Last night the Hugo Awards were given out. I sort-of watched them live on Ustream, although once again the live feed was sporadic and frustrating. This time, however, it was the hotel’s fault, not Ustreams, which I guess is a refreshing change even if it did not alter the outcome of many gaps in the viewing. Fortunately, Cheryl Morgan, Kevin Standlee, and Mur Lafferty were on-hand to provide live updates via the Hugo site, so folks could follow along.

I am ambivalent about the Hugos; about most awards, really. But I find myself following the Hugos each year and expressing my delight and disappointment at each award. One reason for this is that SF Signal, which kindly publishes my regular column, gets nominated for the “Best Fanzine” award. Another is that the social rituals of both the presentation and the reception continue to fascinate me. It’s a significant moment in the production of the literary field, whether I like it or not.

Last night had a bit more significance than usual: SF Signal won the Best Fanzine Award again (and the editors have now withdrawn it from future consideration).  I was very happy to see this; John and JP have built the site into a genre juggernaut, and it was gratifying to see it recognized for a second year in a row. As a member of the contributor-horde I’m pleased to have contributed a wee bit to that success. But I was even more pleased when Patrick Hester, who was an editor last year, singled me out in the Hugo acceptance speech,  I don’t have a transcript (or even a video) handy, but essentially he praised and teased me for my lengthy essays. It was lovely to be singled out and I appreciate Patrick highlighting my contribution (even as he poked fun at my vocabulary!).

I was quite pleased to see Galen Dara win for Best Fan Artist; her work is distinctive and disturbing. I really want a few of her pieces on my walls someday (and at least one of them on a T-shirt!). I was rooting for Clarkesworld and John Picacio for Best Semiprozine and Best Artist; Neil Clarke puts together a mean magazine and I have been a fan of Picacio’s crisp, dynamic art for some time (and, again, I would love some of his stuff like the cover to No Going Back & his Elric art on tees and in frames).

The Dramatic categories were meh; I saw nothing on the Long Form list to root for and while I did enjoy the Blackwater episode from Game of Thrones I was glad that it won mostly because it dethroned Doctor Who. We supposedly live in some golden age of fantastic media but we still get three Who episodes on the list?  I hope that this new era produces much better movies next year, if nothing else.

I admire Ken Liu’s work greatly so I was happy for his Best Short Story win for “Mono no Aware” but I had hoped that Aliette de Bodard’s “Immersion” would take it. I also rooted for On a Red Station, Drifting for Best Novella. I was not surprised that John Scalzi won for Best Novel, but I had been pulling for Saladin Ahmed, whose debut novel Throne of the Crescent Moon was nominated. The best part of the night, however, was Paul Cornell’s turn as emcee. He was witty, but to me a kinder and more gracious host than those of some past years. Even when he told a terrible joke it was hard not to smile.

And now that those are over, back to work.