The Loveliness of the Locus Awards Weekend

A Glance at the Locus Awards

(p.s. Disclaimer at the End)

1) The Recommended Reading List

I love to read. I think reading is lovely.

Others who love to read usually love to tell me what I should be reading.

After I started going to conventions, in short time, I had grown a very long reading list composed primarily of titles other people dubbed good.

I realized I needed a filter. I wasn’t going to get through all those books. Frankly, everyone has stuff they like, but I knew there was no guarantee that I’d like what they like.

There are many types of filters and many ways to apply them. But when I found out about the process for the Locus Recommended Reading List, I thought, yeah, this works.

You’re wondering: “What the hell does the Recommended Reading List have to do with the Locus Awards?”

Just stick with me.

No process is perfect. But the way they generate the Reading List is through democratic and rigorous voting rounds (combined with tedious but thorough research and vetting). The result is a glowing list of titles, a synergy of opinions and passions from people who read far more than I do.

It’s not just one person’s opinion, and nothing can get on it solely by the power of one person’s influence.

The Recommended Reading List comprises the bulk of the ballot for the Locus Awards.

But note that anyone can write in anything on the Locus Awards ballot; and anyone can vote. If you love fiction, get involved next year.

2) The Ballot

It was exciting to be a part of history, despite knowing that no one knows my name, that no one will remember me, and that my relevance is such that my contributions to the process could be made by nearly anyone else!

But… still! I mean, I posted the frickin’ Locus Awards on the Locus website! I mean, me. How cool is that?

Anyways, no process is perfect but I have a lot of respect for this process, and for the people who put work and thought into seeing it through.

In awards, there is no flawless ballot. Just because one person really likes and believes in a particular title, that never means everyone else will. Any title that has proponents will also have those that feel it’s not “award worthy.”

In the Recommended Reading List process, there are titles that were put forward but didn’t get far. There are titles that made it through a round or two of votes but didn’t get to the end. Maybe your favorite almost made it, who knows.

BUT: there were no conspiracies, no meetings, no cabals, no “arrangements,” no payments for votes, no “universal truths”, no struggles for control. No one got on just because of who they are/ were or who they know or their political stance.

The only way to make it onto the actual ballot is for multiple voters to stand by it again and again, and for multiple other voters to agree. It’s kind of like a big, beautiful conversation in a small room filled with really smart people, where someone shouted, “Hey! What was your favorite novel out last year? No one leaves until you come up with a Top 5!”

3) The Weekend

So… I got to have dinner with Connie Willis! ‘Nuff said.

Ok, there is more. But Connie is pretty awesome in my opinion. I say this from spending some time with her over the Locus Awards Weekend.

I’m fairly new to the convention scene. For me, The Locus Awards Weekend is kind of different, sort of a “con-light”; or maybe it’s more like a casual party for industry people.
Yes, there are a couple of panels. But really, it’s a place where folks are easy-going, relaxed, and there to socialize. There are lots of opportunities to meet people and lots of time to mingle and hang out.

You can have an actual conversation with someone. I had several!

What shocked me the most: the entire thing is put on (primarily) by two people.

There are bits and pieces where other people help out, not to mention the incredible work done by the hotel staff, and of course Connie’s awesomeness.

But the bulk of it is the work of two Locus folks–people who work very, very hard and stress-out very, very much, just to get everything together and running (for folks who have no idea how hard those two people are working).

But that’s kind of the Locus way. Most have no idea what it’s like behind the scenes.

The staff works really hard to get it right. No one in life will get it right every single time, but Locus people try hard anyways.

Much of the work of the Awards Weekend happens before the Weekend. It’s a small staff, and they get it done while juggling a number of other tasks, including the pressurized tasks of Deadline, all while bringing together the parts that make up the Awards Weekend.

Side note — I’ve personally seen folks jump to all kinds of conclusions about what goes on (and why it goes on) at the Locus office. I’ve seen people get upset over various sorts of things, so this is my testimony: if you saw something and got upset about it, and made some kind of assumption, you… well… you were probably wrong….

Assumptions. Sigh. I would love it if more people would slow down and converse about the things that upset them rather than lashing out. Assume a possibility of exchange and growth rather than assuming terrible causes. Engage in Peace before committing to War.

In any case, I’m getting off track. Point is:

It’s a lot of work to put on (The Awards Weekend), and the people putting it on are doing it more for the love of it than the paycheck.

Do me a favor? If it doesn’t go off without a hitch, give them a break. Trust me when I say they are trying.

Despite the hard, sometimes frantic work, the energy/ vibe of the Weekend is really lovely. There’s a batch of new writers on hand, as well as some less experienced writers, as well as established industry folks, and what results is a wonderful atmosphere derived from people who have similar interests and who came to enjoy themselves.

There is also a feeling of familiarity. Many of the attendees are regulars, or know each other (but without The Con Wall. You know about the Con Wall! That’s when everyone knows each other, making it hard for newcomers to hang out with them. At the Locus Awards, everyone knows each other and they are happy to hang out with new people). I think this lends to the “easy-going” atmosphere. It made me want to be a regular.

I sat in on both writers workshops, which were great, and different enough from each other to learn buckets from both.

As for the Awards ceremony itself: I was told the food would be “edible” but it was actually tasty. It was buffet-style, so I could eat what I wanted, and as much as I wanted, ending with some good chocolate cake.

Connie was funny and entertaining. Some parts of the Awards ceremony were really touching. I “live tweeted” it through the LocusMag account and supplemented through my own Twitter feed. I did the best I could (as a somewhat novice Twitter user; and given that Tweeting the Awards is pretty new to Locus) while trying not to clutter up the Twitterverse.

It’s tough because the ceremony doesn’t follow a strict schedule. I mean, Connie was on stage, and she’s really great! I wasn’t going up there to tell her wrap it up! Nor did I want to.

After the Awards were over, I had that bittersweet feeling that I sometimes have at the end of a convention, where I wish it wasn’t over, but where I’m also tired and ready to go home.

4) Who cares? Who the F&$@ cares???

You should.

No, seriously.

And there are probably a few other things you should care about, too.

There is so much drama in this world, and specifically, in our world, the world of genre, that I think those things remaining which shine as positive, fun, and lovely, should be preserved, supported, and continued.

Lovely things should be known, enjoyed, and shared.

That’s why I’m sharing this stuff with anyone who cares to read it.

I entreat you all to have fun! To enjoy things! To be lovely and positive! To create, to support, and to preserve things that are thus.

Be kind to each other and help build a better community.

Cheers! And thanks for reading.

— Arley

Disclaimer time:
These are just my opinions. This post is not authorized by Locus, nor does it represent the opinions or ideas of Locus. It was not authorized or approved by Locus or its editors. In fact, I’m posting it without them even knowing. Maybe I’ll get a smack on the head. Who knows? Point is: these are nothing more than my own thoughts.

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