Saturday 30 April 2011

But I Digress | Hugo Who? and A Moment of Pride

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times...

So I've had a week. About which I should have a little more to share with you all sometime soon; it's going to mean a few changes to TSS, after all. But for now, I'm going to let Mr Dickens tell it.

Anyway, I spent a couple of hours yesterday catching up on all the blog posts I'd managed to miss while otherwise occupied, among which a one which seems to have set off something of an interesting discussion. That's this typically thoughtful interrogation of the contemporary relevance of the nominations for Best Fan Writer, as determined by the genrelit bigwigs behind the Hugo Awards. To which I'll say: the Hugos - not to mention the Clarkes and the Nebulas and the BFSAs... these awards are all institutions of a sort, and it is very much The Way of institutions to be leagues behind the rest of us; to be recalcitrant towards change, a thing so often sweeping one minute and then a nothing the next. But that doesn't mean they can't and won't change, just... on a timetable all of their own.

I mean, look at the Academy Awards. Of course most Best Picture winners are completely of a sort - such that some cinema can best be described as Oscar-bait - but it's the sort that the Academy originally set out to reward, and elevate, and there should be no shame in that. The Oscars have even evolved a little of late: with the pool of Best Picture candidates widened to accommodate ten films, now there's a way for the Academy to recognise the likes of Black Swan and The Kids Are Alright, comedy films and horror films and fantasy films (remember The Return of the King's belated triumph a decade ago?) very far in form from the organisation's traditional purview -  and where there's a way, there's a will. I'm going to be grateful for that precious little thing rather than begrudge that it isn't a bigger thing - and there are little things in the Hugo nominations this year, too, to be happy about. For instance joining a few usual suspects on the ballot for Best Novel, we have The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, which I really must read already, and Feed by Mira Grant: a political zombie thriller about bloggers!

That's not nothing.

But I digress. In fact I hadn't even intended to talk about the issues Aidan raised, so much as quote a little from his article, and proceed to grin stupidly. Here... is why:

"Don’t even get me started on the Best Fanzine and Best Fan Writer awards. Maybe I’m exposing my ignorance here, but beyond StarShipSofa, I haven’t heard of a damn one [nor I - ED], nor am I familiar with any of the writers. My beef, obviously, is the lack of presence of blogs, bloggers and online writers. Where’re the Nialls (Harrison and Alexander)? Where’s Abigail Nussbaum or Adam Whitehead? No nod for SF Signal? Really?"

To which I would add, and not just to be decent, where in the hell is A Dribble of Ink? Maybe Aidan wears a hat made of solid gold banknotes these days, and you totally can't trust him as far as you can throw him now he's working for - everyone, meet sarcasm - but whatever: if you aren't already following A Dribble of Ink, you damn well should be. Oh, and the blogs of all the other geniuses Aidan raises. Of course. Except maybe SF Signal.

(What? I'm not sorry... the ratio of content to noise has tipped, I think. Not to mention the advent of certain dubious reviewing practices. But what are we doing in brackets?)

There, that's better.

Now I expect it was mostly because of the curious poetry of talking about the two Nialls, but that Aidan thinks so highly of TSS as to even consider bringing it up among such illustrious company as Adam and Abigail... well, after a great gaping [redacted] of a week, that made me, for a moment, a fairly happy chap.

So you know. Ta. :)


  1. Thanks, Niall. And I didn't include you among those others without reason.


  2. Niall(s) mentioned in the same sentence as Abigail Nussbaum and Adam by Aidan Moher? What a useful who's who of bloggers...

  3. Well I'm sure there are others - let's not forget Neth and Graeme and the pair behind Pornokitsch, and there are still others, of course - but that's really very kind of you, Nathaniel. I talk about who's-whos all the time, but I never thought I'd be one. :)

  4. Oh, certainly, I wasn't slighting the names not listed at all and have no desire to do so (hell, I AM one of those names, albeit a minor one). And I think we need to add James to all future who's whos, just to annoy him and his rambling blog.