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Hugo, I go, We All Go to WorldCon !
August 17, 2011 9:07 AM   Subscribe

The 69th Worldcon (world science fiction convention) starts today ! Worldcon is the yearly convention at which the Hugo awards are voted upon by the membership.

Worldcon has a tradition of alternating between North America and various other places throughout the world and this year it is being held in Reno, Nevada (my current hometown - yay!). Everyone who's anyone in science fiction media gather at this yearly convention to see and be seen (and hopefully win a Hugo!.

The Hugo awards were named for controversial publisher Hugo Gernsback who in the mid-20th century pretty much helped put pulp magazine science fiction into the public eye in a big way. In 1960 he received a special Hugo Award as "The Father of Magazine Science Fiction. Love him or hate him, many of the most recognized writers credit him to a degree for giving them a platform leading to their their eventual fame.

This year's Hugo award nominees include James Patrick Kelly, James Patrick Kelly and Doctor Who !
posted by Poet_Lariat (37 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
my lack of preview has failed me!

anyways, the other thing is that one of the things you get with any hugo-voting worldcon membership (which is to say, attending or supporting) is ebook versions of nearly all of the hugo-nominated stories, novels, etc. I expect that this is going to change the demographics of supporting memberships. It used to be that you had to care enough about wanting to nominate vote for the Hugos to pay on the order of $50 for a supporting membership. Now, you just have to want ebook versions of some of the best novels and short stories of the year to pay $50. It was certainly a bargain this year.
posted by rmd1023 at 9:19 AM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Good grief!

Nominee, Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form:
Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury
 
posted by Herodios at 9:30 AM on August 17, 2011 [4 favorites]


/thread
posted by anigbrowl at 9:35 AM on August 17, 2011


Mira Grant is already nominated for the Hugo only just after winning the Campbell award last year as well.
posted by Talez at 9:36 AM on August 17, 2011


Here are photos of the Hugo trophies. The trophy itself is in the shape of a needle-nose rocket ship, and the base is newly designed every year by the local committee. The bases are usually made by a craftsperson in the city where WorldCon is held that year.

In 1998, my father made the Hugo bases from wood salvaged from the USS Constellation.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:39 AM on August 17, 2011 [12 favorites]


They have the famous Klingon Bar there I see (from the party's list) that got me completely wasted last year in a San Fran bay area con (never drink with Klingons never!). They do it up perfectly. There's a surely Klingon bartender that I made the mistake of saying "Thanks!" to when he poured me my drink to which he growled back "No thanks to YOU!" .

They served a drink called "Revenge" there which, when you order it, all the Klingons in the bar-party chant " Ahhh Revenge - a drink best served COLD!! It was a great evening I wish I could remember more of it but I did have some interesting vids on my iphone that I found the next day.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 9:42 AM on August 17, 2011


The most recent Incomparable Podcast covered some/many of this year's Hugo nominees. Very funny, and also a useful filter.
posted by wenestvedt at 9:43 AM on August 17, 2011


They served a drink called "Revenge" there which, when you order it, all the Klingons in the bar-party chant " Ahhh Revenge - a drink best served COLD!!

Star Trek: monitizing Bartlett's Quotations since 1966.
 
posted by Herodios at 9:50 AM on August 17, 2011


"
posted by DU at 9:55 AM on August 17, 2011


I'm going to try to get a twitter and picture account working if anyone's interested in seeing the con from afar and/or the Klingon bar this evening. In my secret evil fantasy I make a video of myself going up to Teresa Hayden and attempting to talk to her without vowels.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 10:10 AM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


A bunch of my friends are currently at WorldCon. Some year, perhaps when it's in Chicago and relatively cheap, I'll go too.

There are two local cons that are at least the same size as WorldCon, and I like them both, but they have a very different flavor.
posted by jiawen at 10:18 AM on August 17, 2011


I remain shamed to this day that the year WorldCon was in Boston, I didn't know until it was too late. I'd been seeing all these beardy men traveling in clusters with the occasional badge lanyard for days and finally I snapped out of my university-stupor enough to ask a group of them, on the street in front of the CSC next to this scrummy cheap Indian buffet place "what are the badges for? Is something going on?" It was, of course, the last day of the con. And the reason half my sort-of friends had been MIA that week. Everyone assumed I knew and didn't care. The shame. The shame!
posted by Mizu at 10:28 AM on August 17, 2011


A bunch of my friends are currently at WorldCon. Some year, perhaps when it's in Chicago and relatively cheap, I'll go too.

You mean like next year and while the memberships are only $175?

There's your chance. Put your money where your mouth is.
posted by Talez at 10:34 AM on August 17, 2011


I learned yesterday that Cory Doctorow is going to be at Burning Man for an EFF event . . . now it makes sense 'cause he's also at WorldCon in nearby Reno.
posted by donovan at 10:39 AM on August 17, 2011


Ok I'm at world con waiting in a gonormous line for registration. Trying to her this twitter thing to work too. Of anyone wants me to beta pic or an autograph of an attendee memail me. I have no actual life at the moment so I'll be happy to oblige.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 11:43 AM on August 17, 2011


My friends and I went to WorldCon in Chicago back in '91 when we were sophomores in High School. A couple of us entered the costume contest as "console hackers" a la Neuromancer (ye gods). Our janky costumes and inaudible patter ("Do we have... microphones?") were not even in the same league as the real competitors, but we had a shit-ton of fun hanging out with the others backstage. I believe the winner that year was some sort of animatronic masterpiece called "The Octopus' Garden".

We went to some great sessions, bought a ridiculous amount of crap in the exhibition hall, played a dice-less RPG GM'ed by (I'm going to say) Eric Wujcik, and stayed up so late one night that the only food we could find for dinner one night was a Popeye's chicken that was out of everything but biscuits.

That was an amazing time. If you are a young geek you should definitely get to some large Con or another. A life-altering experience.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:47 AM on August 17, 2011


I love the Hugo Awards just because I get to guess how any times Stephen Moffat will be nominated each year.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:00 PM on August 17, 2011


How does the voting process work?
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:33 PM on August 17, 2011


I was just thinking about Firefly/Serenity and wondered if there were any decent American SF TV shows being made today. From the nominations, I guess not.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 1:17 PM on August 17, 2011


I think the Hugo Awards are hardly a good indicator of what decent SF TV shows are being made where.
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:40 PM on August 17, 2011


Everyone who's anyone in science fiction media

No, everyone who's anyone in science fiction literature. It is and always has been a written-SF con. Everyone who's anyone in science fiction media goes to Comic*con. Fuckin' upstarts.

I think the Hugo Awards are hardly a good indicator of what decent SF TV shows are being made where.

Sounds like you'd fit right in at WorldCon! Now lets argue about Robert Sawyer winning the Best Novel Hugo in Toronto.
posted by Justinian at 2:05 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


The really cool thing I learned about the Hugos this year is that you don't have to attend to vote. You can become a supporting member ($50 this time around), and for that you get a huge epub/pdf download of pretty much everything, including graphic novels, that was nominated.

It was a Gargantuan amount of reading and sadly I didn't finish, so I didn't vote in every category. I voted in at least 2/3 of them though, and it feels great to be part of the process. It's also a great way to keep up with at least a good slice of contemporary sf if you've fallen behind.
posted by chuq at 2:14 PM on August 17, 2011


How does the voting process work?

All WSFS members may nominate up to 5 works in each category. (WSFS membership is open to anyone who cares to pay the membership dues). The five works with the most nominations make the final ballot. When you vote on the final ballot you rank the 5 nominees in order of preference, from 1-5. You may also select "No Award" either as your first choice or anywhere else in your ranking.

The votes are tallied in rounds. If no work has received an outright majority, the nominee with the least number of first place votes is eliminated and a second round of vote counting begins. The votes from the nominee which was eliminated are redistributed to whichever work was marked as 2nd preference on the ballots which had the eliminated work marked as 1st preference. Once a work receives a majority of first place votes a winner is declared.

There can be ties but it is quite rare. Here is an example ballot from this year:

4th Place : Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis (Ballantine Spectra)
5th Place : Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold (Baen)
1st Place : The Dervish House by Ian McDonald (Gollancz; Pyr)
2nd Place : Feed by Mira Grant (Orbit)
3rd Place : The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)
NO AWARD

Here is an example ballot from 2003:

4th Place: Kiln People by David Brin (Tor)
1st Place: The Scar by China Miéville (Macmillan; Del Rey)
3rd Place: The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson (Bantam)
2nd Place: Bones of the Earth by Michael Swanwick (Eos)
5th Place : NO AWARD
Hominids by Robert J. Sawyer (Analog; Tor)

If only this had been how more people voted.
posted by Justinian at 2:18 PM on August 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


Anybody who peripherally follows MeFi's Own Scalzi knows this is a big deal, and the first time it was being held close enough to my location (420 miles) for me to seriously regret not going, but then, David Malki! (Wondermark, Machine of Death, the ! is part of his professional name) revealed that he was going to be sharing a panel with Dr. Demento!!! (the !!! is my editorial comment).

For this week, Reno is the one place on earth where a WMD attack could severely damage our culture - even more so than San Diego during Comic-Con, seriously. I just hope that among all those creative geniuses attending, they can answer the greatest puzzle about Reno: if Johnny Cash shot a man there, in NEVADA, just to see him die, why was he in Folsom Prison in CALIFORNIA?
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:02 PM on August 17, 2011


the greatest puzzle about Reno: if Johnny Cash shot a man there, in NEVADA, just to see him die, why was he in Folsom Prison in CALIFORNIA?

Perhaps the man was in Reno, Cash was standing across the state line, and he shot the man from a distance. Or maybe Cash formulated his plan to kill the man while Cash was in California, then traveled to Nevada to commit the crime. Because 'malice aforethought' is an element of murder in California, it would still have jurisdiction under Cal. Penal Code § 27(a)(1).
posted by jedicus at 3:39 PM on August 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


Here's my WorldCon story: Shortly after graduating high school in the early nineties, I was working with a friend who owned a sound/video production company. One way or another, he snagged the "contract" to do the video support for the WorldCon mainstage. Think cameras, big screens and projectors.

Although I am a big fan of Herbert/Dune and enjoyed Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy when younger, I was no con-goer. I had no idea what I was in for.

So my friend and I and a couple others are the paid professional crew for our job there, but we're supplied with lots of volunteers. I am assigned a middle-aged woman in full Klingon costume to help me.

"Uhh, can you untangle the cables in this case?" I ask her. She nods curtly, and goes to work, and I go back to what I was doing. But I grow aware of a muttering behind me. She's making low gutteral noises to herself, things that sound like words but aren't.

"Are you okay?" I ask. She flares her nostrils at me and raises a snarled BNC cable in disgust. "THESE PITIFUL HUMANS!" she hisses.
posted by werkzeuger at 8:28 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


if Johnny Cash shot a man there, in NEVADA, just to see him die, why was he in Folsom Prison in CALIFORNIA?

While it's the only crime specifically mentioned in the song, it's possible the narrator of the song was put prison for a crime other than the shooting of the man in Reno, such as robbery (he does seem to have a fascination with trains). The cold-blooded murder might just be the crime he feels will most impress the listener (or his fellow inmates).
posted by aught at 7:27 AM on August 18, 2011


I think it's worth explicitly noting that if you scroll down a little to the actual nominees list in the last link of the FPP, there are links to online versions of most of the short works (novellas, novelettes, and short stories) nominated.
posted by aught at 7:32 AM on August 18, 2011


For the Best Novel award, I have my fingers crossed for Ian McDonald's The Dervish House, but I know that the Willis and Bujold nominated books are installments (though in my opinion not superior installments) in very popular series (Willis' time-travelling historians and Bujold's Miles Volkosigan saga), so I don't really hold much hope for McDonald.

Also, I feel like there's been a little backlash against some of the books in recent years written by British and American sf writers (Jon Courtney Grimwood, Paolo Bacigalupi, Ian McDonald, Geoff Ryman) set in non Anglo-American settings, so that might work against it a little bit too - though I do think McDonald goes to great lengths to get his locales and characters right, and I don't think he's just setting books in places like Brazil, Kenya, India, and Istanbul for the novelty of it - actually I don't think any of the four novelists I mentioned do it for the novelty value, since they're all on the serious, literary side of the science fiction spectrum. Still, I remember a blog giving The Dervish House a poor review and The Windup Girl a good one chiefly because the blogger had read somewhere Bacigalupi had lived for a longer time in Thailand than McDonald had in Turkey.
posted by aught at 7:59 AM on August 18, 2011


Not a professional (or even respected amateur) reviewer I hope! That's a ridiculous basis on which to give a positive or negative review.

The McDonald is on my to be read pile so I have no opinion on whether it deserves the award this year but McDonald is, based on his past work, certainly a Hugo caliber author. I can't remember the last time I was this far behind on my reading. It's shameful! Shameful!
posted by Justinian at 3:56 PM on August 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


And let's not forget that MeFi's own jscalzi is there again this year, though not nominated this year (I believe Fuzzy Nation came out after the noms were announced. Next year, John! :))
posted by antifuse at 5:34 AM on August 19, 2011


Started about 35 minutes ago.

Live video stream: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/worldcon1

Live text stream: http://www.thehugoawards.org/hugo-history/2011-hugo-awards/2011-hugo-awards-live-coverage/

Twitter hashtag seems to be #hugos
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:37 PM on August 20, 2011


GRRM announcing the Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form nominees was worth it.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:38 PM on August 20, 2011


Winners posted here.

Best Novel: Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis
Best Novella: The Lifecycle of Software Objects by Ted Chiang
Best Novellette: The Emperor of Mars by Allen Steele
Best Short Story: For Want of a Nail by Mary Robinette Kowal

For novel, I voted for The Dervish House. It's a truly wonderful book with fantastic characters, an intricate plot, and some really cool ideas about future technology. I'm sad but not surprised that it didn't win.

Also, I think this year novella was a much stronger category than short story and novellette, so I kind of wish they could give three Hugos to Ted Chiang, Rachel Swirsky, and Alastair Reynolds for their terrific novellas instead.
posted by creepygirl at 10:47 PM on August 20, 2011


Interesting. I thought Chiang's work was his weakest in some time, possibly ever, and I would have voted NO AWARD before it. Chiang won on the strength of his name and that's it.
posted by Justinian at 11:49 AM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Best Novel: Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis...

For novel, I voted for The Dervish House. It's a truly wonderful book with fantastic characters, an intricate plot, and some really cool ideas about future technology. I'm sad but not surprised that it didn't win.


Yeah, sigh. 30+ years of reading sf has conditioned me to expect the fan favorite author to get the Hugo, not necessarily the most deserving work. Or maybe I'm just a little tired of Willis' usual. (On the other hand, Willis' novel won the Locus award for novel this year too.)
posted by aught at 1:08 PM on August 22, 2011


From the presentation ceremony: Chris Garcia's Hugo moment
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:15 PM on August 22, 2011


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