So here’s to contributing to sniping about an insular genre award
March 23, 2012 § 11 Comments
In principle, I am not opposed to there being an award for the people who have devoted decades of their lives to engaging in a hobby. Just as I’m not opposed to having those three extremely old golfers tee off first from the Masters, I think there is a place and recognition for the same small number of people who forge on and produce something that might have been relevant in 1967 but which now is as influential on spreading information of genre matters as this being a cutting edge bit of technology. As I said, I am not really all that opposed to there being an award where the old-timers can take a few pills and reminisce over what happened over sixty years ago at a particular convention. I just merely take exception to the implied attitude contained within Glyer’s posts.
No, I am not upset by any of this (sure, I was suggested as a Fan Writer/Fanzine nominee by George R.R. Martin himself, linked to earlier in this post, but I do not consider myself primarily a SF/F critic), but I do think what Glyer and others of his ilk do not care to address is the growing recognition that the main discussion topics of who deserves award recognition has shifted away from the convention attendees toward those who sit down at a computer (and more and more, their tablets and phones) and blog and/or tweet to their heart’s content. There’s no longer (if there truly ever was) a small, monolithic “fandom.” Things have fractured and gone more visibly global these days. I have a relatively small readership compared to the largest single-person blogs, but I still get nearly a thousand page views daily on average. If I said writer X is great, then maybe a half-dozen or more people who follow this blog or my Twitter account will respond. Some positive, some negative, some indifferent, no doubt, but in turn that might lead to one or more of those people linking to/retweeting what I have to say and that could lead to some people checking out a book that may not be on the publicity radar. What I do, others do with an even larger audience.
That, I believe, is behind the arguments of several that if one wants to honor those who create such valuable services for fandom, that blogs should either have their own category or at least be eligible with the older format printed fanzines. The argument regarding “discrete issues” sounds rather ridiculous when one stops to consider that periodicals now almost-continuously update their own publications online. There just isn’t anything “discrete” anymore in the digital age; all is subject to revision at a moment’s notice, sometimes with supplements and with some incorporating blogs into the content. The times, they have a’changed. If some want to limit the newer formats from being eligible for a society award, that is, of course, their prerogative. Just as it is the prerogative of those who don’t care as much about society guidelines to note that it seems to be more a case of the old guard falling more and more out of step with the younger generations that do read SF. It might behoove a few to realize that the majority of the times that people such as myself (at the relatively old age of 37 for a blogger/tweeter) are even made aware of the ‘zines is when someone tweets or blogs about it. That perhaps is as large of a supporting fact for having some avenue for blogs (and other social media, particularly those where it is more than a single person manning the helm) to be recognized (if, again, there just has to be fan categories. Some might think it is akin to arguing over who gets the gold star for cleanest desk in first grade.) as anything else out there being argued.