Hugo Entitlement

Question in e-mail:

Are you upset that you’re not on this year’s Hugo ballot? You’ve been on it a lot recently.

Short answer: No.

Longer answer: No, and also, really? Are you serious? It’s a fine ballot, in terms of the work, and as a special added bonus it’s filled up with a bunch of my friends, all of whom I wish could win, even when they’re up against other friends of mine. There’s not much on the ballot I would change. I like it when I show up on the ballot — it’s nice, you know? — and if I show up on the ballot again some other year I will be delighted. Feel free to nominate me at a later time if you feel the work merits it. But I think being upset that one is not on the ballot would be indicative of the twin diseases of Insufficient Graciousness and Excessive Hubris, and both have at their root a wholly unearned feeling of entitlement. I try really hard not to be that guy.

Beyond that airy, philosophical point, on a practical level, last year my published fiction output was three short stories, and the Short Story category is as I understand it the most competitive fiction category (think about how many short stories are published each year and you’ll see why). While I think the three short stories I wrote last year are pretty good, the number of short stories published last year of equal or greater quality is, shall we say, reasonably large. I also suggested my humor video for the Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form Category, and again, I thought it was pretty good. But if I had to choose between it and “Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury,” well. I’m not voting for me in that scenario. I’ve got me an ego, but come on. All of which is to say that this year I wasn’t exactly waiting up for the nomination e-mail.

So: no. Not upset in the least and in fact quite happy for my friends who get their turn in the Happy Fun Anxiety Barrel that is the time between now and the Hugo awards ceremony. I hope they enjoy it as much as I did when it was my turn.

21 Comments on “Hugo Entitlement”

  1. crotchetyoldfan – The Crotchety Old Fan is Steve Davidson, also know as Rimworlder on many SF forums. Steve maintains the Rim Worlds Concordance project which is devoted to the works of A. Bertram Chandler and his most enduring character - Commodore John Grimes of the Rim Worlds Naval Reserve. Grimes is science fiction’s original ‘Horatio Hornblower of Space’. More information about Chandler, Grimes and the Rim Worlds can be found at www.rimworlds.com. Steve also maintains a visual index of volume 1, number 1 pulp science fiction magazines on the same website and is a devoted collector of the same. ‘I’m an ‘old’ SF fan, which you can take whichever way you like, as I love the old masters (Heinlein, Clarke, Asimov, E.F. Russell, Piper, Cordwainer Smith) and I’m well beyond the age you’re not supposed to trust anymore’. This blog is devoted to an investigation of the growing divide between ‘old’ - or ‘classic’ science fiction and the moderan literary genre that is currently sold under the same name. Steve has also begun writing reviews for www.SFReader.com, expects to be doing the same for www.SFSignal.com, and is contributing various non-fiction pieces to various other websites, all of them concerned with science fiction of one stripe or another. Early in 2008 he became completely disappointed with the SciFi Channel and created The Classic Science Fiction Channel website that gathers links to public domain radio, television, film and literary properties. Steve had a successful non-fiction writing career - writing articles and books dealing primarily with the paintball industry (Four books and several hundred articles including editorializing, product reviews, sports reporting, educational and more) - which he has since given up in favor of blogging and fiction. (Leaving the paintball industry after 25 years.) One final book on this subjected is scheduled to be released in early 2009 (A Parent's Guide To Paintball). Current work on fiction includes several completed novellettes/novellas curently in submission hell and various chapters of three novels. Freely distributed current work - including several chapters of a science fiction/paintball novel and a pulp/comic book/fairy tale mashup can be found on his website.
    steve davidson

    Do you feel entitled to a Hugo Award?
    Absolutely!
    Whatever makes you feel that way?
    Cause….

  2. You may not have caught it since you were away over the weekend, but there has been a small discussion over at Tor.com between Gardner Dozois and Jo Walton as to who they would most like to see announce the winner of the Dramatic, Short Form award should a certain YouTube sensation win. Gardner wants Connie Willis, Jo wants Charlie Stross. No matter what, it will be highly amusing should IT win.

  3. Upset : to trouble mentally or emotionally : disturb the poise of b : to throw into disorder c : invalidate d : to defeat unexpectedly

    I think maybe you’re reading more into that word than it denotes or even connotes.

    It doesn’t neccessarily mean you threw a tantrum or were in any way ungracious, hubric, or entitled.

    It might be something as mundane as “disturb the poise of”. To “trouble emotionally” might be something as minor as not feeling like playing with the dog that afternoon.

  4. Greg:

    “I think maybe you’re reading more into that word than it denotes or even connotes.”

    Greg, I’ll be sure to let you know when I need your advice about words and what they mean.

    DGL:

    There was the day about ten years ago when someone I went to college with won a Pulitzer, and I was all “Awwww, I want a Pulitzer TOO,” and then I remembered that I hadn’t actually, you know, done the work. Then I got over it.

  5. Don’t worry, y’all: I took all the haikus from the contest John ran a while back, and sent them off to the folks who used to run the International Library of Poetry contests. And guess what– they say you’re now all semi-finalists! How’s that for recognition?

  6. Don’t worry, John, we’ll try and get you nominated for the “Posting Long Answers When Only Short Answers are Necessary to My Regular Readers” Web Award. Because there certainly must be such an award.

  7. I remember when my colleague’s son won an Olympic gold medal (Josh Davis, for swimming). That made me humble, for about five minutes. And then I thought about how Josh spent ALL his time training for the Olympics, hours upon hours in the pool and the weight room, and I decided to have another taco and get on with my life.

    That said, it was a very cool medal.

  8. JS @#9: It’s like the time when I found out that the engineer I used to play bridge with on Thursday nights was the CEO of T-Mobile. I started referring to that kind of thing as “Alumni Magazine Moments”, in honor of the bits you see in the back of your alumni magazine: “Joe Random (E ’87) just sold his startup company to Cisco Systems for $1.3B and is taking some time off to hike the Himalayas…”

    Funny how no one ever writes into their alumni magazine with things like “Joe Random (E ’87) just took a second job as an assistant manager of the East Podunk TGI Fridays to cover the costs of his divorce settlement with Jane Randomette (H ’88)…”

  9. I am planning on going to Renovation since it’s on the west coast, and I was looking forward to seeing you win something. Oh well. There is a In-n-Out close by. That almost counts as a win, doesn’t it?

  10. @Daryl, thanks.

    I’ve not met John before. Well, I read John’s stuff if that counts. :) He’s had several of my friends on the Big Idea.

    -Larry “Super-Dooper Campbell Finalist” Correia

  11. @#17DGL – An astute observation. There’s serious survivorship bias in alumni magazine self-reports. “My career is in the crapper” isn’t the sort of thing that gets passed along.

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