If you were hanging out on Twitter or Facebook Sunday night, you may have seen a massive flood of excited announcements and joyful congratulations, coming and going and whizzing around on all sides. The Hugo nominations were being announced! I was nominated twice, and I was ecstatic, but I was not surprised–I’d already known for two weeks. Keeping it secret was maddening.
For the first leg of my book tour I stayed several nights with Mary Robinette Kowal and her husband in Portland, and one day between writing sessions we started talking about Hugo nominations–we knew they were coming soon, but we didn’t yet know exactly when, and since we were both eligible we were walking on eggshells. “The thing is,” said Mary, “they have to call ahead for every nominee to confirm that you’re eligible, and to ask if you want to recuse, so the nominees know early. This time of year you can start to figure out who’s been nominated just by watching Twitter for people saying ‘I have secret good news I’m not allowed to talk about.’”
Later that night she checked her email, laughed, and said “I have secret good news!” Her short story ‘For Want of a Nail’ had been nominated, so we went out for Thai food to celebrate (no specific thematic reason, we just all like Thai). And then began what we shall call “The Great Refreshening of Email.” I think I refreshed my email about 200 times over the next few days, but nothing appeared. Either I hadn’t been nominated for anything, or they were still making their way through the categories.
A few days later my time in Portland came to an end, and I woke up early to drive to San Francisco. I was about 2/3 of the way there when Brandon Sanderson called. “I assume you’re away from your email, because you’re not responding to the thread.”
“Yeah, I’m in the middle of nowhere on I-5, what’s going on?”
“Writing Excuses has been nominated for a Hugo for Best Related Work.”
“Yeah,” he said, “have you been nominated for anything else? You’re eligible for the Campbell this year.”
“I haven’t seen anything,” I said, but you can bet I pulled off the road and refreshed my email a few thousand more times just in case. Nothing. I drove the rest of the way to San Francisco, called my wife to tell her the news, and went for a walk in the rain just to force myself away from the Internet. It was really starting to drive me crazy.
The next day I signed in Borderlands, and afterward a nice young lady came up and asked if I could spare a few minutes for some questions. I said sure, and very quickly realized that the questions centered around the strong central theme of “are you eligible for a Campbell award?” the Campbell is not a Hugo, but it accompanies them; it the award for Best New Writer, and therefore has a very brief window of eligibility following the date of your first publication; two years after you’ve published something professionally, you’re not really a “new” writer anymore. My books came out in 2009 in Europe, so I was still legal, and my one previous short story publication had been in a small, non-professional student magazine, for which I wasn’t paid, so I fit all the criteria. It turned out that this was one of the award organizers, and she officially congratulated me: I had been nominated for the Campbell!
That was two weeks ago, and while I may have let the news slip to a couple of people here and there, I managed to keep my mouth pretty shut. One of my only nights home during that book tour included RPG night, and as we all sat down to play I turned to my friend Larry Correia. “Before we get started, I have to ask: do you have secret good news you’re not allowed to talk about until Sunday?”
“I don’t know,” he said, “do you have secret good news?” And then we both smiled, because we knew, and we congratulated each other for our secret good news. I’m honored to be sharing the Campbell category with him.
And now it’s public, and I couldn’t be happier.
I should also point out a few close other friends who’ve been nominated. First, of course, is my awesome editor, Moshe Feder, who’s been nominated for Best Editor, Long Form. Since his only authors publishing last year were Brandon and I, we’re justifiably proud of him. He’s an awesome guy and an awesome editor.
Eric James Stone, whose work I’ve been touting here for a while now, was nominated for Best Novellette for his story “That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made.” This story was also nominated for a Nebula, and it absolutely deserves all the hype, and it’s up for free on his website so go read it as soon as you can. It’s awesome.
I met Lauren Beukes at WorldCon in Montreal, back when we were both completely unheard of, and I became a fan within the first few pages of her novel Moxyland. She writes fast-paced, prophetic cyberpunk set in Johannesburg, plus she’s incredibly cool and very nice. As with Larry, I’m honored to be sharing the Campbell category with Lauren.