The 2023 Hugo Awards

In 2013, I had a work ruled ineligible by the Hugo Award committee and found out at the party after the Hugos. The reason was listed with the nominations — they thought that an audiobook didn’t count as a novella. When I wrote to them to ask for clarification, I received an answer. I didn’t like it, but I got one.

None of the people ruled ineligible this year were afforded that courtesy. They were cursed at.

I wound up getting involved in a process to amend the WSFS Hugo rules so that audiobooks were considered a form of publication the same as print.

I’ve been the chair of a WorldCon and so I have a little more view behind the curtain than most writers. What happened this year to the people who ruled ineligible without being given a reason is a travesty. Each year is a different group so another committee may have reached entirely different decisions.

Rules come into being to deal with problems and what this year demonstrated is a problem that has always existed with the way the Hugos are administered.

There’s no oversight board. The World Science Fiction Society, effectively, does not exist between Worldcons. The Hugo Administration subcomittee changes from convention to convention. There’s no consistency in rulings or recourse if your work has been removed from the ballot based on individual interpretation or whim.

This must change if the Hugos are to continue to be relevant and respected.

The rules changes that we made as a result of what happened to my story took two years to go into effect — long after it would benefit me. It was worth the time and effort because I knew it would affect more people than me. This is far, far worse. You can expect to see me at the WSFS meetings in Glasgow.

And I’m pissed.

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3 thoughts on “The 2023 Hugo Awards”

  1. What can the average fan (who doesn’t have your experience with WSFS and cons) do to help with this problem? Buy a WSFS membership to vote? Read and become more educated? Something else?

  2. I’m sorry I won’t be in Glasgow to join you.

    (It doesn’t fix the structural problems of the Hugos, but for 2023 specifically, I would wholeheartedly support a Retro Hugo as a way of redressing this specific incident.)

  3. A running oversight committee would likely go a long way to helping smooth things out. Exactly what powers to enforce their decisions I am unclear on, but the idea that it’d be a committee with overlapping membership terms to establish continuity would be good.

    I am appalled at what happened this past year. We should do what we can to prevent it from happening again.

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