SF fan writer Mike Glyer, in his fanzine File770 (.pdf link), leads the second wave of fannish horror that a professional writer (that would be me) has somehow been nominated for the Best Fan Writer Hugo (the complaint starts on page 17). His horror is amplified by this fellow, who feels I should withdraw from the field entirely.
In a word: No. I have no intention of withdrawing, because there’s no good reason to, and lots of good reasons to stay in. My concerns about the fan/pro schism specifically are largely assuaged by a look back at the history of the award and the discovery that not only am I not the first person to be nominated for this Hugo after his book was nominated for the Best Novel Hugo, there was a year in which a fellow (Piers Anthony, if you want to know) was nominated for Best Fan Writer and was the author of a Best Novel Hugo nominee. The response to this particular line of argument seems to boil down to “well, it hasn’t been done recently,” but inasmuch as perennial Best Fan Writer winner Dave Langford won a “pro” Hugo in 2001 and was nominated for another in 2006, I don’t think this argument has much merit.
Some things never change…. This all sounds similar to what happened when I got the nomination for Best Fan Writer at Noreascon 3, and OtherRealms made it for Best Fanzine that year (and there were similar rumblings earlier when OtherRealms was close to making the cut, and there was serious discussion about defining it as a semi-prozine rather than a fanzine).
Only back then, it was because so much of the work involved was — gasp — online, and not really part of “real” fandom, whatever that is. I’m happy to announce that I finished above No Award in both categories that year, which tickled me pink — and still does.
The parameters of the discussion change, but the underlying reason for it doesn’t: it’s old-guard vs. new-guard. And if the old-guard guys like Mike were honest with themselves, what John’s doing is nothing different than what Mike Resnick’s done for the last 30 years or so, only he’s doing it online. I don’t think anyone anywhere in fandom would consider Mike anything but one hell of a pro AND one hell of a fan.
It really sounds, honestly, like Mike and a few others have decided that John hasn’t “paid his dues” enough yet, or something.
John — you’re doing the right thing here. Relax, have fun, and just hope you finish above No Award. If you did, it’s a victory. And just enjoy it, and don’t worry about the others. It’s ultimately about politics, and people who want to maintain the old (and dying) “traditional” fandom, while fandom moves forward into the future with or without them.
And yes, you’re fannish enough. Well, for most of us, at least.