I wonder if there’s a difference between looking at them as writer-recipients and looking at them as editor/readers?
As a writer-recipient (which may be a different dynamic than an editor-recipient; I’m not sure), it behooves one to avoid thinking about it too much, in a way that would damage the writing or the ego, etc. etc.
From hearing Gardner and Jonathan talk, I wonder whether the awards are exciting to them as editors–as they are to me as a reader–because they facilitate a public conversation about fiction, give us an excuse to catch up on the field, and to find new things that we love.
I found a bunch of new-to-me authors this year while I was reading around. Kris Millering (“Isthmus Variation,” Beneath Ceaseless Skies) and Michelle Baker (“Throwing Stones,” Beneath Ceaseless Skies) really did some beautiful work with their first pro sales this year. Work I probably would not have seen if I hadn’t contacted Scott H. Andrews (the BCS editor) and asked him to point me to some of his favorites from the year.
Sure, I could do that without awards, but I think the award aspect provides a context that facilitates conversation.
I also feel like being able to discuss this stuff online with other people is the attraction for me–and I’m wondering where that intersects generationally with people who don’t write/read blogs? They give me a forum for discussing fiction with people who I probably otherwise wouldn’t. I don’t know Niall Harrison except from his blog, but I know that I think his taste level is high (as they would say on Project Runway) and the awards season gives me an excuse to ping him and go, “Hey, what are you loving? Point me to it,” and a reason to read that stuff by the nomination deadline instead of adding it to my perpetual pile of unfinished projects.
Rachel: That’s one of the best things about the nominations, catching up with stories and writers you’ve not heard of before. The Shirley Jackson Award lists have been really good for that in the last couple of years (for my reading, at least).
First of all, congratulations on your Hugo nomination!!! And to everyone else here who has been recently nominated or has won anything!!! I suspect the dynamic for editor-nominee and writer-nominee aren’t that different. You don’t want to think about it too much, because you’re not working for awards, but you get excited/nervous/exhilarated etc just as anyone does. And yes, the fact that they’re a public conversation is critical/exciting.
It can also make me re-asses/re-think things, simply because if I did overlook something and it ended up on an awards shortlist/ballot it’s worth re-thinking.
Jonathan: Congratulations to yourself and to all the other nominees here. I just wrote to Liz and told her I was already resenting her Hugo nomination.
Are we allowed to resent Hugo noms? That sounds like fun! 🙂