Campbell eligibility and Strange Horizons

Under the new eligibility rules for the John W. Campbell Award for best new writer, Strange Horizons is a qualifying venue. (I know that the rules are in some sense not actually new rules, but I'm going to call them the new rules for ease of reference.) More specifically, an author is eligible for the award for two years after the year of their first "professional" sf publication, and SH is now considered "professional" for Campbell purposes.

We've known that for a while now; we've also known that SH was the venue most affected by the change, because most print prozines have been considered Campbell-qualifying all along, and SCI FICTION and Infinite Matrix, the two highest-paying online sf magazines in recent years, rarely bought stories from new writers.

And I thought that word had spread among the SH author community about the change and its implications, and when I've glanced at the new eligible authors site now and then in recent weeks, I saw some SH authors so I figured everything was copacetic.

Yesterday, though, I finally went and compared the list of eligible authors with the list of authors whose first pro sale was to SH in 2004 or 2005, and discovered that at least 26 such authors didn't appear on the eligible-authors list. (See below for notes regarding people who sold to SH before 2004.)

I sent out a bunch of mail about this yesterday. I think I've contacted all but one of those authors (one email bounced), and I've contacted the moderators of the eligible-authors site (who have been very gracious and responsive, especially considering how last-minute this is and especially especially considering that one of them is currently in the middle of a cross-country trip). The 2004- and 2005-debut authors' names are now on the eligible-author site, with links to either their websites or their SH stories.

But it's unfortunate, because there's less than a week left before the nominations period ends, which means that the 16 authors who debuted in SH in 2004 will have less than a week of people knowing they're eligible. And the 10 authors who debuted in SH in 2005 will have less than a week of people knowing they're eligible this year, though they'll at least be on the list for next year.

So I'm going to list all those authors below, in hopes of giving them at least a little bit more exposure among those like me who haven't submitted nominating ballots yet. I realize that this does nothing to make the nomination choice simpler; there were already over 50 authors on the eligible list, and this has raised that number to at least 82.

Why "at least"? Because there's also the question of authors whose debut in SH was prior to 2004. The eligibility FAQ is somewhat ambiguous about whether such authors qualify, but the phrase "if you are now eligible under the new rules because of works published in 2004 or earlier" (emphasis mine) makes me think they may. I've asked the moderators what they think; I'll let y'all know if I find out more. I don't yet have a list of the pre-2004 debut authors; perhaps I'll try to put a list together tomorrow, but that would give them only three days of eligibility. In the meantime, if any of you are in this situation, and if you want to pursue it, go to the eligible-authors page and drop a note to the moderators. Give them your name and the date of your qualifying SH story, and a URL to attach to your name (either the story or your web page, if you have one), and ask them if you're eligible.

I apologize for not noticing and dealing with this stuff sooner. I know it's technically not my responsibility to notify our authors, but at the same time I also know that a bunch of authors had no idea they were eligible, and now they've essentially missed their eligibility period. I'm sorry about that.

Okay. Here are the 2004 and 2005 debut authors, with links. Note that some of these authors may have appeared in now-qualifying venues other than SH prior to 2004. Authors, I hope you don't mind my listing you; if you don't want to be on this list, let me know.

2004 debut

2005 debut

5 Responses to “Campbell eligibility and Strange Horizons”

  1. Steph Burgis

    Hi, Jed,

    Um, I feel a little awkward about jumping in with this, but I should be on that list too, I think…I debuted in SH (as my first pro sale) in Nov 2004, with Some Girlfriends Can.

  2. Hannah

    Under the new eligibility rules for the John W. Campbell Award for best new writer

    Or the John W. Campbell Award for best new novelist, as I’ll be calling it from here on out.

    As I understand it, they’re trying not to eliminate anyone’s eligibility. So I think folks with first pro sales to SH before 2004 are still eligible this year (and next?). (That’s more or less the catagory I fall into; my first was to ChiZine in ’03.)

    I still think it’s an unfortunate change. Nice for the markets, I guess, to get one more bit of recognition as professional? But unfortunate for writers. I don’t seriously (or jokingly) think I’d have stood a chance, but y’know…my competitive side would’ve liked to at least have had a shot.

    Grump, grump, grump. *g*

  3. SarahP

    Thanks, Jed, for looking out for SH’s writers!!

  4. Jed

    Steph: Sorry to have left you off — I didn’t include anyone who was already on the eligible-authors list as of Sunday when I looked at in detail, and you already were. But I’ve added you to my list here as well.

    Anyone else I left off: Let me know, and I’ll add you.

    Everyone who might ever want to post a comment: Please read the “Important note” line above the comment-posting box.

    Hannah: Yeah, they’re trying to be flexible about eligibility this year. Certainly anyone with a debut in SH in 2004 is eligible this year, because anyone with any pro debut in 2004 is eligible this year. People with a pre-2004 SH debut, I just don’t know about; haven’t heard back from the moderators. Next year is up in the air; it will be up to next year’s Hugo administrator how to handle things, and I don’t think next year’s administrator has even been chosen yet. The FAQ seems to indicate that for people with a pre-2005 debut, this is their last year of eligibility. So I don’t know; we’ll see. As for who it’s good for, the arguments on both sides are multitudinous and complicated, and I don’t have the energy to go into them right now, but maybe at some point I’ll try and post more about it.

    Sarah: You’re welcome! I just wish I’d done more of that sooner. 🙁 I’ll try to keep on top of it from now on, anyway, for debuts in 2006 and later.

  5. Steph Burgis

    Thanks Jed! And ditto to Sarah–thanks so much for going out of your way to help all the SH authors. It’s one of the things that makes Strange Horizons such a great place to publish.

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