Hugo Category Highlight: Best Fan Writer
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.
This is another category that tends not to get much attention, and, like Best Fan Artist, has a definition full of holes large enough to drive a Death Star through – with plenty of wiggle room. As with the Best Fan Artist, what counts towards nominating someone for this award hinges on the Hugo site’s definition of “professional”. In this case publications, presumably including websites, that meet the definition are ineligible.
(Just for what passes for clarity around here, the Hugo definition of professional)
Some Hugo categories (Best Professional Artist, Best Fan Artist, Best Semiprozine, and Best Fanzine) are defined by whether the work done was professional, semi-professional, or fannish. The definition of what is a “professional” publication is somewhat technical. A professional publication either (1) provided at least a quarter the income of any one person or, (2) was owned or published by any entity which provided at least a quarter the income of any of its staff and/or owner.
I thought not.
I’m not going to claim guru-understanding here, since I’m well aware it would be possible to rules lawyer this category into oblivion, but as I understand it, if the publication pays someone 25% or more of their income (presumably annually), then anything published in it doesn’t count. It doesn’t appear to matter whether the author (or artist) was paid, nor does there appear to be any kind of threshold. Caveat Emptor, I suppose.
Anyway, the rules as I read them would allow someone to be nominated for any original work published in fanzines, posted on a blog, posted to fanfiction.net (yes, fanfic does appear to be included. I have to admit to a low hope that nobody tracks down my fanfic alias and tries to nom me for that because how in heck do I turn it down without blowing my cover?), or distributed by any other means including handwritten copies delivered to your Mum on Christmas Day (how you’d get samples to anyone to judge is another question). As long as it’s not a professional publication and it’s science fiction or fantasy (and of course it was published/posted in 2015) it counts.
So what’s eligible? In theory, any of my Mad Genius Club posts could be used as the examples to nominate me (but don’t you dare recommend me on the strength of that). Fanfic writers count. If Larry Correia hadn’t pre-excluded himself and informed all and sundry he’ll turn down any nominations he gets, I’d say this year’s entry in The Christmas Noun series most definitely counts. So do any of the Tempest In A Teardrop posts and comics. I’d suggest Dave Freer’s posts here, but he’d probably never forgive me for dumping him in that load of festering poop for another year.
Some of my personal choices: Kris Rusch for practically every post she’s written this year, but particularly the business posts. They’re an invaluable resource for writers trying to navigate the business side of writing. For the humorous side, all the posts in this series appeal to me although be damned if I can figure out how I’d nominate anyone for them. Keith Glass for his comedic gem of a quasi-Lovecraftian review on Amazon. It doesn’t reach the lofty heights of the classic review of sugar-free Gummi bears, but that is long past eligibility.
I’m not going to list the usual suspects, simply because they are the usual suspects and I generally check their blogs every day. They may show up on the list or not, and may be nominated or not. Regardless, from what I’ve read this part year, they are very much worthy.
The pieces I’ve highlighted here are a somewhat… different… selection of potentially eligible works that technically fit the rules (they really are that broad) and appeal to me. If there’s anyone you think deserves a nomination for the quality of their non-professional SF or fantasy writing, feel free to add it to the list.