Cat Valente’s Excellent Idea

The Hugo controversy has died down a lot, and instead of merely being mad at each other people are beginning to come up with interesting ideas. I particularly like Cat Valente’s proposal for a set of awards that specifically reward aspects of storytelling; best fight scene, best worldbuilding, etc.

Coming from a criterion-based institution, I couldn’t love this more. After all, I would never evaluate a student’s paper without having specified the criteria for excellence and identified some specific areas where they were met/not met in the paper. An award like this wouldn’t end controversy about winners, any more than my using explicit criteria ends controversy about students’ grades, but it would turn that controversy from ‘you like this for wrong reasons’ and ‘how could you possibly like that?’ into discussion about what it means to have ‘best twist’ or ‘best villain’.

Plus, the nominating process would channel more discussion toward specific elements of storytelling. I would love to hear what fans think counts as good worldbuilding, or excellent dialog, or an engaging character. This idea is a winner all around!

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