Announcing the Launch of The Very Official Dead Dog Art Zine

by Terri

You may have seen this tweet go out while we were at WorldCon.

Well, we’re putting our money where our mouths are. It’s important to us that there be as much access to Hugo Award eligibility as possible. That means both fixing the constitution (the root problem) and also providing an outlet for people while the amendment is ratified.

The only submission criteria for the Very Official Dead Dog Art Zine is that you follow our submission template. That’s it. The entire point of this zine is that everyone’s art is worthy of inclusion. There is no jury, no one will tell you that your art isn’t good enough. You made it. That’s enough for us.

You can submit your work here, but we do ask that you check out our submission template beforehand. We look forward to seeing your work!

Terri’s Post Dublin 2019 Report: Technical Failures and Networking Successes

By Terri

The Cliffs of Moher, just one of the amazing things I saw on my holidays.

The Cliffs of Moher, just one of the amazing things I saw on my holidays.

Though I am only just home in Israel, I have had a few quiet evenings (plus several forms of transit across Ireland and Northern Ireland - most of this blog post was written while loads of green flashed by) to reflect on Dublin 2019, An Irish Worldcon.

It wasn’t my first WorldCon, and I have to say that was a big relief. I knew that there would be long queues for the most popular author signings and most panels, and that there would be no way to do all the things I wanted to do. The time spent working the Hugo Awards in 2012 meant I was prepared for the sheer shock of ALL THE NOMINEES at both the pre-reception and the Loser’s Party. The other thing that mitigated some of that was the fact that many of us had been communicating since April in a Slack workspace set up by Mary Robinette Kowal. It’s harder to be scared of people whose impostor syndromes have had a party with yours, whom you’ve plotted setting swans on assholes with and shared sleep training tips with.

Ariela’s shared her opinions on the Art Show. Putting it nearly a kilometer from the main event space (yes there were panels there and yes it was only a tram stop away, but still not part of the main convention space) did not help anyone’s sales. It’s hard to know why our originals failed to move - they and the rest of our art have done well at other conventions where the Art Show gets a lot of foot traffic. The decision to put the reception for the Art Show (and I have to say, it wasn’t much of a reception), in a warehouse room apart from the actual art made no sense to me. I have been to many receptions held inside the actual Art Show and somehow no one got any food on the art OR the carpet. ::SHRUG::

My two panels went very nicely. I chose WorldCon to debut my nascent moderating skills as a stunt Q&A moderator on behalf of Elsa Sjunnenson-Henry who moderated the discussion parts very well. It was my first time, and I know where I made my mistakes. Note to self: pass off the question to the OTHER panelists first! However, since it was a jargon heavy panel, I was willing to take questions for clarification and people did seem to find that useful.

Becky Chambers, holding a towel in progress.

Becky Chambers, holding a towel in progress.

As for attending panels, I prioritized some readings (Charlie Stross and Naomi Novik) and was able to attend both. I also managed to get into a fabulous panel that was supposed to be about forests and stories and was actually just Seanan McGuire, Jennifer Mace, & Sarah Gailey talking about bugs, plant people and why hedgerows are awesome (and that’s just the tip of the 50 minute iceberg). I did get my Wayfarers books signed by the inestimable Becky Chambers and deputized my husband to get my Lady Astronaut novels signed.

And that’s where the fun parts of my con that appeared on the schedule (besides the Hugo Awards) ends. Because I actually spent the bulk of my WorldCon mornings at the WSFS Business Meeting. I had a constitutional amendment on the agenda to resolve the problem we encountered when we discovered that Lady Astronaut would not be eligible for consideration in the Hugo Voter’s Packet. I’m still working on fixing the artist categories wholesale, but that’s going to take a few years (and a favorable business meeting to present at). To say that I found the meeting draining would be an understatement. There was a lot of sitting, many cups of tea and instant soup, and a handful of votes that I actually felt were important. There are people for whom Parliamentary decision making is a fascinating process. I am not one of them. But my amendment passed! It will need to be ratified at CoNZealand next year, but there will be those to speak for it there even if I am not. Incidentally, I was also there when one of the constitutional measures to prevent slating was not only preserved, it was preserved via poison pilling an amendment to kill it. That was fun.

I spent my evenings networking via the time honored tradition of barcon. Typically, when the convention is held in a hotel, people congregate in the hotel bars to drink and blow off steam. This year’s wasn’t up to past standards, but I still spent time making connections, handing out my cards, and talking to people about projects that I CANNOT TELL YOU ABOUT BUT SO EXCITE!!!!!!

And now, the thing you really were here for - the Hugo Awards!

It’s hard to express how I feel. I was conflicted from the start. I do a lot of creative work for Geek Calligraphy, and it hurt to be excluded from the ballot for the fact that my skills do not lie in shaping pigment and paper into art. I know that Ariela values my work, but it’s hard to see that work go unremarked. Thankfully, every time I explained to anyone that no I was not a nominee, they went “why not? That’s bullshit, you’re a team,” or some variant on that theme. Which was highly validating. But the hoops we had to jump through to make sure I got to go to the pre-ceremony reception, a decent seat at the awards and entry into the Loser’s Party (and that last one with both our spouses) were many and slightly painful.

The fact that we didn’t take the award home was unsurprising. Once our best work was excluded from consideration, we didn’t stand a chance. We did come in third on the nomination ballot, which was nice. It’s a cliché, but it really was an honor to be nominated in the company of Likhain, Grace Fong, Sara Felix, Spring Schoenhuth and Meg Frank. Hopefully this is only the first time we’ll be here.

The Loser’s Party itself was both fun and disappointing. It was the first time I got to hear live traditional Irish music all weekend, which was nice. Drinks I don’t have to pay for and great company are also wonderful. But getting into the party was A MESS. To find out that taking the time to say goodbye to friends and rearrange our things (both Ariela and I had to prep at the Convention Centre due to panels, and there was quite a bit of spare clothing and makeup on site) meant that there was a good chance we weren’t getting into the party was very disappointing. From what I remember in 2012, the party really was for the nominees and eventually the winners. This year’s party felt more like GRRM throwing a party for his buddies at the Guinness Storehouse that incidentally involved the losing nominees and some of the winners.

Mary Robinette Kowal, me, The Lady Astronaut and a HUGO AWARD! (Photo credit: Terrence Karney)

Mary Robinette Kowal, me, The Lady Astronaut and a HUGO AWARD! (Photo credit: Terrence Karney)

Monday was quite special. Due to technical difficulties (namely that Ariela’s phone hates Ireland), there was no way for Ariela to let me know that she had run into Mary Robinette Kowal while looking at the original Lady Astronaut painting and had gotten a photograph. So we made arrangements for me to get a photo taken as well. While we were packing up the painting afterwards (it was the last thing to come off the wall during the tear down), Mary Robinette, my friend Terrence Karney and I were having a conversation about how some people felt that she was insufficiently reverent of and overexcited by her Hugo. Terrence replied that he’d be excited just to get the little nominee lapel pin in the shape of the rocket (and also told us a funny story about a Hugo that’s been sliced in half). I concurred, and Mary Robinette asked why I didn’t have one, before remembering “oh right. Because bullshit.” (Her exact words). At which point she began to remove the pin from her own lapel. After I protested, she insisted that not only did she have an abundance at home, I deserved it anyway. I started to cry, and received an excellent hug. Terrence remarked that between my ineligibility and the Lady Astronaut’s ballot exclusion, I may have more thoroughly lost a Hugo than anyone else ever has.

So that’s my second WorldCon over. It wasn’t everything it could have been, but it was wonderful in parts. I cemented connections, made professional plans, got a constitutional amendment passed and looked like a mermaid queen for a night. I’m looking forward to the next one.

Ariela's Post-Dublin 2019 Report: Mixed to Positive

by Ariela

Terri and her family are still vacationing and sightseeing, but I am back home. Her post-con report will come later, but here is mine.

I come home from my very first WorldCon glad I went, but with some significant complaints. I had some extremely joyous moments, but there were a lot of frustrations, too. I came to the con with three goals: to sell art, to meet people, and to attend the Hugo Losers Party. (No, going home with a rocket wasn’t a goal, but we’ll get to that later.) Of my three goals, I had mixed success with all three and had significant difficulty on all three counts.

Selling Art

This was our first ever show outside of the United States, and we’re not sure what was a matter of difference between European art shows vs the US and what was just plain screwing up. I’m coming out of it totally unsure if another overseas art show is a good idea. (Terri will tell you about her own conclusions.)

This was a two-building convention and Art Show was put in the secondary venue, Point Square. It got a an utterly enormous warehouse space, at least double the size of any other art show I have seen. Unfortunately, that’s mostly where the good parts end. The lighting was terrible and the room was not clean. The show wasn’t laid out in a way conducive to buying, with the Print Shop tucked away in a teeny back corner that one wouldn’t find unless you knew to look for it and the gallery show having a mostly empty panel as the first one you see when you enter. There was also next to no signage indicating that it was an art show. There were some A4 printouts saying “Art Show Entrance,” but they weren’t visible from where people queued for the panels at the venue could see them. They might have seen the art show or the signs vaguely as they were rushing to get into their panels, or as they were being herded back out of their panels, but it was not a place that would pick up casual foot traffic at all. The “Art Show Reception” was not actually held in the art show, but rather in a room off to the side, with booze and snacky foods that could not be brought into the show; there was no incentive for people to be in the show looking at the art rather than getting some of the only free comestibles in the entire convention. (Also, I got harassed at the reception, fun times! Yes, a report was made and the response team dealt with the person in question.)

From the chatter with other artists, we are not alone in our frustration over these issues, and sales were not at all what people hoped they would be. But in addition to lost money, Terri and I are stuck wondering why we didn’t make the sales we were hoping for. How much of that was due to the venue and mismanagement? Did we price too high? Is my art not a match for a European market? I just can’t know. So not only did we lose money, we didn’t get any new information out of it on which we can build. That's super frustrating.

Meeting People

This is where the convention really shone for me. I got to meet a lot of people I have only interacted with online before, and some people who were entirely new to me. I also got to spend more time with some people I have met before, and those are developing into actual friendships. Terri and I also got to talk to [REDACTED] about artistic collaboration, and while we can’t say anything about it yet, OMGWTFBBQ I AM SO EFFING EXCITED TO SHOW YOU THE ART WE WILL DO.

Did I meet everyone I wanted to meet, and did I click with everyone I did meet? Of course not. But I experienced an extremely low jerk ratio.

So where’s the downside? The downside was, again, the venue. Neither venue was a hotel themselves, and even though the convention reserved large blocks of rooms at nearby hotels, they were so appallingly expensive that comparatively few people stayed in them. So people had much further to go to get home, and if they left for dinner (there weren’t so many restaurants right nearby), they might not come back. It was hard to find a central gathering place. I would not have known any of this, but the people I did find and manage to talk to all confirmed that this year’s “BarCon” was severely lacking.

On a related note, this was also the first time I have ever had complete strangers, people who know neither me nor Terri, come up to me and say how much they like my art. It was a pretty awesome experience, but I got all awkward and tongue-tied about it. I need to practice that for the future.

Attending the Hugo Losers’ Party

The party for Hugo Finalists who did not win an award is apparently a longstanding tradition with a bit of a complicated history. While it used to be hosted by next year’s convention, in 2016, in response to Puppy nonsense, George RR Martin started hosting it again after a long hiatus, and it seems they have kinda merged into co-hosts, maybe? (This is a VERY simplified history. Who owns the party is actually an extremely complicated question.) It is apparently quite The Do. Winners are allowed in only after a significant delay, must wear ridiculous hats, and are subjected to razzing. I have heard that it was supposed to be great fun and was very excited to go.

As the interwebs reported, this year it turned out to be clusterfork. The party was held in the Guinness Storehouse, with a few shuttle buses bringing people there from the Convention Centre. But by the time my bus arrived, the fire marshal had declared the venue full and would not let anyone from the bus in. At first we were told to wait on the bus, but then the bus driver said he needed to leave, so we were all unceremoniously left on the cobblestones by the entrance in the cold. For people with mobility issues this was a particular nightmare. (And apparently there were significant access barriers once you got inside as well.)

Eventually there was a shout for finalists and their +1s to come to front of the line (I was rather surprised at how many people on the bus and in the line were neither finalists nor guests of finalists), and Terri and I got in. I thought at the time that all the finalists got in, but I found out later that this wasn’t the case.

Once we got in, I was shocked to find that the finalists were in the minority in the party, and it was mostly people who didn’t seem to have any connection with the awards at all, at least not this year’s awards. There was also a very loud live band that, while playing lovely music, made conversation nearly impossible. Overall, it was nothing like what I was expecting and I didn’t stay long.

It’s a pretty rotten feeling to be told that the promised consolation for a significant professional disappointment is not available to you after all because other people took it first. And while I did get in after a fairly short wait, others did not, nor did it erase the burn of being denied initially. Pretty solid thumbs-down for that entire experience.

Panels and Programming

I moderated three panels and sat on two more. They were good experiences overall, and I got some compliments on my moderation, so yay for that!

One of the three panels I attended. Seated under a large screen with the Dublin 2019 logo are moderator Mur Lafferty, Yoon Ha Lee, Becky Chambers, Cat Valente, Naomi Novik, and Mary Robinette Kowal

One of the three panels I attended. Seated under a large screen with the Dublin 2019 logo are moderator Mur Lafferty, Yoon Ha Lee, Becky Chambers, Cat Valente, Naomi Novik, and Mary Robinette Kowal

I had less success at attending panels. Lines to get into panels were very long, and there was a serious lack of large panel rooms, so one could queue for over half an hour and still not get into the panel after all. It meant that if you were on a panel, you would not be able to attend another panel in the slot right after. The panels in the two venues were offset, CCD panels starting on the hour and Point Square panels starting at half past, which was a nice idea to let people travel between the two venues but was alas completely defeated by the length of the queues. As a result, I chose really carefully and only attended three panels in my entire five-day convention. I went to Mary Robinette Kowal’s book signing, and I managed to be there when she saw the original in the art show for the first time, which was just amazing. In the realm of bad decisions, I attended the fountain pen meetup; turns out pro calligraphers have a really different approach to pens than enthusiasts, and I felt very much out of place.

I didn’t attend any of the main events because one also needed to queue for those twice: once in the middle of the day to get an admission wristband, and once right before the event to get a seat. I usually had other obligations during the queue time in the middle of the day and only realized much later that I could have asked someone else to get a wristband for me. I have also never been to an opening or closing ceremony that wasn’t mostly dull, though I hear these were quite good. Either way, the auditorium was very small for the main convention space in a major city, so admission was quite curtailed. (Okay, I was at the Hugo Awards, but that wasn’t exactly as an attendee.)

Overall, it seems like the programming probably had awesome content, but again, issues with the venue prevented me from getting to much of it where I wasn’t working.

The Hugo Awards

Again, the goal of the Hugo Awards wasn’t to come home with a rocket. The goal was to meet my fellow finalists, dress up in truly extra outfits, and have an awesome time. As we have discussed before, https://geekcalligraphy.com/blog/2019/4/8/hugo-eligibility-revisited, and if one votes based on works declared eligible by the committee, as I feel one should, then frankly my portfolio was not deserving of the crown. So to everyone offering me condolences on the loss of the award, could you please not? Thanks ever so.

The thing that really sucked was discovering, while on a panel with fellow finalists Likhain and Meg Frank, that everyone else in the Best Fan Artist category got emails saying “Congrats, you’re a finalist!” while I got one that said “Congrats, people voted for you, but we need to make sure you’re actually eligible.” What the entire frak, Hugo Committee?!? Yes, four of the six finalists are repeat finalists, and the only other first time finalist is deeply entrenched in the fandom-running circles that Committee members run in; that should not make one iota of difference in the way you communicate with us. Your very own rules, which you dote upon so much, say that the best artist in the world might not have made eligible works that year. Either you perform due diligence on everyone, or you don’t do it for anyone. You are all welcome to take a long walk off a short pier, you gatekeeping dickweasels.

I was quite gratified that Likhain and Meg were both horrified on my behalf, as was everyone else we mentioned this to. But this? This right here is why fans can’t have nice things. I can only imagine what that would have been like for someone who was marginalized along more axes than I.

Overall

I’m glad I went, but I would say that my best times came kind of despite the con, only because of it insofar as everyone came for it. I hope my next WorldCon experience is better.

Hugo Eligibility Revisited

by Ariela

The news is out! We’re a finalist for the Hugo Award for Best Fan Artist this year. I’m still working on believing it. Terri and I are both so, so grateful to you all.

Voting will begin soon, and when the voter packet is distributed, you’ll see two of our pieces in there:

“Penric’s Demon” Illuminated First Page From the novella “Penric’s Demon” by Lois McMaster Bujold. Licensed by Lois McMaster Bujold.

“Penric’s Demon” Illuminated First Page
From the novella “Penric’s Demon” by Lois McMaster Bujold.
Licensed by Lois McMaster Bujold.

Anathem  Illuminated First Page From the novel  Anathem  by Neal Stephenson. Produced with permission from Neal Stephenson.

Anathem Illuminated First Page
From the novel Anathem by Neal Stephenson.
Produced with permission from Neal Stephenson.

But where did “Lady Astronaut Nouveau” go?

So, funny story about that.

When we published our eligibility post in December, we included the above two works, plus “Lady Astronaut Nouveau” based on The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal. The former two were created earlier in 2018 and shown in art shows at Confluence and ICON. We finished “Lady Astronaut Nouveau” late enough in the year that we didn’t have any more art shows booked in which we could show it. We put it all over the interwebs, though.

This is what the Hugo Awards Website gives as the criteria for the Best Fan Artist category (bolding ours):

The final category is also for people. Again note that the work by which artists should be judged is not limited to material published in fanzines. Material for semiprozines or material on public displays (such as in convention art shows) is also eligible. Fan artists can have work published in professional publications as well. You should not consider such professionally-published works when judging this award.

The internet is about as public as it gets, right? It was even included in Mary Robinette’s Pinterest Gallery for Lady Astronaut Fan Art.

Apparently the Hugo Committee disagrees. Per the email I received from the committee member who contacted me prior to the announcement of the ballot:

The first two pieces clearly qualify, so that is fine. I'm afraid that the rules exclude pieces that have only been displayed online.

This, dear reader, is ridiculous.

From elsewhere on the same page on the Hugo Awards website explaining eligibility:

Web Sites, E-books, and Medium of Distribution

Works published electronically rather than on paper have always been accepted as nominees. A decision of the 2009 WSFS Business Meeting formally acknowledged this by ratifying a Constitutional Amendment that added the words “or the equivalent in other media” to various category definitions. There is no requirement that a work be published on paper (for written/graphic fiction and non fiction), on film or video tape (for dramatic presentations), or that it be distributed through any traditional methods such as bookstores, movie theatres, etc. In other words, publishing and distributing your work on a web site is exactly the same as having copies of your book in a bookstore or your movie shown in a movie theatre. Aside from the fundamental distinctions between written, graphic, and dramatic works, medium of distribution has nothing to do with a work’s eligibility.

And further:

Self-Published Works

There is no restriction on who publishes a work. For example, if an author makes a novel available to be read on a web site or prints copies at his/her own expense, that novel is eligible just the same as a novel published by a well-known publishing company and sold in traditional bookstores.

So why is it possible to “publish” something online but not to put anything “on public display?”

As much as we are sore about losing what I consider to be one of the best pieces of art I have ever done from my Hugo-eligible portfolio this year, I am more upset by the general message this sends

We have blogged before about why we think that restricting the Professional Artist category to “professional publications” is outdated in an age when it is possible to make most if not all of one’s artistic income from online sales directly to customers. But there’s something extra odd and gatekeeper-y in telling a fan that their fan work doesn’t count until someone else - a zine or an art show head - gives it their stamp of approval.

(Also, art shows cost money to enter, adding an economic barrier-to-entry that I find particularly distasteful.)

If authors who publish online are real authors, then artists who post their work online are real artists.

If fan writers who write online are real fans, the artists who art online are real fans, too.

We will be attending Dublin2019, and Terri has a proposal for the WSFS business meeting in the works. I am told there are lists. Because it is time and past to overhaul the Pro Artist / Fan Artist categories. We would really love your support in this endeavor. If you are interested, please let us know by filling out the form below.

And in the meanwhile, please do not consider “Lady Astronaut Nouveau” when you fill out your ballot. If that means that you rank us lower than you would otherwise, so be it. This year’s slate is full of amazing Fan Artists and we could not be mad to lose to any of them.


Want to Help Revise the Artist Category Requirements for the Hugos?

Terri is working on a proposal. If you would like to support us, or be updated on our efforts, please let us know how to contact you below.

Name
Name

It's an honor...

Rocket ship logo of the Hugo Awards

Rocket ship logo of the Hugo Awards

by Ariela and Terri

Wow. A Hugo nomination.

Thank you so much to all of you. You are the ones who chose us for this honor and we deeply, deeply appreciate it. We love making art, but it’s especially gratifying to know that the art we have made has touched other people.

Also an enormous thank you Lois McMaster Bujold, Neal Stephenson, and Mary Robinette Kowal, for writing words that inspired us so deeply and were kind enough to open the door to us when we came knocking, asking for permission to play in their universes. It’s rather fitting for us to be nominated this year, when all of our public work was literally fanart of others’ writing.

And just look at this slate of nominees! We can’t believe we get to call these people our colleagues!

Likhain’s colorwork is so unbelievably phenomenal and Grace Fong’s use of space is extraordinary. Ariela has been a fan of both of them for years. Terri has been both a fan and a friend of Meg Frank for a while. This is Spring Schoenhuth’s umpteenth nomination, and frankly it is a crime that her jewelry is not more widely recognized as being fine art, because it is. And we don’t even know what to say about being nominated with Sara Felix, who has friggin’ designed not one but two Hugo bases.

And the whole ballot. That is, as Terri says, a whole lotta ballot. How the heck are we going to be able to pick favorites?!!?? Congrats to all of the nominees. So, so well deserved.

Wow.

Ariela here:

You may notice two names up at the top of this blog post and that “we,” which is plural, not royal. That’s because this is a two-person operation. And though it’s my name on that list, it really should be “Geek Calligraphy,” because this art is a team effort. Editors get their own category for the Hugos, but there isn’t one for Artist Wrangler, who is a bit like an editor, agent, manager, assistant, and marketer/publicist all rolled into one. Terri is my creative partner; she comes up with a good chunk of the ideas that turn into our art. Lady Astronaut Nouveau, for example, was the direct result of her demand that I do art for The Calculating Stars, and her input and feedback along the way means you got a very different product than you would have seen from me working on my own. Hugo rules may say that it’s my name on the ballot, but the world should also know about Terri’s contribution.

Thank you everyone again and we will see you in Dublin this summer!

2018 Hugo Eligibility Post: Best Fan Artist

by Ariela

2018 was a hard year. While I didn’t make much new art, I am extremely proud of what I did.

The Hugo Committee has decided this is not eligible.  Lady Astronaut Nouveau Inspired by  The Calculating Stars  by Mary Robinette Kowal. Licensed by Mary Robinette Kowal.

The Hugo Committee has decided this is not eligible.

Lady Astronaut Nouveau
Inspired by The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal.
Licensed by Mary Robinette Kowal.

Anathem  Illuminated First Page From the novel  Anathem  by Neal Stephenson. Produced with permission from Neal Stephenson.

Anathem Illuminated First Page
From the novel Anathem by Neal Stephenson.
Produced with permission from Neal Stephenson.

“Penric’s Demon” Illuminated First Page From the novella “Penric’s Demon” by Lois McMaster Bujold. Licensed by Lois McMaster Bujold.

“Penric’s Demon” Illuminated First Page
From the novella “Penric’s Demon” by Lois McMaster Bujold.
Licensed by Lois McMaster Bujold.

Explode the Gender Binary sticker Watercolor and digital.

Explode the Gender Binary sticker
Watercolor and digital.

Hugo Category Eligibility

Once again, I am eligible for the Best Fan Artist Hugo category. If you are able to nominate for the Hugos, please nominate me as “Ariela Housman,” as the award is for the artist, not the business. (This doesn’t recognize Terri’s hard work and the way she contributed, which is annoying. Any rocket which I may eventually win will really be part hers.)

In a sense, this feels like the first time I really belong in the Fan Artist category, since three of the four pieces above these started as art by a fan of books, even though they are licensed and whatnot.

Explanatory Thingee About Hugo Category Eligibility

Some Hugo categories (Best Professional Artist, Best Fan Artist, Best Semiprozine, and Best Fanzine) are defined by whether the work done was professional, semi-professional, or fannish. The definition of what is a “professional” publication is somewhat technical. A professional publication either (1) provided at least a quarter the income of any one person or, (2) was owned or published by any entity which provided at least a quarter the income of any of its staff and/or owner.

-TheHugoAwards.org

For the purposes of Hugo categories, you are only a Professional Artist if your stuff gets published in a Professional Publication. So you can make a living entirely for years by selling your SF art directly to other people and still not be considered a Professional Artist for the purposes of the Hugos if your art was never included in a publication that earns according to the above criteria.

When making prints was harder and there wasn't much in the way of direct-to-fans selling outside of conventions, this made sense. Today it is ridiculous, but the rules are the rules.

A Note About Lady Astronaut Nouveau’s Consideration

Update: The Hugo Committee has ruled that Lady Astronaut Nouveau is not eligible. Our post announcing that and our response is here.

When considering whether or not to nominate an artist, only their art which is (1) completed in 2018, and (2) meets the criteria of the category, in this case, Fan Art. An excerpt from the description of the Best Fan Artist category:

Again note that the work by which artists should be judged is not limited to material published in fanzines. Material for semiprozines or material on public displays (such as in convention art shows) is also eligible.

-TheHugoAwards.org

By this metric, whether or not Lady Astronaut Nouveau meets the criteria of Fan Art is questionable, as it was neither published in a semiprozine nor displayed in a convention art show. However, it was posted on this website and blog, Mary Robinette Kowal’s blog, and Mary Robinette Kowal’s Pinterest Gallery for Lady Astronaut fanart. Given the wording “not limited to” and “such as” in the category description, we’re reading the examples of semiprozines and convention art shows as just that, examples, and the list thereof as inclusive but not exhaustive. We think that being on the internet is about as public as a display gets, so Lady Astronaut Nouveau should be included when considering Ariela’s 2018 body of work.

Should the Hugo Committee think otherwise, we will remove it from all Eligibility posts about Ariela’s 2018 work.

Ariela's 2017 Hugo Eligibility Post

by Ariela

New year, new awards seasons.

I am eligible again for nomination in the Fan Artist category in the Hugo Awards. (For the long explanatory thingee about why I am not eligible in the Professional Artist category, please see the end of this post.)

Here is a short reminder of the art I did in 2017. Only these pieces, not things from previous years, should be considered when you make your nominating decisions. Given the nature of the year, my art was less SFnal and more Angry-Feminist-Who-Tries-To-Be-Intersectional in theme, but the only thing I regret about that is that I didn't have more time to do more of it.

Click images to embiggen them.

Art Prints

Greeting Cards

Coloring Pages

Doodles

Long Explanatory Thingee About Hugo Category Eligibility

Some Hugo categories (Best Professional Artist, Best Fan Artist, Best Semiprozine, and Best Fanzine) are defined by whether the work done was professional, semi-professional, or fannish. The definition of what is a “professional” publication is somewhat technical. A professional publication either (1) provided at least a quarter the income of any one person or, (2) was owned or published by any entity which provided at least a quarter the income of any of its staff and/or owner.

-TheHugoAwards.org

For the purposes of Hugo categories, you are only a Professional Artist if your stuff gets published in a Professional Publication. So you can make a living entirely for years by selling your SF art directly to other people and still not be considered a Professional Artist by the Hugos if your art was never included in a publication that earns according to the above criteria.

When making prints was harder and there wasn't much in the way of direct-to-fans selling outside of conventions, this made sense. Now, let's just leave it at "not so much."

Please note also that in order to be eligible for consideration for the Fan Artist category, the art on which I should be judged must also be displayed in public venues, such as art shows at cons.

"I Like It" =/= "It's Good"

by Ariela

Quick followup on last week's post about my Hugo ballot. I mentioned a few times that I voted for things that I didn't enjoy. I don't think I mentioned the flip side as much, where there were things I enjoyed very much that I didn't vote for, but that happens, too.

The "Good" Meter and "Ariela's Enjoyment" Meter are different things.

The "Good" Meter and "Ariela's Enjoyment" Meter are different things.

Because here's the thing: just because I enjoy something doesn't mean that it is "good" by any metric except the "does Ariela enjoy it?"-o-meter. I enjoy some things that I recognize as being bad by any number of metrics. Candy corn, for example, is terrible for you, and not actually that tasty, I just love it. I also hate all coffee, even high-quality coffee; my lack of enjoyment of anything I have to put in my mouth that includes coffee says nothing about how good a product it is. There are also things that I enjoy that are good, like a perfectly cooked meal, and things that are bad that I don't enjoy, like undercooked chicken.

So, too, with media. I enjoy some horrendous things, and there are some things that I recognize as being superbly skillfully done that are just not my cup of tea. And when I vote for the Hugos, I am trying to indicate that I think something succeeds in the metrics of innovation, craftsmanship, skill, and execution. It's not really about what I liked, it's about what I think exemplifies everything I want to see in the field of Spec Fic. And yes, we can - and do - argue about what the field of Spec Fic should be. But anyone who thinks that the field of SF should consist of only what they personally enjoy, with nothing for anyone else, is probably not worth talking to.

I want there to be SF for people who like things that are dramatically different than what I like, and I want the offerings for them to be good. I want them to have things they love, things that speak so deeply to their experience that fandom becomes part of their identity. Just because I don't share it doesn't mean it shouldn't be awesome for them. I also want good reading and viewing options for me, and I hope they would support me in my desire for same.

So, for me, the Hugos are not about voting for the things I enjoyed the most, they are about voting for the furtherance of the genre.