The Hugos, From Far, Far Away

conspiracy coverI likely will never win a Hugo, aptly enough. The chances of my writing or editing something of that quality are not good. I am proud of the anthologies I’ve worked on. I love some of the stories!  But compared to everything else in the field in a given year? I’m pretty sure there’s going to be a piece (or several) which will overshadow whatever project I’m involved with. Excellence is just like that. It stands up and shines. It’s a quantum leap better than most things of its type.

My reaction to the entire puppy mess was a mixed bag. One, as an abuse survivor I get *mad* when people start manipulating what I have access to. Two, even though I personally like old-fashioned action/adventure pieces, I know that’s not where the market is. Three, I love sf but I realize these days it’s not simply owned by sf fans; it’s owned by the world.

We succeeded, or our predecessors did, right? Science fiction was originally the purview of mostly WASP (and Jewish) 12 year old boys with not-great social skills. It was marginal, a social and literary outcast. Those of us who loved it worked hard at making it respectable, more mainstream. And we succeeded, yes? Movies, television, and mainstream fiction all steal our best bits, premises, memes, themes, etc. and have for decades.

So? So sf isn’t owned only by sf fans anymore. The audience is bigger, encompasses much of the world and general population. The population of WASP males (Campbell’s traditional hero) is shrinking, the population of non-WASP non-males is growing — the genre is owned by the general population. The genre is bound to change, whether any of us like it, or not.

I didn’t vote last year because I wasn’t sure what to do. The pieces I might have voted for were mostly not on the ballot, although some were. I hated the ballot manipulation. Because I wasn’t sure what to do, I decided to wait and see what happened.

What I said at the beginning about excellence (Excellence is just like that. It stands up and shines. It’s a quantum leap better than most things of its type.) sums up my thinking about what the Hugos should be, although I’m enough of a realist to concede this won’t always be the case.
If the Hugos in general stand for anything other than our best, say stand for political correctness of any stripe, or just manipulation, we all lose.

(Editor’s note:  Judith K. Dial is the co-editor, along with Tom Easton, of the newly released NESFA press original fiction anthology Conspiracy.)

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