A Hugo Awards thought…

The nominees for this year’s Hugo Awards have been announced – congrats to one and all. A few people have mentioned the dearth of female nominees in the fiction categories. This seems a reasonable observation, even though I’m always cautious about gender-based breakdowns of such things. It did make me think to take a look at one or two other things, and I was quite surprised to see the case with winners for Best Professional Artist Hugos. Since the first ‘professional artist’ award was presented in 1955, exactly one woman has won the award, and then as part of a team (Dianne Dillon). So, in fifty-one attempts at presenting the Best Professional Artist Hugo, across a fifty-two year period, only one. Very odd (see the list of artists here).

Edited to add:

A quick look down the lists of nominees also shows that only three women – Dillon, Rowena Morrill, and Val Lakey-Lindahn  – have ever been nominated for the Best Professional Artist Hugo. I haven’t done an exhaustive survey, and I’d never advocate some kind of quota approach to these things, but that seems rather extraordinary. If they’ve averaged four nominees in 52 sets of nominations, that’s three women in over 200 nominations.  The only question, I guess, is whether there is an obvious candidate, or candidates, who’ve done science fiction artwork, who have been overlooked.  If so, it would be a rather sad state of affairs.

Best American Fantasy toc

My pals Jeff and Ann VanderMeer have released the table of contents for their forthcoming anthology, Best American Fantasy. I’m going to be fascinated to see how the world reacts to this one. It’s a pretty obvious, and understandable, attempt to link into the whole ‘Best American” series that Houghton Mifflin publish. Those books are incredibly successful, and it’d be nice to see this one do as well for Jeff and Ann. I’ll also be interested to read the book, when it hits the shelves. The stories that I’ve read – especially the Link and Hand stories – are very good. The other thing that’s interesting about the book is that I’m not aware of any other book taking specifically this angle: trying to identify an “American fantasy” that crosses mainstream and genre boundaries. Very interesting.

Scalzi winner!

Well, we got a really nice handful of entrants. I want to thank everyone who had a go at creating a promotional item for The Last Colony. The winner is Pixelfish for this flash movie . It’s very cool, and a staggering amount of work. If the winner could email me postal details at jstrahan(at)iinet(dot)net(dot)au, I’ll get the ARC in the mail!


I am currently listening to Neil Young Live at Massey Hall 1971. I am currently reading Gene Wolfe’s Pirate Freedom. I am currently watching Life on Mars. The Neil Young concert is awesome, though the DVD is crap and I’m struggling with perhaps listening to too much of Young’s distinctive voice. The Wolfe is beautifully written, but if anything I’m struggling more rather than less with the details that have been bothing me all along. After two episodes of Season 1, I’m completely knocked out by Life on Mars, which is some of the best television I’ve seen in a while. What else? I’m about to accept the first story for a new anthology project, and am working on my taxes. Yay.