2003 Hugo Awards Nominees List FAQ

In my rush to release the 2003 Hugo Award nominee list before the various Easter weekend conventions, I made some errors. I figured I would take some time to explain what happened, give some background information on our decisions, and answer some questions from the ol' electronic mail bag. I wish to thank everyone who took the time to send corrections and comments.

Best Novelette Category 
I placed Ted Chiang's novelette "Liking What You See: A Documentary" (Stories of Your Life and Others) on the nominee list before I received his reply to my request for confirmation. Ted respectfully declined his nomination. He felt the story was not representative of his best work. Perhaps you can offer to buy Ted a drink next time you see him at a convention and get the full story from him.

John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer 
This is David D. Levine's FIRST year of eligibility for the John W. Campbell Award. I will repeat that - this is David D. Levine's FIRST year of eligibility for the John W. Campbell Award. While I personally feel that Interzone is a marvelous magazine and everyone should read it, having a story appear in Interzone does not count as a professional sale under the award guidelines as so many people pointed out to me.

Best Short Story Category 
The Torcon 3 Hugo Administration Subcommittee decided to remove John L. Flynn's short story "A Gift of Verse" from the 2003 Best Short Story category under WSFS Constitution Section 3.2.1, 'Unless otherwise specified, Hugo Awards are given for work in the field of science fiction or fantasy appearing for the first time during the previous calendar year.' I did not learn that the story had originally appeared in Visions in Light and Shadow, which had been published in 2000, until after the Hugo nominee list had been released.

The question of which year a particular work is eligible to be nominated for a Hugo Award occurs every year. Books with a January or February publication date could have been available the previous December. Magazines frequently have cover dates that are a month or two later than the actual display date. The World Science Fiction Society has a long-standing policy of using the publication date on a book or periodical's copyright notice page to determine the year of eligibility for a work.

Publication dates are solid physical evidence that anyone can validate. In many countries, copyright notices are required by law to be printed in all copyrighted, publicly distributed publications, such as books and periodicals, to indicate copyright coverage. The notice includes the first year of publication of the work; and the name of the owner of copyright in the work, whether the original author, or one to whom the work has been leased, sold, or assigned. Other significant information often accompanies the copyright notice, including the place of printing, the ISBN (International Standard Book Number), and the Cataloging in Publication data.

In John Flynn's case, we were informed that nearly eighteen months had passed since the September 2000 BrickHouse Books publication date on the Visions in Light and Shadow copyright notice page and the general availability of the book in February 2002. We could have accepted this as a reasonable excuse and made an exception, but more evidence had turned up. In 2001, Visions in Light and Shadow received enough nominations to tie for 14th place in the Millennium Philcon Best Related Book Hugo Award category. We must assume that Visions in Light and Shadow was available in 2000 for those people to have read and nominated it.

The decision of the Torcon 3 Hugo Administration Subcommittee is final and is not subject to appeal per the WSFS Constitution (Section 3.2.11), 'The Worldcon Committee is responsible for all matters concerning the Awards.' The Torcon 3 Worldcon Committee has irrevocably delegated this authority to the Torcon 3 Hugo Administration Subcommittee per Section 3.12. If you have any questions regarding the parliamentary basis of this decision, you may contact the Chairman of the 2003 WSFS Business Meeting, Kevin Standlee, at WSFSbusiness@torcon3.on.ca or the Torcon 3 postal address.

The current revision of the WSFS constitution may be found in Torcon 3's Progress Report Four, which is available as a PDF file on the Torcon 3 Publications web page. The 2001 Millennium Philcon Hugo nominee results are listed in Issue 14 of the MilPhil daily newsletter, The Kessel Run, which is available at http://www.milphil.org/pubs/newsletter14b.pdf. John Flynn's short story "A Gift of Verse" is currently on the Nexxus web site at http://www.nexxus.usafreespace.com/.

Some Other Odds and Ends

Coraline: Young Adult Novel or Novella? 
Nearly everyone who nominated Neil Gaiman's Coraline placed it in the Best Novella category. It had enough nominations to be placed in either the novella or novel category. I went out and bought a copy to do a rough word count. Before my daughter managed to steal it and take it back to collage, I came up with an estimated word count well below the Hugo Award novel category requirement of 40,000 words or more. Neil Gaiman accepted the Best Novella nomination with good grace.

Lilo and Stitch 
Many of you are wondering about the fate of Lilo and Stitch. I'm sorry to say the actual nomination results can't be released until after the Torcon 3 Hugo Awards Ceremony on Saturday, August 30, 2003. The majority of the people who did nominate Lilo and Stitch (and other motion pictures such as Stuart Little 2, Men in Black II, etc. with running times less than ninety minutes) placed those nominations in the Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form category.

I decided that these feature presentation films belonged in the long form category and invoked WSFS constitution section 3.2.8, which allows a dramatic presentation to be located in a particular category as long as the length of the work is within the lesser of twenty minutes or twenty percent of that category's time limits. Since people commonly do make five nominations for the long form dramatic presentation category - which is the limit - I could only move short form category nominations for these movies when there were less than five nominations for the long form category on a nomination form.

What Do Those Numbers Mean? 
I was asked about the nomination results summary at the end of the Hugo nominee list on the Torcon 3 Hugo Awards web page. We'll use the Best Novel category results as an example:


Category  Forms  Nominations  Nominees  Range 
Novel  621 1,888  219 97 - 69

 Out of the 738 valid nomination forms received, 621 forms had nominations for 219 different novels. If you divide the number of nominations by the number of forms, you see that people nominated an average of about three novels each. According to the range, the first place nominee received 97 nominations and the fifth place nominee received 69 nominations.

Why Is Harry Potter on the Ballot? 
I sound like a scratched CD, but check the WSFS constitution. People may nominate works of science fiction or fantasy. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets is on the Hugo Awards ballot because enough people felt it deserves a Best Long Form Dramatic Presentation Hugo Award. The key word is "best" - we want the Hugo Awards to be given to the best works of the year. The Hugo Awards existed long before the World Fantasy Awards. Why should we limit ourselves to just science fiction?

I've also been asked why can't I add categories for Best SF Web Site or Best SF Computer Game, etc. The Hugo Awards Administrator does not have any authority to select what categories appear on the ballot or to judge which nominees are good enough. We just tally the nominations we receive and try to confirm their eligibility. Past members of the World Science Fiction Society created the rules governing the eligibility of works of fantasy and what categories appear on the ballot.

WSFS does not have a board of directors or any other form of permanent governing authority. The current World Science Fiction Convention committee appoints the officials of the annual business meeting. If you are a member of the current Worldcon, you are a WSFS member. You are entitled to submit new business prior to the preliminary business meeting for inclusion on the agenda and to attend the business meeting sessions held during the Worldcon.

I suggest you attend one of the business meeting sessions (they get my nomination for Best Long Form Dramatic Presentation) during Torcon 3 and learn how the sausage is made. You can contact the Chairman of the 2003 WSFS Business Meeting, Kevin Standlee, at WSFSbusiness@torcon3.on.ca or the Torcon 3 postal address for guidance on submitting motions for consideration and all that other arcane Robert's Rules of Order stuff.

Questions or comments about the Torcon 3 Hugo Awards may be sent to HugoAdmin@Torcon3.on.ca or the Torcon 3 postal address.

PO Box 3 Station A
Toronto, Ontario
M5W 1A2 Canada

Michael Nelson, Torcon 3 Hugo Awards Administrator


Last updated: 06 May 2003

Send comments or suggestions to HugoAdmin@torcon3.on.ca