And so it begins…Hugo nominations are open

In case anyone hasn’t seen it (although if you’ve been anywhere in SFF fandom on Twitter, it’s been hard to miss), Hugo nominations are now open! Nominations close on March 31st (so no Easter weekend announcements this year) and anyone who held a supporting or attending membership to Worldcons in 2015, 2016, or 2017 as of January 31st 2016 is eligible to nominate. You will need to be a supporting or attending member of Mid-Americon II to vote, but nominations are aimed at gathering the largest group of people possible. Which conservative estimates gives a minimum of 11k people nominating rights this year.

PINs are being sent out now and everyone who is eligible should have one by February 5th. The page to nominate is here and there is a link to email the admins if you haven’t received your PIN in time.

For anyone new to the Hugos, Jim C Hines has an excellent write-up of what happened last year, what the Puppy situation is currently, and why nominating is so important this year.

What I want to say is this: NOMINATE. And nominate from your heart. Don’t worry if you only read two novels and watched one movie last year – you don’t have to fill in every category. Nominate your two novels and one movie, if you loved them. Nominate the things you read, watched, or listened to that made your heart sing. Don’t let anyone tell you what to nominate: this is about what you thought was wonderful. That book or short story you read last year (and was published in 2015) that you wanted everyone to read because it was so great? Put that on your list. Don’t think about whether it’s “worthy” or not. That’s not the point. The Hugos are about what we, as a fandom, thought was awesome and it starts with what each of us as individuals thought was awesome.

If you’re looking for some ideas for things to cram-read/watch before nominations close, there are a couple of good resources:

The Hugo Nominees 2015 wiki

The Hugo Awards spreadsheet

These are crowd-sourced, so they don’t include absolutely every eligible work, but they’re basically lists of everything the contributors could think of and they’re organised by category, which is very helpful. Pick out some things that look interesting and get reading/watching. Short fiction is often a neglected area in nominations, but it’s quite easy to read a lot of short stories in a short period of time, so take a look at what’s there and try some things. Check out some podcasts for the fancast category – you can probably listen to a couple of episodes of several things while you’re commuting.

There will probably be a lot of recommendation lists floating around over the next few weeks. Use those however you want – I’ve often found them a good source for picking up shorter works that I hadn’t found yet, particularly for Campbell eligible writers.

As for me, my current plan is this: ignore all puppy lists until after I’ve put in my finalised nomination. I want to nominate things because I love them. I don’t want to be dissuaded from nominating something because it also ended up on a puppy-related list, or pushed to nominate something because it’s not a puppy choice. I want to do this the way that I always have: by listing the works I loved.

After nominations close, I’ll put up a post with what I selected. My voice is a tiny one in the grand scheme of things, but after last year, I’m feeling very wary about publicly discussing what I actually picked until after the deadline. The debate about what is and is not a slate has been contentious, and if it comes up again, I don’t want someone throwing my list in my face if I have to talk about Why Slates Are Bad (TM) again.

So there we have it. Nominations are open. I’m hoping they’ll be less vitriolic than last year, but I’m not holding my breath. If you’re able to take part, please do it. And please nominate the works that made your heart sing. That made you squee and rush to tell everyone how fantastic they were.

That’s the core of the process: nominate the things you loved.