Over this past weekend, the 2014 Hugo Award nominees were announced. Among the nominees is the well-known Wheel of Time fantasy novel series, written by the combined efforts of Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson. Some Hugo Award fans – hardcore fantasy and science fiction aficionados – have cried foul at the nomination of the entire epic series in the Best Novel category. Sanderson, who gamers also know for the Mistborn series and resulting RPG from Crafty Games, has a gracious and considered post about the nomination on his blog. In particular, he asks fans and detractors alike to proceed with caution:
Please don’t let the Hugo Awards become a shoving match between fandoms. […]
The Hugo Awards are a popularity contest—but they should be a fiction popularity contest, not an author popularity contest. […]
We want you to vote. We want you to be part of the process. But let me speak frankly to you: if you don’t intend to read and investigate the other nominees and participate in a wide variety of categories, you are doing the awards a disservice. I would rather have the Wheel of Time not win than have it be given an award as part of a thoughtless shoving match.
The full post addresses much more, and is worth the click-thru. In fact, with nominees that range from novels, short stories, and fan podcasts, to Doctor Who episodes, Pacific Rim and Iron Man 3, the Hugo Awards as a whole are a litmus test for geek culture, and certainly worth further investigation.