The Ugly Hugo Ballot of 2015

I might regret this post later…

The Hugo Nominations are out and the ballot is largely spoiled in my opinion.

In case you haven’t heard about the Hugo fiasco of 2015, Black Gate (who deserve to be on the ballot, IMHO) does a great job of explaining some of the controversy and why they accepted the nomination here.

In my early writing career I attended the Hugo Ceremony in Toronto in 2003 and learned that Speculative Fiction had this wonderful event where they celebrated the works of their creative talents.

“Wow,” I thought. “Maybe one day I’ll be on that ballot.”

This was the same feeling I used to get as a kid, watching the Juno Awards and hoping against hope that one day I would be on that ballot. As my life unfolded, I learned many lessons about the music business and my own temperament that ruined the Juno Awards dream forever. And so began my less enthusiastic position on the sidelines of the music industry instead of in the spotlight.

Years later I learned about the back room politics and endless promotion that is required to earn your way onto any award ballot. The company that my then-husband was then-employed with worked tirelessly to be recognized by the television and movie industries. Which led me to this conclusion:

Getting recognized is largely based on a drive to be recognized rather than talent and merit alone.

Notice I used the word “alone” because talent and merit are often part of the equation. That will always be true.

As much as the audience members watching and clapping want to believe that awards are based on merit alone, however, that’s rarely the manner in which it all unfolds.

I’m sure that sometimes awards are based on merit. I’m sure that volunteers work with faith behind the scenes to make awards as honest, forthright, and genuine as possible.

I’ve been on the Prix Aurora Award ballot 4 times and won once and I’m very proud of that accomplishment.

I dont suck miniOn the other hand, I’m not naive enough to believe that my Aurora nominations or wins were based solely on my merit, especially since I’ve read fiction by Canadians that really deserved recognition but was’t nominated/didn’t win, and I’ve also read fiction that was nominated/did win that I felt was undeserving.

I’m also not naive enough to believe that my work is so freaking awesome that it is that deserving of much of anything. Believe me, I fluctuate between pride in my work and fear that I massively suck and should stop this whole delusion that I’m a writer at all. Which is why I tweeted this photo in January to remind myself that I don’t suck…flowers sent with love from my boyfriend, and the Aurora Award that I won in 2012.

Today the Hugo Awards became another Juno Awards for me. Something that I used to hope for, because if I was on this year’s ballot I’m not sure how I’d feel about it.

I no longer have a starry-eyed and enthusiastic belief in the “big one” of the Speculative Fiction awards. And that is really sad.

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  1. Pingback: Hugo roundup | Simon McNeil

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