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As a follow up to my guest post over at Ana and Thea's place during Smugglivus about how easy it is to be involved with the Hugo Award as a Supporting member, I Have Thoughts on Hugo Nominations, and a handy list of links to help people out, because the nomination period for the 2013 Hugo Awards and John W. Campbell Award is now open.

When I did this in 2011, I asked Twitter who and what I should consider when I picked up my first Supporting Membership to a Worldcon event but it didn't get much in the way of help. I was ass over teakettle lost. The eligibility requirements confused me and I was a year and sometimes two behind on novel reading thanks to a combination of finishing a degree program and OTW work. Also, I've made certain friends cry over my apathy to short fiction. I didn't mean to get the Supporting Membership to nominate — I just wanted to be able to vote on the nominees, and heard that there might be a voter packet that would help me defer the cost. I could never afford to pick everything up on my own if my library didn't have it (and yes, my library is awesome, but it can't do it all). Nomination was like a bonus. A confusing bonus. This year I come armed with some recommendations on who and what to nominate in categories I care a lot about in case anyone else feels as confused as I did in 2012. I'll leave the text categories to others (well, except Best Novel, because in that case I have an Opinion), because as per usual I am still behind on reading. If you have suggestions for any category I don't cover, or even a category I do cover but you think something else should be considered, feel free to leave suggestions in the comments!

Best Novel: Awarded for a science fiction or fantasy story of forty thousand (40,000) words or more. [source]

cover of The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin

Yeah, yeah, maybe you already have your own ideas and rightly so! In case you didn't know, you have five whole slots and The Killing Moon by N.K. Jemisin is just one book and only 400 pages and I thought it was awesome. There's plenty of time to read it before nominations close! Come on, it appeared on tons of best of the year lists for 2012. Tons. You don't even need to take my word for it.

Best Fancast: Awarded for any non-professional audio- or video-casting with at least four (4) episodes that had at least one (1) episode released in the year of eligibility. [source]

I love podcasts. Podcasts have been my dear friend since I started getting serious about my health and mobility. I do housework listening to podcasts. I cook listening to podcasts. I exercise listening to podcasts. I haven't figured out the best way to shower while listening to podcasts, but it's only a matter of time. They're the best and I have a lot of feelings about this category and am very glad The Powers That Be decided this category should exist and stay as long as fans are making podcasts and there is quality work to celebrate.

I have three podcasts I would like to discuss that could go on your nomination ballot.

/report is a podcast I listened to once or twice when they started and fell out of the habit of because often they covered topics that were filled with spoilers for me even though I really liked the style. I picked it up again in 2012 and was immediately impressed. They're fannish in a different way than the other types of podcasts I'm going to mention because they often talk about dudes having sex (and sometimes those dudes are werewolves/superheroes/Sentinels). There's also something about spirit wolves I don't get because I haven't watched the show it comes from. Don't let these things deter you! They do cover a lot of general interest, non-speculative topics across different categories, but they covered several SF/F media topics last year. They have two full seasons and the third season will start later in 2013. I've listened to maybe 10 episodes in part and in total so possibly this is cheating, but I do what I want!

Some of the episodes I enjoyed:

This podcast is the closest in format/discourse style to my most favorite podcast in the universe, Slate's Culture Gabfest; just the right amount of guests (never too many) with a nice recs section if you like discussion of television, fanfiction, awesome ladies, exposure to media of different cultures, and sexy times between gentlemen. :)

Writer and the Critic is great because it does the in-depth, critical, academia-flavored, just-enough-voices discussion I love. I spent 2012 catching up on the parts of their backlist I could and then mourning the fact that in 2012 I tended to read only one of the books they covered each episode. This podcast reminds me of all the best discussions I had in my favorite class in my final years of college, the British Novel, where the conversation goes from calm and quiet to arm-flailing love or frustration to agreement to disagreement back to reserved calm. They helped me look at much of what I read differently, even when I disagreed with their final arguments, and made what I read that much deeper and richer for it. Good episodes to catch:

Lastly, SF Signal's podcast always has a wide range of topics, interviews and panelists, even though sometimes I feel like there's too many people and some of them get overtaken by stronger personalities. They also joke about bagels. They joke about bagels a lot. SF Signal's podcast was nominated last year and didn't get a nod. SF Squeecast took it home which, yay ladies! but I would really like a podcast not full of people who are also writing professionals to win (even if they are also fans). SF Signal's podcast includes people who are just fans as well as authors as guests, and it's a good starter podcast. It's Baby's First Genre Podcast for people new to podcasts in general and genre specifically, very light, not too long, and accessible. They do a lot of promotion of books, writers, and other podcasts. Here are some of my favorite episodes:

Best Fanzine: This is the other serial publication category. This Award is for anything that is neither professional nor semi-professional. The publication must also satisfy the rule of a minimum of 4 issues, at least one of which must have appeared in the year of eligibility. [source]

Last year proved that blogs could compete in this category with SF Signal's well-deserved win. SF Signal was one of my gateway blogs into the genre community and I am continually impressed with the strides they're making in diversity for the ladies and am continually excited when they add ladybloggers to their roster (fistbump, SF Signal! Gender parity FTW!). I would be happy to nominate it again, except since blogs can clearly be competitive, this is a great time to highlight some other projects that deserve some additional consideration for your nomination.

The Book Smugglers: I've followed The Book Smugglers since 2008. Ana and Thea are fantastic: they post regular features, reviews, giveaways, author interviews and guest posts, and they also run a well-produced monthly newsletter that I really like. I'm often impressed with the sheer regularity everything happens in their space when they both have work and school (Thea finished a GRADUATE degree while running the project). They're always on top of the newest SF/F YA. Last year I picked up a book that sounded a little...doubtful. I sent them a message asking where they had covered it and they came back immediately with the review link for the title and an opinion about it. It was sort of magical. I felt like maybe I should've put in a quarter somewhere; sometimes it takes Amazon's recommendation engine longer to load for me. In 2012 they started writing articles for Kirkus, too. They do an amazing amount of work to promote SF/F titles, especially by women and in the Young Adult market.

Calico Reaction: Shara's project is brilliant. Calico Reaction was established on Livejournal in 2005 and she consistently puts out commentary about a wide range of SF/F work. In 2012 she ran a book club discussion each month, which are awesome to go back and read through or even take part in as a lurker (which I have done, A+ lurking skills), as there are a multitude of opinions. One great example is of the Best Novel Hugo winner for 2012, Among Others. Stuffed with spoilers, but fascinating to read. I've found that if I want to see thoughtful opinion about most popular SF/F titles, I only need check her archives to find reviews and then further commentary by her visitors. Delightful. She also took part in the Hugo process last year and documented her adventures.

Best Fan Writer: This is another person category. Note that it does not just apply to writing done in fanzines. Work published in semiprozines, and even on mailing lists, blogs, BBSs, and similar electronic fora, can be including when judging people for this Award. Only work in professional publications should not be considered. [source]

I'm only going to talk about one person in this category and that's Foz Meadows. You've probably read some of her commentary over the past year. I've got a great big brain crush on her and everything she says. I bet it's even greater than I know; back when I first discovered her I had only just started watching Doctor Who, so I've had to avoid all her Doctor Who posts for fear of spoilers. I am already exploding in glee imagining finally getting to read them. She's well-spoken, even-handed and incisive about genre issues as well as feminist topics (which are also issues genre should pay attention to) and makes me want to be a better, more well-read and thoughtful person. Far and away my favorite critic and commentator; I've learned tons from her blog this year. If you haven't been introduced, here are some great posts you can read to make up your mind:

(Listen, just read the whole blog from 2012 and then maybe her tumblr, too. You'll thank me later.)

Last year when I was planning to implore people to get the supporting member I jokingly called this plan "Hugos for Ladies!". That's not so far off the mark looking at the people I'm nominating, because I believe that these award deserve the voices of women, especially young women. I believe that's something that's extremely important to genre in all corners: writers, artists, critics, reviewers, fans, etc. I hope that if there are voices (fan or professional, regardless of gender) in SF/F you want to see honored, you consider being a part of this process. Maybe your nominee will end up on the ballot — mine did, my first year! And even if they don't, you'll (probably, because the publishers are generous, magical creatures) get a cool set of ebooks to read and the chance to influence the history of one of the most important genre awards out there by choosing who you think is the best of the bunch (or perhaps choosing No Award, which is, of course, an avenue open to everyone). I hope you give it some consideration. You can register as a Supporting Member of the 2013 Worldcon at the LoneStarCon3 website. There is more information about nominating, voting, and the Hugo Award guidelines at

If you have a post talking about potential nominees, your nominees, your work that's eligible for nomination, or know of one (especially in the writing and art categories), please share it below in the comments or @ it to me on Twitter @renay or @feministponies. I will share it here (and let's be real, possibly use it). :)

Suggestions from the Comments

Fan Writer
Tansy Rayner Roberts (crossposts to [ profile] cassiphone). Some essays/essay collections:

Best Semiprozine
Goblin Fruit

Author/Publisher/Fandom Promotion

Date: 2013-01-03 12:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Wow, it's a whole new world of reading about reading! Thanks!

Date: 2013-01-03 02:43 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Thanks for informing me about Foz Meadows. I haven't read her blogging before, but from a cursory glance, she looks like someone I'll seriously consider in the Fan Writer category.

One person I'm nominating in the Fan Writer category is Tansy Ranier Roberts from Tasmania. Her website is and her bloggings are cross-posted at I especially like her women in comics series of posts, "Where the Wonder Women Are."

Date: 2013-01-03 08:36 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Oops! I didn't even catch that I misspelled her name; how embarrassing. Thanks for catching my mistake and providing the correct spelling.

Date: 2013-01-03 07:43 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] anathebooksmugglers
Thanks for the post, Renay. And for mentioning us *flails*

Date: 2013-01-03 11:48 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Great choices! I haven't voted for the Hugo Awards before, but I've been considering it this year. The Killing Moon would definitely be my top pick for novel as well, and I also love reading all the blogs you mentioned for fanzine and fan writer.

Date: 2013-01-03 11:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
OpenID didn't go through on that so just trying it again so it's not anonymous!


Date: 2013-01-04 02:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm immediately adding Slate's Cultural Gabfest to my podcasts, as well as /report, because it sounds amazing. I believe I once ran across an old-school Trekker calling it "a healthy interest in men bonking".

And I discovered Foz Meadows last year, but I've yet to get through her back catalog. She's amazing.

Date: 2013-01-05 11:54 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
This is definitely a post of awesome. I am definitely going to get a supporting membership this year, in very large part thanks to you, and this is incredibly helpful in choosing things to nominate. So much new to check out - thank you!

Meghan @ Medieval Bookworm (

Date: 2013-01-05 08:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Wow, thank you for the shout-out/nomination suggestion! I'm very humbled and thankful that you think my blog should be nominated for the Hugo. :) I hope others share your opinion! :)

And this reminds me, I've GOT to get on the ball with nominations....

Date: 2013-01-06 05:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I appreciate it more than I can say. Thank you. :)

I'm going to post a general plea for people to get memberships first, because I really need to put some thought into what I think should be nominated. That'll take some time for this poor, over-taxed brain! :)

Date: 2013-01-07 11:26 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Also consider Goblin Fruit ( for Best Semiprozine. I emailed one of the editors, Amal El-Mohtar (, and received confirmation that this was the applicable category. And why shouldn't a journal of speculative poetry be eligible for the Hugos?


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