Happy Just To Be a Finalist: A Twitter Thread
Posted on May 4, 2021 Posted by John Scalzi 23 Comments
I wrote a Twitter thread last night about awards and peer groups and being happy no matter who might win; I’m reporting it for archival purposes, and for those of you who don’t go to the Twitters. Enjoy.
1. One of the things that it’s sometimes hard to communicate about being a finalist for an award is one might genuinely be happy for any of the people to win. To make this point, let me talk about why I would be thrilled on a personal level no matter who wins this Locus Award.
2. Elizabeth Bear (@matociquala) was the Astounding Award winner just before me and one of my oldest friends in SF/F, and we used to teach together at @ViableParadise. A terrific writer and pal. It would be thrilling to have her win.
3. At my very first SF convention, Cory Doctorow (@doctorow) was literally pulled out of a crowd in a hotel lobby by our editor to be my con buddy and we have been compatriots since. A great social thinker and writer, and would be a deserved award winner.
4. Kate Elliott (@KateElliottSFF) I had the pleasure of hanging out with in Hawaii a few years ago; she was the best of company as we talked writing craft and other things. Her work is never less than excellent; how could I not want her to win?
5. William Gibson (@GreatDismal) literally changed the course of written science fiction and has been challenging the way we think about the world for decades. And is a hell of a fine person. I could not imagine being upset to lose the category to him.
6. Mary Robinette Kowal (@MaryRobinette) is one of my best friends in the world and there’s no one who has worked harder or more deserves their acclaim. Her “Lady Astronaut” series is groundbreaking and winning this award would reconfirm this.
7. Paul McCauley (@UnlikelyWorlds) is the only person on this list I do not know! But I do know his work, and it is very fine. A win here would be an excellent recognition of his talent and effort.
8. Kim Stanley Robinson (@ksrinfo) is the kindest and most decent of people, the deepest of thinkers, and the creator of some of the most fascinating worlds in science fiction. He doesn’t need to prove himself at this point, but this award would underscore his brilliance.
9. Martha Wells (@marthawells1) is my favorite SF/F success story, a reminder that as long as you keep writing it’s never too late to make the world notice your work. Murderbot is not only liked; it’s beloved. This award would be richly deserved.
10. Gene Wolfe was and is an acknowledged grand master of the SF/F genre; I should know because as president of SFWA I had the distinct honor of naming him as one. Which only confirmed what everyone already knew. A win here would be a perfect swan song.
11. You see my point: Everyone here is deserving, and to get to call myself their peer in the category is a deep personal and professional honor in itself. I’d be happy to win. But I will not be at all disappointed to lose. I will genuinely cheer on any and all. What a group!
12. And now, as tradition, I end on a cat picture. The cat is not a finalist for the Locus Award. This year.
I love this so much!
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Oops, I already voted for the cat!
I’m not the first to make this observation but the Locus short list probably makes a better snapshot of the field than the Hugos.
Well, they have more finalists and more categories, so it’s a wider snapshot at the very least.
Truly an excellent slate. I read Last Emperox a while back, & loved it. I’m about halfway though Attack Surface right now, & while it’s very good, I’ve been in the industry long enough to know how frighteningly true to life Cory’s observations are. I’m hoping that he somehow manages to pull a plausibly happy rabbit out of his hat by the end. Next up on my Kindle is Gibson’s Agency.
After seeing all the other nom’s, I’m super happy to add most of them to my purchase list as well. So hell yeah, I’d be happy to see any of them get the win.
Some of us were huge Martha Wells fans back in the 1990s. Wheel of the infinite. Necromancer. All the nerds at my high school knew her work just as well as Wise and Hickman’s. She’s always been brilliant, far more so than Robert Jordan or David Eddings (who were the George RR Martins of the time).
I am certain if SF/F wasn’t such a sausage fest back then she would have been winning awards then too. She was definitely not “unnoticed”.
Okay, Scalzi, I’m sorry I’ve been a pain in the ass in my last couple of comments. After giving it a lot of thought I’ve decided you deserve the award. You always come up with excellent, original ideas; your science is spot-on; and you do snarky dialog better than anybody!
And Will Wheaton is a terrific – perhaps even perfect – narrator for your style of writing. I can’t imagine anyone else vocalizing your snark better than Will. Good luck!
Ooh, I see Anathem and The City We Became on the stack behind that kitty! Two of my favorite books!
The juxtaposition of the cat and “The Book of Accidents” is a winner.
All due respect to Mr. Wolfe, but I just don’t ‘get’ his stuff. It’s never engaged me. No doubt that’s my personal failing, but could someone highlight the attractions?
Eric, Rejector_of_Memes, no failing there! Different people like different things. There are plenty of classic authors that leave me cold.
That said, I did find Gene Wolfe hard to get through (especially with the language used) but well worth it, it’s full of fascinating stuff. It helps if you realize that it’s at least somewhat a Christian allegory…and if you get some of the terms he’s re-using in his language.
Mmmmm, leftover Valentine’s candy.
I recently read the entire Murderbot series and SecUnit is pretty damn snarky as well. This list is great and I now have some new books to get.
You’re in excellent company, and you are always very appreciative of other writers.
Congrats to you and all of the nominees! You’re all worth reading.
Well Eric, I haven’t liked Gene Wolfe yet either, but hope springs eternal.
As it happens, a brilliant friend told me he chose not to get into writing because he despaired that he would never write as well as Gene.
I didn’t know you were great friends with Kowal. I think a comment or post here turned me onto the lady Astro series. It’s really great stuff. And it’s good to hear that two of my fave authors (Gibson and Kim Stanley Robinson) are good folks.
I do have to thank you for the many amazing authors you have exposed me to over the years. It has cost me a lot of cash lol, but it’s well spent.
Eric, Rejector_of_Memes: Don’t feel bad; most of Kim Stanley Robinson’s oeu·vre bounces off of me in much the same way. Not KSR’s fault or mine, it’s just the way it is.
John, don’t think for a second that it is lost on us how you have an ARC of the new Chuck Wendig book. No jealous folks in this crowd, nunh-unh…
It is an interesting situation. Having great other finalists make both the victory sweeter and the case that another one wines easier to acept.
Good luck to you but also to every other nominee reading this.
Query – “reporting” or “reposting”?
Thank you for this post. A lovely peek into the world behind all these other worlds.