The Hugo Awards

Ian Sales has been complaining about the latest Hugo Awards.

This is a subject nobody outside the SF world (not to mention many inside it) gives a toss about but to others it’s important. The Hugos claim to identify the best SF in any particular year but as Sales says the categories are now somewhat out of date and their boundaries can be obscure.

I used to pay some attention to them as a guide to what to seek out to read – and later when an acquaintance/friend was up for one of them. This year’s mainly passed me by. The results are here.

Since only attendees of any year’s Worldcon (Worldcon = the annual world SF convention) or its supporting members (financial contibutors who cannot attend) have a vote in the nominations or final ballot the awards are in essence a popularity contest so not necessarily giving an indicator as to quality.

The main flaw though is that since the Worldcon is usually held in the USA – and even when it isn’t – most of its members are from the US. This means they are and always have been essentially USian awards. This is historically inevitable since the US was the largest SF market and largest source of writers. But it does unlevel the playing field.

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