecuador to the US by “surface mail”. This evidently meant: “Put it on a random ship that isn’t going to the US. When it gets where it’s going, switch it to another random ship. Repeat until it actually ends up on a ship that hits a US port.” The box finally arrived two years later.

  6. Welcome to the slovenly mess that is US-Canada international mail. When I lived in Canada, it did not matter what method was used or how much money was spent–all deliveries to either side of the border were estimated at 2 weeks. Package, letter, doesn’t matter, you want it to hit the US from Canada, or hit Canada from the US? Two weeks. Three or more if you lived in Newfoundland like I did and you wanted to get a letter or package to somewhere else inside Canada.

    Canada Post feels entitled to all holidays that US postal carriers get, despite the fact they don’t damn well work on Saturdays like USPS do. The only postal system in the world more broken than the UK’s? Canada’s.

    You’ve several more days. Sorry about that.

  7. Julia @18 : Welcome to the slovenly mess that is US-Canada international mail.
    I’m afraid that Canada-Europe mail is much worse. While in Monréal, I asked a post office about shipping costs, in an attemps to avoid overweight taxes at the airport — books are kind of heavy. Answer : count about $100 (CDN) for a 5kg parcel delivered in 2 weeks.

  8. Have mine. Took it with me, despite refusal of convention to supply packing materials. (Old whisky bottle containers have their uses.)

    Then again, Ann VanderMeer has hers too, and that had to be shipped to Florida.

  9. You weren’t there when they drew your name, so they figured clearly you didn’t really want it, and gave it to the runner-up. Have you checked the runner-up’s blog to make sure they aren’t puzzling over why they got a box from Canada?

  10. Eric@25: Oh yes, it’s prohibitively expensive to send anything anywhere in the world from Canada. Canada Post demands everything but a pound of flesh (and I’m sure that’s coming soon) and their service…uuuuugh.

    Purolator (courier service in Canada) is no better. Bleurgh.

  11. What ever happened to NAFTA?

    I have to think it’s customs or security. Maybe someone decided it might possibly be a REAL rocket and is scanning it for explosives somewhere across the border from Buffalo or Detroit.

  12. Maybe they shipped it DHL.

    I once shipped a laptop to North Carolina. I transposed the last two digits of the Zip code, which still put it in the same region of NC as the actual destination.

    Someone at DHL thought this meant it went to SOUTH Carolina. When they realized there was no such town in SC, nor any such Zip, their solution was to ship it back to Wilmington, Ohio.

    DHL also had a bad habit of losing several thousand dollars in computer equipment. I firmly believe it wasn’t stolen. It’s all still sitting in Orlando, gethering dust, now about four years obsolete.

  13. You let it out of your sight? You didn’t try to take it on the plane past customs? Are you nuts? I’d have hugged that thing so hard there would be impressions of the fins on my hands.

    I do hope it shows up soon, anyway. It would be very sad if got lost.

  14. Unseemly whining … I JUST got off the ‘phone with my unseemly whining husband, I logged on here for some relief, and … MORE unseemly whining! WTF? Is it whiny male day? I spend one week a month battling with PMS which threatens to turn me into the Bitch from Alien, and I’m STILL not as whiney as most of the men I know. I do appear to be grumpier though – at least today! Sorry to grump publicly, but grumping privately is just so much less satisfying. I suppose the same is true for whining …..

  15. Once my then GF (now wife) shipped me two packages from Canada: one of SF books, and one of cookies. The little declaration stickers required the contents to be declared, so one box was marked “cookies” and one “books.” Fortunately, she got the stickers backwards, since the box marked “cookies” had been thoroughly disassembled at customs for some reason.

  16. Hey, I don’t blame you one bit for being impatient. If I won a Hugo, I’d be annoying my wife to no end asking “There the hell is it?!” every fifteen minutes.

  17. Have you checked with the Australian Scalzis? It may be making the rounds of the Commonwealth Scalzis first, sort of a Stanley Cup thing.

  18. Who’s idea was it ti ship the Hugo back home? You should have asked your wife first. She would have told you NO!!! We are taking it with us on the plane, book it a seat!!!
    I hope it turns to soon. It is a beautiful award and you deserve it. (Mabey the Charles N. Brown estate can lend you one until yours shows up)

  19. It probably came open in shipping and they just figured it was Neil Gaiman’s. Better give his assistant a call before it gets lost in the Trophy Room.

  20. John, you really did not win that HUGO, it was all a dream You just dreamed it all. It didn’t happen.

  21. BJSchild@37: “Is it just me, or does anyone else think that the Hugo looks more than a little bit like a V2 Rocket?”
    Matthew Graybosch@38: “I wouldn’t be surprised if it looked like that on purpose.”

    Almost certainly. The iconic rocket of that era (early 1950’s) would have been those painted by Chesley Bonestell in the articles that he and Wernher von Braun did in Collier’s from 1949 onward (von Braun having headed the team that designed the V2). So the chain would have been V2 – Collier’s – popular consciousness – Hugo. (and the V2 design, while heavily tested and refined in wind tunnel testing, was essentially that of a .50 caliber bullet, which was known by the Germans to be stable in supersonic flight).

    As a side note, one of the last surviving members of von Braun’s Peenemuende team who came over to Ft. Bliss and then Huntsville, AL after the war died yesterday. Walter Jacobi was 91:

  22. Please don’t tell me a Hugo award is going to be posted on some ER doc thread about “what I pulled out of my patient” today…

  23. You know I wondered why a hugo showed up on my doorstep the other day, especially since I have never written science fiction. $5000 or best offer! You know there is some crazed whatever fan who will pay me millions…

  24. Johnny Carruthers:

    I’d dare you to make that suggestion to my wife, but then I’d have to deal with sinking your body into the creek afterward.

  25. Dude, I was fishing at my local beach down in here Baja and came across this Fedex box on the beach. Guess what? Sorry JS, if I tried bringing it back across the border, the imigra would take it. Rest assured it will look nice on my window sill with the other assorted stuff I find (shells, fish heads, fishing lures, & other Fedex stuff)!! We seem to be the Bermuda Triangle for Fedex boxes!!

  26. It could be the poor volunteer tasked with sending the Hugo Awards to the recipients can only go to the post every other day because they are spliting shifts to nurse a baby seal back to health. Furthermore that selfsame selfless volunteer can only shoulder two at a time through the snowdrifts, as (s)he has no car and the alarms on the metro go off when they try and bring the boxes underground.

    Shame on your whinning John Scalzi. You’ll get your rocket in good time and be thankfull if it arrives before Thanksgiving weekend.

  27. “I woke up this morning with a terrible Coke Zero hangover and my Hugo was missing. This happens to me all the time. […]”

    Brett, thank you so very much for that earworm. *nrgh*

    John: this is Canadian shipping/post, and as such obeys the unwritten law that despite rising costs, delivery times and fees are still calculated at the rate of one penny per day.
    [Original source unknown; I stole it from Spider Robinson, IIANM.]

  28. Hopefully, it is not on some island with Chuck Noland and Wilson Volleyball.

    In the meantime, maybe the local hobby store can supply a substitute. An Estes kit, some paint, glue, and a little sandpaper, and Voila! Hugo Lite.

  29. I can’t believe this thread hasn’t devolved into reckless photoshoppery. That Hugo seems to be begging to be cut out and pasted into all kinds of interesting places. With amusing captions! Alas, I haven’t the skill or software …

  30. Yeah, I shipped some books from Comic Con FedEx ground for a whopping $22.00 and it took them an entire week to arrive. You’d get better results shipping First Class US Postal Services (seriously, they’re getting better).

  31. I’m w/ 61. Justme – i am SO surprised at the lack of links to photoshoped (?) pictures of John’s Hugo (he did supply a picture of it, after he won the thing).

    Hey – I see on Twitter you got a box of Red Vines today. Maybe the Hugo morphed itself into Red Vines?

  32. Have you checked eBay?

    On a more serious note, US/Canada shipping is a hit or miss thing. Depends on the shipper used.

    Here at the Johns Hopkins University Press we ship to our Canadian sales rep everything by FedEx Ground. Oddly enough she lives in Montreal and I did bump into her while at Worldcon; but then I once bumped into a friend from Mpls in a bookstore in London.

  33. FWIW, it took a lot longer when they were being shipped from Japan two years ago. Once it arrived, the wait seemed inconsequential. Until then, though? Oh, yeah; I feel your pain. Or at least I did once.

    Dave Howell’s base design is utterly brilliant. While I will always adore the MagiCon base, this year’s Hugo base strikes me as the most fitting for showing off the rocket while also being a stunning piece of art in itself.

  34. Take the existential approach, John. You won it. You know you won it. Everyone else knows you won it. The object is only a symbol, a confirmation of something already confirmed. Therefore it’s unnecessary. Unnecessary things have no need to exist, therefore they can’t get lost. Without a need to exist it does not exist.

    If something should arrive, eventually, then it DOES exist, and only then becomes necessary, at which point you can gloat over it.

  35. John, I had something shipped to me from San Diego on August 10 and it got to Toronto August 19. Maybe your volunteer shipper was distracted by THE BEST BAGELS IN THE WORLD or something like that, and sent it a day or so late. Thus, I predict you’ll have your very own Holmes by Monday.

  36. There was some speculation above about the Hugo rocket being based of the V2. But the original design for the first, 1953 Hugo rocket came from an automobile hood ornament. (That of course could have been based on the V2.)


    The earliest Hugo Award trophy used a rocket designed by Jack McKnight and Ben Jason based upon the hood ornament from a 1950s American automobile; however, the shape of the rocket changed over the years as individual committees reinterpreted the design. The current design of the trophy rocket, which is now considered definitive, has been the same since Peter Weston’s refinement of the design debuted in 1984. Since then, every Hugo Award trophy rocket (except those used in 1991) has been literally cast from the same mold.

    From the link above, you can get a link to the official specifications of the rocket, and a link to how they are made by Peter Weston.


  37. #77:

    Gee, was the year of the only non-metal Hugo as recent as 1991? I remember being part of the crew that stayed up Very Late the night before the Con began, sanding the mold-marks off to try to make them look reasonably presentable.

    And joining in the speculation about who was responsible for the scheduling and for using clear plastic that couldn’t be fastened to the base dependably and unobtrusively. (Volunteer fans do that kind of thing, you know.)

  38. George E. Martin @78: The story on the Hugo website that George links to is wrong, as described here: (see page 35)

    ^^^^^^^^^^^Block quote starts^^^^^^^^^^^^

    “The official Hugo Awards site says, “The earliest Hugo Award trophies used a rocket hood ornament from a 1950s American automobile…” Hopefully that will soon be corrected –accurate information is already posted elsehwere on the same site about Jack McKnight’s role in manufacturing the first Hugos.

    Milton Rothman, chair of the 1953 Philadelphia Worldcon that invented the Hugo Awards, said in his article for the Noreascon Three Program Book that they had a lot of trouble finding someone to make the Hugo rockets. “It was Jack McKnight who came to the rescue. An expert machinist, he turned the little rockets out of stainless steel in his own shop, learning to his dismay that soldering stainless steel fins was a new art. While doing this, poor Jack missed the whole convention, but turned up just in time for the banquet and the presentation.”

    The use of hood ornaments wasn’t proposed until the Hugos (which missed a year) were revived in 1955 by the Cleveland Worldcon committee. They hoped Jack McKnight would make their Hugo rockets, too, but their letters brought no replies. Nick Falasca asked, couldn’t they simply use Oldsmobile “Rocket 88″ model hood ornaments? They ordered one of the ornaments from the local dealer. Unfortunately, the rocket had a hollow underside; hood ornaments did not prove to be a cheap and easy solution after all. Instead, Ben Jason had the Hoffman Bronze Co. prepare a pattern rocket from his design, and that rocket does bear a resemblance to the 88 logo from the trunk lid of a 1955 Oldsmobile “Rocket 88.” That’s the Hugo rocket shape in use to this day.

    Milton Rothman said Jack McKnight’s original stubby-winged 1953 Hugo rocket was inspired by Willy Ley. Presumably he meant the cover of Ley’s 1949 book,
    The Conquest of Space. The original Hugo rocket looked
    more or less like the Moon rocket Chesley Bonestell
    painted for the cover of Ley’s book. The general impression is of a rocket about the same size as used in the 1950 movie Destination Moon, for which Bonestell also did the matte and scene paintings. We know that the Luna, flown in Destination Moon, was 45 meters or 150 feet tall. (Bonestell’s image has never ceased to fascinate Hugo designers: the cinematic Moonscape of the 1996 Hugo base, with Hugo rocket in the foreground, pays homage to Destination Moon.)

    ^^^^^^^^^Block quote ends^^^^^^^^^^^

    It’s pretty easy to confirm this — the 1953 Hugo (as seen at the Hugos web site George links to) has aileron/wings halfway up the body, in addition to tail fins. The 1955 and later Hugos don’t — they are in fact similar to the rockets on the hood ornaments of 1951 – 1953 Olds Rocket 88’s (fins only at the base/tail of the rocket) (see here: )

  39. hi john, i have intercepted your hugo, if you want to see it again please deposit 4 chocolate chip cookies in the back seat of your car, which you will leave unlocked. no peeking allowed either, you have to stay inside.

  40. Bill @80

    Thanks for the correction and the additional information. Somewhere in the recesses of my memory I thought there was more to the story than what I linked to.


  41. Do you have an anagram for “Where the hell is my Hugo?”?

    And you might want to give some careful thought to that dare before you make it. If you haven’t noticed, I rush in where fools fear to tread.

  42. FWIW, two of the three boxes that I shipped from the Canada Post station at the Palais des Congres on the day after Anticipation arrived in Mehama, Oregon this morning, 11 days later. The third box is still unaccounted for.

    Dan @5: See the Hugo Award Trophies Page for pictures of all past trophies. As others have said, each year’s base is different. It has been common in recent years for Worldcons to hold contests for designs.

  43. …And what a stunning phallic symbol it is!! What is that, about eight inches? Ten?

  44. You expect us to swa come up with something that won’t get us moderated out of existence?

  45. Whenever life get you down
    Keeps you wearing a frown
    And the gravy train has left you behind
    And when your all out of hope
    Down at the end of your rope
    And nobody’s there to throw you a line

    If you ever get so low
    That you don’t know which way to go
    Come on and take a walk in my shoes
    Never worry ’bout a thing
    Got the world on a string
    Cause I’ve got the cure for all of my blues (all of his blues)

    I take a look at my enormous penis Hugo
    And my troubles start a-meltin’ away (ba-doom bop bop)
    I take a look at my enormous penis Hugo
    And the happy times are comin’ to stay (be-doo)

    (Enormous Penis, DaVinci’s Notebook)

  46. On the practical side I find it usually takes TWO weeks for packages from the United States to arrive at my house in Canada.

    So I would hope that it would arrive sometime this week.

  47. John – I’m assuming you would let us know if your missing Hugo had arrived by now. Did you call the folks at the convention for your tracking number?