A couple of months ago Cheryl Morgan posted an editorial in Clarkesworld about how “you” can change the Hugos. I complained at the time that she dismissed the issue of money far too easily, and I still feel that way.
$50 to become a non-attending member of WorldCon grants you voting rights, but who pays that much to not attend a convention or to just vote on an award? Only people who have $50 to spend on not much at all.
Obviously the Hugos are something, yes, but they’re not worth $50 to most people. Even when you’re talking people who care.
So I have two ideas on how this aspect of the problem might be solved. One I think is more likely to be implemented because it’s easy, but I think both are viable.
Idea #1: Lower the non-attending membership price to $20 or $25.
$20 is better. More people are willing to drop $20 on things than $50. Obviously there will be plenty of people who will still say no way, but I think a lot more people would consider it at that price.
Idea #2: Allow members of other SF cons to be eligible to vote.
This is a bit more complicated, so bear with me. I totally understand that the Hugos are WorldCon’s award, and with good reason. But WorldCon is not the nexus of the SF world it once was as far as conventions go. And not everyone can get to or afford WorldCon but can get to a big con near them or one with a lower membership/hotel rate. What if the Hugo committee extended eligibility to the members of select conventions. They’d have a size minimum, or a base number of years the con has to be in existence, or has to include certain kinds of programming tracks, or some combination of that. Members could opt to pay an extra $10 over the registration price to vote for the Hugos.
Logistically, this could be difficult. This is why I think my first idea has more chance of being implemented.
I could be completely off base with all of this, but I think these are fairly good ideas. What do you all think? Any better ideas? Because looking at the list of nominees it’s clear that something needs to change before the Hugos themselves will.