Some More Hugo Award History Unearthed

In response to a question posted by Dan B., we’ve discovered that the WSFS Business Meeting members made instant-runoff voting (IRV) part of the Hugo Award process at NYcon III in 1967, and it was used for the first time on the 1968 Hugo Awards at Baycon. The Short History of the Hugo Awards Process page has been updated to reflect this new information.

Thanks to the people at who’ve been working hard at scanning and uploading historical fandom documents which make this sort of research possible, and to Dan B. for asking the question.

2018/1943 Hugo Award Nominations Opening Soon

Worldcon 76 San Jose advises us that they will open nominations for the 2018 Hugo Awards and 1943 Retrospective Hugo Awards within the next few days. They have been working with Worldcon 75 Helsinki and Worldcon 2018 Dublin to coordinate the combined membership information from all three Worldcons, and to do so within the limitations of the three countries’ data-protection laws. When testing of the online nomination form is complete, Worldcon 76 San Jose will release it on the Worldcon 76 web site and make an announcement. We’ll also announce the start of nominations here on The Hugo Awards web site. Paper ballots will also be distributed with Worldcon 76 Progress Report 2, which we understand is going to press in a few days and should mail to members of Worldcon 76 in February. Besides the online form, a PDF of the paper form will be available from Worldcon 76’s web site when it is ready for release.

Members of the 2017 (Helsinki), 2018 (San Jose) and 2019 (Dublin) Worldcons as of December 31, 2017 are eligible to make nominations for the 2018 Hugo Awards (for works first published or appearing in 2017) and 1943 Retrospective Hugo Awards (for works first published or appearing in 1942). If you are a member of more than one of those three conventions, you can still only cast one nominating ballot. Eligible members will be able to vote online at the Worldcon 76 web site or via paper ballot. The six highest-ranking nominees in each category will form the shortlist of finalists and will appear on the final ballot to be announced later this year. Only members of Worldcon 76 San Jose who join before the final ballot deadline (which is yet to be announced) will be eligible to vote on the final ballot.

Each Worldcon committee is a legally separate entity; therefore, the sharing of information between Worldcon committees is subject to any restrictions imposed by local law, which of course supersedes any requirements of the WSFS Constitution.

This is the final year that members of the subsequent year’s Worldcon are eligible to nominate on the current Hugo Awards. A change ratified in Helsinki and first effective with the 2019 Worldcon limits nominating to members of the current and previous Worldcon as of the end of the previous calendar year.

2018, 2019 Worldcons to Present Retrospective Hugo Awards

The 2018 and 2019 Worldcons will present Retrospective Hugo Awards for the years 1943 and 1944, the two conventions announced jointly at SMOFCon 35, the annual SF/F conrunners convention, in Boston on December 2, 2017.

Worldcon 76 in San José will present the 1943 Retrospective Hugo Awards for works first published/appearing in 1942. Dublin 2019: An Irish Worldcon will present the 1944 Retrospective Hugo Awards for works first published/appearing in 1943.

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Feedback Solicited for Name of New YA Award

On the agenda for ratification at this year’s Worldcon is a new Worldcon-sanctioned award for Young Adult fiction. This is not a Hugo Award, but a new award administered similarly to the Hugo Award. If ratified this year, it will be first presented at Worldcon 76 in San Jose in 2018. The committee that has been working on the proposal is now soliciting feedback on the short list of potential names for the award. The committee considered and discarded names of persons, as well as names of existing awards and names that could cause trademark/copyright issues.

The committee will make recommendations to the WSFS Business Meeting in Helsinki. The Business Meeting is the body that has the final right to pick a name for the Award.

Helsinki to Trial Best Series

Worldcon 75 in Helsinki has announced that it will use its special powers to create one Hugo Award category to trial the proposed Best Series Hugo. This is in line with current tradition whereby seated Worldcons use their category creation power to test proposed new categories that have passed one Business Meeting and are up for ratification at the Worldcon in question. This gives members of WSFS an opportunity to see the category in action before voting on ratification.

The full text of the Worldcon 75 press release is as follows:
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Hugo Awards Ballot Definition of “Professional”

There has been some confusion over the meaning of “professional” and “non-professional” as used on this year’s Hugo Awards ballot. A new definition of what “professional” means for the purposes of the Hugo Awards went into effect this year, as an amendment to the WSFS Constitution adding the following section:

3.2.11: A Professional Publication is one which meets at least one of the following two criteria:

(1) it provided at least a quarter the income of any one person or,
(2) was owned or published by any entity which provided at least a quarter the income of any of its staff and/or owner.

This is one of the 12 “general provisions” listed in section 3.2 of the Constitution, which means it’s not part of the rules for any particular category, but applies generally except when there is a specific provision to the contrary in a given category. The “professional” definition affects the following categories:

  • Best Professional Artist: qualifying work must appear in a professional publication
  • Best Semiprozine: Semprozines must be non-professional publications
  • Best Fanzine: Fanzines must be non-professional publications
  • Best Fancast: Fancasts must be non-professional in nature
  • Best Fan Writer: Fan writing must appear in semiprozines, fanzines, or in generally available electronic media
  • Best Fan Artist: Fan art must appear in semiprozines, fanzines, or through other public display

Note that the “professional” definition does not affect the other categories on the Hugo Awards ballot. WSFS does not require that written fiction, related works, or dramatic presentations be “professionally” published, nor do the Best Editor categories mention “professional” in their descriptions.

On this year’s Hugo Awards ballot, the first category affected by the “professional” definition, Best Professional Artist, gives the full explanation of what “professional” means, but does not repeat that definition for the remaining categories thereafter such as Best Semiprozine. This inadvertently created some confusion over whether the “professional” definition applies to any category other than Best Professional Artist. Rest assured that this definition of “professional” does apply to all of the categories beyond and including Best Professional Artist, and bear it in mind when making your nominations in those categories.

Hugo Award Rules Changes

At today’s Business Meeting at Worldcon the members of the World Science Fiction Society voted on three motions concerning the Hugo Awards that were passed in Denver last year and required ratification.

A motion to remove the Best Semiprozine category was not ratified, so the category will remain in effect.

A motion clarifying how and where material published on the Internet is eligible for Hugo Awards was ratified and comes into effect next year.

The motion creating the best Graphic Story category was ratified. That category is therefore in effect until at least 2012, when it is due to be revisited to check it is working well.

A more detailed post about the effects of these changes will be made after Worldcon is over.