George RR Martin and John O’Neill
Yesterday, while I was walking through the crowded halls of Worldcon in the Kansas City Convention Center, I was given an invitation to the Hugo Losers party, courtesy of the party’s distinguished host, George RR Martin. I was quite flattered, as Black Gate was not even up for a Hugo (we declined the nomination, as we did last year, to make room for another nominee on the ballot), but didn’t think much more about it.
The Hugo Losers party is the hottest ticket of the convention, as I soon discovered. George personally hands out the Alfie Awards to those Hugo losers whom he feels (quite rightly, I think) were unjustly robbed of an award by slate shenanigans. And this year he spared no expense to do it in style, renting out the Midland Theater, hiring a band, and plying hundreds of guests with fabulous food and drink. The Awards themselves are gorgeous, constructed of vintage hood ornaments, in honor of the design inspiration for the first Hugo Awards.
George funds and hosts the awards, but the Alfie’s are in truth a fan award… the winners are determined by the results of the Hugo voting. But after the first few were awarded, George announced that the Alfie committee had the right to give out special awards. And as the sole member of the committee, he’d decided to give a special award this year to recognize one publication “for integrity” in declining a Hugo nomination two years in a row. Without further ado, George announced the award was to be given to Black Gate, and I was called to the stage to accept it.
It was a very real honor for me. In a very real way George exemplifies all that’s best about fandom — its inclusiveness, its quest to reward excellence, and especially its talent for building a community. I was very proud to accept the award on behalf of everyone who’s worked so hard to make Black Gate a success these last few years.
George RR Martin relaxes with fans after the awards
I have lots more to comment on — especially on the Hugo Awards themselves — but for now it’s 2:52 am, and it’s very definitely bed time. See you tomorrow.