Hugo Nomination Thoughts, 2012

Now that the cats are out of their proverbial bag, a few thoughts.

* First, as regards my short story nomination for “The Shadow War of The Night Dragons: Book One: The Dead City: Prologue,” I want to be very clear of my thought on this nod, for this work:


This is, seriously, my favorite Hugo nomination ever. When I got the e-mail that told me the story had been nominated and did I want to accept, I literally hopped up and down, cackling like a hyena, until my daughter asked me if I was having a seizure. And then I wrote back, “I am SO VERY ACCEPTING this nomination.”

Why do I love this nomination?

1. Because it’s absurd, in the best sense of the word. The idea that a story written as an April Fool’s Day joke has gotten a Hugo nod is just delightfully nuts.

2. Because I think it’s a validation of humor in genre, i.e., that people recognize that funny is worthwhile of recognition.

3. Because in point of fact I’m proud of the story as a piece of writing. It’s a piece designed to look like a prologue to a longer work but function as a stand-alone piece of writing, and designed to look like bad writing but actually be good (or at least highly readable) writing, and to be amusing while doing all of that. Think this sort of thing is easy? Thanks, I tried to make it look so.

4. Because I think its appearance on the Hugo slate just might make some Very Serious Observers of Genre shit a brick sideways, and you have to know I’m down with that.

So to everyone who nominated TSWOTND: Thank you. You are awesome, and you’ve totally made my year.

* The rest of the slate: I think it’s pretty damn solid, don’t you? The novel slate has a very nice range to it, as do the short fiction categories — there is width, depth and breadth to the nomination. Voters have some hard choices to make, and I think that’s a very positive thing for the voting.

* I’m delighted how many friends are on the ballots, often multiply: Seanan McGuire is on the slate in four places (twice as Mira Grant) which I think may tie a Hugo record, while Catherynne Valente pops up in three places. Jim C. Hines makes his first Hugo appearance as well, as does frequent Whatever commenter Brad Torgersen, who is also a Campbell nominee, as well as on the Nebula slate; a good year for him. Also first time Hugo nominee, I believe: Joe Hill. I believe we will see him thanking the band Rush very soon now. Oh, and look: Charlie Jane Anders! First-timer too. Many, many more people I like admire are also on the slate (Hi, Mary! Hi, China! Hi, Paul!) but let’s move on, shall we.

* What’s awesome for me: This year I am Toastmaster of Chicon 7, and among my various responsibilities is that I get to host the actual Hugo Award ceremony this year, which means I get to have a hand in giving away these things to these folks. I’m very excited about this. I hope you are, too, and that I’ll see you in Chicago this year for Worldcon. Look at this slate! You don’t want to miss out on this action.

74 Comments on “Hugo Nomination Thoughts, 2012”

  1. Well, congratulations.

    You belong to an odd club … Lawrence Watt-Evans currently has seniority, though — he once dashed off something he thought of as sort of a sentimental joke and sort of a scolding of fandom for being so….so….so DAMN FANNISH … and it was Why I Left Harry’s All-Night Hamburgers … and it won.
    Good luck!

  2. I also love the fact that an acceptance speech from last year’s Hugos is nominated for “Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form” this year.

  3. John Barnes:

    But was it an APRIL FOOL’S JOKE? Huh? Huh? Huh?

    But, yes: Some things done in jest have resonance. It’s nice when that happens.


  4. For met, what makes a piece of science fiction noteworthy is when it does the unexpected, expanding a boundary of the genre in an unexpected direction. You did that.

  5. My favorite is “The Drink Tank’s Hugo Acceptance Speech,” Christopher J Garcia and James Bacon, nomination for Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form). For a Hugo acceptance speech to be up for a Hugo seems so wonderfully meta.

  6. Looks to me like a validation of April Fool’s Day pranks as a genre. Now for next April you have NO CHOICE but to write the long-form based on the short story and get that nominated, too…

  7. Congratulations and good luck!

    FWIW, I found your blog via Jim C. Hines’ post yesterday concerning Cat Valente’s post. It’s always a pleasure (relief?) to find good folks on the internet.

  8. Um, so you can present a Hugo to yourself, in Regency dress, with bacon taped to Papa Fuzzy? Double Dog Dare.

  9. Great congratulations! This is terrific! One of the best parody stories ever written IMO.

    Anyone have a link to the acceptance speech video? I know I’ve seen it but I can’t find it anywhere.

  10. It is the trifecta of awards nominations! I still can’t believe they’ve let a schmuck like me on all three lists at the same time. It has to be a clerical error. It has to be! Like something out of the movie BRAZIL. What a year it’s turning out to be for me, indeed. Just, wow. And thank you for the mention, John! Much appreciated.

  11. Xopher: Here you go.

    (The meta bit here is that I went back to the August 2011 archives of this very blog to find that link — I remembered John posting it.)

  12. Congratulations to you, John, and to all the nominees whose work I’ve enjoyed over the past year. I first ran across Shadow War late this summer, and I only started following here around the timeFuzzy Nation came out. I thought it was wonderful. I am a huge fan of intentionally funny, well written fiction. Especially SF/F. I was somewhat dissapointed to discover it was a joke piece and not a work in progress. But, I still wish Tor would release it as one of their digital shorts. Anyway, congratulations again. Maybe you’ll get to present yourself an award.

  13. Wait a second. Isn’t this a work by Scott Lynch? Don’t you have to sort that out first?

  14. My number one thought about this Hugo slate, btw, is:

    WOO-HOO! GO JO!!!

    My second is that it’s sort of an inward-looking slate. Jo’s novel, as much as I like it, is a novel about the SF & Fantasy field; John’s story is a parody of fantasy title conventions; and we have an acceptance speech nominated for best DP(S).

  15. David Goldfarb: Me, too. Yeah, Jo!

    “and designed to look like writing but actually be good (or at least highly readable) writing”

    Is there a “bad” missing there?

  16. My main thought on this year’s Hugo slate is that I have a helluva lot of reading to do. This is, of course, a good thing. *grin*

  17. Congratulations!

    I am, of course, eagerly awaiting the first sideways brick-shitting, so that I can read your response.

  18. I’m very concerned for the health of Christopher Priest right now. </Grayza> But come to think of it he probably doesn’t care about anything voted on by a bunch of riff-raff fans anyway.

  19. You deserve it. Just for that first sentence alone you deserve many awards. Including, but not limited, to that one for bad writing. I wish you included a sex scene so you could qualify for that too. I fully expect you will remedy this in the sequels.

    There might be better stories out there (many) but rarely they are as much fun. Clearly, fantasy is your true calling.

  20. As to comedic Hugos: let us not forget the very first short story winner, Eric Frank Russell’s shaggy dog story “Allamagoosa”.

  21. Jebus, there’ll be no living with Brad now.

    I kid! I kid! Congrats, Brad!

    And of course, well done trolling the universe, John! Well done, indeed.

  22. Congratulations! Looking forward to Chicago & seeing how this all plays out. Like all really good April Fools jokes this one should be milked dry (for example, the Tauntaun Sleeping Bag) and beyond, so TSWOTND should be written slowly and methodically:
    2013 – It wins the Hugo for Novelette (a couple of chapters in F&SF)
    2014 – The Novella (an extended piece in Playboy, per Harlan Ellison’s advice at Iguanacon in ’78)
    2015 – The Novel (for the first novel finally out in its entirety)
    2016 – Best Dramatic Presentation Short Form (for Scalzi’s over the top Hugo acceptance speech & acrobatic juggling demonstration at the Zagreb Worldcon of 2015)
    2017 – Best Dramatic Presentation Long Form (for the 1st season of the HBO 20-hour series)
    2018 – Best Related Work (for the TSWOTND Concordance, written primarily to shut up the endless arguments on Whatever about completely inconsequential trivia related to the book(s))
    2019 – Best Fan Artist (for the collection of doodles finally posted on Whatever, created over a ten-year span while moderating endless arguments about completely inconsequential trivia)
    And thus your ultimate fantasy is fulfilled!

  23. Hmm, but you have some very good competition in that category. It will be interesting to see what happens.

  24. “Seanan McGuire is on the slate in four places (twice as Mira Grant) which I think may tie a Hugo record”

    It ties a Hugo record for number of nominations, but also sets/breaks a Hugo record, as she’s the first *woman* to receive that many.

  25. After seeing the vid showing Mr Scalzi reading this story? Your AGENT told a HOLLYWOOD FILM REP it was an APRIL FOOLS’ JOKE? And you LET THE AGENT LIVE (never mind firing them!)?

  26. When it comes time to announce that award, do you have to recuse yourself and pass the microphone to Wil Wheaton?

  27. I am torn between “Congratulations” and “WTF”.

    Many fewer women on the Novel slate this year, sadly. People! Seanan cannot QUITE do it all! Whose record did she tie? One of the Big Names, like Heinlein maybe?

    I must admit, the acceptance speech was a work of art. It certainly entertained me at the time.

  28. I forsee epic knicker twisting in certain serious fans’ futures.

    BTW, “Epic Knicker Twisting” is the name of my Hawkwind cover band, and only you will know why!

  29. Don’t forget the 2020 Hugo for Graphic Novel for the first volume of the TSWOTND digital comic adaptation. (It’s complicated. You’ll have to wait and see.)

    I believe that’s also the year that’s the year Athena wins her first Hugo.

  30. 4 is the most noms anyone has ever gotten: Mike Resnick did once, then Michael Swanwick. James, Seanan and I are third, forth and fifth to manage it. I must try to get a picture of the five of us doing the old Four Horsemen hand gesture at ChiCon.

    And I’m pulling for you, brother! There are several categories where I just can’t pick who to vote for!

  31. (a) congratulations

    (b) DAMN YOU SCAAAAALIZIIIII. Your new blog header got me, and now I have to go listen to “Hounds of Love” on infinite loop for a week. Mrs. Dr. Memory is NOT AMUSED by this.

  32. @alsohuey: Mr Wheaton is unfortunately *very* pre-committed to another event on the same weekend. I a sure, however, we will find someone suitable to handle any necessary handoff during the ceremony.

  33. Jebus, there’ll be no living with Brad now. I kid! I kid! Congrats, Brad! – Doc

    Hey now, I’ve been a good boy. I haven’t popped up in a Scalzi social commentary or politics thread in a long time. And aren’t we all much happier as a result? (grin) Thank you, of course, for the congrats. I am still convinced it’s a clerical error. Yet, while the error persists, I shall enjoy my moment in the sun. These are the times when a writer looks in the mirror and asks: 4 realz?! And the mirror responds, yupper! And then you just sort of walk around all day with a shit-eating grin on your mug.

  34. re Jon Meltzer – “Allamagoosa” – WOW! read that ages ago! It might still be on my shelves somewhere. Thanks for the flashback, Bro’.

  35. Congrats on the nomination. I look forward to the Very Serious SMOFS exploding in a flash of Very Serious Concern.

    Plus, you know, that Game of Thrones TV show can only last so long before it ends, and then you can be it’s inevitable replacement. I mean, how long can one simple fantasy series go on, realistically speaking? They’re all trilogies, right?

  36. Congratulations! And while I’m here, I’ve got a question. So, I’ve read TSWOTND, Deadline, and Dance with Dragons, but sadly nothing else that’s up. Will there be an e-book packet for Hugo Voting members this year, like there was last time? If so, when is it expected to be released?

  37. The submissions from the nominees are still being collected. There should be an announcement this week about the release date of the packet.

  38. alsohuey: The Toastmaster doesn’t usually present any specific awards; he or she introduces the whole event and the individual presenters, and generally helps keep things fun.

  39. I have no qualms at all about saying TSWOTND is good writing, if nothing else because at the end of it, I actually truly want to know how it is that the metafictive night dragons are appearing for really reals. That be the game as she is played, right there.

  40. I went and read, and … I usually don’t gleefully compare things to Douglas Adams, but you’re skewing my stats, Scalzi, you stats-skew-er, you.

  41. Shouldn’t it be sideways-shat brick? Just saying. Hate to be a contrarian.

  42. Andrew, thanks for the link. FFR, you can get the little ™ symbol to appear here by typing &trade; wherever you want it. Don’t forget the semicolon.

  43. Nice John, very happy for you! It’s cool to see someone doing something they enjoy and getting kudos for it.

  44. John, after much teary & mucousy goodness (the result of a head on collision of squee and LOLz), I reconstituted myself and hereby offer Hearty Congratulations on making the Hugo nominee list once again!

  45. How can we possibly convince you to actually write the books? Kickstarter campaign? Pledge 50 pounds of bacon, get a signed hardcover of the first book?

  46. Why hasn’t Kyle done stills from a movie that never existed for it?! ;) I mean, stills for a movie that never exited for a book that never existed? BACK UP THE MONEY TRUCK!!

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