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It's Okay About The Hugos

So here we are, at the day after the ceremonies, when the nomination numbers have been released and…yep. Jackalope Wives was kept off the ballot by the Puppy Slate.*

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.

Prizes or not, Jackalope Wives and Toad Stories are fantastic pieces of writing.
Period. Full Stop.

Amen, amen!

And also, I applaud GRRM for having fun writerly events with his boatloads of teevee money. Nice.

GRRM invited a bunch of people to a party, and the guests actually showed up?


Please tell me that after presenting the award to you, "The Rains of Castamere" didn't start playing, and you noticed that the edges of the award had been sharpened and coated with poison.

Well at least it wasn't a wedding. :)

Is "Alfies" an acronymn for something?

Not an acronym - named in honor of Alfred Bester, whose book The Demolished Man won Best Novel at the first-ever Hugos in 1953.

HOORAY for your award and your work being celebrated: and quiet judgement on anyone who ever ill-wished a celebration.


Oh, to be a fly on the wall... I used to read GRRM's Wild Cards,and I hear those grew out of RPG sessions he used to run. I would want to ask him the nerdiest RPG questions.

Oh, honey.

How impossibly wonderful. Congratulations, and what a wonderful gesture from Mur to do that for you. Perhaps this is the sort of occasion when you celebrate with something particularly exotic out of the KUEC cabinet?

Alfies is short for Alfred Bester.

And congrats, Ursula, on the Alfie and the near Hugo nom. For what it's worth, I liked Seventh Bride even more than Jackalope Wives.

Jenn/Wil/too lazy to log in

Regardless of everything else, it makes me happy to see you happy, because you deserve it. :)

Congratulations to you, I'm proud to be part of the group roaring back. <3

Looking forward to reminders of which of T. Kingfisher's stories will be eligible for 2016! And glad your hangover didn't hang around too long. O:>

Wow. In a strange and unsettled (and unsettling) time, you have every reason to be proud of where you 'placed' in the balloting. And GRRM was awesome, in recognizing your work.

*very quiet, hangover-friendly fistbump*

I just found out that you won an Alfie, so as a fan I thought that I'd look up your blog to say congrats! :)

Well, and then it did make it into your short story collection, am I remembering the timeline right? So many truly excellent pieces of short fiction were denied their fair chance, it just makes me sigh.

Toad Words was great, btw. I'm not just saying that because I love anurans.