For those of you of a science fictional and/or fantastic bent, the nomination period for the Hugo Awards has now begun and will run until March 31. You can nominate if you were a member of last year’s convention (Sasquan), if you are a member of this year’s convention (MidAmeriCon II), or are a member of next year’s convention (Worldcon 75). If you are not a member of any of these but will still like to nominate, you have until January 31 (that’s two days from the writing of this post) to become a Worldcon member (here’s the information on that).
(If you are currently a member described above, emails including the PIN you’ll need to access the nomination ballot are going out and should arrive in the next week.)
Voting for the Hugos is pretty simple: You look at the categories, find works you like that fit in the category, and then nominate them. You can nominate up to five works per category, although you can nominate fewer, too. And if you nominate online, you’ll be able to update your ballot right up until the deadline, so if a week from now you find something you love, you can put it in, and also a week later, and a week after that, too.
If you’re looking for things to read to see if you’d want to nominate them, or to suggest things that other people might consider for nomination, two ideas for you: First, the Hugo Nominees Wiki, and second, this Hugo Awards Google Spreadsheet. Both are packed with works to consider, and in both cases you can add your own suggestions.
Three points I want to make at this juncture:
1. Your Hugo nominations are meant to be your Hugo nominations, reflecting your own personal taste in science fiction and fantasy work. In the last couple of years, some folks have been presenting slates of potential nominees and encouraging people to vote for the slates for reasons. This didn’t work out well for anyone. Take suggestions, read widely, and then make your own nominations, reflecting your own taste, not anyone else’s.
2. If you are eligible to nominate for the Hugos, I think you should nominate for the Hugos. One reason the slating shenanigans happened was because only a minority of Worldcon members nominate for the Hugos, making the nomination process susceptible to gaming. This year there are at least 11,000 people eligible to nominate for the Hugos; last year over 6,000 people voted for the Hugo awards themselves. If everyone who voted for the Hugos last year nominated this year, any attempts at slating by group would probably be mitigated — and also, the nominations would reflect a more diverse group of science fiction and fantasy fans. The more people who nominate, the better.
3. Folks who are nominating should not neglect the “non-marquee” categories, including fan categories and categories like Related Work and Semi-prozine. Because these categories are often less nominated in, they can be more susceptible to gaming in general. The good news is there are lots of excellent works and people who can be nominated. The wiki and spreadsheet linked above can help with your explorations of the categories.
In short: Nominate, nominate for everything you can, and nominate out of your own brain, not anyone else’s.
(Also, a reminder: This year I’m asking people not to nominate work of mine produced in 2015 and will decline any Hugo nominations I might receive. Nominate others, please!)