Nominate me, baby! 2014 Hugos

Jennifer Lawrence thanking us all for her Oscar.<— This could be me!

OK, maybe not really. Maybe not quite. I mean, pink really isn’t my colour. But the point is, it’s awards season, not just for exciting Hollywood types, but for us lot wot are into science fiction and fantasy and stuff. In particular: nominations are open for the 2014 Hugos! If you’re ‘an attending or supporting member of Loncon 3 (the 2014 World Science Fiction Convention) and/or… you are an attending or supporting member of Sasquan (the 2015 World Science Fiction Convention), and/or… you were an attending or supporting member of LoneStarCon 3 (the 2013 World Science Fiction Convention)‘ then you’re eligible to nominate for the Hugos! Wow! It’s like you have superpowers!

Most extra-specially important, you can nominate for the Best Related Work category, and… guess what? Speculative Fiction 2012: The Best Online Reviews, Essays, and Commentary is eligible for nomination for Best Related Work. Even more rockingly awesome? My post on ‘Remembering Margaret Cavendish‘ is one of the essays published therein. This means that I am effectively eligible to be nominated for 1/50th of a Hugo! SO EXCITE.

But before people can vote on whether I, and my fellow online essayists, are deserving of this honour, Speculative Fiction 2012 needs to get nominated. And that’s where you come in.

Join me and we can rule the Hugos as Blogger and Readers!

I’m pretty sure that’s how this works, anyway.

You know what’s even better, though? You don’t just have to nominate based on how much you love me and my specific post. This weekend, the whole book is available for free (electronically) from Amazon. Go! Go get it! You have nothing to lose – it’s free! FREE LITERARY CRITICISM IN THE SPECULATIVE FICTION GENRE – what could go wrong?

So, yeah, I’m not being subtle about this. I’m not the sort of person who wins awards, and I’d kinda only be winning a little part of one, but I’m pretty excited, and you could help make my dream come true! You could help make me a sort of Hugo Award Winner!

Also, I’m psyched for my little essay, and, quite frankly, for Margaret freakin’ Cavendish. I’ve only become more passionate about how we need to right the wrong of Margaret Cavendish’s being forgotten and ignored by a male dominated literary canon that seeks to ignore the achievements of women. Because this wonderful, courageous, passionate woman wrote things like this about why women like her have been ignored:

[P]oor education, exclusion from public institutions, political subordination within the home, physiological dictates of childbirth, and society’s pervasive vision of women as incompetent, irresponsible, unintelligent, and irrational.
Philosophical and Physical Opinions (1655)
[W]e are shut out of all power and authority, by reason we are never employed either in civil or martial affairs, our counsels are despised, and laughed at, the best of our actions are trodden down with scorn, by the over-weening conceit, men have of themselves, and through a despisement of us.
Philosophical and Physical Opinions (1655)

And of that great woman, Virginia Woolf wrote:

“ . . . All I desire is fame”, wrote Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle. And while she lived her wish was granted. Garish in her dress, eccentric in her habits, chaste in her conduct, coarse in her speech, she succeeded during her lifetime in drawing upon herself the ridicule of the great and the applause of the learned. But the last echoes of that clamour have now all died away; she lives only in the few splendid phrases that Lamb scattered upon her tomb; her poems, her plays, her philosophies, her orations, her discourses — all those folios and quartos in which, she protested, her real life was shrined — moulder in the gloom of public libraries, or are decanted into tiny thimbles which hold six drops of their profusion. Even the curious student, inspired by the words of Lamb, quails before the mass of her mausoleum, peers in, looks about him, and hurries out again, shutting the door.

‘The Duchess of Newcastle’, The Common Reader, by Virginia Woolf

And I kind of really do think that it’s important to right the wrong of Margaret Cavendish being forgotten. And if my essay on why she should be remembered as the inventor of science fiction can be not only published, but in a book that wins one of the most coveted awards of the beloved genre that she began for us… then I feel like it would be some kind of vindication for her.  A real step towards righting the wrong of another great woman having been written out of history.

A woman who, after my own heart, was only after fame. ;-p

There’s been a lot of noise this year about how people shouldn’t ‘campaign’ for nomination – that the work should speak for itself – but I’m with Amal El-Mohtar:

You cannot with one breath say that you wish more women were recognized for their work, and then say in the next that you think less of people who make others aware of their work.

Of Awards Eligibility Lists and Unbearable Smugness‘, by Amal El-Mohtar

I used to be the kind of woman who wouldn’t shut up about her achievements. Eventually, I realised I was annoying people, so I stopped. But, the thing is, we live in a culture that is disproportionately annoyed with women who speak up as opposed to men who do. Where Sandra Bullock is a bigger box office draw than George Clooney, but he was given equal billing in a film where she was the lead, because presenting a woman as a lead is considered ‘off-putting’ for an action film. Where literary reviews can devote only 6% of their space to works by women, and still be under the impression that women are dominating their column space; and where, if a woman is speaking more than 30% of the time she is perceived as domineering. Where 50% of online gamers are female, but 83% say that they would rather not talk to other players whilst gaming because of the harassment they receive. Where teachers who actually achieve gender equality in the attention they give to students report feeling as thought they are giving 90% to the girls. As Janet Holmes writes: ‘The talkativeness of women has been gauged in comparison not with men but with silence‘.

So… I’m speaking up. This is my little thing what I did, and I’m proud of it. And it’s part of a bigger thing that other people contributed some really awesome stuff to – people from diverse backgrounds and perspectives on the genre we all love – and I think they deserve recognition to. Margaret Cavendish was never shy about asking for attention when she was alive – it’s after she died that we let her down. So, I don’t wanna guilt ya, but if you could help give my little paper, about giving her more recognition, a little recognition, I would be totes grateful.

Rhube out.

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About Serenity Womble

I'm a writer of science fiction and fantasy short stories, as well as many, many unfinished novels. I review things of a generally speculative nature. This is my blog for writing and reviewing.
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