Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Hugo Awards Happened: Some Thoughts

Do you remember when I wrote about how my favorite stories don't get nominated, but that I still love the Hugo Awards?

That's still true.

I'm going to borrow an idea from my friend Renay, which is that one of the coolest things about the Hugo Awards as a whole is that it provides a separate forum to encourage discussion and sharing of the awesome stuff we've read and just want to tell others about.

At their best, the Hugo Awards are not simply about the recognition of excellence, but rather about a group of overly excited fans coming together to talk books and stories and art and other fan work.

The finalists for the Hugo Awards were announced on Tuesday and while there are some simply outstanding finalists, it was collectively disappointing. The Rabid Puppy Slate was able to place 64 of its 81 nominees onto the final ballot, according to File 770. That's a lot. That's really a lot, given that the Rabid Puppies are more about trolling and "burning down" the Hugos than they are about individually recognizing works they feel are the best of the year.

This isn't new and this isn't news.

What is news is that this year the Rabid Puppies presented a cross section of works that are legitimately good and worthy (Daniel Polansky's The Builders is a fantastic novella and was on my ballot. So was Stephen King's "Obits") and works that are quite obviously there to represent a giant middle finger to people who care about the Hugo Awards ("If You Were an Award, My Love" and "Space Raptor Butt Invasion") and then there's a whole bunch of stuff that I'm not familiar with, so I have no idea if they are excellent, complete steaming garbage (as several nominees were last year), or somewhere in the middle.

It should be noted that "If You Were an Award, My Love" marks the first time straight up actual fan fiction has made the Hugo Award ballot.

This isn't the fan fiction site Archive Of Our Own that Renay was advocating for a nomination in Related Work, and it probably isn't the way anyone expected to see fanfiction recognized, but it is fan fiction all the same.

Also, despite everything, the inclusion of "Space Raptor Butt Invasion" is really kind of funny.

As is the follow up story Tingle wrote titled "Slammed in the Butt By My Hugo Award Nomination". It's a real thing. Click the link.

Also, note the story description below. I'm sorry, folks. This is just epic and entertaining. I'm not sure I actually want to read it, but I'm sort of glad that it exists.

When Tuck Bingle receives and email explaining that he’s been nominated for science fiction literature’s most prestigious award, he’s left utterly confused. On one hand, Tuck is a successful writer of gay, science fiction erotic, but on the other, this email is addressed to someone by the name of Chuck Tingle.

Tuck replies, but his message is not delivered because the recipient exists in another layer of The Tingleverse, a revelation that will take Tuck on a journey into the deepest realms of his butt’s heart.

Soon, Tuck is breaking fourth-walls and anal limits, pounded hard by a handsome sentient Hugo Award nomination named Kelpo and learning the true meaning of homoerotic love!

This erotic tale is 4,500 words of sizzling human on prestigious award nomination action, including anal, blowjobs, rough sex, cream pies and gay interdimensional love. 

Why am I talking about all of this ancillary stuff rather than just railing on how the nominations went down this year?

Honestly, I don't know that I have the energy or the inclination to be properly upset. Not the way that Renay and Ana did on their Fangirl Happy Hour podcast (not that they are wrong). Also, I think that anger is one of the responses the Rabid Puppies are looking for. I'm sorry, you don't get my anger. You apparently get some of my time, but that's time that I choose to use in a manner that provides me with some measure of satisfaction and enjoyment. But my anger? No. Not even much of my energy, since I was going to write about the Hugo Awards anyway. It's what I do. If you will permit me to practice one of my parenting responses for when my child is a bit older:

I'm not mad. I'm just disappointed.

Now, to loop all of this back to how I opened this essay because it gets to how I really want to respond to the Hugo Awards and how I intend to move forward both through the rest of this year and in the future: I'm going to continue to participate in the Hugo Awards by sharing awesome work, by being excited about cool stuff, by talking about cool stuff, and also by looking at and reading as much of the nominated work as I can. There's some really good stuff nominated, even if I might not like exactly how some of it made it onto the ballot. I'm not going to burn it all because I have issues with how other people acted.  You can't take the sky from me.

I still love the Hugo Awards, even on days when I don't necessarily like them all that much. That's also what I do.

POSTED BY: Joe Sherry - Writer / Editor at Adventures in Reading since 2004, Nerds of a Feather contributor since 2015. Minnesotan.