This blog has been silent for a while. It has been nearly two years since the attempt to eliminate the Semiprozine Hugo was defeated and committee assigned to take on the task of fixing an obviously outdated and broken definition.
You can read the committee’s 2011 report, proposal and some minority reports (committee members who either disagree with the proposal or feel it doesn’t go far enough, but couldn’t get sufficient support from other members) here.
As a member of the committee, I can say that this was a very difficult conversation among people with some strong opinions. In the end, this proposal represents significant improvement over the old. It draws real lines and eliminates several of the points that bothered people (for example, fanzines or prozines competing in the semiprozine category), but might introduce a few lesser evils in some people’s minds.
I am very opposed to proposals in the minority reports. Two effectively suggest that we do nothing or continuing looking, when we’ve already looked at all the aspects. The minority proposal from Ben Yalow would destroy the semiprozine category. Every year, they release a list of all the publications that received more than a handful of nominations in the category. Last year, there were 20 publications on that list of Semiprozines. Ben’s proposal would eliminate 13 of them as well as many other publications not on that list. It would be devastating.
Some will note that the proposal moves several of the 2011 nominees out of semiprozine and labels them professional magazines. Lightspeed, Locus and Weird Tales would be moved to professional based on their employee’s income or their publisher’s owner/employee’s income. There hasn’t been confirmation from Interzone, but they may be impacted as well. Clarkesworld, while not immediately eliminated, will probably pass the established threshold within two years. Is this a problem? I don’t think so. Publications that succeed and grow should move out of the category and allow the new blood their moments of glory. (Perhaps someday, as the number of professionals grows, we can bring back the Magazine Hugo to recognize the pros instead of focusing on Best Editor Short Form.)
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Please keep the conversation civil. If you have questions about anything, I’d be happy to answer.