Many of you know the Hugo Awards Ceremony took place in Melbourne, Australia on Sunday, September 5 at the World Science Fiction Convention. (If you don’t know, the Hugos are like the “Oscars” in the world of science fiction and fantasy).
For the first time in over a decade, Stephen and I were not attending the Hugo Ceremony and were, instead, going to be at Dragon*Con, the largest annual science fiction and fantasy convention held annually in the USA. Dragon*Con occurs each Labor Day weekend in Atlanta, draws between 35,000 and 40,000 fans It takes over downtown Atlanta for 4 days - there are costumes, parties, sessions, stars, etc. in mega-doses.
Coincidentally the Hugo Awards Ceremony was happening in Melbourne right in the middle of Dragon*Con weekend. And we realized a number of the 2010 Hugo Award nominees were going to be at Dragon*Con:
Unfortunately, the 8PM kickoff time for the Hugo Award Ceremony was at (groan) 6AM Atlanta time. So we decided to all, or at least almost all, have breakfast together, with whatever fans felt like dragging themselves out of bed at 6AM, and listen to the results come in live.
I made a phone call to longtime fan and convention-runner Laurie Mann, explained to her what we wanted to do, and Laurie got the ball rolling. She put me in touch with Vincent Docherty, and at the same time I got in touch with Cheryl Morgan, who brought Kevin Standlee on board - - and from points all around the globe these folks figured out how to provide real time information and materials so the Hugo Nominees sitting at breakfast in Atlanta could be as up to date as the folks sitting in the Main Plenary Hall in Melbourne. Simultaneously, Eugie Foster started promoting the Live Hugo Awards Breakfast at Dragon*Con.
When 6AM arrived Steve and I showed up at the Kafe Kobenhaven at the Hyatt Regency, and there were already 10 or 12 people waiting for us!! And there was already a problem - the restaurant didn’t know we were coming and people were starting to freak out. (Truth is, when I talked to the hotel, and they started making a big deal about us showing up with 20-30 people, I made the conscious decision not to make a reservation. It’s a huge restaurant, with a buffet breakfast, so I decided we would just show up, treat the restaurant manager real nice and take real good care of the wait staff). So when we arrived, I pulled aside the manager, had the conversation, and in about 5 minutes the restaurant had given us our own corner, had pulled tables together for us, and piping hot coffee was being consumed.
By this time Lou, Kate, Eugie, Farah, John, Mike and Steve had all arrived – some with significant others, some with fans or friends, and Mary Robinette Kowal from SFWA, and some fans who joined us for breakfast.
Eugie, Stephen, Mary and two others set up laptops - as the ceremony commenced we fired up the amazing Mark Slater-produced 7½ minute video that was being shown at the same time on the big screens in Melbourne. It was riveting! Then all started to follow various Tweet Streams and videos - - primarily though the streams from Cheryl Morgan and Kevin Standlee.
Then the awards presentation began - at this point Mary took over, announcing the nominees of each category . . and subsequently announced the winner. As the Ceremony proceeded John Picacio announced some of the nominees, as did Lou Anders and Mike Resnick. And as it got quiet between nominations and the nominees were biting their nails or chewing their bacon, Mike shared stories about some of the other nominees, and about Hugo Nominees and Ceremonies of the past.
Every time a winner was announced, even though with one exception those winners were not at our breakfast, there was a rousing round of applause. With the exception of one first-time nominee, the rest had all been nominated in the past, two were past winners, and all expressed the honor they felt being 2010 nominees. The high point came of course when Clarkesworld Magazine won the Hugo for Best Magazine! Our Tweeter in Melbourne, Cheryl Morgan, was one of the named nominees and accepted the award; Kate Bake, podcast director and the voice of Clarkesworld was with us at breakfast and was completely floored when the win was announced. We all couldn’t have been happier for her.
All in all the Hugo Breakfast was a great success - due in large part to the efforts of Vincent Docherty, Cheryl Morgan, Kevin Standlee, Eugie Foster and Laurie Mann.
While there will not be a Dragon*Con / Hugo scheduling conflict in 2011, I certainly hope that the standard set this year, which allowed fans around the world to know the results instantly, will be maintained for future years - actually, I hope it is taken one step further with a professional level of live video being streamed over the internet. After all, what better way to showcase and celebrate the importance and the glamour of the Hugo Awards Ceremony than to show the world?