Why I Haven’t Babbled About the Hugo Awards…Yet

Leave a comment

You’ll notice that I haven’t joined in on the discussion about the Hugos this year.  Granted, there hasn’t been nearly the level of intense debate as there was last year, though some folks have waded into the categories discussion, which has been going on for a while.  There’s a pretty good reason why I’ve been mostly silent:  I don’t have anything new to say.

If you recall, Justin Landon basically ruined the Internet last year when he posted about what he perceived as the problems with the Hugo Awards.  I still tend to agree with most of his points, even many of those we both raised in these episodes on The Skiffy and Fanty Show.  But I sort of also agree with Justin’s later post on why the Hugos don’t really need to change…mostly.  As it stands, Justin argued, the awards function within a particular paradigm, and to try to insert another paradigm within that may be the wrong course of action.  The Hugos aren’t perfect as is; both of us have acknowledged that in one fashion or another.  I think there are some things that have to change about the award, but I’m also convinced that a lot of the things I want to change (category issues, etc.) may be resolved in time anyway.  Just…in time.  And in retrospect, I agree with Kevin Mudd’s assertion that the Hugos function so slowly because they are democratic (well, I agree that the process is slow because it contains procedures that appear democratic, not that the Hugos are themselves democratic)(I may be misremembering Mudd’s position because that was last year and it’s now 2014).

But the thing is…I have nothing new to say about all of this.  I’m not angry this year.  I’m not irritated.  I’m indifferent.  Not to the Hugos as an idea, but rather to their operation or flaws.  I love the Hugos as an idea.  It’s an important award.  I’d like to see it changed for the better in time, too.  But I’m also not interested in having the debate…again.  I don’t see the point in saying what we’ve already said again.  If change is going to happen, it’ll happen because people on the inside will create those changes or the people outside of it who want changes band together and use their vote to alter what appears on the ballots.

This is a debate that probably will continue for a while:  what do we do to keep the Hugos relevant?  Perhaps we can do what Landon suggested he might do — start new awards, leaving the Hugos alone to do “their thing.”  Or maybe we just have to accept that we have to be more proactive, not in trying to massively change it all in one fell swoop, but in a more measured approach, vote by vote, discussion by discussion.  But ultimately, I don’t feel like the debate matters that much this year.  The repetition feels flat, wasted.  It feels like it pales in comparison to the very real insurgency within our community, the fracturing of communities (as Jonathan McCalmont suggests here), and so on.  Those are things we have to solve now so we can have a better “future” for later.

And that’s why I’m not really talking about the Hugos like I was last year.  Instead, I’ll talk about what I’m going to nominate, do my best to make it to Worldcon this year (more on that later), and generally enjoy what I can of this community.

The End.

About the Author:

Shaun Duke is an aspiring writer, a reviewer, and an academic. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Digital Rhetoric and Writing at Bemidji State University. He received his PhD in English from the University of Florida and studies science fiction, postcolonialism, digital fan cultures, and digital rhetoric.

Leave a Reply