Hugo & Nebula Awards: Best Novels discussion

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message 1: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Z (new)

Oleksandr Zholud | 3398 comments Mod
As many of you know, the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, which began in 1973 as a way to honor exemplary science fiction and fantasy authors whose first work was published in the prior two calendar years now changed its name to the Astounding Award (here are details why: https://theastoundinganalogcompanion.... )

Now there are calls to rename Hugo Awards as well, see discussion here: https://amazingstories.com/2019/08/on...

On another thread it was suggested to rename it for Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, the first (?) SF writer if one views Frankenstein and The Last Man as (proto-)SF.

From what I see, Hugo Gernsback was arrogant and greedy, but this is IMHO much lesser crimes than overt racist and sexism of Campbell. And Hugo Award is a brand, with many SFF readers knowing it as the world's highest award in the genre and having no knowledge who Hugo was. Like Coca-Cola, which doesn't have coca leaves in it any more but keeping the name


message 2: by Antti (new)

Antti Värtö (andekn) | 724 comments I agree on every account. I think the consensus is that it's bad idea to name awards after people, since people are bastard-coated bastards with bastard filling (as they said so succinctly on Scrubs), and when times change even the giants of yesteryear can turn into villains of today.

But, that said, there is a tradition to consider, as well. If an award has had a certain name for decades, there should be a pretty big reason to change the name. "The guy you named this award after was a Nazi" would be a good reason."The guy was greedy" is... maybe not such a good reason.


message 3: by Ed (new)

Ed Erwin | 629 comments I object to the very idea of names. That I am called by the same name as I was called by 40 years ago seems crazy. I'm not him, I'm me!

More seriously: good move. Just as long as they keep the shape.


message 4: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Z (new)

Oleksandr Zholud | 3398 comments Mod
Ed wrote: "I object to the very idea of names. That I am called by the same name as I was called by 40 years ago seems crazy. I'm not him, I'm me!"

:)
I fully agree that no new award should be named after a person. However, I'm unsure that all old names should be changed.


message 5: by Ed (new)

Ed Erwin | 629 comments There are/were two separate awards named after Campbell. The second one is also changing it's name.

Cory Doctorow, who has won both Campbell awards, writes about it here:
https://boingboing.net/2019/09/06/ove...

Now, the Campbell Conference at the University of Kansas at Lawrence -- who give out the other Campbell award -- have announced that both the conference and the award will be renamed. The center is conference over immediately, and will be called the Gunn Center Conference, for its founder, the sf writer, critic and scholar James Gunn. The award will be renamed shortly, though the new name hasn't been announced.


message 6: by Ed (new)

Ed Erwin | 629 comments There are some calls to rename the Tiptree award as well.

It is a more interesting case because "James Tiptree" is (arguably) not a real person, but a creation of Alice Sheldon, much as "Astounding" was a creation by Campbell. Also, not everyone thinks that what Alice Sheldon did was wrong. (She killed her husband and herself as part of an agreement between the two of them about how they wanted to die.)

For now they are not changing the name, but are considering it.

https://tiptree.org/2019/09/alice-she...

Such interesting times.


message 7: by Silvana (new)

Silvana (silvaubrey) I came across this article when googling Hugo Gernsback: https://io9.gizmodo.com/how-do-you-en...

Does not seem right...


message 8: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Z (new)

Oleksandr Zholud | 3398 comments Mod
Silvana wrote: "I came across this article when googling Hugo Gernsback:"

An interesting piece, I think is was quite progressive for its time - there is an implicit assumption that all people are equal, but some are prosecuted for their phenotype characteristics. Of course now it can be viewed ranged from naive to offending (assuming that not whites should change but the rest)

Scott wrote: "James Gunn is fine...until 50 years from now someone uncovers something that is by then considered unsavory."

That's why I say no new award should be named after a person, there are enough adjectives and nouns around :)


message 9: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Z (new)

Oleksandr Zholud | 3398 comments Mod
Scott wrote: "I'd rather get rid of this virtue-signalling trend that expects everyone in the history of everything to be perfect by today's standards or they must be wiped out while completely disregarding any contribution they made to society or culture."

For me it isn't a virtue-signaling (erm, elsewhere on this group I argue that calling Campbell a fascist is technically wrong and the word is just a placeholder for a bad person, devoid of its original meaning), it is more like looking what the fandom does. Also it is a much broader problem that just SFF. I'm from Ukraine and our history is full of far from perfect persons, which is used say by Russian propaganda machine by giving only one side sometimes spiced with lies.


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