You’ve Never Heard of the Hugo Awards Before? Oh My….

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As I trudge through my day reading yet another roundup of internet stupidity regarding the Hugo Awards, I continually come upon the following argument:

There are far more “fans” of science fiction than the elitist scum who control the Hugo Awards for their own political gain;  therefore, the Hugo Awards should be taken away from the elitist scum and given to the people.

~ the intervention of `twisted logic` ~

and besides, they can’t be that important anyways, since I never heard of the Hugo Awards until the Puppies (their names forever hallowed for the sacrifices they’ve made in the name of all that is Holy Unwashed) started attacking a non-existent boogeyperson in order to make themselves more revered by people like me….

(the above are not direct quotes, but rather at least partially accurate paraphrased summations)

I need not parse the logic, other than to point out that it makes absolutely no sense to anyone other than maybe a puppy wannabe.

What does continue to worry at me like eagles at Prometheus’ liver is the statement that the self-proclaimed concerned fan has “never heard of the Hugo Awards before”.

I find that it is nearly impossible not to have heard of the Hugo Awards.  At least so long as one is a reader of science fiction.

I’ve done some casual research on this and have come to the conclusion that about the only way a reader might never have seen the words “Hugo Award” associated with science fiction is to restrict ones reading to non-award winning authors.  Which is itself a Gordian Knot of Illogic, as about the only way one can avoid award winning works….

(I leave the fill-in above for those to whom logic is not an arcane phenomena.  Those that logic fails might be offended by the implication so I’m saving them the angst.)

Among the bookstores that I frequent are national franchises, all of which carry the same approximate mix of books.  Among those books are (surprise!) Hugo Award nominated and winning novels, anthologies and collections containing Hugo Award winning shorter lengths.

I have yet to discover the publisher that fails to take advantage of the award status of a work they publish by mentioning it somewhere – usually closely associated with the work in question.  Like on the cover.

The above leads me to believe that at some point during a visit to the bookstore, a reader of science fiction will scan across many titles on the shelves that contain a Hugo Award mention (maybe even Asimov’s The Hugo Winners!).

hugo winners

And based on the fact that award winners generally gain more press and attention than non-award winners, it’s more likely that someone looking for something that was recommended will pull such a title and at least see an award name mentioned.

THHGTTG - Hugo Nominee;  Foundation trilogy, Hugo Winner.  Just a small number of shelves reveals several Hugo Award related works.
THHGTTG – Hugo Nominee; Foundation trilogy, Hugo Winner. Just a small number of shelves reveals several Hugo Award related works.

Quite simply someone browsing for SF in a chain bookstore is likely to come across a mention of the Hugos.  (Though admittedly they’ll not see mention of the award if they restrict themselves to the anime/manga, or tie-in novel sections of the bookstore, and it is unlikely they’ll see it in the comics/graphic novels section, but not impossible.  This is of course due to the fact that the wretched scum controlling the awards from their hive of infamy….  No awards are given for the former categories and only recently started being awarded in the latter.)

If one goes to Amazon and does a search for “award winning science fiction”, this is what they get:

 

amazon

Even better if you search for “award winning sci fi”.  The FIRST search return is listed as a Hugo winner.

award winning sci fi

 

Do a google search for “best science fiction”, “award winning science fiction”, “best sci fi books”, etc., etc., you’ll get search results that are, at the most, two clicks away from seeing the words “Hugo Award winning”, and more often than not, the Hugo Award is mentioned within the first dozen results, if not in the top five.

Google search for "Award winning Sci Fi"
Google search for “Award winning Sci Fi”

There are tons of websites with lists – my favorite Sci Fi novels, my top 100 science fiction novels, etc., ad infinitum.  I’ve yet to see a single one that does not contain at least one Hugo Award winning novel that mentions that it is a Hugo Award winning novel. (Funny how they do that….)

www.WorldsWithoutEnd.com front page.
www.WorldsWithoutEnd.com front page.

You have to work at looking for “great science fiction stories” to find a list that does not mention the award.

I certainly can’t speak for anyone else, but it sure seems pretty straightforward to me that if I were new to the genre, or looking to expand my knowledge of it and saw a book review or listing that said “Hugo Award Winning”, I’d be pretty darned motivated to find out what the heck that means.  If such a phrase as “Hugo Award Winning” actually means what it implies (stories of science fiction and fantasy that have won some kind of award), I’d think I’d just found the mother lode – a whole bunch of stories I might not be familiar with that come highly recommended.

This would lead me (though apparently not everyone) to do a search for “Hugo Award”.  (Like with Google or Bing or one of those things called a “search engine”.)

And what happens when I do that?

This:

hugo page

hugo page 2

(To make it easier to read, I split the results page into two images.  The second image actually appears to the right in the original search results.)

Well Howdy Doody will you look at that!  I didn’t have to plug in some arcane search term or page through hundreds of pages of results to find what I was looking for.  I got a full page of search results that will take me right to the official source for information about the award.  Plus I got a picture of the award and a list of works that won last year.  (Bonus!  One of the top search results will take you right here to Amazing Stories.  Might be because the guy the award was named for had something to do with Amazing Stories.  But if you’ve never heard of the award, you might not know that.  Or even care.)

I would like to submit that anyone looking for “good” science fiction will, at some point, do an internet search using a term similar to or exactly the same as those I typed in for this post.  I would further like to suggest that anyone who is not curious enough to follow up upon seeing the phrase “Hugo Award Winning”  – at some point during their reading career that likely spans years if not decades –  is someone who is not curious enough to be a reader of science fiction. (Hush my mouth!  Did I just suggest that someone ignorant of the Hugo Awards might by synonymous with someone who doesn’t read science fiction?)  Oh, maybe they were forced to read one by an English professor sometime during their school years (more unlikely for some generations than others), but they’re not motivated readers of science fiction.  But then, someone who is not a motivated reader of the genre seems an unlikely source for the complaint that they’ve never heard of the award.

There are, of course, other paths to finding this information.  Perhaps an individual reads other literature than SF.  Surely they’ve heard of at least one award related to some kind of writing – the Pulitzer, the Caldecot, the National Book Awards, the Edgars, PEN….Once again, it strikes me that the average fan might ponder something like this:  

Given that there are awards for various types of literature and

Given that science fiction is a type of literature (at least according to some),

Therefore, it is logical to assume that there may be awards for science fiction literature.

I realize it’s a huge leap to go from the above proposal to opening up the browser, finding a search engine and typing in “awards for literature”, but those who make that leap will be instantly rewarded with –

Good ol’ Wikipedia’s list of awards.  By country, by region, by language and by…OMG!  Could it be?  Awards by genre!.  Boy howdy thank goodness that was easy. Look!  Way down at the bottom of the list of awards by genre (down at the bottom where it belongs!) is “Speculative Fiction (science fiction and fantasy)”.

My thoughts tremble at the thought of clicking on that link.  Everything I’ve previously written will be indicted for the elitist snark it is if the Hugo Award can’t be found among the Wikipedia (reliable and trustworthy font of all internet knowledge that it is) entry for “Speculative Fiction (science fiction and fantasy)”…-

hugo wiki

Wow!  I expected that list to be alphabetical in nature, causing me (and my fellow searchers) to have to scroll down a long list of other awards I’ve never heard of, getting bored well before reaching the Hs and of allowing my confirmation bias to color my intellectualizing.  (Stupid intellectualizing, always getting me into trouble like that!)

But I need not have trembled.  Thar she blows!  Right at the top of the list.  (I wonder why.  Could it be that the Hugo Awards were the very first awards ever given out for Speculative Fiction (science fiction and fantasy)?  Maybe that’s what those numbers following each entry….

And what happens if I click on the entry for the Hugos?

It’s a vicious circle I tell you.  Clicking through reveals a link to the Hugo Awards website.  (And also a link to the Amazing Stories page which provides a link back to this site.  But don’t go down that path, it’s a distraction.  You’ll never find out anything about the Hugo Awards on the Amazing Stories website….

amazing hugo

Numerous other genre-related websites return similar results:

 

sfsignal
Search results for “awards” on SFSignal.com
Search results for "Awards" on IO9.com
Search results for “Awards” on IO9.com
Search results for "Awards" on Tor.com
Search results for “Awards” on Tor.com
Search results for "Awards" on ScienceFiction.com
Search results for “Awards” on ScienceFiction.com

(I do realize that I’m being USian & English centric with these searches, but I’ve got to tell you, I’ve never seen a complaint about not knowing of the Hugo Awards in any language other than English, nor have I seen any from anyone outside the US.  Maybe Europeans, Japanese, Chinese and Anzacs are smarter on average than USians?  Or maybe they just have a thing for search engines.  Foreigners are known for having strange ways….)

Well.  Maybe I’m actually a tad right.  About those who claim to have never heard of the award not being readers of science fiction, I mean.  Maybe they’re just watchers of science fiction.

Anyone seriously interested in genre film or television will probably have heard of the Saturn Awards.  Why?  Because they’re the awards given out (to film and TV) by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films.

Admittedly it does take a little bit more work to go from the Saturn Awards to the Hugo Awards.  I had to watch their taped announcements of the nominees to discover that Dr. Who has been nominated.  If I look up Dr. Who….

I’ll find that it has a Wikipedia entry that helpfully has a section named AWARDS.  And here is what it says when I click on that:

It has won the Short Form of the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, the oldest science fiction/fantasy award for films and series, six times (every year since 2006, except for 2009, 2013 and 2014). The winning episodes were “The Empty Child“/”The Doctor Dances” (2006), “The Girl in the Fireplace” (2007), “Blink” (2008), “The Waters of Mars” (2010), “The Pandorica Opens“/”The Big Bang” (2011), and “The Doctor’s Wife” (2012).[178][179][180][181] Doctor Who star Matt Smith won Best Actor in the 2012 National Television awards alongside Karen Gillan who won Best Actress. Doctor Who has been nominated for over 200 awards and has won over a hundred of them.

Doctor Who Wikipedia entry

(Similar results for well-known and liked genre television and film properties.  Like the ones that get nominated for and win awards.)

And what happens if I click on the Hugo Award mention?  You guessed it!  A Wikipedia entry all about those awards we’ve never heard of.

Sure does make me wonder why someone would say they’ve never heard of the Hugo Awards.

But never mind.  If they’ve never heard of the Hugo Awards, they’d surely not be complaining about them, right?

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