To our lovely readers—
It’s awards season, and yes, we will be talking about it on the blog, and in future podcasts. Even as SF authors all over are posting on their blogs about their 2010 award-eligible work, others are discussing whether this is blatantly trolling for votes.
I can see how a constant barrage of VOTE FOR ME OMG could be irritating and tacky. I certainly find it so when it’s podcast award season, and one award allows listeners to vote daily, so the constant vote requests tend to be cacophonous. However, I’m spreading out the awards information for one main reason: don’t forget the podcasts.
Until recently, people didn’t even think about nominating a podcast (or any web content) for a Hugo. Heck, it was ground-breaking when webzines started to win. But last year, Catherine Valente self-published a book on her site, and it went on to win the Andre Norton award for best YA novel. Clarkesworld, an online magazine, won the Hugo for best semi-pro zine. And as we’ve mentioned several times (because it’s still SO FREAKING COOL) Starship Sofa won the Hugo for best fanzine.
I had an uncomfortable panel discussion at last year’s NASFiC (North American Science Fiction Convention). We had a panel on podcasting and a very bitter fanzine author showed up (I’d politely say they shall remain nameless, but honestly I never did catch their name), This person expressed anger that these new methods of reaching fans were getting all their friends to vote for them, as if new fans, or listeners to SF instead of readers, were less worthy to vote for the Hugos.
What gets me is that the new is considered unworthy, not paying its dues, and the fans are similarly unworthy, and their votes just don’t mean as much. I find that incredibly offensive, as our fans are worldwide, and many have been dedicated to us since we launched five years ago. Others are new to the genre, just trying it out, and loving it, and I sure as hell don’t want to take a new fan of the genre and tell them they aren’t worthy.
You, the readers and listeners, don’t give a crap about this infighting in SF. You want a good story. We try to deliver it to you. As does LightSpeed and Clarkesworld and Starship Sofa and Pseudopod and Podcastle and Drabblecast and Asimov’s and Analog and F&SF and Weird Tales… and so on. You want SF content. We give it to you. And that’s the end of story. (Until next week, anyway.)
I had not planned on going on such an impassioned rant. I just want to say that a new fan is worth just as much as an old fan, and a new way to experience shot stories is not a reason to discount it. And whether the Internet-wary veterans like it or not, if you’re eligible to vote for these awards (WorldCon member for Hugos, SFWA member for Nebulas, and HWA member for Stokers) then your vote counts just as much as theirs does.
I wanted to use this letter to remind you that many, many podcasts are now eligible for the major awards. Starship Sofa broke it open last year, and now we just need to let the listeners know. When you make your Hugo or Nebula or World Fantasy or Stoker ballots, consider Escape Pod, Pseudopod, and Podcastle. Don’t forget Starship Sofa and Drabblecast. Remember also your favorite podcast novels, novellas, and short stories that were released last year. I’m not telling you who to vote for, in any of the categories, just wanting to remind you that we — the online content providers — are here are here, delivering weekly content, and if you enjoy it, consider us when you make your nominations.
The ePub version can be found here.