Part of my day job duties as the official Sci-fi Lady is to keep the Hugo and Nebula award winner lists up to date. Before I started writing seriously, checking the winners list was a fun task because I could stay up to date on which of my favorite books and authors won. It also gave me something to gush and/or commiserate about with my regulars. Getting paid and selling books while doing it was a bonus.
After I chose to make writing a career and started going to workshops and signings, my outlook changed. Why? Because not only were there more names on the list that I recognized, some of them belonged to friends. No longer were they anonymous, lofty artists. They were people that I'd hung out at the bar with, asked writing advice from, played games with. Individuals that I could actually call to congratulate. The award suddenly became personal -- remotely, but still a lot more personal than before. In a lot of ways, the experience is like listening to a Forbidden Broadway parody.
The first time you hear it it's funny. After you've been cast in the show that is being lampooned, the song takes on a whole new meaning and significance.
Before, it was merely disappointing when a book that I really liked didn't win. Knowing the author only makes it harder because you know how hard they worked on it. On the other hand, it's absolutely thrilling to see their names on the nomination lists and to watch them accept their well deserved awards, so I guess it balances out.
This year, I got to take that thrill to the next level by being one of the many people who put them on the ballot. I know there are certain individuals (mostly trolls) that will spew accusations that the awards are fixed because we all nominate and vote for each other. I'll confess, most of the works I put on my ballot were written by friends. However, I didn't do it because of a conspiracy or a sense of obligation. It's because I don't have a lot of reading time and the works of my friends take precedence over the rest.
Friendships aside, if I didn't love the story, I wouldn't have put it on my ballot. When I bought my attending membership and I thought about who I might vote for, that was a distinction that I didn't know if I could make or not. Once I actually saw the ballot and how many spaces there were in each category, it was far easier. What can i say? I have more friends then the ballot has spaces. (Not exactly a bad problem to have.)
As the voting process continues it will be interesting to see if I have any more moments of "Wow! I didn't expect that." In the meantime I will delight in the fact that I was able to make my opinion known and see the process with new eyes.
Note: Mark your calendars! Yours truly will have a guest post at The Fictorian Era on Saturday, March 28th.