We’re less than a month away from Renovation, the 69th World Science Fiction Convention, which this year will take place in Reno, Nevada from August 17th to August 21st. The annual Hugo Awards, presented at WorldCon, are selected by the members of the World Science Fiction Society, but what not everyone may be aware of is that anyone can purchase a Supporting Membership of WSFS. This means that you don’t necessarily have to attend the actual convention to vote for this year’s Hugo Awards or nominate works for next year’s Awards. And there’s an awesome bonus: a Supporting Membership also gives you access to this year’s Hugo Voter Packet.
The Hugo Voter Packet is an electronic package made available to WSFS members to help them decide how to cast their votes. It contains almost all of this year’s nominated works. “Almost all” in this case really means just about everything on the final ballot: the entries from the “Best Dramatic Presentation” categories are (understandably) not included, but that’s just about all that’s missing.
So, with your $50 Supporting Membership fee, you’ll be able to download electronic versions of all of this year’s nominated novels. That’s Cryoburn by Lois McMaster Bujold, Feed by Mira Grant, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin, The Dervish House by Ian McDonald, and Blackout/All Clear by Connie Willis. It also includes every single novella, novelette, and short story on the final ballot. Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? It’s not nearly everything, though. The package also includes all the nominated works in the “Best Graphic Story” category. In addition, there are a bunch of goodies in the “Best Editor-Short Form” category, including two complete anthologies (The Way of the Wizard, edited by John Joseph Adams, and Godlike Machines, edited by Jonathan Strahan) and issues of magazines such as Analog, Asimov’s, and Fantasy & Science Fiction. You’ll also get sample issues of the nominated semiprozines and fanzines. Also included are several examples of the works of the nominated professional artists, fan artists and fan writers, and just to put the cherry on top, the packet also features novels and stories by the authors nominated for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, such as The Magicians by Lev Grossman and I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells, just to name a few.
The five (or six, depending on how you count) Hugo-nominated novels alone would cost you more than the price for the Supporting Membership. I’d read three of them already at the time I purchased my membership, but it was still a great deal because of the other novels, all the short form works, graphic novels, anthologies and, well, everything else. The Hugo Voter Packet contains a solid gigabyte (in compressed format!) of some of the best science fiction and fantasy published in 2010.
The voting deadline for this year’s Hugo Awards is July 31st, and that’s also the last date you can download the Hugo Voter Packet. By now I’ve read most of the nominated works and am diligently working my way through the rest of them, and I’m here to tell you: this is a lot of excellent reading material for just $50.
One note: if you do decide to become a Supporting Member and get the Hugo Voter Packet, make sure to take a look at the “Read me first” message, especially the part about supporting the authors and artists. They and their publishers have graciously made this material available to WSFS members at no cost to help them make informed voting decisions. If you like something in the packet, please support the authors by purchasing some of their other works online or in the bookstore. And make sure to vote!