The list of Hugo Award nominees for 2019 has dropped and – surprise! – you might (indirectly) be on it. Archive Of Our Own, a repository for fan-created work, has been nominated for a Hugo in the “Best Related Work” category.
Society has a complicated relationship with fan fiction. Some people dismiss it as mindless wish fulfillment while others admire it as a way to explore alternate aspects of fandom. There are celebrities who are famously anti-fanfic and those who share fan art and fics every other day (looking at you, MCU actors). A few authors have even admitted to writing fanfic for fun when their paid work is stressful. Now Archive Of Our Own, one of the best-known shared fan fiction repositories, has been nominated for a Hugo Award.
The “Best Related Work” category applies to any work or collection that is “either non-fiction or, if fictional, is noteworthy primarily for aspects other than the fictional text, and which is not eligible in any other category.” The award isn’t given every year since members can vote for “no award.” When the award is given, it’s always something worth checking out. Past winners include Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Queers Dig Time Lords: A Celebration of Doctor Who by the LGBTQ Fans Who Love It, and Ray Bradbury: An Illustrated Life.
Archive Of Our Own is an online fan fiction repository that’s known for being hyper-organized and well-curated. The beta version launched in 2009 and has expanded to hold over 4.5 million works in more than 31,000 fandoms. It’s famous for its organization; you can search by character, language, rating, trope, or an endless variety of tags to find the exact kind of fiction you want. (Just remember the rules of the internet – if you can’t find it, you have to write it and upload it.)
This isn’t the first time Archive Of Our Own has been recognized. It was recognized by Time Magazine as one of their 50 Best Websites of 2013.
It also has to be said that the Hugo Awards aren’t without controversy. Nominees are voted on by members of the World Science Fiction Society (WSFS), and that has led to some ridiculous situations. Remember the mess with the SadPuppies back in 2015?
Still, it’s nice to see a major literary group formally acknowledge fan fiction like this… and arguably everyone with a username can now list “wrote for a Hugo-nominated organization” on their resume.
Winners will be announced at WorldCon, held August 15-19th. Do you think the Archive has a chance? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!
Khai is a writer, anthropologist, and games enthusiast. She is co-editor (alongside Alex DeCampi) of and contributor to “True War Stories”, a comic anthology being published by Z2 Comics. When she’s not writing or creating games, Khai likes to run more tabletop RPGs than one person should reasonably juggle.
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