The fate of the Best Semiprozine Hugo will be determined next week at Worldcon. In preparation for the vote, I’m been spending some extra time reading what the opponents of the award have to say. Over the next few days, I’ll be posting some quotes, their sources, and my responses. By all means, consider this an open discussion. Use the comments, make your case, but remain civil. I know that passions have run high in some corners. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. Please be respectful of that.
First off, a couple of statements made during last year’s business meeting:
“Reason we have categories is that we like to honour work. Locus has done a marvelous job. But we like to have categories where it’s an honour to be nominated.” –Ben Yalow, 2008 WSFS Business Meeting Minutes
Locus has done an incredible job over the years and has won its stack of Hugos courtesy of the voter’s recognition of their accomplishments. While Locus Magazine can be quite proud of this accomplishment, we (the other nominees) feel no less proud for being nominated. This nod from Hugo voters is an incredible honor. Given the number of nominations the category received this year (nearly as many as the Campbell Award and more than several non-endangered categories), these nominations have meaning to more than just those who receive them.
“We don’t seem to have any nominees for this category apart from the five who get nominated each year. It’s a weak category.” –Ben Yalow, 2008 WSFS Business Meeting Minutes
There are over 25 semiprozines listed on this site. They represent a broad range of fiction and non-fiction, online and print, and new and well-established magazines. They’ve won awards, received honorable mentions and Year’s Best citations, introduced new authors, published established authors, lead the way in online publishing, and have made valuable contributions to the community. They are anything but weak and it is my hope that we have opened more than few eyes to both the quality and quantity of semiprozines through this website.
Furthermore, I direct your attention to some recent calculations by Warren Buff (posted at File770). He has discovered that over the last ten years, the level of venue diversity on the semiprozine ballots has been very similar to that of Best Fanzine, Best Fan Writer, Best Fan Artist and Best Professional Artist. No one is suggesting those Hugos be eliminated, nor should they.
Greater representation of the field on the ballot is a worthy goal in any category and I’m happy to see people looking at it. How would you go about educating people about the alternatives? Has anything been tried in the past?