Roundtable: All the Awards (Part 1 of 3)

Karen Burnham

This weekend, awards season really geared up. The BSFA and Ditmar awards were announced, and the Hugo award nominations were revealed. Congratulations, by the way, to all the winners and nominees reading this!

So what do awards do for us as a community? Do they help shape the dialog, or are they just something to argue over? Along the way, do you have any gripes, praise, or handicapping for this year’s season?

This conversation engendered lots of discussion in several directions (and I’m still experimenting with the best/most readable format for these posts) so I’ve decided to split the topic over three days. Check back Thursday and Friday for more Awards talk!

As usual, if you’d like to see the whole conversation on one page, select ‘View All’ from the drop down menu above. If you don’t see a drop down menu above, click here and it should show up.

Liz Hand

I think it says a lot about how far we’ve come in terms of cultural respectability that we can, after all these years, at last see a work like “Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury” on the final Hugo ballot.

Brett Cox

Liz: Ain’t it the truth!

Unfortunately I can’t immediately lay my hands on a copy of the book to quote accurately, but there’s a passage in Charlotte’s Web that says, approximately, that it is a fine thing to receive an award and gain the approbation of one’s peers.  And that is indisputably true.  No matter how we gripe and shrug and downplay it, people love awards; they love receiving them, and yes, they love witnessing them being received.  They are also a boon to the statisticians among us.

Liz Hand

Oh, I love that quote and have always wanted to use it!

“It is deeply satisfying to win a prize in front of a lot of people.”

I think that in the SF/F world, awards may have compensated a bit for the lack of validation that  quote-unquote “literary” mainstream writers and novels receive.  That’s changed somewhat more recently, as genre writers more often find a place at the table alongside mainstream writers.

But as Brett said,  we all still like awards.  And I do think they serve a serious purpose, in that they can give encouragement and a sense of validation to artists who too often receive very little of either, in terms of financial and commercial success.  They can also help with marketing — publishers like them, too — though, sadly, you can’t live on awards.  Except for the Tiptree …

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