The Hugo Voter’s Packet
If you read science fiction and/or fantasy, you may already know about the Hugo Award. Many people refer to it as the Oscar Award of the science fiction world, but I think that it’s more accurate to describe it as sci-fi’s People’s Choice Award, since anyone can nominate and vote for their favorite works.
Every year, the World Science Fiction Convention is held in a different city around the world. Last year it was held in San Antonio, Texas. This year it’s in London, and next year it will be held in Spokane, Washington. Members of the convention are eligible to nominate and vote for the Hugo Awards, given to the science fiction and fantasy works deemed worthy from the previous calendar year.
Since 2010, every sitting Worldcon has, with the cooperation of publishers and authors, managed to put together a package of all the “in print” nominated works in DRM-free e-book format. This includes novels, short stories, magazines, related works, graphic novels, and much, much, more. The only cost for this treasure trove is a membership to that year’s convention. In addition to an attending membership (which is usually a couple hundred dollars), you can buy a supporting membership at a much more reasonable price. The current cost for a supporting membership is $40 USD for this year’s convention in London.
The reasoning behind the packet is to give the eligible voters a chance to familiarize themselves with all the works that have been nominated before they vote for them. Back in the early days of the Hugo Awards, it may have been possible to keep abreast of most of the new speculative fiction that was published; it is practically impossible to do that in this age of internet publishing.
If you are interested, you can see the works showcased in last year’s Voter’s packet. Also, you are not required to vote if you buy the packet, and if you do vote, you are not required to vote in every category. If you act quickly enough, there is still time to nominate the works from 2013 you’d like to see win the Hugo. All you need to do is purchase your membership and send in your ballot before March 31, 2014.
If you have any questions about the Voter’s Packet, the Hugo Awards or Worldcon, I’ll be happy to answer them in the comments.