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The Hugo Awards: A Nominee's Perspective

Here: http://noreascon4.blogs.com/live/2004/09/the_hugo_awards_1.html

or here:

As I warned people in my Thursday post, I wouldn't be able to blog again until today, because from Friday night to Saturday night I was observing shabbat, and I figured that I wouldn't have time to post elsewhen. There's a lot I could post about, but I thought I would give everyone a nominee's-eye-view of the Hugo Awards.

I have to admit that I have a relatively skewed perspective on Worldcon. I've only managed to make it to four Worldcons in my life, and at each one of them, I was a Hugo nominee. (I missed two others at which I was a nominee.) So from my perspective, I've always had set plans for the Hugo evening. And this is how it worked this year.

At 6 PM, Nomi and I (along with friend and assistant Julia) went to the pre-Hugo reception. This is a big closed party, where nominees and their guests have a chance to chat, along with the presenters, MC, and people running the show. In reality, it's kind of a way to make sure that all the nominees are corralled, so if someone said they would be on hand to accept their Hugo, they're actually there. They do provide a level of food and drink, and there's a lot of people around in fancy dress all perspiring in nervousness because they don't know what's going to happen. I talked with a lot of people and have to admit that it's hard to remember many of the conversations. I do recall the following, though. Nomi came up to me at one point to say that she had been talking to Phil Klass (William Tenn), and that he had told her that I was an excellent writer and that I had written an excellent story.

Delighted, I approached Tenn to thank him. To my face, he said, "You're welcome. After all, your story was not as poorly written as it could have been."

We all love William Tenn.

At 7:45 PM, they escorted all of the nominees into the auditorium, where they had reserved a block of seats for us. And then we had the ceremony. When you're a nominee, you have sit and wait through a ton of other presentations while you wait for them to announce your category. No matter how short the ceremony, the wait is interminable. Throughout, I was sitting, very nervous, holding Nomi's hand, and hoping that when George R.R. Martin opened the envelope, he'd read my name aloud as the winner in the Short Story category.

Of course, at this point we all know that Neil Gaiman won, and Neil was very funny as he accepted his Hugo. So the question people now ask me is how do I feel. There's an old saying that it's an honor just to be nominated, and while that is true, I hope people would understand that someone who loses will still feel a certain level of bitter disappointment, and that the joy of being nominated is separate from the frustration of having lost.

On the other hand, I have a few wonderful things to hold onto. According to the voting breakdown, my story had the most nominations of any in the category - including Neil's. And I placed a strong second, implying that had Neil's story not been on the list, I probably would have won.

After the ceremony, we went to the Hugo Loser's party, where I hugged Sue Francis, thanked Michael Rennie for some apple juice, and made some reconnections with some good friends. And then we left, to join Bob Greenberger in the Rhode Island Science Fiction Club Suite, to watch some excellent hula dancing and let out the last of my tension as we watched Donna's hips sway to the music.

I'll report more later if I can -- and here's a shout-out to the lovely Dawn Burnell, who writes about having attending my reading in her Sunday blogging.

Comments

Sorry sweetie!!!!

I don't know what else to say other than that.

M
Sorry, Michael! I really thought this story was going to be the breakthrough. Much hugs and sympathy.
Thank you for writing this!

And I placed a strong second, implying that had Neil's story not been on the list, I probably would have won.

I did notice that. I was disappointed for you; but being up against Gaiman was a tough place to be (another reason it would have been nice to get your story properly placed in the novelette category, eh?).

When they read off the nominees, my friend who came to the ceremony nudged me and whispered, "Why all the applause for Michael Burstein?"
"He's our friend! We're all rooting for him!"
"*Oh*!"
Great blogging! Lots of emotion. Love it :-)
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