Hugo Hiatus

Two people I know in real life are traveling down under this spring, to New Zealand, not to attend WorldCon, home of the Hugo Awards ceremony, but just for vacations. Although, I wonder if their plans have changed since I last spoke or saw them over two months ago now. Much ado about something is occurring everywhere now, but don’t even compare it to 1918. Regardless, a trip to New Zealand would check off two items on my bucket list: 1) to see the Southern Hemisphere’s night sky (stars and constellations I cannot see from 39 degrees north latitude) and 2) to visit the closest thing to Middle-earth on this Earth.

For the past six years I’ve been nominating, reading and voting in the Hugo Awards process, starting with the year of the controversial Sad/Rabid Puppies slate and voting bloc – 2014. Since then, I actually had the opportunity to attend a WorldCon, hosted in Kansas City the summer of 2016.

While I loved the experience of attending and volunteering at a MidAmeriCon II, and meeting so many famous authors, I haven’t really enjoyed the Hugo Award nominating or voting process the other five years.

Cover of Network Effect by Martha Wells

I don’t typically run out and purchase a first edition/new release of science fiction or fantasy books, especially if I’ve never heard of or read the author before. The exact opposite is true, however, for my favorite authors – for them I always preorder the ebook or audiobook (or both). For example, I’ll be pre-ordering (soon) the next Murderbot Diary book, Network Effect by Martha Walls, to be released on May 5th.

So it’s a struggle for me to get motivated to read (for nomination purposes) new fiction of many unfamiliar or debut authors when I already have a list of hundreds of books I want to read in my to-be-read queue. With that in mind, I have decided to skip nominating for this year’s Hugo Awards (deadline to nominate is tomorrow Friday the 13th or Saturday the 14th depending on your time zone) and not renew my Supporting Membership to this year’s WorldCon, which means I won’t be voting this Summer.


Instead, I will support two (2) local cons in Kansas City and one (1) Tolkien Studies conference virtually, hosted in the real world in Leesburg, Virginia.

For the end of May, over the Memorial Day Weekend, I will attend ConQuest 51, and hope to meet the guest of honor, Mary Robinette Kowal, who won last year’s Hugo and Nebula Awards for Best Novel with her excellent book The Calculating Stars.

I will also be attending as a representative of the Withywindle Smial of the Tolkien Society of Kansas City.

In June, I will attend MythMoot VII virtually via their MootCast membership and am looking forward to watching any/all sessions Dr. Verlyn Flieger presents. And, of course, Dr. Corey Olsen, the Tolkien Professor himself.

TSoKC logo

In October, the Tolkien Society of Kansas City hosts our second MiddleMoot (but actually the fourth since we alternate with Iowa) which is in the planning stages right now.

Stay tuned for location, theme and call for papers announcements.


Taking a hiatus from the Hugo Awards merry-go-round and roller-coaster is going to severely crimp my annual reading goal. Even though I don’t plan on voting, I may still read some of the finalists, especially the Retro Hugo nominees. I love the scavenger hunt aspect of find an anthology collection that includes the various short fiction finalists. We’ll see how ambitious I feel in early Summer.

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