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2012 Hugos: Best Fan Writer

I'm a bit concerned that my write-ups of the Hugo nominations so far have been too grumpy. Perhaps it's due to my listing the nominees in reverse order of preference; writing about the ones I didn't like puts me (and possibly my reader) in a bad mood before I reach the ones I did like. So for the next few lists I'm going to apply the principle of listing the nominees in the order I intend to vote for them, and hope to say more nice things as a result.

Once again, Best Fan Writer is a category I don't think I have ever cast a complete ballot in previously. As someone whose fandom experience is largely on-line and occasionally in-person, I know three of the nominees as people rather than as writers, and had not read much by the other two at all. So I'm basing my vote entirely on the contents of the Hugo Voter Packet, rather than on any of their other writings that I may have seen, because with the exception of Steven Silver's livejournal entries, I haven't seen any. Anyway, I found it pretty straightforward to rank the candidates as follows:

1) Claire Brialey. Four solid pieces, three about fannish subjects, and one about last summer's riots in England. All well written and well presented, and felt to me like they described parts of my fannish and personal universe. Easy decision to give her my top vote. (NB that Brialey is the only female nominee in this category.)

2) James Bacon. One standout piece - "Hurt: A Dog Day Afternoon" - which is a brilliant and moving meditation on being a dog-loving train driver, the best single item of any of the nominated pieces. The other two pieces, on military sf and Irish-language sf, grabbed me less and had some imperfect editing.

3) Jim C. Hines. The only nominee whose entries are mostly blog posts. Best is the one on Jane C. Hines. Others include a parody of a song I don't know, complaints about genre-bashing, and dealing with sexual harassment.

4) Steven H. Silver. Three very short pieces (of which the best is the Anne McCaffrey obituary from The Drink Tank #299) and also the June 2011 news posts from SF Signal. All presented as a single document.

5) Chris Garcia. Four short pieces presented as a single document. The best is "The City of LA: A Love Story" from The Drink Tank #300. Other topics covered are the film Rollerball, what it feels like to win a Hugo, and the museum in one's head.

All entirely subjective, of course, and I think reasonable people can disagree about any of these rankings. I note, though I think it is coincidental, that the two writers I ranked last were the two whose writing is represented by single documents rather than by separate files for each article.

See also: Best Novel | Best Novella | Best Novelette | Best Short Story | Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form) | Best Professional Artist | Best Fan Artist



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 2nd, 2012 11:17 am (UTC)
This is one of my favourite categories in the Hugos, and as I know most of the nominees personally, and have read quite a bit by the others, I expect my voting will be largely based on personal bias.

Judging on the pieces in the Hugo packet alone is probably the fairest thing to do, but will tend to favour writers like Claire who put out a limited amount of well polished articles, and penalise Chris, who puts out a vast amount of fan writing with little or no editing. I feel that when Chris's volume of work is considered as a whole, it becomes clear what a fantastic fan writer he is, even though the individual pieces could do with more editing.

I would be very happy for any of the nominees to win it as they are all very deserving.
Jun. 2nd, 2012 11:38 am (UTC)
Judging on the pieces in the Hugo packet alone is probably the fairest thing to do

Not at all! It's what I did, because it's what I had handy. But those who have better knowledge of the nominees' entire output in 2011 will be in a better position to cast an informed vote.
Jun. 2nd, 2012 11:20 am (UTC)
Nicholas, would your postings not be more likely to present an impartial tone if you randomised your presentation rather than last-to-first or first-to-last?

I'm enjoying your posting in the various categories. This is the first year in a number of years that I'm not voting and I am enjoying your views when you post them. I decided not to get the voter's pack this year as I hadn't read any of the novels and, between work and with a wedding in the house this year (Oh shit! This month.), I don't have much time read them all. My reading speed being about one third yours I tend to need a lot of time to read.

Jun. 2nd, 2012 11:36 am (UTC)
Cheeres, Peter. I'm not really aiming to be impartial - these are my own views, after all, and I don't pretend to have expertise in applying independent aesthetic standards, I can only judge by what entertains me. I am aiming to be entertaining, and I think that if a category has some nominees that deserve ridicule (as is sadly often the case with the fiction categories) that is best done by the reverse order-of-preference approach; if on the other hand these are pieces written by enthusiasts for enthusiasts without payment, it seems a bit mean to emphasise the negative. (See also my coming post on Best Fancast.)

Good luck with the wedding!
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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