The Hugo award deadline is right around the corner, so I’m running a series of posts about this year’s nominees in various categories. Today’s category is Best Fan Writer.

Natalie Luhrs

I must admit up-front that my decision to start the Tea-Time Links series of posts on Books & Tea is directly because of Natalie Luhrs’s link roundups. Thank you, Natalie! She’s also one of the editors of The Bias, which discusses issues like diversity, inclusivity and accessibility within an SFF context. I genuinely enjoy her posts, and this piece in particular about how the World Fantasy Convention really needs to get its act together is full of practical advice for any con-runner.

Check out Pretty Terrible, Natalie Luhrs’s blog.

Foz Meadows

When Foz Meadows writes a post, she WRITES A POST. They may not be frequent, but they’re long, incredibly detailed, thoughtful, and occasionally full of snark. Her discussion of the most recent book in the Vorkosigan Saga is so comprehensive that it’s finally convinced me I need to start reading Lois McMaster Bujold’s novels, which is something that not even Jo Walton was able to make me do. (Long series are overwhelming to me, which is why I rarely start them. That Meadows has made me willing to consider starting a series with OVER A DOZEN BOOKS is quite the accomplishment.)

Check out Shattersnipe: Malcontent &Rainbows, Foz Meadows’s blog.

Abigail Nussbaum

Aaah, my god, Abigail Nussbaum writes SO MUCH and it’s SO GOOD and she has all these people writing informed, sensitive comments on her blog and I just. Damn. I wish I had the level of critical talent that fills up just one of her pinky fingers. This year’s voting packet features articles by her about Westworld, Ex Machina, and a recent BBC adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream that sounds eerily prescient about today’s political landscape.

Check out Asking the Wrong Questions, Abigail Nussbaum’s blog.

Mike Glyer

File770 is a one-stop-shop for news within SFF fandom. It’s updated so frequently, and is so long-running, that Glyer’s knowledge of the industry is damn near encyclopedic. However, while his updates are valuable, I don’t really connect with them that much. I’m not familiar with the people he writes obituaries about, even if they are well-known figures from the Golden Age or Silver Age or whatever. Reading lit crit and feminist analysis is much more up my personal alley.

Read more of Mike Glyer’s work at File770.

Jeffro Johnson

Once I noticed that Johnson was associated with Castalia House and that the very first review in his voting packet file contained liberal, unironic use of the word “dame” when discussing women in pulp fiction, I noped right out. No thanks.

Chuck Tingle

While I can appreciate Tingle’s humour and his attempts to poke Sad Puppies with a butt-shaped stick, his prose gets old for me fast. So, um, no, I guess I’m really not the target market for satire dressed up as dinosaur erotica. But good on Tingle for continuing to be the gonzo personality we all know and love.

Putting the Fan Writer Category in Context

Of all of the categories that exist in the Hugo Awards, Best Fan Writer is the one that I feel most personally connected to. I may never write a publishable short story or novel. But cultural critique and analysis like this? Most of the people on this ballot got started by setting up shop on their own. Which is what I’m doing right here just by writing posts.

Natalie Luhrs, Foz Meadows and Abigail Nussbaum are all incredibly talented. In a very real way, their work is a template for what I want to accomplish. I’m nowhere near their level of skill yet, but I hope I can be as good as them some day. Really, this ballot is just down to the three of them, and they are all equally worthy of the Fan Writer award. I have no idea how I’ll end up ranking them when I vote, but if any of these three win, I’ll be happy.