Late Evening, After the Hugos

As Patrick mentioned earlier in the week, I won my second Hugo Award, following some decades of losses, last Saturday night in Denver. The first time, a couple of years ago in Anaheim, was an utter shock, and this time it was still quite a fine surprise. It was good to win, but after all these years I still feel a strong connection to the nominees who do not, and to the deserving people not nominated. I also lost a Hugo that night, for a magazine I have devoted twenty years of unremitting effort to publishing, and which has received twenty Hugo nominations without ever winning. And I had been told earlier in the day that all the magazines in our category had been defined out of Hugo eligibility henceforth that morning at the business meeting. (Pending ratification by next year’s Worldcon.) So I felt a certain schadenfreude….

Anyway, after midnight, making my way back to the Westin, ten blocks from the party hotel, carrying my Hugo with a necktie on it, I encountered more people admiring my award than I had expected. There were fans on the street at the bus stop, pleased to see a Hugo up close, and generally happy to see me, whoever the hell I was. On the bus, fans waved and smiled, and made their way over to look closely and offer friendly comments. A few stops down the mall, the bus became crowded, and three teenage girls in tank tops and shorts got on by the Rock Bottom Cafe, sort of jammed in front of the Hugo trophy. They said , “Wow, did you win that? What for?,” and I said “Yes,” and explained that it was for editing, and the little blonde one swayed a bit and said, “Maybe I’ll get an award for drinking.” “Perhaps you will,” I said. And thought to myself: I hope it is not in the form of an unanticipated baby boy or girl…

The bus stopped and I got off at my corner and walked up the block to my hotel lobby, actually feeling as good as I had felt all evening. It has just been a pleasant ride. As I entered the lobby and started walking toward the elevators, down the stairs came a young bride, attended by bridesmaids on either side holding her train. They were headed out to a limo in the front driveway. They were hefty, healthy young women obviously in good spirits from the happy occasion. They stopped and exclaimed, “Gee, is that an award, did you win it?”

I said “Yes” and “Yes,” and the maid of honor said, “That’s great! Want a hug?” and I said “Yes,” again, and got a big hug from a big girl in a red dress with tattoos on each shoulder. Then they hustled out the door and I went to the elevator, and was the happiest I had been all evening. Except for the absence of my wife and children, this is how I would have wanted my evening to end .

The next day I felt like celebrating. It was a good way to end a Worldcon.


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