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Soundproof #11

You can download the ePub version here.

Greetings dear listeners!

I just returned from WorldCon where I met several listeners, thanks to everyone who came by to say hi! I was able to solicit stories from some pros and talk to some authors about their upcoming work – we’ve got an original piece from James Patrick Kelly coming up that I’m utterly thrilled about. But more on that another month…

The Hugo awards were given out on Saturday, August 20, and the ceremony was a blast. Jay Lake and Ken Scholes brought their clever rapport to the stage and gave a good show with minimal hiccups (to my eyes, anyway. On Jay’s blog he talks about how frantic it was when script pages went missing, etc.) Extra special congrats to Mary Robinette Kowal, who took the prize for Best Short Story (remember you can find “For Want of a Nail” at http://escapepod.org/2011/06/09/ep296-for-want-of-a-nail/ ) and Clarkesworld, the Best Semi-Pro winner that allowed us to use Kate Baker’s fantastic narrations in our Hugo month! You can see the other winners at Escape Pod’s home page.

Awards always serve to split people. While people covet awards, they still manage to convince themselves that the system is rigged, or undeserving works win, or people band behind their friends to skew the voting. I’ve read flat-out boring Hugo winners. I’ve wondered why fantastic stories didn’t make even a nomination. I’ve seen fandom get frothing at the mouth angry over things like websites and podcasts edging into their territory (SF fans afraid of technology and the future. Mind boggling….)

This year the business part of WorldCon featured people that were so mad at last year’s Starship Sofa win (and nomination this year, not to mention the excellent Writing Excuses got a nod for Best Related Work) that they decided to create a new category called Best FanCast. While this does show that they are accepting that the podcast is a medium that will not go away, it’s somewhat sad that some people are now asking “are there enough podcasts to qualify?”

Head, meet desk.

What really worries me is that all podcasts will be pushed into Best Fancast just because of the medium. Escape Pod publishes stories and is a paying market (qualifying for Best Semi-pro Zine). Starship Sofa publishes stories and nonfic commentary/essays and qualifies (or qualified) for Best Fanzine. James Patrick Kelly’s podcast novella Burn is a Nebula winner. Writing Excuses talks about writing and the SF craft, and it’s done entirely by pro writers. Would all of these be pushed into the same category because of the podcast element? Why not put Blackout/All Clear, Asimov’s, and Chicks Dig Time Lords in the same category because they’re all on paper?

I’m not a strong arguer, I admit. It’s not in my nature. But I believe I’m going to have to hit the business meetings next year in order to speak up for podcasts, else we’ll all be shoved to the kids’ table, the one with the rickety leg, just because of our medium instead of our content.

See you in Chicago next year, and at DragonCon this weekend!

—Mur

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