It's Hugo nomination season again, and thus it's time for a reminder about how you, too, can help shape the Hugo awards.
The voting comes later in the year. But first comes the nominating, which is really important to the award; the voters can only vote on the works and people nominated. Was there a book or story or movie or TV show or magazine or fanzine or person in 2012 that you feel deserves to be considered for a Hugo? The best way to help get such a work or person onto the ballot is to nominate!
So who gets to nominate?
If you're an attending or supporting member of last year's WorldCon (Renovation) or this year's WorldCon (Chicon 7) or next year's WorldCon (LoneStarCon 3), then you can nominate for the Hugos this year.
If you weren't a member of Renovation, and you're not yet a member of Chicon or LoneStarCon, fear not—all is not yet lost!
You can become a member by buying a membership. If you do that before January 31, 2012, then you can nominate for the Hugos.
If you can't or don't want to attend, then you can buy a supporting membership, which gets you everything except admission to the con itself. A supporting membership costs $50—but one of the things you'll get with that is the Hugo Voter Packet containing electronic versions of most or all of the nominated works, which will likely be well over $50 worth of material. (Assuming they do a Voter Packet this year, of course. But they've done it every year lately, and I'm expecting they'll do it again this year.)
So as I noted last year, one way to think of it is that you're buying some books and getting Hugo voting rights free.
If you're not sure, think ahead to early September. Imagine you're watching the live-tweeting of the Hugo ceremony, and you're thinking to yourself, “Why did they give the award to that stupid awful book/story/movie? Why wasn't the thing that I wanted to win even on the ballot?” And imagine telling yourself, “I guess it's because I didn't nominate the works that I wanted to win.” Won't you wish you'd signed up for a membership?
Last year, as usual, a bunch of good stuff narrowly missed being on the ballot. For example, Nnedi's Who Fears Death missed getting on the Novel ballot by only four nominating votes. If four more people had gotten supporting memberships last January and nominated that book, it would've been on the ballot. Novelettes by Toby Buckell and Maureen McHugh missed the ballot by only two nominations apiece. And so on.
(I am always dubious about counterfactuals, so I should note that I'm heavily oversimplifying here. But my point is that a few nominations can make a big difference.)
Last year, there were a record number of nominating and final ballots. Help set a new record this year!
. . . And by the way, while I'm here I should mention that the works by women eligible for 2012 SF awards page on the Feminist SF wiki could use some filling-in; if you know of (or, say, have written or published) such works, stop by the page and add them! Last year, the Hugo ballot had the highest-ever percentage of fiction works by women, at 53%; I'm hoping this year will maintain a reasonably high percentage. (By which I mean something higher than the usual 15%-20%.)