Sunday, March 27, 2005

It's an Honor 

I'm gratified of course to be nominated for the Best Website Hugo Award, again. At the same time I'm a bit surprised about the other nominees this time. I'd have thought that SciFi.com, SF Site, and Strange Horizons were my strongest competition, whereas eFanzines is a site I've linked from my Links Portal page but, frankly, have not paid much attention to. I recall that 3 years ago I editorialized about the best website nominee prospects and wondered how the components of SciFi.com would be parsed. From what I heard later that year, the Hugo administrators took the nominations at face value and ended up with SciFi.com as a nominee, not its component Sci Fiction, which is the nominee this year.

As for Emerald City, Cheryl Morgan's 3 nominations this year are a testament to her powerful presence and influence over the past two or three years. Despite her own admonition in her blog, her monthly 'zine got nominations both as a fanzine and as a website -- probably, as I noted in my commentary to the Locus Online Hugo nominations list, the first time the same content has gotten two Hugo nominations by virtue of its appearing in two different formats. James Patrick Kelly's modest proposal for five Hugo website categories struck many people as extravagent, but something in that direction might be needed to solve counter-intuitive results such as this year's.
What can I say? I asked them not to vote for me and they still did. Hopefully wiser heads will prevail in the final ballot.

I'm not sure that more categories will solve the problem though. The most likely split to get passed by WSFS would be between "professional" and "fan" web sites. And that, I think, would make it even more likely that the web sites of well known fanzines would get nominated alongside the fanzines themselves.

eFanzines.com, of course, is an entirely different matter. It is providing a wonder service in making a huge range of paper fanzines available to a worldwide audience.

The main problem, however, is that I think too many people are voting for web sites purely on the basis of content rather than looking at things like graphic design and technical competence. It is rather like voting for movies solely on the basis of the script. But I guess Hugo voters are a bookish lot and therefore this is only to be expected.

As for scifi.com, as far as I am aware, exactly the same rules have been applied to the Best Web Site category as were used in 2002. I shall ask Kevin to confirm.
The written rules for Best Web Site are the same this year as they were when ConJose ran the category in 2002. I will ask the Hugo Administrators (I'm not one of them) whether they interpreted the rule regarding the pieces of scifi.com the way we did in 2002; however, I don't think they have to answer the question, and may choose not to do so until after the final awards are announced, as part of the "full details" press release.

As far as the Emerald City web site having "the same content" as the fanzine Emerald City, I disagree. While the most visible element of the web site is the monthly issues of the fanzine distributed through it, there is more to the EmCit web site than just the magazine.
Follow-up, as promised: Paul Dormer, the lead Hugo Administrator this year, confirms that the administrators treated scifi.com as an entity separate from Science Fiction Weekly and Sci-Fiction (both of which have addresses that start with scifi.com). This is the same way we treated them in 2002.
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Mark R. Kelly

The opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of Mark R. Kelly, and do not reflect the editorial position of Locus Magazine.
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