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Jan 26

My Hugo Nominees For Best Fan Writer

Mine is mostly a cut and paste of Martin Lewis’ list except I’ve swapped out two of his for two of my own. (I should say that I would normally nominate Requires Hate – but I don’t believe she was as prolific in 2013. That said she’d be number six on my list).

So here goes:

Abigail Nussbaum – It’s a disgrace that Abigail – who joined Twitter last year – does not regularly appear on the Hugo ballot. Although we’ve seen less of her fiction and TV reviews in the last 12 months, when she does review on her blog or Strange Horizons it’s brilliant insightful stuff. As with last year I’m seeing Abigail’s name bandied about on the blogs I frequent. Hopefully this will translate in an actual nomination.

Foz Meadows – By far the most important fannish voice on the issues of gender and diversity in both fiction and the wider world. Her takedown of James Dellingpole’s sexist article in the Daily Express is an example of her passionate sometimes savage writing. I thought my eyes were already opened on these issues. Foz has widened them further.

Grant Watson – When it comes to criticism – analysis of comics, TV and movies in particular – Grant is the best in Australia and not too shabby when compared to the rest of the world. His reviews – especially of older TV like the X-Files, Babylon 5 and classic Who, coupled with his look at the week in comics and sundry other bits of media that capture his interest – are always enlightening, often funny and provide little tidbits of historical and contextual information that I always find fascinating.

Jonathan McCalmont – While I do like Jonathan’s film reviews, it’s his pieces on fandom and the state of the genre that I find genuinely compelling. A couple of years ago I just assumed that Jonathan was a bit of a shit stirrer, but in recent times as he’s become more invested in the inner circles of fandom, he’s further elaborated his thinking on what he thinks is wrong with fandom and the SF genre. It’s not all bad news. Jonathan doesn’t just critique and pull apart, he also makes suggestions, which is a rare thing in this internet age of cynicism and outrage.

Nina Allan – Nina isn’t just a fine writer (Writer and the Critic reviewed the wonderful ‘The Silver Wind’ here) but she’s also has a keen eye for a good book. Of all the people I’m nominating, Nina is the most influential in terms of my book choices. While I may not buy every book she recommends, I’ll definitely have a look. She’s also a fantastic ranter. Her attack on the Clarke award in 2012 is a must read – both for its passion and its insight.

So there you go, my picks for the 2014 ballot. There are those who will criticise me for choosing 2 pros, 2 possible semi-pros and worst of all five bloggers. Because the true fan writer is one who doesn’t write novels or get paid for book reviews, produces paper based fanzines, waxes on nostalgically about fannish controversies in the 1980s and is predominantly a white male. OK, the last of those isn’t mandated but rather a consequence of the first three.

Personally I’d rather nominate people who are saying contemporary, relevant and interesting things about the state of fandom whether they be a best selling writer or someone who spends an hour everyday knocking something out on their blog. Because fan writing, even in its purest form, is about the fannish experience. And whether you’re a pro or not that fannish experience is open to anyone who wants a taste. Or it should be.

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