This is a website born from an ongoing attempt to abolish the Best Semiprozine Hugo. In the course of trying to eliminate the category, some disparaging remarks have been made against semiprozines. By and large, I consider their statements about the worth and health of the semiprozine field uninformed. As such, I have invited (and continue to invite) the people involved with these publications to join me in providing content for this blog.

Our goal is to be both educational and informational. We’ll be featuring specific venues, providing current news, and offering some of our opinions on the state of the field as well as the Best Semiprozine Hugo. We encourage you to ask questions, suggest topics, and help spread the word.

Thank you,

Neil Clarke
Clarkesworld Magazine

14 thoughts on “Welcome!

  1. Hi Neil,

    Glad to support in any way I can.

    Could you add Hub Magazine to your directory, too (www.HubFiction.com) as Comments have been disabled on that page.

    Let me know if you need any content from us.

  2. I support the category, but find it rather confusing at the moment, since it is contrasted with “professional”, which no longer seems to have any explicit meaning in the awards system.

  3. I agree that the names of the Hugo ‘zine categories are confusing and have lost their practical meaning. I personally think the ‘zine categories would be better if separated somehow along fiction and non-fiction lines.

    But I certainly think the Semiprozine Hugo should not be cut unless or until some sort of larger category reorganization is done. Otherwise there will be no category ideal for the great not-fully-pro but way-more-than-amateur ‘zines like Clarkesworld and Weird Tales and many others.

    Scott H. Andrews
    Editor-in-Chief and Publisher
    Beneath Ceaseless Skies

  4. While I appreciate your efforts to maintain this category, the Hugo voters are the main reason the motion was raised to eliminate it. I have heard the semi-prozine category nicknamed the “Locus Award Category.” It almost always goes to Locus, probably because it is the most visible title.

    Locus has served a valuable purpose to the spec-fi community and I’m personally impressed at how well it has maintained a regular schedule, but its journalism has been disappointing. Didn’t it erringly report that Forrey Ackerman died twice before he actually did? Yet it will most likely win again this year.

    If the membership of Worldcon shows so little appreciation for this aspect of publishing, it might be better to let it go. In this day and age, it might be do the community better to replace it with a website category.

  5. The origin of the category is to keep higher profile semi-pro publications from wiping the floor with good old fashioned fanzines in the fanzine category. LOCUS used to win in the fanzine category.

    NYRSF, even though it has never won a Hugo, could be projected to sweep in the fanzine category based on the number of votes it attracts in the semi-prozine category, if it were allowed in as a fanzine.

    It is not lack of voter interest that causes LOCUS to win every year. It is that they have a much larger circulation than other publications in the category.

  6. I didn’t realize there was a movement to abolish the category until I saw this site. And I’m unclear on why–because Locus always wins? Doesn’t the category at least raise the visibility of other ‘zines? I follow quite a few, and on the ballot I found names I’d never heard of but am now eager to check out.

    That seems worthwhile, to me. I can’t see how maintaining the category places a taxing burden on anyone else.

  7. Kathryn Cramer @7: Back when this first came up, you asked if you could find out exactly what had been said in the debate on the motion’s first passage in Denver. By the time I got the video posted, comments had closed on your blog entry. In case you’ve not seen it elsewhere, the debate is posted in two parts: the technical debate and the substantive debate.

    Given that it is likely that the same arguments (on both sides) are likely to be made during the ratification debate in Montreal, it may be worthwhile for anyone with an interest in the subject to review at least the substantive debate, particularly anyone who intends to attend the WSFS Business Meeting in Montreal.

  8. Tom Waters @4: WSFS stopped trying to define “professional” in any technical sense because it was becoming impractical to do so. By the older definition (10,000-copy press run), there were many obviously professional publications that would be technically considered “non-professional.” Therefore, “professional” is defined as “whatever the voters point at when they say ‘professional.'”

    This, by the way, is how “science fiction and fantasy” is defined. WSFS doesn’t try to define it. It assumes that the voters as a whole know what they’re voting for, and can be trusted as a group.

  9. You have my full and unqualified support to keep this category active. It would be a shame to lose it, imo. And while the argument “Well, Locus wins it anyway” has passion, it fails to convince me this award has lost both its meaning and worth for the semiprozine field.

    Frankly, the effort to eradicate this award smacks of more than a little arrogance coupled with an act of typical disparagement we see all too often in our profession. It doesn’t hurt SF/F in any way to recognize some of the high level semiprozine magazines which add to the literary quality and public exposure of our field. To my way of thinking, to ignore their existence and deny their contribution would be the greater crime.

    But, I guess that’s just me.

    I also like the idea of having ‘zine categories separated into fiction and non-fiction categories. I hope that happens someday. It’s long overdue.

  10. I hope that people are doing the basics and reading the specific amendment — it’s now included the Wikipedia article for Semiprozine to make it easier.

    And if people are going to discuss this, much less participate in the vote, they really should watch the video Kevin Standlee got online. He mentioned it earlier but I will again:




    Meanwhile this is a vote about a Hugo, not a Senate seat. We’re pretty honest and (perhaps foolishly) trust that people are intelligent enough to form their own opinions. Now that the actual proposed amendment and (later today) the links to the video are in one place I’m going with the assumption that everyone, pro or con, will include them at the beginning of any discussion.

    (I struggled through getting the cross-outs and underlines correct on the Wikipedia page; if you have any problems getting it up on your own site let me know and I’ll send you my kludge in case it might work.)

  11. Hi Elspeth,

    Thanks for reminding people. Before I launched this site, I sent an email to a group of semiprozine editors and publishers. I made sure to include a link to Kevin’s livejournal post (the one that announced and linked to the videos), so they would have a better understanding of what was going on.

  12. Also, the full text is included in this year’s WSFS Business Meeting Agenda at item 3.2. The motion’s preamble states the intended purpose:

    Moved, to amend the WSFS Constitution for the purpose of eliminating the Best Semiprozine category while preventing works that currently qualify as semiprozines from competing in the Best Fanzine category….

    It then goes on to include specific changes intended to implement the legislative intent. That’s fairly important, by the way, because if it does pass, future Hugo Award administrators will be expected to follow the stated legislative intent, not find complex and convoluted interpretations to different conclusions that the fairly straightforward one put forth in the preamble.

Comments are closed.