Well. I started to suspect that might be the case around the point where it got the World Fantasy nomination. And honestly? It’s okay. I’m okay. I have 37 years of experience not being nominated for a Hugo. I’m really good at it! I have mad not-being-nominated skills!
Ok…I wasn’t expecting it to be the first story below the fold—the highest nominated unslated story of the year. That was…that was a surprise.
In some ways, yeah, it would have been easier to have missed by a mile. But hell with it. I’ve got a Hugo already. The buff does not stack. You don’t get to have “Hugo Squared” or something, or else Connie Willis would be deep into scientific notation by now.
And you know, I’m very proud of that story. And I’m so very honored that so many of you liked it and nominated it.
But you know what was a surprise?
Toad Words would have been #8. It wouldn’t have made the ballot, so it didn't get bumped but…I put that on Tumblr. I self-published it in an anthology. That was the on-line equivalent of me whispering a weird little story into the wind and having people hear it. And roar back.
We live in a world where that is possible.
That is a good world. Whatever weird crap gets thrown at us by people who want to burn it down…it’s still here, and still good.
I went to bed feeling strange and proud and hopeful and sad.
I got up (with a raging hangover, thanks to the bit where I killed the bottle of wine halfway through the Hugo ceremony and started pouring soju into my wineglass—don’t try this at home, kids) and my friend Mur Lafferty was texting me. And then she called me, because text was slow, and that is love because she was on the third or fourth day of con and her voice sounded like a mile of hard road.
And it turns out...George R. R. Martin rented out a mansion for the Hugo Loser’s party this year. And he handed out his own awards at them—the “Alfies.” And I don’t know if there was one for everybody bumped by the Puppy Slate or what—that would be very cool, but also a lot of trophies--but he gave me one for Jackalope Wives, and Mur was called up to accept.
And then she walked around for the rest of the night holding it, and getting people to take photos with it for me. And she sent me the photos, and she got Scalzi and Ann Leckie and the Foglios and Elizabeth Bear and Scott Lynch and Connie Willis and a bunch of others and GRRM himself and…
So yes. I cried at Waffle House over my phone and drank bad coffee and ate hangover food and basically, I love you all. I will put that Alfie with my Hugo and my Nebula and I will be as honored by it as anything else I've done.
There are things in life that it is not possible to be worthy of. You simply take them as a gift and are grateful for them.
A nomination for an award like this is also a gift people give you. It’s a bunch of people saying “We loved this, and we think it can stand toe-to-toe with the best of the year.” It’s not a thing which is yours by right and how dare someone take it from you. It’s an act of kindness. It’s applause for a job well done.
And I still got that. Because a bunch of you did feel that way. You applauded.
I still feel loved.
Here’s a link to the nomination numbers, including others kept off the ballot. Some of those authors may feel differently than I do, and they are not wrong to feel that way. Please read their stories. I would have been proud to stand on the same stage with any of them.
Likewise, a number of people discovered that they were on the ballot because of the slates and asked to be taken off. That was a hard choice, and a good choice, and all honor to them for sticking to their principles in the face of extreme temptation. (GRRM handed out Alfies to some of them as well.) That is character at work, and if the day ever comes when we are on a ballot together, I will be equally proud to stand beside them.
Here is an article about it all, and it ends talking about GRRM and the Alfies.
Note: Because of the extremely high possibility of sea lioning in the comments, I will be running a tight herd on them and deleting anything that gets excessively hostile. Please, stay positive. There's enough awful going and I don't want to deal with it here.
Should it get out of hand, I'll lock the whole thing, so if you have comments you are particularly proud of and wish to re-use elsewhere, please make copies.
*If you’ve been following, then…what a long strange trip it’s been. If you haven’t, consider yourself lucky. There are many good sources on-line, and I don’t want to get into it here.