Hugo Fan Writer Nominees
During my acceptance speech last year, I said, “There are so many brilliant and wonderful fan writers out there. I don’t know if there are enough rocket trophies in the world to recognize everyone who’s written passionate, insightful, clever, funny, and flat-out awesome articles and essays about our community. But I’d love to see us honor as many of those diverse voices as we can.”
Pop quiz: when was the last time more than one woman made the final ballot for the Best Fan Writer Hugo?[1. 2006] And when was the last time more women than men made the final ballot?[2. 1974, if my research is correct.]
I’m not saying the people who made the ballot didn’t deserve it. But this sort of trend makes me believe fandom needs to broaden our scope. To that end, I’m trying to pull together some of the fan writing (mostly blog posts, because that’s what I tend to read) that stood out for me last year.
I would love to hear your thoughts on who else deserves recognition, because I know there are a lot of great fan writers I’m either not aware of or else I’m just forgetting, because of brain-leaks. I’ll probably do a follow-up on this, or maybe run a few spotlight blog posts for people I believe should be on that ballot.
N. K. Jemisin: Things People Need to Understand, Issue 223.2. I like Jemisin’s writing, both fiction and nonfiction, and this piece makes a number of good points about the state of fandom and the so-called agenda of people pushing for change and accountability.
Cat Valente: Let Me Tell You About the Birds and the Bees: Gender and the Fallout Over Christopher Priest. Addressing and documenting the differences in how men and women are treated online.
Seanan McGuire: Things I Will Not Do to my Characters. Ever. In which McGuire responds to the question, “When are Toby or one of the Price girls going to be raped?” Because apparently this must happen in order for her work to be “realistic,” which is both messed-up and symptomatic of larger issues.
Genevieve Valentine. For her writing about sexism and objectification in the SF/F community.
S. S. White, aka calico-reaction. Purely for the number of good reviews and discussions of SF/F books, stories, and shows.
These are just a few of the people who come to mind as contributing to the ongoing conversations in fandom. But there are so many more. (I know the instant I post this, I’m going to kick myself for omitting someone.)
Who do you think should be honored this year for their fan writing? Please leave your suggestions in the comments, along with links and whatever additional thoughts you’d like to share. If the links cause your comment to go into moderation, don’t worry about it – I’ll be keeping an eye on the comments and free those up as quickly as I can.
January 8, 2013 @ 9:58 am
Racheline Maltese, both for her amazing media criticism at Letters from Titan and for the fan-fiction she writes that I often like better than the original media.
Jim C. Hines
January 8, 2013 @ 10:04 am
You know, it didn’t even occur to me that fanfiction writers would be eligible, but looking at the rules, I’m not seeing anything that would exclude them.
I suspect that would lead to some interesting debates, as well as a few storms of outrage. Which could be fun 🙂
prezzey / Bogi Takács
January 8, 2013 @ 11:22 am
I’d like to recommend Aishwarya Subramanian and Sofia Samatar. I linked to their websites, but both also review for Strange Horizons.
Ada Hoffmann only started writing fannish posts recently, but she’s already made a few very important points. (This. So much this)
On the steampunk scene there’s Jaymee Goh of Silver Goggles and Ay-Leen the Peacemaker of Beyond Victoriana.
I’ll probably think of more recommendations later!
January 8, 2013 @ 12:24 pm
So far as I can tell, you’re right that they’re eligible, and also that it’d be fun to toss fanfic writers into the mix. The howls of outrage would be heard from here to Madagascar, however, and — given that most fan writers are women — I imagine we’d also hear at least a few of the not-so-fun responses that Cat Valente discusses in her post linked above, if female fanfic writers seemed poised to encroach into the category where the Serious Business of non-fiction fannish commentary has always reigned supreme. At the very least, there’d be dissing and sarcasm and eyerolling and sneering.
Fanfic writers are down there (here? I used to write fanfic) with furry fans as the folks (other) fans, who’ve traditionally seen themselves as the misunderstood, scorned bully-bait of society, feel comfortable misunderstanding, scorning and bullying. I frankly don’t see that changing any time soon for the fanfic fans. (Or the furry fans, for that matter.)
January 8, 2013 @ 2:36 pm
Hey, I know her! She does good stuff. Also, she has yet to smother me on account of snoring when we go to the same con. 😉
I think the only thing she’d be eligible for this year is Letters from Titan, but she’s got an essay in Whedonistas (which was eligible last year), and some published fiction under her belt. I’d love to see her in the running.
January 8, 2013 @ 7:05 pm
I love all these writers, but I’m interested that four out of the five recommendations you’ve made are effectively pro writers under their other hats. This is clearly a trend with this category, and being a popular voted award, it’s probably unlikely to change as popular writers will almost always be more well-known to voters than those who are “only” writing in fan spheres, but I would love to see non-pro writers (ie: those who aren’t also already successful in publishing) being more recognised in the Fan Writer category!
Jim C. Hines
January 8, 2013 @ 7:15 pm
Tehani – I would love to see that too! I noticed the same thing as I was putting this post together. The thing is, the blogs I read most often tend to be pro writers. So that’s how my own recommendation list is skewed.
The nice thing about the comments on this post is that it’s bringing in a broader range. I’m hoping to do a follow-up, and I also hope people will read the comments so they’re not just getting my limited list.
January 9, 2013 @ 8:10 pm
Three that I can think of –
Abigail Nussbaum from Asking the Wrong Questions who has produced high level criticism for a number of years.
Maureen Kincad Speller from Paper Knife who wrote a number of brilliantly insightful essays and crits over 2012.
ACrackedMoon from Requires Only That You Hate – a controversial choice for some, but no one has made me think more about privilege and race issues.
January 9, 2013 @ 8:18 pm
Pro / fan writers – because I don’t think someone should be discriminated from an award just because they’ve published professionally:
Tansy Rayner Roberts (stitching words, one thread at a time) who has consistently been producing fantastic fan insight and criticism for a number of years.
My co-host on the Writer and The Critic podcast, Kirstyn McDermott (even blackbirds must die) who keeps blowing me away with her fiction and non-fiction writing.