I highly recommend the following blog post from master SF author and editor Eric Flint (he’s bought two of my five pro-stories, so you KNOW he’s a sharp fella), who takes a COMPLETELY different approach to this pro and anti Sad/Rabid Puppy debacle. Essentially, it’s not politics separating the Hugo voting crowd from what is really selling, it’s a vast, vast field which no one can know the entirety of, so a self-selected crowd focuses on works that challenge them, works which by their novelty are not what popular authors are selling in droves. In addition, the categories are completely wrong for today’s markets and what is actually being produced. (He tells it much better and explains it all at length HERE.)
Mr. Flint’s updated categories would be as such: Short Novel (40K-80K words or what used to be a novel when the Hugos started), Stand-Alone Full-Length Novel (80-120K words, or what publishers are actually seeking and buying), Mega-Novel or Trilogy (works like LOTR told as one story, but broken up into volumes, think ASOIAF/GOT), Ongoing Series (uses the same characters, but with a new central conflict each book, like the Dresden Files, Honor Harrington, Monster Hunter Int’l, Old Man’s War, etc).
Now, me, I’d add/continue Short Fiction categories as well, but update them to the modern era: Flash Fiction (1K words and under), Short Story (1K-20K), and Novella (20K-40K), with those definitions to be defined by committee.
To be clear, Eric Flint is not advocating these awards. Those are just categories which would be more representative of the field than the awards currently recognize. His main thrust is that the awards are too constrictive as a whole. Rather than being handed out annually, they should be given out on a periodic basis to authors based upon a body of work. That would be more valuable in terms of recognition and as a selling point.
When (okay, if) I’m made High Potentate of All Sci-Fi-Fant-Fandom and decree the Erics to be awarded, I’d probably take a mix of the old and new:
Best Flash Fiction of the Year
Best Short Story of the Year
Best Novella of the Year
Best Short Novel of the Year
Best Stand-Alone Novel of the Year
Best Mega-Novel (can include multiple years)
Best Series (can include multiple years)
Best New Writer (based upon at least 5 works over 3 years)
I imagine Mr. Flint would be horrified at being attached to such a thing, but I’d be generally excited about it. And just to prevent tribalism or bloc voting by a clique, open the ballot to ALL fans, attach it to a mega-con like DragonCon, and use proportional voting or Single Transferable Vote, etc.
Hmmmm, awards that honor the best work and the best author, without bias or insularity, and reflective of the current market. Eric Flint is not a genius. He’s a SUPER-GENIUS.
12 thoughts on “Scratch the Hugos — Let’s Get Behind the Erics!”
We would need to add a lifetime achievement award, for the DiCaprio’s of the genre.
As HPOASFFF, so mote it be!
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I always thought this would be a good idea, but I think we need a name besides the Erics.
This whole argument is just silly, and reflects the habit too many people have of seeing nefarious conspiracies everywhere they look, all of them aimed against them.
Yes, it’s true that Larry Correia and John Ringo are pretty far to the right on the political spectrum and they don’t get nominated for major awards despite being very popular.
You know what else is true?
I’m very popular and further to the left on the political spectrum than they are to the right—and I never get nominated either. Mercedes Lackey isn’t as far left as I am, but she’s pretty damn far to the left and even more popular than I am—or Larry Correia, or John Ringo—and she doesn’t get nominated either.
Mr. Flint is not giving the puppies a fair shake. First off, he says that his liberalness (how’s that for a word) is causing readers to give him bad reviews and not read him.
But we’re not talking about readers. We’re talking about the awards. The fact that *he specifically* has not been nominated is entirely irrelevant, because overwhelming liberals get the nomination over conservatives. Yeah, not *every single good liberal writer ever* is going to win; so what?
In fact, this helps our point. Why do certain liberal writers routinely win or get nominated, and not others, but always liberals? Because there is a clique in place.
Not a conspiracy. A clique. There’s a difference.
Second off, he’s missed another massive point: He writes for Baen. If you write for Baen, the immediate default is that you’re conservative. Of course he won’t get a nomination.
People over and over again give Brad and Larry an unfair shake. Here’s a hint: If there are several liberals on the Sad Puppies ballot, wouldn’t it stand to reason that you’re getting the position wrong if you think it’s *all about conservatives* not getting nominations?
But Mr. Flint doesn’t consider the possibility that Larry and Brad are not, in fact, being inconsistent.
As for this award – I’m partial to the Calvins after a certain Susan from a certain master, but then I’m a massive asimov fan. I like your categories.
Oh, I don’t disagree. Check out my prior blog post on this. As for the award name, I’m sure Mr. Flint would prefer I find a different name for it too. A Baen might work….
Reblogged this on eSpec Books and commented:
Some good thoughts here about updating an institution to fit the industry.
Works for me! 🙂
I liked the comments there. Mercedes Lackey’s was especially intrigueing.
Tom Kratman fans turn up in the most unexpected places!
I think these are the very same awards, the only difference being the word Hugo isn’t attached, thus they *seem* a lot better, but only because of a new name (which isn’t as smeared with dirt, admittedly).
That’s not completely without merit, though the categories do need a good update.
The dirt smearing is a very big, relevant difference, though.