A WorldCon – i.e., the annual SF Word Convention – is an amazing event, culminating in the Hugo Awards night but also featuring a head-spinning series of events, panels, games, music performances (called filk in SF jargon), art dealers, promotions of future venues and business meetings. A characteristic of these conventions is that every full member is also a member of WSFS, the World Science Fiction Society, and is eligible to attend and vote at the Society’s Business Meetings where future venues are voted.
London was the selected location for the 72th World Convention, and the combination SF convention + summer holidays in a popular tourist destination has produced the attendance record of 10,000 visitors, give or take. I won’t repeat what already said about the different panels and authors present at Loncon3. You can find a pretty good description on the official website of the convention, with an impressive amount of details. In my case, I was particularly excited about getting Proxima signed by Stephen Baxter – a living legend of British SF – and I loved listening to Alastair Reynolds’ interstellar travel lecture. And, oh yes, Peter Hamilton was simply great in the Detectives and SF panel on Sunday’s afternoon. But GMM Martin was there too, signing books and chatting with people. And Pat Rothfuss. And Kim Stanley Robinson. And… ok, you got the idea. (In a future post, I will upload images. People, gaming sessions and art objects are truly protagonist of this kind of events, and they deserve the spotlight.)
And what about the Hugo Awards Ceremony? That’s a night that makes people dream, since it’s the single most prestigious award a SFF writer can get. The atmosphere in the ICC Auditorium yesterday night was certainly at the level of my expectations. I had a lot of problems this year trying to decide what to vote for – it has not been an easy call. Apparently, I was not the only one, and there were indeed some surprises – a huge one being the Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form, won by Game of Thrones’ The Rains of Castamere (David Benioff & D.B. Weiss). Why? Simply because it was competing against a few Doctor Who’s entries, and this is London. Surprising it was indeed.
Other winners were more straightforward, and a look at the ballots will prove the point. It is also the case to notice that LonCon 3 received 3,587 valid Hugo Award final ballots, an absolute record. The previous high was 2,100 final ballots at the 2011 Worldcon, Renovation, in Reno, Nevada. Ancillary Justice (that had already got the British Science Fiction Association prize and the Clarke Award) won by landslide and so did Mary Robinette Kowal. Other were less certain.
Anyway, this is the complete 2014 Winner List (from LonCon 3 Award page):
Best Novel: Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie (Orbit US / Orbit UK)
Best Novella: “Equoid” by Charles Stross (Tor.com, 09-2013)
Best Novelette: “The Lady Astronaut of Mars” by Mary Rabbinate Kowal (maryrobinettekowal.com /Tor.com, 09-2013)
Best Short Story: “The Water That Falls on You from Nowhere” by John Chu (Tor.com, 02-2013)
Best Related Work: “We Have Always Fought: Challenging the Women, Cattle and Slaves Narrative” by Kameron Hurley (A Dribble of Ink)
Best Graphic Story: “Time” by Randall Munroe (xkcd)
Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form): Gravity written by Alfonso Cuarón & Jonás Cuarón, directed by Alfonso Cuarón (Esperanto Filmoj; Heyday Films; Warner Bros.)
Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form): Game of Thrones: “The Rains of Castamere” written by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, directed by David Nutter (HBO Entertainment in association with Bighead, Littlehead; Television 360; Startling Television and Generator Productions)
Best Editor – Short Form: Ellen Datlow
Best Editor – Long Form: Ginjer Buchanan
Best Professional Artist: Julie Dillon
Best Semiprozine: Lightspeed Magazine edited by John Joseph Adams, Rich Horton, and Stefan Rudnicki
Best Fanzine: A Dribble of Ink edited by Aidan Moher
Best Fancast: SF Signal Podcast Patrick Hester
Best Fan Writer: Kameron Hurley
Best Fan Artist: Sarah Webb
The John W. Campbell Award for the best new professional science fiction or fantasy writer of 2012 or 2013, sponsored by Dell Magazines (not a Hugo Award): Sofia Samatar
Maybe some time will be now spent on discussing controversial decisions – but it’s the case to say that controversial have been a few of the nominations first. So, for the moment, I congratulate the winners and offer my sympathy to the ones who did not get it – especially Mira Grant/Seanan McGuire and Rachel Swirsky. You will, sooner or later. I will be there waiting.