Hugo Choices 6: Best Fan Writer

Previously on Hugo Choices:

Current Hugo State of Play

Hugo Choices 1: Best Novel

Hugo Choices 2: Best Related Work – The Story of Moira Greyland

Hugo Choices 3: Best Dramatic Presentation – Long Form

Hugo Choices 4: Best Short Story

Hugo Choices 5: Best Fanzine

Best Fan Writer

A strongly slate influenced category but with only two self-excluding entries from the Castalia House blog: Jeffro Johnson and Morgan Holmes. That leaves Douglas Ernst, Mike Glyer and Shamus Young. Yes, somehow when we have writers like Cora Buhlert, Alex Acks, Natalie Luhrs, the people at Lady Business, and multiple others (heck that’s just four recent links from this blog), ALL five of the nominees are men.

  1. Mike Glyer: the quality of Mike’s writing is clearer in the Hugo Packet than just perusing the website or the more traditional fanzine version. The website naturally is dominated by news articles but those shouldn’t be underestimated in terms of the quality of writing and particularly not in terms of the difficulty of writing fan-journalism.
  2. No Award. So many other and better writers could have been in this category.
  3. Shamus Young. OK, I guess. Predominately game reviews but from a fan-of-the-game perspective on the whole. Nothing wrong with that as a style of writing but if you haven’t played the game, the reviews didn’t seem very interesting (i.e. less why-you-might-like-this and more if-you-played-this-did-you-like-this-bit). The Hugo Packet includes a lengthy analysis of the issues with Mass Effect as a game and the policy decisions made by Bioware that may have led to the flaws. Overall hard to evaluate. Good enough to stay on my ballot but not wow enough to get above No Award. Sorry 😦
  4. Douglas Ernst. Oh, this was a tight battle between Ernst and No Award. The question is whether we should only mark positively i.e. judge fan writers on the basis of their best examples or whether it is the totality of their work? If we go on the first approach (and I’m inclined to) Douglas produces some good  writing. His comic reviews can be witty, with an appropriate level of snark. Ernst’s more political/social commentary posts are much weaker but the guy is saddled with having to defend poorly thought out positions. Overall, a bit middling with high variability. There are many better writers out there but as there is a danger of political bias on my part leading me to undervalue the rest of his writing I strongly considered putting him above No Award. However, even the best of his writing just isn’t up to award-worthy. So he’ll be on my ballot at 4.

13 responses to “Hugo Choices 6: Best Fan Writer”

  1. Thanks for the shout-out, Camestros. 🙂

    My impressions of Shamus Young were similar to yours. I’m not a gamer, so I can’t really judge his work at all.

    As for Mr. Ernst, I hadn’t gotten around to his contributions to the voter packet yet. But since I’m actually German, that complete horseshit about the self-styled shariah police of Wuppertal quickly disqualified him for me. BTW, a higher court overturned the initial decision last month and they’re being charged now.


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