David won a Hugo last night!
Obama & McCain Teddy Bears

Semiprozine rules change & NYRSF

Regarding the Semiprozine Hugo Award rules change reported by Cheryl Morgan . . .

Removal of Semiprozine Category
A proposal to remove the Semiprozine Hugo was passed and forwarded to Montreal for ratification. The old qualification criteria from semiprozine are now used to define what is not eligible to be a fanzine. (We’ll post the actual wording later when we get official electronic copy). The vote was 40-28, and the issue continues to be hotly debated.
. . . I note that The New York Review of Science Fiction only meets 2 or the 5 criteria for "Semiprozine", by virtue that it pays contributors (token payment: $10/review & $25/essay) and acknowledges being a "semiprozine." As for the other criteria, our circulation is well below 1,000 copies and has been for the life of the magazine; while occasional and rare issues may contain more than 15% advertising, most contain much less; and the magazine does not provide a substantial portion of anyone's income.

If -- speaking purely hypothetically and only for myself -- NYRSF stopped making token payments for reviews and essays and instead gave contributors credit toward a subscription (say, 4 issues for a review, 10 issues for an essay), then according to Hugo rules, NYRSF would be a fanzine and would compete (and perhaps even win) in that category.

Many NYRSF contributors already use such an arrangement to pay for their subscriptions, so this would not be a big change from our end. Those obsessive enough to care about such things might want to go through the past decade of Hugo Award Final Reports to see how this would have played itself out in the Fanzine category, had NYRSF been classed as a fanzine.

A quick look at this year's report suggests that NYRSF would have won in that category on first ballot. Whether things would actually have worked out that way is hard to know. That really depends on what portion of NYRSF's Hugo constituency is old-line fanzine fans and how offended they would be to see a perrenial semiprozine nominee in the fanzine category.

Though NYRSF is one of the iconic semiprozines, we are only in the awards category by a hair, rules-wise.

FURTHER REMARK: Does anyone have an actual transcript of what was said at the meeting in which the rules change was discussed? The emerging impression I'm getting from what I can gather online is that some very smart people said some unfortunate things based on perhaps foolish assumptions.

And yet: I am wary of drawing conclusions about the true nature of the discussion based on online and second-hand information, having read too many mangled accounts of the goings-on at convention panels. So. Did anyone either record or take careful notes of the discussion preceding the vote of whether to eliminate the Semiprozine Hugo category? If so, can you either publish it online or email it to me?

Note additional discussions here, here, & here. (Also there Kevin Standlee had a discussion going somewhere on his LJ which I can't seem to find now.)