2018 Hugo Awards
2018 Hugo Awards, Dave Marvin
Starting a book blog has been an unexpected journey in many regards. As readers, as fans, we have long admired authors. Some people go for rockstars, some go for movie stars, but for us, authors are the people who capture our imaginations and inspire our dreams. What we did not know, having met very few authors, is how warm and accessible they are. The thought that authors would retweet our tweets never occurred to us, let alone reach out to us to thank us for reviewing their works. I must admit, I had very mixed emotions when one author notified me with a correction for my review: I was embarrassed by my mistake, but I was also thrilled to realize that, “OHMYGODSHEREADTHEACTUALREVIEW!!!!!!”
I’ve never been to the Hugo Awards (or any other awards show), but this year I really wanted to watch them. I won’t pretend I have any real relationship with any of the authors. We have never met. But some of them have retweeted Scintilla, some have sent a “thank you,” and several have blessed us with their stories and novels. This year, watching the Hugos was not just another awards ceremony. It was a chance to see people I had glimpsed through their writing, people whose art I believe in, people who have become more special to me than I ever thought possible.
So I watched not as a disinterested observer, but as a cheerleader. I loved the books by nominees for the John W. Campbell award for new authors: Rivers Solomon, Sarah Kuhn, and the winner, Rebecca Roanhorse (she also won for best short story, an AMAZING work called “Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience”). I look forward to reading those by other nominees. Nnedi Okorafor was up for two awards and won for Akata Witch, a YA novel that is beautiful and compelling. Nnedi Okorafor is actually one of the reasons I wanted to write about what I was reading: her Binti series and her young adult books moved me and I wanted to shout and dance and let the world know how amazing and special they were and I didn’t have an outlet until my brilliant wife said, “Hey, let’s create Scintilla.info” and now I get to shout and dance all over the keyboard.
If you have read Scintilla at all, you have figured out that I am a big fan of John Scalzi. His book, The Collapsing Empire was up for best novel. It didn’t win, but I am not disappointed. The winner, for the third year in a row, was the incomparable N.K. Jemison. Someday I will review her books, because she is incredible. As gifted a writer as she is, though, her acceptance speech was powerful and passionate and gut-wrenching because of its raw honesty. Her first novel was rejected because “only black people” would want to read a novel by a black writer. That sickened me. I hate to think that we are that shallow, that we can only enjoy writers who are “like” us.
I am white, straight, cis male, middle-aged, and its fair to say I have my pick of writers who are “like” me. And some of them I like. Some of them. But what I love are writers who show me new perspectives, who invite me into their worlds and allow me to look through their eyes. My heart is affected by writers who are willing to say, “walk with me and talk with me and see things with me and listen to my stories” and when I shut up and listen and walk and look I can recognize that this is a big beautiful world full of stories, some sad and some ugly and some tragic and some appalling but all of them full of beautiful lovely people.
Some of those people were at the Hugos. Some of them won. But because they are telling their stories, all of us willing to listen and to read and to care are better.
For more information see http://www.thehugoawards.org/