Greetings, citizens of Marktopia! This is spectralbovine here to guide you through the process of nominating for this year’s Hugos and provide a space for everyone to recommend things to nominate. Even if you’re not nominating anything, this is a chance to celebrate our favorite SFF works of 2012, so come on in!
The Hugo Awards are one of science fiction/fantasy’s most prestigious awards, and it has the distinction of being one of the few awards with credibility that is actually awarded by the fans. The nominees are not chosen by a secret cabal of really old white dudes. The winners are not selected by a committee of professional authors. Anyone can participate in this process for the price of a Supporting Membership to Worldcon. Just think about that for a moment and realize how amazing it is that you can be instrumental in giving someone an award that will forever precede their name and be plastered all over their books.
Hugos are awarded in many categories, from Best Novel to Best Editor (Short Form), from Best Graphic Story to Best Semiprozine. The Hugo Awards website has very good descriptions of the categories and the eligibility criteria, and I urge you to familiarize yourself with them. In particular, pay close attention to the difference between Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form) and Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form). The Hugos define “Long Form” as 90 minutes or greater, which means movies like Chronicle and Safety Not Guaranteed are actually “Short Form” for nomination purposes. Also, video games can totally be nominated for Dramatic Presentation, but that has never happened, sadly.
Now let’s take a look at the Hugo nomination ballot. How the hell does this thing work?
First, enter your first name, last name, and Hugo PIN, which you received in your e-mail (if you never received confirmation of your membership, check your spam folder, as Gmail has been hoarding Hugo PINs). Click the Login button and a wild ballot appears.
Here’s where things get interesting. For every category, you can nominate up to five works. You do not have to nominate five works in every category! You can leave entire categories blank if you don’t know anything about semiprozines; that’s perfectly fine.
Pay careful attention to the way the ballot is laid out. For instance, the first column in the Best Novel category is Author, not Title. The third column is Publisher, but I wouldn’t worry too much about that. The ballots will be reviewed by human volunteers, and they will do their best to sort the nominations correctly. If you accidentally nominate Redshits, by Jon Snowzi, I think they’ll know what you mean.
Underneath each category is a button labeled “Update Nomination Ballot.” Believe it or not, when you click this button…it updates your nomination ballot. Your entire nomination ballot, not just the category above the button. This means you can make changes in multiple categories and click any button, and your changes will be saved. But there’s also no good reason not to just click that button after each category to ensure that you don’t lose anything.
And here’s the cool part: the next time you log in, your ballot will appear with all your selections filled in, ready for you to edit.
Finally, here is the deep, dark secret that no one is telling you: there is no Submit button. This means that you can fill out your ballot today and never touch it again or you can edit your selections until the very last minute: whatever your ballot looks like when the deadline rolls around is what will be submitted. That deadline is March 10th, 2013 at 11:59 PM EDT.
Those are the basics! Now it’s time to start nominating, but before we recommend books and movies and television shows and whatnot, let’s all open up our ballots, log in, and do one very important thing:
Nominate Mark Oshiro for Best Fan Writer Hugo 2013
For examples, list “Mark Reads, Mark Watches,” although just Googling his name will turn up his sites easily enough.
The Best Fan Writer category has only become truly interesting in recent years, when John Scalzi broke David Langford’s streak of winning the award 19 times in a row (and twice before that). Still, the same names tend to appear on the ballot every year, and the only way to change that is to nominate new people. And this year, we are getting Mark on the ballot. All of us here with nominating power are behind him, but we need to get the word out to everyone else, so if you have a blog or a Twitter or a Tumblr or a whatever, please suggest Mark Oshiro for Best Fan Writer. If you want, you can just link to my recommendation. I am sure many people leave the Fan Writer slots blank, so give those people one name to throw in there.
All right, Mark has no idea what to do with his ballot besides nominate himself, so let’s give him our suggestions!