Every year this happens. The short list is announced and I go into hiding for a few weeks until the hubbub dies down. Every year there is a controversy, and every year there are long, long discussions about why so-and-so is on there (what an asshole) and so-and-so isn’t (who is the absolute ideal of perfection in every sense of the word). Let’s decry the system! Damn the man!! Public shaming ahoy!
Why do awards have to make us so ugly?
Perhaps I am a believer in what goes around comes around, and that’s why my threshold for these events and the discussions that circle around them are so low. Don’t worry, kids. It will sort itself out. You reap what you sow. Life is too short to spend any bit of it angry or resentful if you don’t have to.
The truth is, those people on that shortlist are there for a reason. Whatever that reason might be, it worked. They produced something impressive, they had fan support, raw talent oozes from their pores, they rigged votes. Whatever it is that they did, they did it better than I could do it. Whether we appreciate their skill and finesse is up to each of us individually.
Agree or disagree with the short list, but respect the people on it who have worked hard to get that far. I consider many of them friends, and I am beyond thrilled that they have risen so high. I am proud of them. I recognize their work as being some of the best, the ideal I aspire toward. Some of the podcasts, books, and websites have pulled me through very dark, dark times, uplifted me, and gave me hope and strength when I didn’t think I had any. They took me away from myself when I was broken and fighting, and that’s a rare gift that I can’t put a price on.
I am very proud to be in such a vibrant, thriving community, and I am thrilled that this community is passionate enough to have such strong debates. Speculative Fiction fans don’t take anything lying down, and I respect that about all of us. What a joy to be a member of such a passionate group.
I don’t, however, understand why that passion has to come at the cost of others.
Congratulations to those on the short list. You worked hard to be there, and I admire you all for your contributions.