WorldCon Week: Chrome

We started Saturday night dancing. Seriously, I’m pretty certain there’s footage of it somewhere. Filing into the main hall at the convention centre for the Hugo awards, full kilt, Marguerite looking like a constellation and Janelle Monae’s ‘Tightrope’ starts playing.


And lo, the boogie was upon us.

It set the tone for the night too. Because as Hugo award winner lineups go, that is pretty much perfect. The really cool thing is…


Watching Mur Lafferty and Matt Wallace take the stage made my year. Their show, Ditch Diggers, is just the tip of the iceberg of years of hard work and dedication. They’re funny, principled, talented people who have both wrestled for years with the growing suspicion that good work, good practice and being a good human isn’t enough.

I have never been happier to see two members of my chosen family proven wrong.

And Mur thanked me. From the stage. The largest stage in this fucked up, weird, oblong industry and on one of the biggest nights of her career she said my NAME. Which I made out inbetween the racking sobs of emotional happiness.

And the night was not done.

We were up for a Hugo for Best Semiprozine. We didn’t get it and that’s fine, because Uncanny do amazing work and so does everyone else in the category. We talked at length to Pablo, Elsa and Julia  from Fireside and Uncanny and the general consensus was that this is a golden age that we are all part of. a rising tide lifts all boats. And right now, every boat in the fleet is doing some pretty amazing work.

Geneva Benton for Best Fan Artist, Sarah Gailey for Best Fan Writer, NK Jemisin for the first ever triple consecutive Best Novel win. The hits literally kept on coming as, on the biggest night of its calendar, for once, genre did not face backwards on the rocket. I felt humbled and inspired. I felt delighted for my friends. I never, once, felt like we’d been let down.

The real beating heart of the Hugos, for people like me, is the longlist. The Hugo finalists are the top six candidates in each category. The votes are counted for the top 15. It’s a great way of measuring progress and this year it held a lot of surprises.

Cast of Wonders and PodCastle were both on the long list for Best Semiprozine. Marguerite was on the long list for best short form editor.

I was on the long list for Best Fan Writer.

I was eighth. The cut off is sixth.

Very nearly every 2018 finalist was on the 2017 longlist.

So, it looks like next year? There is a good chance I’m off to the Show.

I’m actually making myself write a little more here because I don’t want to let this slip away. I’ve always operated off the assumption, based on grumpy learned experience, that I largely work invisibly. Or rather, worked invisibly. I had multiple people come up to me and say how much they loved my work long before the list came out. Once it did? Actual proof. I’m seen. My work is read. Progress.

In the end, for me, the 2018 Hugos were about just that. Progress in recognizing non white voices (Rebecca Roahorse! Twice! Non binary winners! NK Jemisin’s glorious speech!), progress for our shows and our people. And progress for me. Actual, positive, hard fought, provable, progress.

Yeah, this was a good week.

This piece originally appeared as part of my weekly newsletter, The Full Lid. If you liked it, and want a weekly down of pop culture enthusiasm, occasional ketchup recipes and me enjoying things, then check out the archive and sign up here.

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