Cheryl Morgan has a post urging people to nominate for the Hugo Awards. While I don't place the same priority she does on the gender distribution of who gets nominated, I applaud her for doing this now, while there's a chance to influence the actual ballot, rather than waiting until April to complain about it. If you care about what science fiction and fantasy works win awards, go read what she says about it.
I will also toss out another cheap way to influence the Hugo ballot and eventual winner. As a member of last year's Worldcon, I am entitled to nominate for this year's award. Here is my current Hugo nomination ballot:
- The Sunless Countries by Karl Schroeder
That's pretty much it, at this point. I don't read much short fiction, so I've got nothing in those categories, I haven't had time to watch tv or movies in ages, and I have no opinions on the zine scene. My hypothetical ballot is blank until the personal categories, at which point I will happily put down the names of friends.
If you care about the composition of the ballot, whether it be the gender distribution, as Cheryl does, or some Adam Roberts sort of concern about the general quality, here's a free chance to do something about it (you can also buy a supporting membership for $50 and get full voting rights of your own, but this is free). Tell me what I should be reading to fill in those blank spaces, and I will at least give those works a shot. I won't vote for anything I don't actually like, but if you suggest something and I like it, I will be more than happy to vote for it.
If you want to have more women win Hugos, then more women have to write the sort of thing that wins Hugos. Paramilitary space opera, pseudoliterary twaddle, and excretory Slan-derivatives are often good bets.
Walter Jon Williams _This is Not a Game_. Daniel Abraham _The Price of Spring_. Cherryh's _Regenesis_. I'm with you on Schroeder.
For stories, there have been some great ones on Tor.com -- Swirsky's "Eros, Philia Agape" and the Turtledove "We Haven't Got There Yet" stand out for me.
NESFA compile a good list of things people like here.
Or we could get Hugo voters to read a more diverse slate of SF and fantasy, or get more fen outside of the 'usual crowd' to vote for the Hugos.
Let's see. I'm going to go through my own list of 'stuff I've read in the last year that's Hugo-eligible', and list stuff I liked. (Avoiding books in long series, out of time considerations.)
-- The God Engines, by John Scalzi. (Novella) A sort of dark space-opera fantasy that really drew me in and made me wonder more about the world.
-- By the Mountain Bound, by Elizabeth Bear. Norse fantasy, technically a prequel for a previous book, but good enough to read on its own. Basically, it takes place in the 'new world' after Ragnarok, and deals with the survivors, and grudges carried over from the old world.
I also know Howard Tayler of the webcomic Shlock Mercenary (a space opera comedy series) is offering a PDF of the 'book' of comics he serialized in 2009 for Hugo voters. Last year, IIRC, Howard was nominated in Best Graphic Story for a comic serialized previously. (And the winner was another comic that was serialized on the web before it was printed.)
"Or we could get Hugo voters to read a more diverse slate of SF and fantasy, or get more fen outside of the 'usual crowd' to vote for the Hugos."
Yeah, that'll happen.
"Markets" by Cory Doctorow
Actually, there are thousands of eligible Hugo voters who never bother to nominate, some for the most specious of reasons such as "I haven't read every book that came out last year" (that's silly -- nobody can read everything -- and you should just nominate what you liked). You should talk to anyone you know who attended last year's Worldcon in Montreal and encourage them to nominate. It's not like you have to complete all five choices in all fifteen categories, after all. Nominate the things you liked in the categories where you read/saw things, and leave the rest blank.
Note that for nominating, you have to buy that membership no later then Jan. 31. (A prophylaxis against ballot box stuffing.) Though you can buy it any time to vote on the final ballot.
I second the Abraham and Bear nominations. Also in novels, The Drowning City by Amanda Downum and Lifelode by Jo Walton.
Short story "The Red Piano" by Delia Sherman in the anthology Poe, edited by Ellen Datlow.
Novella or novelette "Truth and Bone" by Pat Cadigan in the same anthology.
Oh, look, they're almost all women. Wonder how that happened?
er, "Makers"... or some such...