Hugo Voting Packet

I’m attending the 70th World Science Fiction Convention in Chicago at the end of August. Members of the convention are eligible to vote for the Hugo Awards, which is sort of like the Oscars for science fiction and fantasy literature. I’ve attended several world cons before:

  • 56th World Con – 1998 in Baltimore, Maryland
  • 59th World Con – 2001 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • 63rd World Con – 2005 in Glasgow, Scotland
  • 64th World Con – 2006 in Anaheim, California
  • 66th World Con – 2008 in Denver, Colorado

So, this is my 6th world con. But I’ve never voted for the Hugos before. Despite being a major science fiction fan, I’ve never felt I was current enough to vote. I don’t buy many hardcovers, and the novels that are up for the Best Novel Hugo are invariably available only in hardcover. For the shorter fiction, most of the stories have appeared in magazines that I haven’t read or anthologies that I don’t own.

This year, though, I bought my membership well in advance. One of the things that the convention has made available through its web site is the Hugo Voting Packet. Which is amazing.

It’s like Christmas, only in May.

The packet contains, in electronic form, every item (except for the long and short form media items, i.e – the TV episodes and movies) that is up for an award. This includes copies of all of the Best Novel Hugo nominees, even the best-selling A Dance With Dragons by George R. R. Martin, the graphic novels, cover art for the Best Artist award, the novellas, the novelettes, the short stories, an album that’s up for the Best Related Work award, etc.

I don’t know if voting packets have ever been provided like this before. For all of the other world cons, I bought my membership either mere weeks before the convention or at the convention itself. If there was any sort of voting packet before, well, I certainly never knew about it.

This is my challenge, then. I will vote for the Hugo awards this year. And to be informed, I will read as much of the Hugo Voting Packet as I can in the remaining three months before the event. Eight novels, dozens of shorter stories, 5 graphic novels or series (one of them topping out at a mind-boggling 829 pages), one album, a podcast series, a web site, three non-fiction works, fanzines, artwork, etc.

In my spare time.

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2 Comments

  1. Posted May 30, 2012 at 8:03 AM | Permalink

    Argh! So, I downloaded Progress Report #4 last night from the convention site for World Con 70, which is also referred to as Chicon 7. The deadline for receipt of Hugo ballots is July 31, 2012, which means I have 2 months to absorb the material from the Hugo Voting Package, not 3 months.

    Sigh.

    Still, this explains why I’ve never really heard about voting packets before. For all of my previous world cons, I probably bought my tickets after the balloting had been completed.

    I feel like I’m enrolled in Hugo Voting 101. My intent is the same, though. I am going to vote this year. Even more, I’m going to blog about my votes for each category. It’ll be fun.

  2. Posted May 31, 2012 at 2:15 AM | Permalink

    Apparently, we have author John Scalzi to thank for the Hugo Voting Packet tradition. According to Progress Report #4 from the convention, Scalzi put together a voting packet in 2008, when his novel The Last Colony was up for the award, that contained 4 of the nominated novels. He didn’t win, but the next year the Hugo Voting Packet included almost every nominated work.

    So the Hugo Voting Packet has been in its current form since 2009.

    This is consistent with other more prominent awards, such as the Oscars. They have video mailers so that their members have the opportunity to review all the nominees.

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