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I LOVE awards. I love them in a way that is probably slightly unbalanced. I love the annual nature of them, the sense of cycles turning and time passing. I love the nominations and announcements, the winners, the losers – all of it. I have been an awards administrator, debated awards rules, an awards judge many times, and both a happy winner and a mostly happy loser of awards. I totally acknowledge all of the flaws with them — and there are many — but I do think they are important for two reasons we’ve touched on here. They help build a sense of community, and do contribute to a building picture of the work being done. Do awards always get it right? Hell, no. Does it matter? Not that much. It’s more important that they exist and that we have them to talk about every year.
I agree with Jonathan.
Probably it’s related to editing Best of the Year volumes (that’s not really a joke — probably it is, I think!) but I agree with Gardner and Jonathan.
Of course I know that often the awards go to the wrong stories, and that they can be gamed, and that really great writers sometimes never get awards for any number of reasons, and that giving awards the year after the stories appear can look silly a few years later, and that many times there are several stories equally “good” in entirely different ways, such that it’s not reasonable to argue that one is “better” in any objective sense than the other …
Still and all, I like promoting stories for awards, and nominating them, and voting for them — and perhaps especially arguing about them after it’s all over! (As Gardner and I, among others, have been doing for some months in response to Jo Walton’s posts on the Hugos at Tor.com.)
(Indeed, just this week we were discussing the year that The Fountains of Paradise beat On Wings of Song. Consensus is certainly that Disch’s novel was better (though my personal choice that year was Crowley’s Engine Summer.) … but I do also like the Clarke. (And Disch’s comment that Clarke would die first is a bit eerie when you consider that he did — but only by a few months.))