On the Subject of Who Can’t Win a Hugo Today



For the record, I couldn’t win a Hugo today, either. It’s that whole “I wasn’t nominated this year” thing. It’s probably a conspiracy. I blame the Templars.

106 Comments on “On the Subject of Who Can’t Win a Hugo Today”

  1. Let me just say I’ll be very disappointed if someone tries to make this a deeply serious comment thread.

  2. Daniel Ross – Hi, I'm Daniel Ross, and I'm a nerd. My big joys in life are learning about new things, figuring out how things work, and making things work better. One of the things I spend a lot of time on in the "making better" column is life in general. I've got political opinions ohboy. I probably won't talk about 'em that much here, though. On my own time, I spend a lot of time exploring and having new experiences. That might be as planned as taking a vacation out into the woods to hike a new trail I read about. It might be as simple as hopping a Muni bus and riding until I don't know where I am, or eating somewhere different every time I go out. I also have a shifting collection of other hobbies. I'm an avid reader, and Someday I Will Write a Novel(™); I make chainmail jewelry; and when all else fails, there's always taking your day job home with you by hobby coding.
    Daniel Ross

    Mary Shelley couldn’t win a Hugo today! The whole field has shamefully forgotten its roots; when was a winner last in epistolary format, even?!

  3. “Oh they’re serious. Very serious”

    Peek Freans couldn’t get nominated for a Hugo. Or even be served at a Hugo loser’s party except in Canada.

  4. Or possibly the Illuminati? Sorry. That’s all I have. I am woefully undereducated when it come to secret societies.

  5. One might as well whine about how Beowulf couldn’t win a Hugo today.

    (That was the thought that sprang to my mind the first time I saw this meme, somewhere that needn’t be mentioned, and I’ve been waiting for the opportunity to write it ever since. Thanks, Mr. Scalzi!)

  6. Be very quiet, but I think jabe19 is part of it. I couldn’t win a Hugo today, and just last week, I saw someone in a suspicious looking fez taking notes as I got off a bus. Now jabe is disclaiming knowledge of secret societies. Coincidence? I think not!

  7. Why, I bet Clarke couldn’t even win the Clarke award these days. It’s an outrage!

  8. Noted, John. I knew I could count on you to point me in the right direction.

  9. I would deny it, Jamie, but that would just convince you even more of my association with… well, let’s just keep that between us.

  10. Shakespeare could not win a Tony Award today. Johann Sebastian Bach could not win a Eurovision Song Contest today. The Epic of Gilgamesh could not win a Hugo today in “best novel” category. This shall not stand!

  11. Douglas Adams couldn’t win a Hugo today.

    Wait, are we only supposed to mention writers who won Hugo Awards in the past? Because Douglas Adams couldn’t win one then either, and I’m PRETTY PISSED ABOUT IT!

  12. Douglas Adams never won a Hugo? Tragic.

    (Doesn’t seem to have hurt him in terms of career or reputation, though.)

  13. And why all the focus on dead authors who couldn’t win a Hugo today? Surely we’re discriminating against the “still among us” in the non-Hugo awards? Dead people get all the love, darn it!

  14. Hugo Gernsback, the premier smooth-as-Parkay margarine stylist of 1920s SF, could not win a Hugo today. On Thursday, he could. But not today.

  15. What’s even more tragic is the plight of the unnominated. Consider that Hugo Gernsback was never nominated for a Hugo Award, Arthur Clarke was never nominated for the Clarke Award, and Orion Nebula was never even considered for the Nebula Award….

  16. Wait, you mean it’s not named after Victor Hugo? I thought his tale of the time traveller Jean Valjean sent to make sure Javert stopped the June Rebellion from triggering the First Middle French Revolution was pivotal science fiction..

  17. It’s frankly a terrible statement on the SFF community that this discussion is limited to dead, professional human writers. Somewhere right now there are one million monkeys working their knuckles to the bone 70 hours a week to produce a work of genuine speculative merit, and those monkeys will NEVER so much as sniff a Hugo.

  18. When in doubt, go with the RAND Corporation.

    I thought the RAND corporation wrote reports. Surely their role is to create the secret documents guarded by the Templars.

    Sebastian Bach could not win a Eurovision Song Contest today.

    Is that the rock musician born in 1968 or Johann Sebastian Bach?

    I bet Mozart could swing it.

  19. Upton Sinclair could never win a Pulitzer today. Heck, his mega-hit Lanny Budd series went out of print until some Sinclair groupies did a boutique publication.

    Note subtle but epic Heinlein connection.

  20. Plan Nine From Outer Space couldn’t win a Hugo Award today, unless it was in the Unintentionally Hilarious Dramatic Performance category, which needs to exist.

    China Miéville couldn’t win a Hugo Award today because he didn’t write anything last year that would qualify. Which is unfair, if you ask me. Robert Jordan hasn’t written anything in years and he’s probably going to win a Hugo Award this year, so why not China?

    It’s because of his politics, isn’t it?

  21. I could win a Hugo today. Not the same Hugo that Robert Heinlein couldn’t win, but I could write up my own damn ballot, vote for myself (I think I’ve got a solid shot in the Best E-mail About Mom’s Heart Surgery category), and award the winner (myself, I venture to speculate) a trophy of my own design and call it a Hugo. It’s not that hard to win a Hugo, people, and the day is not over!

  22. What about Isaac Asimov?? He wrote more books that didn’t win Hugos than anyone else! Surely he couldn’t win one today.

  23. Well, someone has to say it; John Norman couldn’t win a Hugo today, and he even has a new book out!

    Currently Amazon UK is offering ‘Rebels of Gor’ at £131, so I can understand the publisher not wanting to hand out 7000 freebies, but he wasn’t even nominated!

    And apparently it’s got a plot and everything so this is a blatant example of prejudice against writers who are 82!

  24. Hey – quit hating on Doc Smith! He’s up for a Retro Hugo!

    (retreats into his corner, sorry for having injected seriousness into a frivolous thread)

    “Rebels of Gor” is a serious thing? Oh John Norman No!

  25. James Tiptree Jr. and Cordwainer Smith couldn’t win Hugos today because of prejudice against spooks!

    Mao couldn’t win a Rhysling!

    The Prometheus Awards continue to blatantly ignore the work of gold-vending spammers in MMOs!

    Steve Stirling can’t win a Hugo because poor-spelling bimetallists are keeping him (and Lee Gold) down!

  26. So all these writers are Hugo-nots, huh?

    Didn’t Francois Mitterand issue a formal apology about this, 30 years ago?

    Then again, Mitterand couldn’t win a Hugo today either. Hmm.

  27. Julius Vogel. Chemist and metallurgist. Newspaper editor. Politician. Published a science fiction novel WHILE IN PARLIAMENT. LEADER OF A COUNTRY, for the love of God.

    But, of course, Jewish. And not able to win a Hugo today.

    Not that I wanna imply anything….

  28. Phillip K Dick could not win a Hugo award today unless we’re talking about an alternate timeline in which he could win a Hugo award today.

  29. Kate George – Vermont – Award winning author, Kate George is the creator of the popular Bree MacGowan mystery series, which started when she took up a dare to write a book; the result was Moonlighting in Vermont. She was born in Sacramento, California, was raised on a ranch until the age of eight, and graduated from UC Davis with a degree in anthropology. She is currently working on her MFA. She has been, in no particular order, a paste-up tech, a motorcycle safety instructor, an actor, and the assistant to the dean of a medical school, all of which provide plenty of fodder for her novels. Currently, she lives in an old farmhouse in the backwoods of Vermont with her husband, four kids, and two rescue dogs, where by day she teaches and by night, she dreams up wild adventures for her characters. Visit her at kategeorge.com, or contact her at kate@kategeorge.com. She always loves to hear from readers!
    Kate George

    I pretty sure I couldn’t win a Hugo today. Something to do with not writing SF…

  30. Walter Rathenau (author of Was wird werden) couldn’t win a Hugo today, and he was the goldurned Foreign Minister of the Weimar Republic! It’s obviously antisemitism at work.

  31. If Robert Jordan doesn’t get the hugo then we’ll be able to say that Homer couldn’t get the hugo today. If Jordan wins we still know the long epics are still able to win the hugo.

  32. James James
    Morrison Morrison
    Weatherby George Dupree
    Could not win a Hugo today
    But then he is only three.

    Apologies to A A Milne, who also could not win a Hugo today, despite his cutting-edge (for the 1920s) stories featuring AI animalatronic companionbots to the Last Boy on Earth.

    With all these other people incapable – maybe Jim Theis could win a Hugo today?

  33. Is Orson Wells’s “War of the Worlds” really eligible for a Dramatic Presentation Hugo, when it was actual non-fiction news reporting, not a hoax likeTHEY have always told you?

  34. Victor Appleton 3rd couldn’t win a Hugo today. I think mainly because his writing suffered from a surplus of Tom Swifties.

    Oh, or a conspiracy. Yah, that is what I really meant to say.

  35. Mike

    You know you’re not supposed to say that word.

    Apart for that tragic mistake with the goats in the Laundrette, you, me, we together, kid, we could have been a contender!

    And now we’re not because you spoke the fateful word:


    And it would probably be easier just to lay down and die right here, right now, but I still dare to dream.

    Also the goats were female, in case you were wondering…

  36. I bet you Osamu Tezuka, Mitsuteru Yokoyama, and Satoshi Kon could never win a Hugo today (and Satoshi Kon is never going to be elgible for a Retro Hugo either, so he’s doubly screwed).

  37. I strongly doubt that either Edgar Allen Poe or Jules Verne could win a Hugo. And I doubt that Edgar Rice Burroughs would even get nominated!

  38. Kat Goodwin – A former publishing person, sometime writer, confirmed book addict, and clueless searcher, just like everyone else.
    Kat Goodwin

    Roger Zelazny, Samuel R. Delany, Patricia Anthony, Piers Anthony and all the other SFF authors whose last names end in “-ny” cannot win a Hugo today. It’s profiling, I tell you!

  39. M. Méliès could not win the Best Dramatic Presentation Hugo, and not only because much of his work was destroyed.

    obLeslieCharterisReference: Simon has nothing to do with it!

  40. BTW, the softball game between the Templars and Illuminati has been called off because they’re reseeding the ball fields at Mt. Weather.

  41. It may be there will come a day when Aragorn, son of Arathorn, could win a Hugo, but this is not that day!

  42. Today we have Not Winning of Hugos.
    Yesterday we had Basic Self Promotion
    And tomorrow we will have What to Do After Voting
    But today we have Not Winning of Hugos.
    Fedoras glisten like sun in all of the neighbouring basements
    And today we have Not Winning of Hugos.

    This is the Modern Space Opera
    And this is the Young Adult Steampunk Trilogy
    Containing within it the Spirited Female Protagonist
    Which in our case we have not got.
    The fans pass neglectfully by the stacks of our own novel, written in the hope of winning a Hugo
    Which in our case we have not got.

  43. Oh if only the masters of science fiction long past could release new material from the grave, like Tupac and Elvis, we could see some posthumous awarding.

  44. nerd-debate lingo has been used. Hitler hasn’t been mentioned yet, though.

    Oh wait, he just was. He couldn’t win a Hugo, though.

  45. Pretty sure a dead author is nominated and is the front runner to win a Hugo this year. Therefore, all your arguments are invalid!

  46. Excuse me, people, but the D word is considered an offensive slur. If they’re, shall we say, animate, they’re the “differently living.” Yes, the Z word is also a slur.

    It is a truth universally acknowledged that an author in possession of a large body of speculative work must be in want of a Hugo. Despite this, Jane Austen would be unlikely to be nominated; or nominating, accept; or accepting, win; were she eligible for such an award today.

  47. timeliebe – Central NY – Dreaded Spouse-Creature to bestselling fantasy author Tamora Pierce (SONG OF THE LIONESS, THE CIRCLE OPENS, BEKA COOPER: A TORTALL LEGEND series), a co-author of TORTALL: A SPY'S GUIDE, Co-author with Tamora Pierce of Marvel's WHITE TIGER: A HERO'S OBSESSION for Marvel Comics. Contributing Editor for VIDEO Magazine during the 1990s, Columnist for C/Net 1999 - 2002.

    It’s probably a conspiracy. I blame the Templars.

    No, Scalzi – it’s The Illuminati….


  48. timeliebe – Central NY – Dreaded Spouse-Creature to bestselling fantasy author Tamora Pierce (SONG OF THE LIONESS, THE CIRCLE OPENS, BEKA COOPER: A TORTALL LEGEND series), a co-author of TORTALL: A SPY'S GUIDE, Co-author with Tamora Pierce of Marvel's WHITE TIGER: A HERO'S OBSESSION for Marvel Comics. Contributing Editor for VIDEO Magazine during the 1990s, Columnist for C/Net 1999 - 2002.

    ::reads Seth Gordon’s mind to read his book::

    You need a better distribution system, man – have you considered the Kindle Store…?

  49. I saw a story somewhere on the interwebz that Fletcher Prartt and L. Sprague DeCamp are getting the old band back together. Says Pratt “We drifted too far from our roots, man. it’s time to give our hardcore fans what they’ve been asking for. I’ve had people come up to me in the street and tell me how much the The Roaring Trumpet, in particular, meant to them. One kid told me that it was all that saved him from a life of crime! So Sprague and I managed to work out the things that drove us apart, and we’re working like mad on a new, raw, gutsy piece. All I can say is, prepare to be blown away. Hugo, here we come.”

  50. Multiple prize-winning & best-selling SF author Parvi Klein couldn’t win a Hugo today – only because she will have been born in 2027.

  51. No one goes with Johann Valentin Andrea. The Chemical Wedding of Christian Rozencreutz DEFINITELY wouldn’t win a Hugo today.

    Of course, it’s entirely possible that the Rosicrucians are actually the ones behind it all, in which case all bets are off.

  52. End of post you say

    “For the record, I couldn’t win a Hugo today, either. It’s that whole “I wasn’t nominated” thing.

    Which is exactly what I thought your post would start out with, after I read the title. I was disappointed at first but pleased you got around to it in the end.

  53. I blame John W Campbell for all of the authors who can’t win Hugo’s today, or tomorrow. He had entirely too much influence on them.

  54. Mike Reeves-McMillan – Mike Reeves-McMillan graduated from Auckland University in New Zealand with a Master of Arts in English language and has worked as a book editor, technical writer, corporate trainer and systems analyst. He is currently establishing a practice as a hypnotherapist.
    Mike Reeves-McMillan

    Sir Julius Vogel couldn’t win a Sir Julius Vogel Award today.

    (Because his book is incredibly bad. I urge you not to read it.)

  55. I’m Nohugo! Who are you?
    Are you Nohugo, too?
    Then there’s a pair of us — don’t tell!
    They’d banish us, you know.

    How dreary to be Somehugo!
    How public, like a frog,
    To croak your name the livelong day
    In comments on a blog!

  56. I would hope Isaac Aasimov could not win a hugo. I dont like his writing. His ideas are good, but his style annoys me. Nothing happens for most of a chapter, then something happens last page. Nothing happens for most of a book then something happens last chapter.

    the rest is just filler.

    I dont think scalzi could have won a hugo in the 1940s. No one would get his jokes in redshirts.

  57. no one but robert jordan can win one this year… so technically heinlein can’t win one ‘today’. WoT is going to win.

  58. The only sane thing for these “Hugonots” to do is to flee the country and settle in more hospitable climes, where they can write whatever politically incorrect SF they wish and nominate each other for awards. They can be sure that one of their own will win.

    I expect their history of persecution, flight, and eventual welcome into a new home will be told one day. I favor the working title, “The History of the Upright” but I’m also thinking about “The History of the Uptight.”

    Beware St. Bartholomew’s Day, is all I’m saying.

  59. no one but robert jordan can win one this year… so technically heinlein can’t win one ‘today’. WoT is going to win.

    If the whole series is presently eligible because none of the component novels were nominated before, it doesn’t strike me as obvious that it will win. I won’t insist that it won’t; cloudy the future is; but I’m not convinced that it will, or that it’s even the way to bet.

    Ob whimsey:
    Heinlein can’t win one today, because the ceremony is months away.

  60. megpie71 – Australian, female, fat, over forty. Been hanging around the internet (first Usenet, now blogs) since about 1997. Far too cynical for my own good.

    According to a Mr Reginald Shoe, it’s all a vitalist conspiracy to keep the dead down. Oh, and Reg is apparently annoyed he can’t win a Hugo either.

  61. I, myself, consider it a crime, that “Hugos There”, the first novella by Donna Stewart, in 1983, was never considered for a Hugo, as the name *alone* should have earned a nomination.

    And while we’re at it, she deserved a John W. Campbell award too.

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