A Couple of Bits on Hugo Award Proposals and Attempted Wikipedia Deletions

Because I’m thinking about them and might as well get them out now before I focus on nothing else besides novel writing:

* Over at File 770, and on the subject of the Hugo Awards, they’re talking about a proposal that will come up at the WSFS Business Meeting at the Dublin Worldcon, to roll back one of the two measures implemented to blunt slating actions in the wake of the Sad/Rabid Puppies nonsense; namely, to drop the “5/6” change, which allows people to nominate five people/works in any Hugo category, and to have six slots on the final ballot. If passed, the change would have the Hugos go back to a “5/5” setting, i.e., you can nominate five people/things, and there would be five finalists. Note the “5/6” change is scheduled to sunset in 2022 in any event; that was part of the deal when it was passed.

My thought on this matter is that inasmuch as it’s going to sunset in a couple of years anyway, there’s not exactly a pressing need to get rid of it early. The proposal notes that having fewer finalists makes administration of the awards easier, and while I would certainly agree, for example, that having  up to 25 (or so) fewer finalists show up at the the pre-awards ceremony would save costs on nibbles, I’m not sure that’s a great argument. Likewise the argument that having six things to read/experience in each category is harder on the voters; I mean, come on, these are Hugo voters we’re talking about here. You don’t really have to force them to read much of anything, especially these days when the Hugo Voters Packet is a thing.

Finally there’s an argument that having six finalists diminishes the cachet of being a Hugo finalist. Well, I’ve been a Hugo finalist under 5/5 and also under 5/6, and I gotta tell you I didn’t really notice a diminishment of cachet. I think I would have noticed. Certainly there’s not been a diminishment in overall quality of the finalist work, as the last couple of years in particular have yielded very strong work across the board.

Looking at who is backing the change, it’s mostly Worldcon/Hugo administrators and other SMOFs saying “we think 5/6 is more work, and we don’t wanna.” Which I entirely sympathize with — I hate extra work myself! — but that extra work was put in to mitigate damage done by slating. I think after the multi-year adventure we had with that silly bullshit, it’s precipitate to roll back changes implemented to stabilize and to restore confidence in the Hugo Awards. Again, 5/6 is going to sunset in 2022 anyway, so the folks proposing this change are going to get their way in a couple of years regardless. In the meantime, it’s fine to let 5/6 continue to do the job it was designed to do, and, as far as I can see, is doing pretty well.

* Speaking of Sad Puppy bullshit, over at Wikipedia, there’s been a push to delete the articles devoted authors Michael Z. Williamson and Sarah Hoyt, on the grounds that neither of them is notable enough to warrant a Wikipedia article. The Puppy Rump (i.e., what’s left of that particular movement, dissolute as it is at the moment) is spinning around in tight, angry circles about this, and Williamson in particular seems to have completely lost his shit about it over on this blog (which I won’t link to because some time ago Mr. Williamson told me he never wanted to have any interaction with me ever again, for reasons, which, you know, fine, I can respect the boundaries he wishes to set, which I take to mean he wouldn’t appreciate a link over to his site from here).

You might think that I, who was the target of much Sad Puppy whining and mewling, would be sitting here happily munching on popcorn while this bit of Wikidrama unfolds. But in fact I think the deletion attempt is a problem. Neither Williamson nor Hoyt are exactly on my Christmas card list at the moment, but you know what? Both of them are solid genre writers who for years have been putting out work through a major genre publisher, and who are both actively publishing today. They are genuinely of note in the field of science fiction and fantasy. One may think their politics, in and out of the genre, are revanchist as all fuck, or that their tenure and association with the Puppy bullshit didn’t do them any favors, or that one just doesn’t care for them on a day-to-day basis for whatever reason. But none of that is here or there regarding whether, on the basis of their genre output, they are notable enough to be the subject of a damn Wikipedia article. They are! Wikipedia notability is kind of a middlin’-height bar, and they get themselves over it pretty well.

Or to flip it around, if neither Williamson nor Hoyt is notable enough for inclusion in Wikipedia, there’s gonna be some bloodletting in the site’s category of science fiction and fantasy writers, because there are a fair number of Wikipedia-article-bearing genre authors who are no more notable than Hoyt or Williamson. If they go, there are legitimately many others on the chopping block as well.

Looking at the disposition of this particular set of nonsense, it does seem like Williamson and Hoyt were targeted for deletion on the basis of their politics and/or association with the Puppy bullshit, and this is, well, silly. Wikipedia isn’t the place to settle this particular set of scores, and honestly, at this point there shouldn’t be any further scores to settle on that incident. The Puppy movement failed badly, exposed most of the people participating in it to shame and ridicule, and it appears to have damaged the careers of several of the participants (note: they will disagree on all these points, but then they would, wouldn’t they). The Puppies have already punched themselves in the face quite enough. Going after them via Wikipedia after all this time, aside from the site being the wrong place for it, just seems like poor form.

So, yeah: Keep Williamson and Hoyt on Wikipedia. They did the work to be there.

The 2019 Hugo Award Finalists

Here they are! I have a ton of friends in here, and I’m thrilled for them all. I hope I will see them in Dublin this August!

Best Novel

  • The Calculating Stars, by Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor)
  • Record of a Spaceborn Few, by Becky Chambers (Hodder & Stoughton / Harper Voyager)
  • Revenant Gun, by Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris)
  • Space Opera, by Catherynne M. Valente (Saga)
  • Spinning Silver, by Naomi Novik (Del Rey / Macmillan)
  • Trail of Lightning, by Rebecca Roanhorse (Saga)

Best Novella

  • Artificial Condition, by Martha Wells (Tor.com Publishing)
  • Beneath the Sugar Sky, by Seanan McGuire (Tor.com Publishing)
  • Binti: The Night Masquerade, by Nnedi Okorafor (Tor.com Publishing)
  • The Black God’s Drums, by P. Djèlí Clark (Tor.com Publishing)
  • Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach, by Kelly Robson (Tor.com Publishing)
  • The Tea Master and the Detective, by Aliette de Bodard (Subterranean Press / JABberwocky Literary Agency)

Best Novelette

  • “If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again,” by Zen Cho (B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog, 29 November 2018)
  • “The Last Banquet of Temporal Confections,” by Tina Connolly (Tor.com, 11 July 2018)
  • “Nine Last Days on Planet Earth,” by Daryl Gregory (Tor.com, 19 September 2018)
  • The Only Harmless Great Thing, by Brooke Bolander (Tor.com Publishing)
  • “The Thing About Ghost Stories,” by Naomi Kritzer (Uncanny Magazine 25, November- December 2018)
  • “When We Were Starless,” by Simone Heller (Clarkesworld 145, October 2018)

Best Short Story

  • “The Court Magician,” by Sarah Pinsker (Lightspeed, January 2018)
  • “The Rose MacGregor Drinking and Admiration Society,” by T. Kingfisher (Uncanny Magazine 25, November-December 2018)
  • “The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington,” by P. Djèlí Clark (Fireside Magazine, February 2018)
  • “STET,” by Sarah Gailey (Fireside Magazine, October 2018)
  • “The Tale of the Three Beautiful Raptor Sisters, and the Prince Who Was Made of Meat,” by Brooke Bolander (Uncanny Magazine 23, July-August 2018)
  • “A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies,” by Alix E. Harrow (Apex Magazine, February 2018)

Best Series

  • The Centenal Cycle, by Malka Older (Tor.com Publishing)
  • The Laundry Files, by Charles Stross (most recently Tor.com Publishing/Orbit)
  • Machineries of Empire, by Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris)
  • The October Daye Series, by Seanan McGuire (most recently DAW)
  • The Universe of Xuya, by Aliette de Bodard (most recently Subterranean Press)
  • Wayfarers, by Becky Chambers (Hodder & Stoughton / Harper Voyager)

Best Related Work

  • Archive of Our Own, a project of the Organization for Transformative Works
  • Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction, by Alec Nevala-Lee (Dey Street Books)
  • The Hobbit Duology (documentary in three parts), written and edited by Lindsay Ellis and Angelina Meehan (YouTube)
  • An Informal History of the Hugos: A Personal Look Back at the Hugo Awards, 1953- 2000, by Jo Walton (Tor)
  • http://www.mexicanxinitiative.com: The Mexicanx Initiative Experience at Worldcon 76 (Julia Rios, Libia Brenda, Pablo Defendini, John Picacio)
  • Ursula K. Le Guin: Conversations on Writing, by Ursula K. Le Guin with David Naimon (Tin House Books)

Best Graphic Story

  • Abbott, written by Saladin Ahmed, art by Sami Kivelä, colours by Jason Wordie, letters by Jim Campbell (BOOM! Studios)
  • Black Panther: Long Live the King, written by Nnedi Okorafor and Aaron Covington, art by André Lima Araújo, Mario Del Pennino and Tana Ford (Marvel)
  • Monstress, Volume 3: Haven, written by Marjorie Liu, art by Sana Takeda (Image Comics)
  • On a Sunbeam, by Tillie Walden (First Second)
  • Paper Girls, Volume 4, written by Brian K. Vaughan, art by Cliff Chiang, colours by Matt Wilson, letters by Jared K. Fletcher (Image Comics)
  • Saga, Volume 9, written by Brian K. Vaughan, art by Fiona Staples (Image Comics)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

  • Annihilation, directed and written for the screen by Alex Garland, based on the novel by Jeff VanderMeer (Paramount Pictures / Skydance)
  • Avengers: Infinity War, screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo (Marvel Studios)
  • Black Panther, written by Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole, directed by Ryan Coogler (Marvel Studios)
  • A Quiet Place, screenplay by Scott Beck, John Krasinski and Bryan Woods, directed by John Krasinski (Platinum Dunes / Sunday Night)
  • Sorry to Bother You, written and directed by Boots Riley (Annapurna Pictures)
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, screenplay by Phil Lord and Rodney Rothman, directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman (Sony)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

  • The Expanse: “Abaddon’s Gate,” written by Daniel Abraham, Ty Franck and Naren Shankar, directed by Simon Cellan Jones (Penguin in a Parka / Alcon Entertainment)
  • Doctor Who: “Demons of the Punjab,” written by Vinay Patel, directed by Jamie Childs (BBC)
  • Dirty Computer, written by Janelle Monáe, directed by Andrew Donoho and Chuck Lightning (Wondaland Arts Society / Bad Boy Records / Atlantic Records)
  • The Good Place: “Janet(s),” written by Josh Siegal & Dylan Morgan, directed by Morgan Sackett (NBC)
  • The Good Place: “Jeremy Bearimy,” written by Megan Amram, directed by Trent O’Donnell (NBC)
  • Doctor Who: “Rosa,” written by Malorie Blackman and Chris Chibnall, directed by Mark Tonderai (BBC)

Best Professional Editor, Short Form

  • Neil Clarke
  • Gardner Dozois
  • Lee Harris
  • Julia Rios
  • Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas
  • E. Catherine Tobler

Best Professional Editor, Long Form

  • Sheila E. Gilbert
  • Anne Lesley Groell
  • Beth Meacham
  • Diana Pho
  • Gillian Redfearn
  • Navah Wolfe

Best Professional Artist

  • Galen Dara
  • Jaime Jones
  • Victo Ngai
  • John Picacio
  • Yuko Shimizu
  • Charles Vess

Best Semiprozine

  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies, editor-in-chief and publisher Scott H. Andrews
  • Fireside Magazine, edited by Julia Rios, managing editor Elsa Sjunneson-Henry, social coordinator Meg Frank, special features editor Tanya DePass, founding editor Brian White, publisher and art director Pablo Defendini
  • FIYAH Magazine of Black Speculative Fiction, executive editors Troy L. Wiggins and DaVaun Sanders, editors L.D. Lewis, Brandon O’Brien, Kaleb Russell, Danny Lore, and Brent Lambert
  • Shimmer, publisher Beth Wodzinski, senior editor E. Catherine Tobler
  • Strange Horizons, edited by Jane Crowley, Kate Dollarhyde, Vanessa Rose Phin, Vajra Chandrasekera, Romie Stott, Maureen Kincaid Speller, and the Strange Horizons Staff
  • Uncanny Magazine, publishers/editors-in-chief Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas, managing editor Michi Trota, podcast producers Erika Ensign and Steven Schapansky, Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction Special Issue editors-in-chief Elsa Sjunneson-Henry and Dominik Parisien

Best Fanzine

  • Galactic Journey, founder Gideon Marcus, editor Janice Marcus
  • Journey Planet, edited by Team Journey Planet
  • Lady Business, editors Ira, Jodie, KJ, Renay & Susan
  • nerds of a feather, flock together, editors Joe Sherry, Vance Kotrla and The G
  • Quick Sip Reviews, editor Charles Payseur
  • Rocket Stack Rank, editors Greg Hullender and Eric Wong

Best Fancast

  • Be the Serpent, presented by Alexandra Rowland, Freya Marske and Jennifer Mace
  • The Coode Street Podcast, presented by Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe
  • Fangirl Happy Hour, hosted by Ana Grilo and Renay Williams
  • Galactic Suburbia, hosted by Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce, and Tansy Rayner Roberts, produced by Andrew Finch
  • Our Opinions Are Correct, hosted by Annalee Newitz and Charlie Jane Anders
  • The Skiffy and Fanty Show, produced by Jen Zink and Shaun Duke, hosted by the Skiffy and Fanty Crew

Best Fan Writer

  • Foz Meadows
  • James Davis Nicoll
  • Charles Payseur
  • Elsa Sjunneson-Henry
  • Alasdair Stuart
  • Bogi Takács

Best Fan Artist

  • Sara Felix
  • Grace P. Fong
  • Meg Frank
  • Ariela Housman
  • Likhain (Mia Sereno)
  • Spring Schoenhuth

Best Art Book

  • The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition, illustrated by Charles Vess, written by Ursula K. Le Guin (Saga Press /Gollancz)
  • Daydreamer’s Journey: The Art of Julie Dillon, by Julie Dillon (self-published)
  • Dungeons & Dragons Art & Arcana: A Visual History, by Michael Witwer, Kyle Newman, Jon Peterson, Sam Witwer (Ten Speed Press)
  • Spectrum 25: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art, ed. John Fleskes (Flesk Publications)
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – The Art of the Movie, by Ramin Zahed (Titan Books)
  • Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth, ed. Catherine McIlwaine (Bodleian Library)

John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer

  • Katherine Arden (2nd year of eligibility)
  • S.A. Chakraborty (2nd year of eligibility)
  • R.F. Kuang (1st year of eligibility)
  • Jeannette Ng (2nd year of eligibility)
  • Vina Jie-Min Prasad (2nd year of eligibility)
  • Rivers Solomon (2nd year of eligibility)

Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book

  • The Belles, by Dhonielle Clayton (Freeform / Gollancz)
  • Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi Adeyemi (Henry Holt / Macmillan Children’s Books)
  • The Cruel Prince, by Holly Black (Little, Brown / Hot Key Books)
  • Dread Nation, by Justina Ireland (Balzer + Bray)
  • The Invasion, by Peadar O’Guilin (David Fickling Books / Scholastic)
  • Tess of the Road, by Rachel Hartman (Random House / Penguin Teen)

Hey, Let’s Talk Awards For a Bit: A Handy Guide For Dealing With Them

So, in my time as a fiction writer, I’ve been nominated and/or was a finalist for a fair number of awards, and in some cases I’ve even won them. And in the course of more than a dozen years of being nominated/becoming a finalist/occasionally winning, I’ve learned some things about the process, which I would like to share with you today.

This is not an exhaustive list of things I’ve learned, merely a selection of pertinent points that I think would be useful to others. Some of these are (or should be) obvious; others less so. Ready? Here we go.

First, general thoughts about awards.

1. Awards are nice but not necessary for a career. Meaning that you can have a long, happy and maybe even profitable career writing (or acting, or playing music, or whatever, although for the purposes of this essay I’m focusing on my own creative field, which is writing) without once winning, or even being a finalist for, a single award. I can, off the top of my head, list at least a dozen hugely successful science fiction/fantasy writers who have never been near a Hugo or Nebula short list, and yet they are creating interesting and delightful work, selling that work and building fervent, devoted audiences.

This isn’t to say awards are entirely meaningless: They can make a difference (and I will give a personal example of this presently). But there are other ways to build a thriving career. And to paraphrase a saying, a happy audience will get you through times of no awards rather better than awards will get you through times of no audience.

Commensurately:

2. Some of the most important works in a genre or field come nowhere near an award. Here’s a question for you: What major awards, genre or otherwise, did The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy win when it arrived in 1979? The Hugo? The Nebula? The Locus? Nope, nope, nopeity nope. According to the Science Fiction Awards Database, the only award of any note that Hitchhiker won was the Australian Ditmar Award, for Best International Fiction (It was nominated for the Best Dramatic Presentation Hugo for its radio play version, but did not win). And yet Hitchhiker was hugely successful, selling millions of copies, spawning multiple sequels (none of which had much award luck either), being adapted into multiple media, and fundamentally remapping what humor was in the genre of science fiction.

The three novels which comprise The Lord of Rings were eligible for the Hugo (which was getting its start in the early 50s) but were never nominated, and at the time the series garnered only the now-extinct International Fantasy Award (it won the very last one, in point of fact), of which I had never heard, prior to looking it up. Tolkien’s major award recognition would have to wait until the 70s and The Silmarillion. But no one (or at least no one who is not foolish) would suggest anything other than that The Lord of the Rings is foundational to the modern genre of fantasy, for all the good and bad that represents.

The point is that awards are nifty and fun, and also, they are no better at guessing what is enduring and influential in a genre than any other method. Sometimes the awards get it right — William Gibson’s Neuromancer, which put cyberpunk on the map, won the Hugo and Nebula in its year, and its echoes are still reverberating through common culture — but sometimes they don’t.

Also:

3. Award winners sometimes win for reasons other than being “the best.” For example, the Hugos have a “ranked choice/instant runoff” voting process, which means sometimes a work that was not the majority (or even plurality) choice can win the award as other works are eliminated and their votes reapportioned. Sometimes juried awards settle on a compromise candidate when the votes aren’t there for the works the jurists feel the most passionate about. Sometimes people award their vote not because the particular work stands head and shoulders above the other finalists but because the voter thinks it’s good enough and also it’s the author’s “time” (conversely, sometimes a voter would rather run their arms over a cheese grater than vote for a specific author, regardless of the quality of the work in question).

None of this means a winner isn’t worthy of winning; one makes the assumption that, barring direct and obvious gaming of the actual nominating process, all the finalists are of a certain, reasonable competence and quality. It does mean that lots of factors go into the process of selecting a winner, not all of them straightforward.

But that’s all right, because here’s a real thing:

4. Winning an award is not always as important as being a finalist. I can speak to this personally: In terms of my career, it was far more important for me to have been nominated for the Best Novel Hugo award in 2006, than it was for me to win it in 2013. Why? Because in 2006 I was new to the field, and having my first novel nominated was a thing, especially when coupled with the nomination for the Campbell Award for Best New Writer. I was the first person in more than twenty years to get nominated for the Campbell and Best Novel in the same year, and it changed my status in the field from “who is John Scalzi” to “oh, that’s John Scalzi.”

I didn’t win the Hugo that year (nor should I have: Spin by Robert Charles Wilson won, and deservedly so), but it didn’t matter because the boost put me in a different career orbit. When I did win the Best Novel award, several years later, it was great, and I loved it, and I wouldn’t trade the experience. But careerwise, it wasn’t a transforming event. It was a confirming event. My professional career didn’t change all that much after I won. Whereas being nominated earlier was transforming, and ultimately more important to my career.

The takeaway from points one through four is simply this: Awards! They’re neat and fun! Enjoy them! But they’re not everything, and winning them isn’t always as important as you might think.

With that in mind, if you are nominated, or become a finalist for, an award, here are some things for you to consider:

5. Enjoy the hell out of the ride. Enjoy the congratulations, the happiness others have for you, and the moment in the spotlight. If someone tells you to dial it back, you have my permission to ignore them, because this is a personal and professional highlight, and you deserve to dance around like an over-caffeinated monkey (literally and figuratively) if such is your joy. Let them be all muted and circumspect when/if it’s their turn to be nominated for something in the future. You do it your way.

The flip side of this is, with the happiness comes the anxiety of “Oh God, what if I win? What if I don’t win? What if people don’t think I deserve it? What if I don’t deserve it? Now do I have to get nominated every year or I’ve tumbled into the abyss of failure?” So, quickly:

  • If you win, great! Enjoy it.
  • If you don’t win, that’s fine, too.
  • You totally deserve it.
  • The people who think you don’t deserve it: Meh, their opinion, not one you have to worry about.
  • You don’t have to get nominated every single year from now on. And you won’t!

The point is: This is a moment. It’s for you to enjoy. Enjoy the moment! Don’t worry about what happens after the moment, if you don’t want to. Give yourself permission to be happy.

6. The other finalists aren’t your competition, they’re your peers. I mean, yes, they are your competition, in that only one of you is likely to take home the award (sometimes there’s a tie. Don’t count on it). Buuuut, look back at point three up there. It’s a real thing. Again, whatever wins deserves to win — and that’s because any of the finalists probably deserves to win. All of the finalists have produced work that is award-caliber, and that includes you. You can be justifiably proud of that, and you can look at the field of finalists and be content that you deserve to be in their company (and equally importantly, they in yours).

I’ve been nominated for the Best Novel Hugo five times and the years I lost my “peer group” included Robert Charles Wilson, George RR Martin, Ann Leckie, NK Jemisin, Neil Gaiman, Neal Stephenson, Charles Stross, Yoon Ha Lee, Cory Doctorow, Mur Lafferty, Ken MacLeod, Ian McDonald, Robert J. Sawyer, Kim Stanley Robinson and Michael Chabon. The year I won, my peer group included Seanan McGuire, Saladin Ahmed and Lois McMaster Bujold. I mean, are you kidding me with this? I get to put my work in the same field as the work of any of these writers? How can you not pinch yourself and consider yourself lucky?

All of us got to have that moment where we were placed in each other’s company, and each of us can be proud of the association. Some of these people were friends before we were finalists together. Some of them became friends afterward. Someone goes home with the award but everyone in the field gets to have this moment of fellowship and perhaps even friendship. Guess which lasts longer and feels better. Be happy with your new peer group.

7. Practice your zen. With every award, there will be people who will proclaim loudly that there’s something wrong with who is a finalist, who won, and come up with all manner of reasons why things happened the way they did, some nefarious, and some just petty and dickish. Sometimes the focus of their ire might be you.

Remember that some people are always going to kvetch and complain and it’s not your job to validate their grievances or to agree with their assessment. You’re not responsible for their opinions and it’s not your fault they’re upset. That’s on them. If it’s just general whining and complaining, it’s often best to just let it go — everyone has their opinion and you don’t have to engage with them (especially because, no matter what, you’re already on the finalist slate, so you have that going for you, which is nice). This is especially the case if they’re not complaining to you directly, just venting somewhere you might happen to see it.

Beyond this, there are the occasional trolls and dickheads who will try to engage you, because they’re assholes or because they have a social/political agenda they think they’ll further by enraging you and/or making you unhappy. You can engage if you like — and I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes I’ve poked the more reprehensible of this species just to watch them spin in tight little circles — but usually it’s like wrestling the proverbial pig. You both get dirty and the pig likes it. Also, if you don’t have straight white dude privilege (or experience of dealing with assholes on a regular basis) it can get overwhelming. So generally I suggest just blocking or muting these dudes if they decide to bring their grievances to you. You don’t owe anyone your attention, especially a troll.

Just remember it’s almost never the case that everyone in the world is going to be 100% happy with any finalist slate for anything, and that you don’t have to justify your presence on one. Your presence is its own justification.

8. Pro tip: Assume you won’t win, and be ready to be happy for the person who does. There are a few reasons for this. One, statistically speaking, you generally have a 75% to 80% chance of being correct, so it’s always a safe bet. Two, freeing yourself up from worrying means you can enjoy being a finalist for itself, without additional angst and angina. Three, it gives you an opportunity to enjoy the work and the personality of the other finalists, and to remind yourself that you’re their peers (and they’re yours). Four, if you do win, you can be happily surprised.

This does not mean that you should assume you won’t win because your work isn’t good enough — don’t be the person who runs themself or their work down in order to shield themself from a disappointment. Your work is good enough (otherwise you and it wouldn’t be a finalist) and you can be assured that’s not an issue. Again, see point three above. The point here is not to psyche yourself out of wanting to win. Want to win! It’s allowed. The point is to give yourself permission to be happy with how far you come even if you don’t win.

As for being happy for the person who wins when it is not you, well, why not? It does you no harm, and it means that in the future if you should win an award, you will likely have one more person happy for you. Can you be a little sad you didn’t win? Sure! Everyone wants to win, and you don’t have to pretend that you don’t. Be a little sad! But you can do that and still be happy for someone else.

(Also, sometimes it’s actually easy to be happy for someone else. The last Hugo I lost was to NK Jemisin, who capped off a remarkable three-peat Best Novel win at the Hugos. Her winning, aside from being richly deserved in itself, represented an appropriately seismic recalibration of where the center of our shared genre now resides. It’s hard to be churlish about not winning when you get a front row seat to literary history. As I’ve said before and will probably say again, I’ve never been happier to have come in second.)

9. If you do win, share the love. Thank your editor. Thank your agent. Thank your cover designer, and copy editor, and everyone else you can think of. Thank your partner. Thank your kid. Thank your dog. Have good, kind and true words for your fellow finalists. I’m not going to say be humble — I mean, you just won an award, that’s pretty great — but be mindful of the people who helped you to that award, and the peers whose work your work stood with to get there.

Also speaking as someone who knows: It helps to write something out beforehand. Really, do that.

10. Win or lose: Get back to work. When I won my Best Novel Hugo, I allowed myself a whole week to enjoy the fact — and then, I had to get back to what I was doing, which was, writing the next thing. When I lost my last Hugo, I also gave myself a week (mostly because I was traveling to another convention and it’s hard for me to focus on the road), and then got back to what I was doing, which was writing the next thing.

Win or lose, awards are a moment, and the moment ends, one way or another. On to the next thing. Always, on to the next thing.

Head On a Finalist for the Audie Award

There are worse ways to start a week than to find out one of your novels is a finalist for an award. Head On is a finalist for the Audie Award (that’s for audiobooks), in the category of science fiction. Other books that are finalists in the category:

  • Artemis, by Andy Weir, read by Rosario Dawson
  • Black Star Renegades, by Michael Moreci, read by Dan Bittner
  • Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: Hexagonal Phase, by Douglas Adams and Eoin Colfer, read by John Lloyd, Jane Horrocks, Sandra Dickinson, Susan Sheridan, Jim Broadbent, Mark Wing-Davey, Geoffrey McGivern, Simon Jones and a Full Cast
  • Planetside, by Michael Mammay, read by RC Bray

Nice company to be in. Also, the version of Head On that made the finals is the read by Wil Wheaton, although I think honestly it had to have been a coin flip between his and Amber Benson’s narration, both are just that good.

I’ve been a finalist for the Audies several times before and have won twice. It’s always a delight to be a finalist, and I’ll be happy to win if I do but not at all disappointed if I don’t. It’s a very fine finalist field, and also, you know, why be greedy.

Likewise I have a number of friends whose work are finalists in many other categories: Here’s the full finalist list. 2018 was, if nothing else, an excellent year for audiobooks. Congratulations to all the finalists!

The 2019 Awards Consideration Post

For those of you casting about for things to nominate for various awards this year, here’s what I have that’s eligible.

Best Novel

Head On (April 2018; Tor Books; Patrick Nielsen Hayden, ed.)

The Consuming Fire (October 2018; Tor Books; Patrick Nielsen Hayden, ed.)

Best Related Work

Virtue Signaling and Other Heresies: Selected Writings From Whatever, 2013- 2018 (December 2018; Subterranean Press; William Schafer, ed).

Best Short Story

Regarding Your Application Status” (May 2018; published at Whatever/Scalzi.com)

Automated Customer Service” (November 2018; published at Whatever/Scalzi.com)

Although Athena and I did a podcast last year, it’s not eligible for the Best Fancast category since we only did three episodes.

That said, and speaking of Athena, as my intern she did quite a bit of writing about science fiction, fantasy and other material of fandom interest (her posts from the summer are here). She was compensated, because I believe in paying people for their work, even (especially) interns; nevertheless I do believe she is eligible for consideration for the Best Fan Writer Hugo category, if after reading her material you believe it merits such a nomination.

(Indeed, and of course, only nominate anything for an award if you genuinely believe it merits a nomination, including obviously my own work. I’m okay if you look at what I’ve written this year, and then look at other work you read and go, “yeah, I think I’ll nominate that other stuff.” It happens! I won’t think it means you didn’t like what I wrote; it just means there’s a limited number of things you can nominate in any given year (and if in fact you didn’t like what I wrote — well, sorry about that, I guess).)

Happy reading and nominating this year!

Head On AND The Consuming Fire Are Semi-Finalists for the 2018 Goodreads Choice Awards

Well, this is somewhat unexpected: Head On was an opening round nominee for the 2018 Goodreads Choice Awards in the category of Science Fiction, but The Consuming Fire was not, mostly, I expect, because it just came out and hadn’t garnered enough reviews, etc to make it on the initial ballot. But people can write in favorites if they’re not on the first ballot, and lo and behold, on the semi-final ballot, both Head On and The Consuming Fire are present.

Thoughts:

1. To the people who voted for Head On: Thank you!

2. To the people who wrote in The Consuming Fire: Thank you!

3. And now I expect them to split the vote and neither to make it to the final ballot. But that’s all right, getting two works on the semi-final ballot is a pretty neat trick and I’ll take it. So, again, thank you.

If you would like to vote for either of these novels, or some other nominated science fiction novel (because there are many fine choices and you should vote for what you love the most), here’s a link to the 2018 Science Fiction Goodreads Choice Awards Semi-Finalist ballot. You may also, of course, vote in the many other categories as well.

Which will I vote for? Well, I feel this would be trying to choose between my two children, as it were, so I will abstain from voting in this round. But don’t let my reticence stop you. Vote! Vote away!

(Oh, and, as I’m writing this on November 6, i.e., the actual election day in the US: If you’re a US Citizen, also vote in your national, state and local elections, please. It’s actually really important. Thank you!)

The Locus Award Arrives + Reminder About Hugo Award Voting

I was thrilled when The Collapsing Empire was announced as the winner of the Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel, but was not present for the ceremony because one of my best friends on the planet was getting married, and, well, priorities. Fortunately the good people at Locus were kind enough to ship it to me. I arrived yesterday, and what a pretty award it is, too. The art on the award comes from Hugo and Oscar-winner Shaun Tan, so that’s another reason to geek out about it too. And Smudge seems to like it, as you can see here. And clearly that is the most coveted endorsement. Thank you to everyone who voted for the book — I’m delighted to have this award at home.

On the subject of awards, we are down to the final days to vote for the Hugo Awards, for which The Collapsing Empire is a finalist for Best Novel, along with some other very excellent works from NK Jemisin, Kim Stanley Robinson, Mur Lafferty, Yoon Ha Lee and Ann Leckie (not to mentionall the other excellent people and works in other categories). The final day to vote is this Tuesday, July 31st, and if you are a member of Worldcon 76, this year’s Worldcon, I definitely encourage you to cast your ballot for the work you admire. The link to the online ballot is here.

The Collapsing Empire Wins the 2018 Locus Award for Science Fiction Novel

I’m unimaginably thrilled.

Here is the speech I sent to be read at the awards ceremony, which was read by my friend Olivia Ahl, who also took the picture above:

So this is a thing I do: Whenever I am nominated or am a finalist for an award, I take a look at who else is in the category with me. If there is no one or no book in the category that I would be sad to lose to, then I feel that I have already won.

And in this regard, I won long before I actually was given this plaque, because this was an extraordinary strong group of authors and books. I am deeply honored to have my work considered along the works of these fabulous people, and I realize that any one of them could be up here now taking this award home. So to my peers, thank you, it’s been a wonderful ride, and I am glad we’ve shared it.

I have a lot of people to thank over at Tor, starting with Patrick Nielsen Hayden who is my editor, Miriam Weinberg, Irene Gallo, who is the art director, Sparth, who did the tremendous cover art, Christina McDonald the copy editor, Heather Saunders, book designer, and Alexis Saarela and Patty Garcia in publicity. Each of them has made a very large contribution to creating this book and getting it out to everyone. I would also like to thank Steve Feldberg at Audible, and of course Wil Wheaton, who did the narration for the audiobook.

I’d also like to acknowledge friends and fellow writers who helped keep me sane while writing this book. That list is too long to get into here, but would include Olivia Ahl, who is reading this acceptance speech right now. Most of all I would like to thank my wife Kristine. I was kind of a mess during the writing of this book, for various reasons. Through it all Krissy was wonderful, helping me get the work done, and also making sure I didn’t completely lose it. If it wasn’t for her, this book wouldn’t be here, so this award is hers as much as mine.

Thank you again everyone, I’m very sad not to be here right now. But you can be assured that wherever I am in the world, which is actually in San Diego watching my friend get married this weekend, I am very very very happy indeed.

Thank you to everyone who voted! This is great!

Also congratulations to all the other winners of the Locus Award this year. The complete list is here.

 

2018 Hugo Award Finalists (Plus Campbell and YA Award Finalists)

Here’s the ballot. I’m happy to say The Collapsing Empire is among them. Congratulations to all the finalists. It’s a heck of a good year. I’ll have more thoughts on Empire’s nomination in an upcoming post (update: Here’s that post).

2018 Hugo Awards Finalists

Best Novel

  • The Collapsing Empire, by John Scalzi (Tor)
  • New York 2140, by Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit)
  • Provenance, by Ann Leckie (Orbit)
  • Raven Stratagem, by Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris)
  • Six Wakes, by Mur Lafferty (Orbit)
  • The Stone Sky, by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)

Best Novella

  • All Systems Red, by Martha Wells (Tor.com Publishing)
  • “And Then There Were (N-One),” by Sarah Pinsker (Uncanny, March/April 2017)
  • Binti: Home, by Nnedi Okorafor (Tor.com Publishing)
  • The Black Tides of Heaven, by JY Yang (Tor.com Publishing)
  • Down Among the Sticks and Bones, by Seanan McGuire (Tor.com Publishing)
  • River of Teeth, by Sarah Gailey (Tor.com Publishing)

Best Novelette

  • “Children of Thorns, Children of Water,” by Aliette de Bodard (Uncanny, July-August 2017)
  • “Extracurricular Activities,” by Yoon Ha Lee (Tor.com, February 15, 2017)
  • “The Secret Life of Bots,” by Suzanne Palmer (Clarkesworld, September 2017)
  • “A Series of Steaks,” by Vina Jie-Min Prasad (Clarkesworld, January 2017)
  • “Small Changes Over Long Periods of Time,” by K.M. Szpara (Uncanny, May/June 2017)
  • “Wind Will Rove,” by Sarah Pinsker (Asimov’s, September/October 2017)

Best Short Story

  • “Carnival Nine,” by Caroline M. Yoachim (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, May 2017)
  • “Clearly Lettered in a Mostly Steady Hand,” by Fran Wilde (Uncanny, September 2017)
  • “Fandom for Robots,” by Vina Jie-Min Prasad (Uncanny, September/October 2017)
  • “The Martian Obelisk,” by Linda Nagata (Tor.com, July 19, 2017)
  • “Sun, Moon, Dust” by Ursula Vernon, (Uncanny, May/June 2017)
  • “Welcome to your Authentic Indian Experience™,” by Rebecca Roanhorse (Apex, August 2017)

Best Related Work

  • Crash Override: How Gamergate (Nearly) Destroyed My Life, and How We Can Win the Fight Against Online Hate, by Zoe Quinn (PublicAffairs)
  • Iain M. Banks (Modern Masters of Science Fiction), by Paul Kincaid (University of Illinois Press)
  • A Lit Fuse: The Provocative Life of Harlan Ellison, by Nat Segaloff (NESFA Press)
  • Luminescent Threads: Connections to Octavia E. Butler, edited by Alexandra Pierce and Mimi Mondal (Twelfth Planet Press)
  • No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters, by Ursula K. Le Guin (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
  • Sleeping with Monsters: Readings and Reactions in Science Fiction and Fantasy, by Liz Bourke (Aqueduct Press)

Best Graphic Story

  • Black Bolt, Volume 1: Hard Time, written by Saladin Ahmed, illustrated by Christian Ward, lettered by Clayton Cowles (Marvel)
  • Bitch Planet, Volume 2: President Bitch, written by Kelly Sue DeConnick, illustrated by Valentine De Landro and Taki Soma, colored by Kelly Fitzpatrick, lettered by Clayton Cowles (Image Comics)
  • Monstress, Volume 2: The Blood, written by Marjorie M. Liu, illustrated by Sana Takeda (Image Comics)
  • My Favorite Thing is Monsters, written and illustrated by Emil Ferris (Fantagraphics)
  • Paper Girls, Volume 3, written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Cliff Chiang, colored by Matthew Wilson, lettered by Jared Fletcher (Image Comics)
  • Saga, Volume 7, written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples (Image Comics)

Best Dramatic Presentation – Long Form

  • Blade Runner 2049, written by Hampton Fancher and Michael Green, directed by Denis Villeneuve (Alcon Entertainment / Bud Yorkin Productions / Torridon Films / Columbia Pictures)
  • Get Out, written and directed by Jordan Peele (Blumhouse Productions / Monkeypaw Productions / QC Entertainment)
  • The Shape of Water, written by Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor, directed by Guillermo del Toro (TSG Entertainment / Double Dare You / Fox Searchlight Pictures)
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi, written and directed by Rian Johnson (Lucasfilm, Ltd.)
  • Thor: Ragnarok, written by Eric Pearson, Craig Kyle, and Christopher Yost; directed by Taika Waititi (Marvel Studios)
  • Wonder Woman, screenplay by Allan Heinberg, story by Zack Snyder & Allan Heinberg and Jason Fuchs, directed by Patty Jenkins (DC Films / Warner Brothers)

Best Dramatic Presentation – Short Form

  • Black Mirror: “USS Callister,” written by William Bridges and Charlie Brooker, directed by Toby Haynes (House of Tomorrow)
  • “The Deep” [song], by Clipping (Daveed Diggs, William Hutson, Jonathan Snipes)
  • Doctor Who: “Twice Upon a Time,” written by Steven Moffat, directed by Rachel Talalay (BBC Cymru Wales)
  • The Good Place: “Michael’s Gambit,” written and directed by Michael Schur (Fremulon / 3 Arts Entertainment / Universal Television)
  • The Good Place: “The Trolley Problem,” written by Josh Siegal and Dylan Morgan, directed by Dean Holland (Fremulon / 3 Arts Entertainment / Universal Television)
  • Star Trek: Discovery: “Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad,” written by Aron Eli Coleite & Jesse Alexander, directed by David M. Barrett (CBS Television Studios)

Best Editor – Short Form

  • John Joseph Adams
  • Neil Clarke
  • Lee Harris
  • Jonathan Strahan
  • Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas
  • Sheila Williams

Best Editor – Long Form

  • Sheila E. Gilbert
  • Joe Monti
  • Diana M. Pho
  • Devi Pillai
  • Miriam Weinberg
  • Navah Wolfe

Best Professional Artist

  • Galen Dara
  • Kathleen Jennings
  • Bastien Lecouffe Deharme
  • Victo Ngai
  • John Picacio
  • Sana Takeda

Best Semiprozine

  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies, editor-in-chief and publisher Scott H. Andrews
  • The Book Smugglers, edited by Ana Grilo and Thea James
  • Escape Pod, edited by Mur Lafferty, S.B. Divya, and Norm Sherman, with assistant editor Benjamin C. Kinney
  • Fireside Magazine, edited by Brian White and Julia Rios; managing editor Elsa Sjunneson-Henry; special feature editor Mikki Kendall; publisher & art director Pablo Defendini
  • Strange Horizons, edited by Kate Dollarhyde, Gautam Bhatia, A.J. Odasso, Lila Garrott, Heather McDougal, Ciro Faienza, Tahlia Day, Vanessa Rose Phin, and the Strange Horizons staff
  • Uncanny Magazine, edited by Lynne M. Thomas & Michael Damian Thomas, Michi Trota, and Julia Rios; podcast produced by Erika Ensign & Steven Schapansky

Best Fanzine

  • File 770, edited by Mike Glyer
  • Galactic Journey, edited by Gideon Marcus
  • Journey Planet, edited by Team Journey Planet
  • nerds of a feather, flock together, edited by The G, Vance Kotrla, and Joe Sherry
  • Rocket Stack Rank, edited by Greg Hullender and Eric Wong
  • SF Bluestocking, edited by Bridget McKinney

Best Fancast

  • The Coode Street Podcast, presented by Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe
  • Ditch Diggers, presented by Mur Lafferty and Matt Wallace
  • Fangirl Happy Hour, presented by Ana Grilo and Renay Williams
  • Galactic Suburbia, presented by Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce and Tansy Rayner Roberts; produced by Andrew Finch
  • Sword and Laser, presented by Veronica Belmont and Tom Merritt
  • Verity!, presented by Deborah Stanish, Erika Ensign, Katrina Griffiths, L.M. Myles, Lynne M. Thomas, and Tansy Rayner Roberts

Best Fan Writer

  • Camestros Felapton
  • Sarah Gailey
  • Mike Glyer
  • Foz Meadows
  • Charles Payseur
  • Bogi Takács

Best Fan Artist

  • Geneva Benton
  • Grace P. Fong
  • Maya Hahto
  • Likhain (M. Sereno)
  • Spring Schoenhuth
  • Steve Stiles

Best Series

  • The Books of the Raksura, by Martha Wells (Night Shade)
  • The Divine Cities, by Robert Jackson Bennett (Broadway)
  • InCryptid, by Seanan McGuire (DAW)
  • The Memoirs of Lady Trent, by Marie Brennan (Tor US / Titan UK)
  • The Stormlight Archive, by Brandon Sanderson (Tor US / Gollancz UK)
  • World of the Five Gods, by Lois McMaster Bujold (Harper Voyager / Spectrum Literary Agency)

 


2018 Associated Awards (not Hugos)

John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer

  • Katherine Arden
  • Sarah Kuhn
  • Jeannette Ng
  • Vina Jie-Min Prasad
  • Rebecca Roanhorse
  • Rivers Solomon

The World Science Fiction Society (WSFS) Award for Best Young Adult Book

  • Akata Warrior, by Nnedi Okorafor (Viking)
  • The Art of Starving, by Sam J. Miller (HarperTeen)
  • The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage, by Philip Pullman (Knopf)
  • In Other Lands, by Sarah Rees Brennan (Big Mouth House)
  • A Skinful of Shadows, by Frances Hardinge (Macmillan UK / Harry N. Abrams US)
  • Summer in Orcus, written by T. Kingfisher (Ursula Vernon), illustrated by Lauren Henderson (Sofawolf Press)

The 2018 Awards Consideration Post

Another year, another quick post to let you know what work I have for you to consider for awards and such. Ready? Here we go:

Best Novel:

The Collapsing Empire (3/21/17; Tor Books; Patrick Nielsen Hayden, editor)

Best Related Work/Non-fiction/Collection:

Don’t Live For Your Obituary: Advice, Commentary and Personal Observations on Writing, 2008-2017 (12/31/17; Subterranean Press)

“The Dispatcher” was published in print in 2017, but first appeared in audio in 2016, which generally counts as first publication. It’s definitely ineligible for the Hugo and the Nebula and the Locus (which it was a finalist for last year in any event).

And that’s what on tap this go around.

The Collapsing Empire a Finalist for the 2017 Goodreads Choice Award in Science Fiction — Vote This Week

Yes! That overly descriptive headline says it all! The Collapsing Empire is one of ten Science Fiction books to make it to the final round of the Good Reads Choice Awards in the science fiction category, and if you are so inclined, you may vote for it at the following link:

https://www.goodreads.com/choiceawards/best-science-fiction-books-2017

Alternately, if you head over there and fine another book amongst the finalists that you liked better, go ahead and vote for it. Seriously, vote for the one you like best. I mean, I’d love to win the Goodreads Choice Award — I’ve not won it before — but not by stuffing the ballot box. Vote for what you like! That’s the way it works!

Also you can vote in all the other categories as well, not just science fiction. Go wild with your voting, people.

In any event, it’s lovely to have Empire a finalist. Thanks, folks. I’m glad the book is finding readers, and they’re finding it enjoyable.

Update on the Dragon Awards and Me

First, read this, from Andrew Liptak at the Verge, and make sure you stick around for the M. Night Shyamalan-like twist at the ending, featuring a shocking statement from me!

Also, here is the Dragon Awards’ own statement, re: Alison Littlewood departing from the ballot.

Read them? Okay, then let’s get to the questions.

So, wait, you were going to withdraw from the Dragon Awards but now you’re not?

Yup, that’s basically right.

Why did you change your mind?

Mostly because the administrators asked if I would reconsider.

How did that conversation go?

Me: I’d like to withdraw.

Them: We’d like you to stay. Please?

Me: No.

Them: What if we say, pretty please?

Me: No.

Them: What if we say, pretty please with sugar on top?

Me: Oh, fine.

More seriously, and as noted in the statement I gave to the Verge, the folks at the Dragon Awards suggested they were willing to put in some work to listen and learn, and the honoring of Ms. Littlewood’s withdrawal request and their commitment to rethink aspects of their process was a good first step. Enough that I was willing to reconsider withdrawing from the ballot.

But what about the dudes ginning up the whole “culture war” angle? You said you just couldn’t even with those dudes.

They’re still there and they’re still tiresome, and I’m not really looking forward to that nonsense, but, you know what, fuck it. Here’s the deal: Did you enjoy reading my book? Enough to vote for it over the other works in my particular category? Groovy. Then vote for it. Otherwise, don’t vote for it, please. Repeat with every other work in my category, and so on in the other categories. This is not actually complicated.

(Incidentally, and in case it’s not clear, please don’t paint every other finalist with the “I’m just here for the culture war” brush. I don’t. You can tell which ones are around to gin up a culture war. They’re pretty obvious about it.)

I JUST THINK YOU’RE HELLA INDECISIVE, SCALZI

Seems reasonable and I accept your judgment.

I still have issues with the Dragon Awards.

That’s fair. They’re new and still figuring this out, which is not an excuse but is an explanation. In my discussions with the folks running them, my sense is that they really do want to make the awards something that is viable and useful (and fun) for fans of the genre. They have a lot of work to do (this is, I suspect, in the nature of awards in general). Hopefully they’ll get there. As I noted, some of the steps they’re taking now indicate to me they want to get it right. Your mileage may vary. In the meantime, with this as with anything, you’re perfectly within your rights to have issues and criticism. Fire away.

So are you going to the awards ceremony now?

Nope, I’m still counter-scheduled in Washington DC that weekend.

What if I was going to vote for you but you said not to and I voted for something else?

I mean, that’s on me, isn’t it? So that’s fine. If you voted for something you enjoyed, that’s good enough. I’m okay with other people winning awards I am also up for. I’ve won my fair share over time. It’s nice to win, but it’s nice to see other people win, too. I’ll be no worse off. And then someone else has to worry about how to ship a trophy home. That stuff adds up.

If I wanted to vote, how do I do that?

Here’s the link to register. Anyone with an email address is eligible. And here is the full, updated ballot.

I gotta warn you, I might not vote for you.

Well, you know. I still have to read some of the finalists in my category. If I like them better, I might not vote for me.

Withdrawing From the Dragon Awards, 2017

Update, 8/10/17: I’ve decided to stay on the ballot. Here’s the reasoning.

The other day I announced The Collapsing Empire was a finalist for the Dragon Award in the Best Science Fiction novel category, which was neat. Today, I notified the Dragon Award administrators and let them know I was withdrawing The Collapsing Empire from consideration for the award.

The reason is simple: Some other finalists are trying to use the book and me as a prop, to advance a manufactured “us vs. them” vote-pumping narrative based on ideology or whatever. And I just… can’t. I don’t have the interest and I’m on a deadline, and this bullshit is even more stale and stupid now than it was the several other times it was attempted recently, with regard to genre awards.

My plan was to ignore it, but on further reflection (and further evidence that this nonsense was going to continue through the finalist voting period), I decided this was the better course. To the extent this bullshit manufactured narrative is centered on me, well, now it’s not, as far as these awards are concerned. I’m delighted to be able to chop it off at the knees by removing myself from consideration. I wish the progenitors of this narrative luck; now they will have to compete with the other finalists on the basis of the quality of their work instead. They’re going to need all the help they can get with that.

(Mind you, what I expect is the “us vs. them” folks to try to shift their target to someone else. Because that’s the only trick they know, bless their hearts.)

To be clear, the problem is not with the Dragon Awards or their administrators, the latter of whom have been unfailingly gracious in my communications with them. I wish them all the best with their awards. I encourage people to vote for the awards and for the finalists whose stories move them.

And once more thanks to the folks who nominated The Collapsing Empire for the Dragon Award. I do appreciate the nomination, and the novel making the finalist list. You all made me happy.

The Collapsing Empire a Finalist for the Dragon Award

Which is an award given out at DragonCon. It’s a finalist in the category of Best Science Fiction Novel, which makes perfect sense, really. Here’s the full ballot (there’s more than a dozen categories), and if you’re inspired to vote in one or more of those categories, here’s how you register to do that. As long as you have an email address, you’re eligible to vote. You can vote through August 28th, and the awards will be given out at the convention.

This is actually the second time I’ve been a finalist for a Dragon Award, as I was on the ballot last year for The End of All Things. I declined the slot because I was taking a year off from awards generally, but it’s nice to know my work was remembered again this year. The award has existed for two years, so now my work is 2-for-2 for getting on the ballot. Can’t complain about that.

Thanks to the folks who nominated the book! I’m glad you liked it.

The Dispatcher Wins the Audie Award for Best Original Work

Breaking my week-long hiatus here, but I think this is a pretty good reason: The Dispatcher won an Audie Award! It won in the category of Best Original Work, one of the three categories it was nominated in (the other two categories were Science Fiction and Excellence in Marketing). The “Original Work” category is for works that were created as “audio first,” as The Dispatcher was, so I’m especially delighted that The Dispatcher won in this category; it means it worked in its intended medium.

I’m thrilled that it nabbed the Audie and and to say thank you to people who helped get this story to where it is today. First off, to Steve Feldberg and his entire crew at Audible Studios; Steve asked for an audio original from me just as I was thinking of writing up this particular story, so well-timed on his part, and otherwise the folks at Audible simply knocked it out of the park in terms of production and marketing. Thanks also to Ethan Ellenberg, my agent, for guiding the deal to its fruition. And of course, thanks to Zachary Quinto for his profoundly good narration, which I am very sure was the element here that clinched this Audie win.

Here’s a link to the now award-winning audio version; there’s also a print/ebook version if you prefer.

Also, if you’re curious, here’s the complete list of 2017 Audie Award winners, which includes my friends Kameron Hurley (winning for Excellence in Design) and Tavia Gilbert (Best Female Narration). Congratulations to everyone who won!

Okay, resuming the hiatus. See you all again on Tuesday.

The Dispatcher a Locus Award Finalist!

In the “novella” category. I’m super pleased.

Here are the other finalists in the category:

That’s a very excellent field for the category, with many wonderful writers. I’m honored to have my work among them.

Here’s a link to the entire slate of finalists in all categories. Congrats to everyone! This is a very fine way to start the weekend.

Reminder: There’s No Such Thing as an Automatic Award Nomination

Over at Inverse, writer Ryan Britt is annoyed that two of his favorite science fiction books of the year, Death’s End by Cixin Liu, and Babylon’s Ashes by James S.A. Corey, are not on the Nebula list of nominees for Best Novel. His argument for both basically boils down to they’re both amazing so they should be obvious nominees, obviously, which to be fair is the same general argument anyone makes when they complain about something they love getting what they perceive to be a snub for whatever award they think the thing the love should be up for.

Not to single Britt out — his is merely the complaint about this I’ve seen today, not the sole complaint out there — but to serve as a reminder, as we head fully into science fiction awards season: There’s no such thing as an automatic award nomination for anything, no matter how good you think that thing is. If you think there is, you’ll be finding yourself frequently outraged for no particularly good or useful reason.

Likewise, a thing you love not being on an award ballot doesn’t mean it was “snubbed”. “Snubbing” here basically means someone (or in this case more than one someone) actively going out of their way to keep a thing off the ballot, i.e., something along the lines of “I hate this novel and/or author so much I will instead recommend a different and possibly inferior book and encourage all my friends to do so as well.” It’s pretty much 100% certain this didn’t happen here; instead, people just voted for the novels they preferred, and preferred other books.

But Death’s End and Babylon’s Ashes were good books! Indeed they were. But there were five Best Novel slots available on this year’s Nebula ballot and dozens of SF/F novels (at least!) of sufficient quality to make the ballot. The two novels that Britt points out are only a couple of the novels that could have been on the ballot, from the perspective of quality, but aren’t. There are — thankfully — always more good SF/F novels in a year than may fit on a Nebula ballot.

And not just novels but novellas, novelettes, short stories, YA novels and screenplays, those being categories that SFWA awards annually. I mean, let me use me as an example: My novella The Dispatcher was eligible for the Novella category this year. It was very well reviewed, had a huge audience, and is already up for other awards. I’m a well-known and (mostly) liked science fiction writer, and former president of SFWA, so I’m also familiar to the folks who nominate for the Nebula. The Dispatcher should be a shoo-in for a nomination, yes? Yes! I say yes! A thousand times!

But — surprise! — it’s nowhere on the Nebula novella ballot. Is this a snub? I mean, maybe — perhaps malign forces at SFWA aligned against me simply because of who I am — but the far more reasonable and likely correct answer is: The people who nominated for the Nebula awards this year simply decided on other novellas instead. There were many fine novellas this year, and the Nebula ballot reflects this, as all the novellas on it are eminently worth award consideration. I don’t consider The Dispatcher not being on the Nebula ballot a snub. It consider it a sign that it’s a really competitive year, with many excellent things to read. As a reader of the genre, and as a professional who wants the field to thrive, I really can’t complain.

I think it’s perfectly fine to champion books and stories and to be disappointed when people nominating for awards don’t have the same enthusiasm for them, in aggregate, as you do. But remember when that happens, it’s almost always not a “snub” of the thing you love, but rather an affirmation of the things the other person loves, and probably without reference to the thing you are championing. It’s a good perspective to have, in my opinion.

“The Dispatcher” a Finalist for Two Audies + Locus Award Voting + Nebula and Hugo Award Voting + Print Preorder Info

So, this is a good day for me: The Dispatcher, my novella that was released as an audiobook from Audible, is a finalist for two(!) Audie Awards, first in the category of Science Fiction, and second in the category of Original Work (meaning, first published in audio form). I’m thrilled about both, and it’s lovely to see the story, and the narration by Zachary Quinto, so honored. We’ll find out if it wins either or both categories on June 1st. It’s in very good company in both categories. Congratulations to all the other authors and narrators!

Also! The annual Locus Poll & Survey is up, open to everyone who chooses to vote, and The Dispatcher is one of the works you may vote for in the novella category (actually, you can vote for any speculative fiction novella published in 2016, but The Dispatcher, because it was part of the Locus’ Recommended Reading List, is preloaded into the category as an option). If you listened to The Dispatcher and are inclined to vote for it, then please do. If you see other novellas there you liked, vote for them, too (or add the title of a novella you liked). And also vote in the other categories as well, as there are several, all with very good works to consider.

Also! Also! If you are voting for the Hugos or the Nebulas, The Dispatcher is eligible this year in the novella categories of each. For the record, I knew that it was eligible for the Hugo, because a couple of years ago they clarified that audio publication counts toward consideration. But I wasn’t sure whether the same could be said for the Nebulas, so I asked. The official response from the Nebula Awards Committee: Yup!

So Nebula award nominators: If you liked The Dispatcher, please consider it in the novella category. Thank you.

(And obviously in all cases if you didn’t like it, don’t nominate it. Because that would be silly.)

Also! Also! Also! Remember that if you prefer your stories in text form, the print version of The Dispatcher is now available for preorder from Subterranean Books and from online and offline retailers, with cover and interior art from the fantastic Vincent Chong. The book will be available May 31, 2017, including in ebook.

And that’s all the news I have about The Dispatcher today.

OR IS IT?!???!??!??!???!!!!?!?!??

(Spoiler: It is.)

Announcing the 2017 Audie Award Finalists in the Fantasy Category

Hey! I get to tell you which works, authors and narrators are finalists for the 2017 Audie Award in the category of Fantasy. The Audies are the highest award in the audio book industry, so being a finalist for one of its categories is a very fine honor indeed.

This year, the finalists for the Fantasy category are:

That’s a very excellent slate of finalists! The winner of the category will be announced on June 1. Congratulations to each of them, authors and narrators both!

The 2017 Awards Consideration Post

Do I have work for you to consider for this year’s awards? I do! Here they are:

Best Novella:

The Dispatcher (10/16, Audible)

Best Collection:

Miniatures: The Very Short Fiction of John Scalzi (12/16, Subterranean Press)

Aaaaaand that’s it, I think. There are individual short stories I’ve written that are eligible, including in Miniatures, but I think it hangs together best as a collection, so that’s what I’m asking people to consider it for.

Note with The Dispatcher its eligibility will be dependent on whether the awarding group considers audiobook publication the same as print publication for the purposes of their awards (I know it is for the Hugos; I have a query in about it for the Nebulas). If it’s not eligible as an audiobook, well, the print version comes out in May, so I might end up listing it next year, too. Awards! They’re wacky. Also note that in the places where it might matter, I consider The Dispatcher to be fantasy, rather than science fiction.

Thanks!