Reports to the Business Meeting

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

C. COMMITTEE REPORTS AND MOTIONS

Committee reports may include motions. Motions made by committees consisting of more than one person need not be seconded.

C.1 Standing Committees of WSFS

C.1.1 Mark Protection Committee (Including Nominations for MPC)

Nominations for the WSFS Mark Protection Committee are in order at the Preliminary Business Meeting. Nominees must accept nomination within one hour of the end of the Preliminary Business Meeting. Current MPC members are:

Elected 2012, term ending in 2015: Stephen Boucher, Scott Dennis and Donald Eastlake III;
Elected 2013, term ending in 2016: Tim Illingworth, Kevin Standlee, and Ben Yalow;
Elected 2014, term ending in 2017: John Coxon, Linda Deneroff, and Dave McCarty; and

Worldcon Representatives:

LoneStarCon 3 – Randall Shepherd (until 2015)
Loncon 3 – Paul Dormer (until 2016)
Detcon 1 – Deb Geisler (until 2016)
Sasquan – Glenn Glazer (until 2017)
MidAmericon II – Mark Olson (until 2018).

The Officers of the Mark Protection Committee are:

Chair: Kevin Standlee
Secretary: Linda Deneroff
Treasurer: Scott Dennis
Agent for Canada: Adrienne Seel

The members whose terms of office expire at this Worldcon are: Stephen Boucher; Scott Dennis and Donald Eastlake III. We elect no more than three people each year to the Committee. Write-in votes are allowed, but write-in candidates must also submit their consent to election by the close of balloting. Nomination acceptance forms are available at the head table staff.

The Hugo Awards Marketing Committee (HAMC) members are Dave McCarty (Chair), Cheryl Morgan, Kevin Standlee, Craig Miller and Mark Olson. This is a subcommittee of the Mark Protection Committee, and their report is made to the MPC and follows the MPC financial report.

The Worldcon Website Working Group (WWWG) is chaired by Mike Scott and has a variable membership. This is a subcommittee of the Mark Protection Committee, The Worldcon Website Working Group submitted no report to the MPC. George Mitchell, who hosts the Worldcon.org and WSFS.org web sites, will make a report directly to the Business Meeting regarding the website hosting.

Members of the Mark Protection Committee from September 2014 through August 2015 were as follows, with the expiration of membership listed in parentheses after their name: Stephen Boucher (elected until 2015), John Coxon (elected until 2017), Linda Deneroff, (elected until 2017), Scott Dennis (elected until 2015), Donald E. Eastlake III (elected until 2015), Glenn Glazer (appointed by Sasquan until 2017), Paul Dormer (appointed by Loncon 3 until 2016), Deb Geisler (appointed by Detcon 1 until 2016) Tim Illingworth (elected until 2016), Dave McCarty (elected until 2017), Mark Olson (appointed by MidAmericon II until 2018), Randall Shepherd (appointed by LoneStarCon 3 until 2015), Kevin Standlee (elected until 2016), and Ben Yalow (elected until 2016). The terms for Sandra Levy and Warren Buff expired at the conclusion of the 2014 meeting, and the MPC thanks them for their service to this committee. Kevin Standlee was re-elected Chairman; Linda Deneroff, Secretary; and Scott Dennis, Treasurer. Our Canadian agent is Adrienne Seel.

The Worldcon Website Working Group submitted no report to the MPC.

INTRODUCTION:

At Loncon 3, Fancaster had three and one-half days to ask for a cease-and-desist against announcing the Best Fancast Hugo at the Hugo awards. They did not, and the award was announced. Since then we have not heard anything from them. Fancaster (an American corporation) holds marks solely in Europe. With several announced bids for European sites to hold Worldcon in the next several years, Fancaster still has the potential to raise the issue again.

Because an unincorporated society cannot hold marks in Europe, our U.S. and UK legal counsels recommended that we establish a legal entity (which can be in the U.S.) under the control of the WSFS MPC, and that this entity be the legal entity that holds title to the WSFS marks. All members of the MPC would be trustees of this entity, whose sole purpose is to hold title to the WSFS marks on behalf of WSFS-sanctioned conventions (Worldcon and NASFIC). WSFS’s legal counsel advised us to form a non-profit corporation for this purpose.

NEW BUSINESS:

1. August–November 2014: Implementing the recommendations of the 2014 WSFS Meeting, the MPC negotiated with ARESFFT (the sponsor of the SF & Fantasy Translation Awards), an existing California non-profit, tax-exempt corporation that was in the process of winding down its operations, to take over its corporate charter with the appropriate changes, effective January 1, 2015, with the understanding that the MPC would fund the cost of the changeover and that ARESFFT would turn over operations to the MPC with zero funds. (ARESFFT returned all of its grants to the entities that had made the grants by the end of 2014.) As part of the changeover, the corporation’s name was changed to WORLDCON INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY (“WIP”). All members of the MPC are automatically members of the Board of Directors of WIP, and no person can be a director of WIP without being a member of the MPC (with specific and low-probability exceptions dictated by California corporate law).

The MPC voted in favor of the following propositions:

The MPC shall use WIP to register the WSFS service marks that it can in those places where the MPC has prioritized the protection of WSFS service marks and where such marks are currently unregistered.
As existing WSFS marks currently directly owned by the MPC within the USA come up for renewal, the MPC shall authorize that such marks be transferred to WIP.
The MPC will delegate most of its functions (as long as not prohibited by law) to WIP; however, the MPC must always maintain the ability to override the actions of WIP.
WIP will take over the MPC banking functions when it is convenient to do so.

2. November 2014: The MPC received a request from a descendant of Hugo Gernsback for a Hugo Award, and Glenn Glazer asked whether producing a Hugo not for a Worldcon’s given ceremony is even legal under the Constitution. The consensus was that it was up to Sasquan to decide whether or not to fund building a replica trophy since it would not be a violation of Sasquan’s implicit license to use the WSFS marks, but it would not have the current year’s base.

3. December 2014: The MPC held a meeting at SMOFcon for the specific purpose of discussing ways of funding the WSFS MPC in the future. This MPC meeting included a one-time meeting of the Board of Directors-Elect of Worldcon Intellectual Property (WIP) required as part of the transition between ARESFFT and WIP. The Board of Directors-Elect of WIP elected the existing MPC officers (Kevin Standlee, Chairman; Linda Deneroff, Secretary; and Scott Dennis, Treasurer) to be the officers of WIP effective January 1, 2015. A general discussion ensued regarding the long-term funding of the MPC’s regular ongoing operating costs and how to address extraordinary costs, such as the Fancaster defense, dealing with the CIFF Hugos, and the AEE’s “Worldcon.” No specific actions were taken. The officers will prepare a long-term budget analysis in support of expected recommendations the MPC will propose to the 2015 WSFS Business Meeting. Also during SMOFcon, the WIP officers signed signature cards for the WIP bank account.

Also in December, Tammy Coxen contacted the MPC to say that Detcon 1 ran a surplus and wanted to make its contribution to the MPC. Detcon 1 had 1794 members and agreed to contribute 50 cents per member, rounded up to $900.

4. January 2015: We received a copy of the Articles of Incorporation from the California Secretary of State, officially recognizing the change of name from ARESFFT to WIP.

5. February 2015: Laughing Squid, which had been hosting TheHugoAwards.org for $8/month, informed us that we’re using too many “computing cycles” (whatever that even means), and put a $10/month surcharge on the account and also informed us that they have a maximum monthly data volume that we’re approaching. Since members of the HAMC doing the web site work already had positive experience with Pair.com and their rates are reasonable, it was decided to move TheHugoAwards.org there as well.

6. March 2015: The U.S. Internal Revenue Service processed the name-change letter and issued a new tax-exempt determination letter in the name of WORLDCON INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY. They still show a “doing business as” the SF & Fantasy Translation Awards, and but Kevin Standlee wrote to them to ask them to change that to DBA “The Hugo Awards” or remove the DBA entirely. This change means that when a bank does a crosscheck between the Taxpayer ID Number and the Name, they will match correctly. It also meant that we could change the name on the bank account from ARESFFT to WIP, order new checks and get ATM cards issued, as well as pay recurring expenses (like the domain names and web site hosting) from this account instead of having to front money and get reimbursed. (Kevin changed the name on the bank account in July.)

A group initially calling itself “Visionary World Con” set up an event for independent filmmakers. After Laurie Mann called it to our attention, we contacted them and suggested that they change their name to “Visionary World Indy Con,” consistent with the description on their website, to avoid confusion with us. They made these changes.

7. April 2015: The announcement of the 2015 Hugo nominees saw a huge increase in the visitors to the TheHugoAwards.org. The number of visitors to the site shot up to about 27K from under 2K per day, much of which was from bots and search engines. (Likewise, there was a huge increase in traffic on the Hugo Awards Facebook page.) After declining from the initial huge spike on Finalist Announcement Day (April 4), traffic to TheHugoAwards.org continued to run at more than quadruple the pre-announcement levels. April 2015 was the busiest month in the history of the web site, exceeding the traffic from last August 18, 2014, when last year’s winners were announced.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office renewed the trademark registration for the NASFIC mark. We will need to file another renewal application by May 9, 2020, in order to preserve the registration. We also renewed the nasfic.org internet domain for five years (for $80.25).

Ben Yalow reported that WORLD SCIENCE FICTION SOCIETY INC. is still an active New York corporation. We have no idea who is keeping that entity alive. According to Ben, New York either requires the dissolution to come from the Board or a really expensive court proceeding. Theoretically, if you don’t file renewal paperwork, they’re supposed to dissolve the corporation—but it’s not a priority for them.

Karen Junker of Cascade Writers advised us that that group planned to run a small convention they wanted to call AllWorldsCon and enquired whether we thought that would be a conflict with Worldcon. We believed it would cause confusion and asked the group to consider another name for their convention. We also thanked her for contacting us in advance of announcing their convention.

8. May 2015: A project called the “Long List Anthology” was brought to our attention in May (see https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/753351971/long-list-anthology), whose intention is to publish an anthology of the short fiction works that make the top 15 in the Hugo Awards. As long as this work doesn’t actually use one of our service marks in the title or cover, and as long as it does not claim official sanction, even if it describes what the Hugo Award is, how it’s selected, and how they came up with the methodology for selecting the material, we did not think it would cause confusion. Don Eastlake thought it would be nice if they included an explicit statement similar to that required by Worldcons in their publications, and Kevin provided it to them.

9. July/August 2015: Based on a budget analysis we conducted, the MPC considered asking Worldcons to contribute various amounts of money per member, eventually voting 10-1 (3 not voting) to ask for $1/member, with the intention being to accumulate a reserve against unexpected expenses.

ONGOING BUSINESS:

1. With the above changes in hand, the MPC could now proceed to register its Marks in the EU. Kevin suggested approaching the three Worldcons with surplus funds that have shown a willingness to support the MPC (Anticipation, Chicon, and LoneStarCon). At the end of April, Kevin wrote to our UK attorneys to confirm that we’re looking at about £4,500 (about US$6,850 or €6,300) to register three of our service marks in the EU. For that amount, we can register WORLDCON, HUGO AWARD, and the Hugo Award Logo (without the words “Hugo Award” in it). (The long-form names WORLD SCIENCE FICTION SOCIETY and WORLD SCIENCE FICTION CONVENTION are apparently somewhat problematic, based on our previous experience of UK registration where the UK patent office rejected them for length.) Since, Dave Lally had to cut back his pledge of funds from one-half to one-third of the cost, if we split the donations four ways, they would work out to CanSMOF/Anticipation: C$2,100, Chicon 7: US$1,750, LSC3: US$1,750, and Dave Lally: €1,600.

Chicon 7 has expensed almost all its surplus and is not in a position to contribute. CanSMOF/Anticipation agreed to fund a quarter-share. LSC3 had previously made a generous donation in excess of the “traditional contribution” and also agreed to donate an additional $1,750. The MPC (acting as WIP) instructed the UK attorneys to start the EU mark registration process, committing us to spend up to £4,500. Dave Lally sent his share directly to the law firm in GBP. CanSMOF sent its C$2,100 share directly from Canada to the UK. The MPC will pay the balance (and collect the additional donation from LSC3.)

With our British solicitors having confirmed receipt of funding, in June 2015 Kevin authorized them to proceed with filing the applications as specified below, to be registered in the name of WORLDCON INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY:

WORLDCON (word mark) in classes 16, 35 and 41
HUGO AWARD (word mark) in classes 14, 16, and 41
the Hugo Award (logo mark – without wording) in classes 14, 16 and 41.

2. We have created a ten-year expenditure cycle, which includes all the mark renewals in the U.S., EU, and anywhere else we may decide to register them (Canada and Australia being the only countries other than the U.S./EU where our current policy says we should be chasing mark registrations). We also projected how much we need to raise annually, and thus what we should be asking Worldcons to donate to us, which, based on an estimated 5,000 member convention, works out to US$0.60 per WSFS voting member. This will allow us to accumulate surplus funds for a while (because our planned expenses come at long intervals) and thus it will allow us to meet all projected expenses, but includes no reserve against unexpected expenses.

3. Deb Geisler suggested asking the WSFS Business Meeting to have wsfs.org post the list of standing and temporary committees on its site each year, together with member names, and a single contact email address so that it will be easier for people to find out who to contact if and when issues arise, but this is difficult to achieve.

— Linda Deneroff —

 

Mark Protection Committee/WIP Financial Report – 1 August 2014 through 30 June 2015

Income Expense Paid by MPC/WIP Paid by Other Entity Balance
Cash on hand as of 1 August 2014     5,922.59
Paid to Loncon 3 for Fancaster expenses 220.00 5,702.59
Paid by SCIFI for Fancaster legal expenses 5,000.00
Paid by CanSMOF* C$5000 for Fancaster legal expenses 4,556.00
Paid by Loncon 3* ₤1,180 for Fancaster legal expenses 1,980.00
Reimburse Donald Eastlake III for domain renewal 68.67 5,633.92
Donation from LoneStarCon 3 3,795.00 9,428.92
Paid to Attorney Esther Horwich for trademark work 630.00 8,798.92
Additional donation from Renovation 500.00 9,298.92
Reimburse Kevin Standlee for hosting expenses 253.75 9,045.17
Paid to Attorney Esther Horwich for trademark work 30.00 9,015.17
Donation from Detcon Nasfic 900.00 9,915.17
Refund fee paid to State of California 15.00 9,930.17
Paid to British solicitors for trademark work 3,141.39 6,803.78
Wire transfer fee 45.00 6,758.78
Paid by Anticipation 1,077** for EU Mark Registration expenses 1,75000
Paid by Dave Lally 1,125** for EU Mark Registration expenses 1,750.00
Pledged by LoneStarCon 3 for EU Mark Registration expenses 1,750.00  
Balance of our cash accounts as of 30 June 2015 6,758.78
 
Total of expenses by payers 4,388.81 15,036.00

Approximate total of expenses paid for Mark protection: $19,425.00

* These original amounts were paid in non-US$ currencies. Conversions are approximate, based on exchange rates in August 2014 and are shown for the purpose of comparability. The total bill from lawyers was ₤8,400, of which ₤1,400 was VAT that Loncon was able to claim back. The net bill of ₤7,000 is approximately $11,756.00.

** These original amounts were paid in non-US$ currencies. US$ amounts reported are previously agreed-on shares of the expense. The total bill from lawyers was ₤4,200, approximately $7,048, based on exchange rates in June 2015.

Notes:

  • The committee changed its reporting period to end 30 June rather than 31 July, so this data is for an eleven month fiscal period.
  • The Treasurer thanks all the generous contributors to the protection of our service marks: Mr. Dave Lally, CanSMOF/Anticipation, LoneStarCon 3, SCIFI, Loncon 3, and the additional contributions from Renovation and Detcon 1.

— Scott Dennis

 

Hugo Award Marketing Committee Report to Mark Protection Committee
September 2014 – July 2015

A result of the controversy over this year’s Hugo Awards is that we think the Awards may have received more publicity this year than in any ten past years, including mentions in mainstream media outlets including:

ABC (USA)
CBC (Canada)
The Guardian (UK)
The Telegraph (UK)
The New York Times (USA)
The New Yorker (USA)
The New Statesman (UK)
Wired (USA)
The Wall Street Journal (USA)
and a large number of other venues.

While much of the coverage has focused on the controversy, it has also brought more positive attention to the Award and made many more people aware of it. High-profile members of the SF/F community, most notably George RR Martin, have made very positive statements about the Hugo Award, and those statements are among the most quoted when news coverage reported on the issue. Members of the HAMC were interviewed by the media regarding this year’s Hugo Award controversies. We attempted to maintain a positive tone regarding the passion that many people bring to the Awards.

Additionally, traffic was significantly higher on the web site since the nomination announcement earlier this year. Total page views per month from April 2014 through July 2015 are listed below. (These are total page views from JetPack, the WordPress stats package. TheHugoAwards.org is a WordPress-based web site.)

Month Views
Apr-14 114,509
May-14 73,986
Jun-14 62,580
Jul-14 69,159
Aug-14 170,178
Sep-14 55,876
Oct-14 50,750
Nov-14 53,676
Dec-14 62,765
Jan-15 73,845
Feb-15 62,444
Mar-15 61,505
Apr-15 229,791
May-15 89,728
Jun-15 85,520
Jul-15 90,370

Note that demand on the site after this year’s nomination announcement exceeded the demand following the announcement of last year’s final awards results by 35%. Due to the additional traffic following last year’s Awards, our previous hosting service (LaughingSquid) began imposing excess-usage surcharges, and we moved to a new hosting service (Pair.com) in March 2015. We also paid to upgrade the Hugo Awards web site hosting around the time of the nomination announcements this year, and we plan on doing the same thing during Worldcon due to anticipated very heavy traffic. (These upgrades should end up costing the MPC between $100 and $200 total in extra hosting fees.)

HAMC will once again provide text-based coverage of this year’s Hugo Awards ceremony via CoverItLive and the Hugo Awards web site. The cost of this coverage (about $150) is being paid by a special grant from Sasquan.

Our contact address (info@TheHugoAwards.org) answers many queries about the Awards; however, most of them are in the form of “contact the current Worldcon.” Not surprisingly, many people assume that TheHugoAwards.org is the body that runs the Hugo Awards, and some are surprised to learn that each individual Worldcon committee independently operates each year’s Awards.

We have made minor tweaks to the web site design in response to feedback such as “where are this year’s results?” but we do not currently anticipate any major redesigns of the site.

Minority Report

This minority report does not take issue with whether the MPC needs an increase in revenue – I believe that the membership of the MPC is unanimous that it does – nor with the good sense in switching from a donation for each site selection voter to one for each WSFS member. It does take issue with the amount of the increase. Presently, the MPC is mandated to get $0.50 for each voter in Site Selection. Over the past five years this has averaged $856/year and over the past ten years, $1079/year (this ignores donations from NASFiCs, which I do not have to hand, but which average $100-$200/year.)

The MPC’s normal expenses are very lumpy. Over the past ten years they have averaged $1455/year (there were big lumps in 2006 and 2014, while there were much smaller amounts in 2009-2013).

This past year the overwhelming bulk of the MPC’s expenses were the unprecedented one-time cost of challenging the attempted registration of “fancast” in the UK by another group. The bulk of these costs (about $12K) were covered by donations from several past Worldcons. Normal on-going expenses were around $1200 – on the low side of normal, actually.

Over the last ten years, mandated income has been about 50% below what has been needed for normal operations – the balance has been made up from additional donations from Worldcons.

The proposed change from $0.50/voter to $1/member would have a huge impact on income (again, ignoring NASFiCs):

Average over past five years: from $856/year to $6480/year – a 7.5x increase
Average over past ten years: from $1,079/year to $6,382/year – a 4.9x increase

If the MPC got about a 2x increase in income, it would comfortably cover its actual average expenses, including the new EU registration. This would be a donation of about $0.30/member. Based on past membership numbers this would give it an income of $1945/year (based on the last five years) or $1590/year (based on the last ten years). This would be an increase of between 50% and 100% over current levels.
Extraordinary expenses like the fancast affair are very rare (this is the first ever of this size) and entirely random and should be dealt with as they have been dealt with so far: by requesting donations from past Worldcons. This has worked and worked well and provides a very useful outside check on any MPC decision to spend seriously large amounts of money.

I believe that the proposed change is excessive and I will move to amend it to $0.30/member.

— Mark Olson

*****

C.2      Standing Committees of the Business Meeting

Standing committees of the Business Meeting are created by Standing Rule.

C.2.1   Nitpicking & Flyspecking Committee

The Nitpicking and Flyspecking Committee members for 2014-2015 are Donald Eastlake (Chair), Jared Dashoff, Linda Deneroff, Tim Illingworth, Jesi Pershing, and Kevin Standlee. The authority of this committee stems from:

Standing Rule 7.7: Nitpicking and Flyspecking Committee

The Business Meeting shall appoint a Nitpicking and Flyspecking Committee. The Committee shall:

(1) Maintain the list of Rulings and Resolutions of Continuing Effect;

(2) Codify the Customs and Usages of WSFS and of the Business Meeting.

Actions: The Resolutions & Rulings of Continuing Effect is up to date at http://www.wsfs.org/bm/rules.html.

The NP&FSC notices that the new rule allowing Postpone Indefinitely inadvertently conflicts with an existing provision in Rule 1.2, and that it is unclear whether Postpone Indefinitely can apply to a constitutional amendment pending ratification. It was obviously the legislative intent that Postpone Indefinitely could apply to any item of new business (including new constitutional amendments), but not to constitutional amendments awaiting ratification, because Postpone Indefinitely is intended to be a somewhat gentler way of achieving what Objection to Consideration does without the abrupt parliamentary force that OTC applies. Therefore, the Committee moves the adoption of the change to Standing Rule 1.2 noted noted in B.2.6 of the agenda and, furthermore, moves to Suspend the Rules and allow this change to take effect immediately.

The Committee has noticed a number of minor inconsistencies and infelicitous wordings and anticipates proposing some minor technical amendments in 2016.

This completes the Nitpicking & Flyspecking report.

*****

C.2.2 Worldcon Runners Guide Editorial Committee

The Worldcon Runners’ Guide Editorial Committee members for 2014-2015 are Mike Willmoth (Chair), Bill Taylor, John Hertz, Sharon Sbarsky, Alex von Thorn and Marah Searle-Kovacevic. The authority of this committee stems from:

Standing Rule 7.8: Worldcon Runners Guide Editorial Committee

The Business Meeting shall appoint a Worldcon Runners Guide Editorial Committee. The Committee shall maintain the Worldcon Runners Guide, which shall contain a compilation of the best practices in use among those who run Worldcons.

The Worldcon Runners Guide Committee continued to make incremental improvements with the online documentation available at http://wcrg.conrunner.net/wiki.

*****

C.3 Special Committees

Per WSFS Constitution Section 5.2, any special committee not reauthorized automatically lapses.

C.3.1 Formalization of Long List Entries (FOLLE) Committee

The Long List Committee has continued to curate the Long List of Worldcons and Long List of Hugos.

The committee is working toward moving the Long List to the WSFS site once it is established. For now, the working site is at http://www.smofinfo.com/LL/.

The Long List Committee for 2014-2015 consists of Mark Olson (Chair), Craig Miller, David G. Grubbs, Joe Siclari, Kent Bloom, Colin Harris, Kevin Standlee, Tim Illingworth, and Ben Yalow. Richard Lynch has left the committee, and we thank him for his many years of help.

The committee requests that the WSFS BM continue its endorsement of the committee for another year.

*****

C.3.2 YA Hugo Committee

At Loncon 3, Katie Rask was appointed chair of the reconstituted committee for 2014-2015, whose members are Jodie Baker, Adam Beaton, Warren Buff, Johnny Carruthers, Aurora Celeste, Peter De Weerdt, Martin Easterbrook, Chris Garcia, Helen Gbala, Tim Illingworth, Dina Krause, Laura Lamont, Farah Mendelsohn, Sue “Twilight” Mohn, Christine Rake, Kate Secor, Marguerite Smith, Kevin Standlee, Adam Tesh, Tehani Wessely, Clark B. Wierda, and Lew Wolkoff.

The Committee was (re)formed at Loncon 2014 in order to consider the issues surrounding a possible Young Adult Hugo. Such an award was first proposed at Chicon 1991 and in the 24 intervening years of debate, several proposals have been nixed, and discussions have at times been contentious. This Committee was therefore formed to approach and research the issue in a (somewhat) systematic manner, and to report its research to the Business Meeting.

Findings: The Committee looked into comparable awards, addressed past debates at Business Meetings, and considered the present Hugo Awards. Details of this work can be found in the Exhibits to this report, entitled ‘Common Concerns Expressed at the WSFS BM’, ‘Definitions of YA,’ and ‘The Hugo vs. The Newbery.’

The Committee finds that requests for an award recognizing teen literature (or YA) are indeed reasonable: teen lit, despite its popularity and quality, is not well represented by the current Hugos; the majority of YA awards are given by juries; the Worldcon community of teens, adults, and professionals would make the award unusual; the long-lasting demand for such an award is attested by repeated debates during almost a quarter-century of Business Meetings.

Under the existing methodology of the Hugo Awards, however, a separate category for YA fiction is not practical. That is, the Hugo fiction categories are defined by word count, not by age categories. We suggest instead the creation of a Campbell-like award, since the Campbell addresses authors and thereby functions outside the Hugo methodology.

Motion: The Committee requests that the Business Meeting reform the Committee for another year (with the addition of new members). The new version of the Committee will focus specifically on the issues surrounding the creation of a Campbell-like YA/teen lit award (possible topics of discussion presented in Exhibit 4), with the results presented at next year’s Business Meeting.

EXHIBIT 1: COMMON CONCERNS EXPRESSED AT THE WSFS BM

  1. Isn’t YA already eligible?: YA works have already won Hugo Awards, so why is there a need for a separate category? The most recent win was 2001, unless you don’t consider the Harry Potter books to be YA.

Most readers of YA/teen lit do not consider Harry Potter or Neil Gaiman books to be representative of the field. Harry Potter was a worldwide phenomenon well-known to the general population, while Neil Gaiman is a much-beloved member of this community who (nearly) always receives a nomination and a win for his books. In other words, HP and The Graveyard Book’s Hugo wins do not make a solid case for the presence of YA on the Hugo Ballot, as they are exceptional cases not representative of any field, either YA or adult.

YA/teen lit is a major component of publishing these days, and a great deal of it is speculative fiction. It is often stated at the Business Meetings that if a YA book is worthy of a Hugo nomination, it will be nominated and receive one. In the 64 years the Hugos have existed, five books that fall within YA have been nominated for Best Novel. As a comparison, if one looks to the prestigious Newbery Award from the American Library Association, a number of speculative fiction titles either won the award or were specially designated an ‘Honoree.’ In the time that the Hugo awards have nominated five YA works for Best Novel, thirty-five YA works have been honored with the Newbery. Nine of those works have won the Newbery Medal. Three of the five works nominated for Best Novel have won the Hugo.

First, the Newbery list shows that there are clearly quality, award-winning works of speculative fiction being written for YA audiences. Second, the Hugos, particularly when compared to the Newberys, have done a poor job of recognizing those works. (The details of this comparison, with titles, can be found in Exhibit 3).

  1. The slippery slope: Hugo Award “story” categories are currently for works of science fiction and fantasy, delimited by length. A YA-work Hugo would effectively be trying to divide “science fiction and fantasy” into sub-genres. If you create a YA-work Hugo, why shouldn’t we replace Best Novel with “Best Science Fiction Novel,” “Best Fantasy Novel,” “Best Alternative History Novel,” “Best Military SF Novel,” and so on.

YA and teen lit is usually not described as a ‘genre’ or a ‘subgenre’. In fact, just as with ‘adult lit’, it encompasses all possible genres, including fantasy, science fiction, military SF, alternate history, paranormal romance, urban fantasy, etc. Instead, it is usually considered an age category. Academics and professionals have noted certain themes common to YA/teen lit (e.g., the coming of age story), but those themes are by no means confined to that age category. Tracy van Straaten, VP at Scholastic, tells Wire.com, “Something people tend to forget is that YA is a category not a genre, and within it is every possible genre: fantasy, sci-fi, contemporary, non-fiction.”

A YA/teen lit award would therefore not be comparable to a Hugo award divided into ‘subgenres.’ This problem can be further avoided through the creation of a Campbell-like award.

  1. Voter competency: Most of the people who cast Hugo Award ballots are likely to not be the target audience for YA works. Would this award be coached as “Best Work of YA Fiction that Adults Like”?
  • There are many Worldcon members who are well-versed in YA/teen lit, a reality borne out by the growing popularity of the YA track. Several recent Worldcons have had a specifically designated paneling track on YA that appeals to teens, adult readers, and professionals. Loncon 2014 had an especially popular track, with 36 YA literature panels, two talks, and one workshop. There were 158 panel participants; teens, authors of YA/teen lit, publishers, and other professionals were well-represented. Moreover, 305 program participants expressed an interest in YA literature on their program surveys. The panels usually occurred in rooms with 100-200 person occupancies, with many of the panels standing-room-only or people turned away because of capacity issues. In other words, a large number of Worldcon attendees have knowledge of this category and fandom, although those attendees typically do not come to the Business Meeting. (Numbers provided by Loncon Programming.)
  • For the 2014 Hugo Awards, 3,587 ballots were received for the final vote. The Campbell Award received 1,770 votes. The category of Best Fan Writer received 1,372 votes, while Best Fancast received 1,177 (This suggests that the voting competency level required for a teen-lit related award should be reflected in at least the same number of votes as Best Fancast. In other words, a YA award needs the participation of 30% of the voting participants to be equivalent with Best Fancast, or 50% to be equivalent with the Campbell. (http://www.thehugoawards.org/content/pdf/2014HugoStatistics.pdf)
  • Many teen-lit/YA awards are juried by adults, not voted on by teens. Such adult-juried awards include the Newbery, the YALSA awards, the Walter Dean Myers Award, the Golden Duck Awards, etc. A fan award given by Worldcon attendees would include both adults AND teens, as well as professional writers, publishers, and librarians. In this respect, such an award would represent a unique voting population.

EXHIBIT 2: HOW IS TEEN AND YA LIT USUALLY DEFINED?

Awards and Organizations:

ALSC Notable Children’s Books:
“Younger Readers – Preschool-grade 2 (age 7), including easy-to-read books
Middle Readers – Grades 3-5, ages 8-10
Older Readers – Grades 6-8, ages 11-14
All Ages – Has appeal and interest for children in all of the above ages ranges”
(http://www.ala.org/alsc/aboutalsc/alscfaqs)

The Newbery Medal (ALSC)
“A “contribution to American literature for children” shall be a book for which children are an intended potential audience. The book displays respect for children’s understandings, abilities, and appreciations. Children are defined as persons of ages up to and including fourteen, and books for this entire age range are to be considered.”
(http://www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/bookmedia/newberymedal/newberyterms/newberyterms)

YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association):
Refers to books for “teens, aged 12-18” and “materials of interest to adolescents”
(http://www.ala.org/yalsa/)

Margaret A. Edwards Award (YALSA):
No definition of young adult literature
(http://www.ala.org/yalsa/bookawards/booklists/members)

The Michael L. Printz Award (YALSA):
No definition of young adult literature in award description
(http://www.ala.org/yalsa/bookawards/booklists/members)
“Young adult meant persons ages twelve through eighteen; and a young adult book meant a book published expressly for that readership. Thus, books published for adults – even though they might find a young adult audience – would not be eligible. The reasoning? This was to be an award for the best young adult book, not the best book for young adults.” [Cart 2010, 69-70 (see below)]

Riverby Awards (John Burroughs Association):
No apparent definition of “young readers” on site
(http://johnburroughsassociation.org/index.php/literary-awards)

Dolly Gray Award for Children’s Literature in Developmental Disabilities (Council for Exceptional Children):

“1. Children’s books that include a main or supporting character with developmental disabilities. Developmental Disability is defined as follows: This condition occurs before a person is 22 years of age and limits him/her in at least three of seven major life activities (e.g., receptive and expressive language, self-care, and economic self-sufficiency)…

“2. For the picture book award, the book must be recognized as a picture book written for children in story format…

“3. For the chapter book award, the book must be recognized as a fictional chapter book (generally a novel divided into chapters) written for children or young adults in story format. This includes easy readers, juvenile fiction, and young adult fiction…”

(http://daddcec.org/ArticleDetails/tabid/76/ArticleID/512/Dolly-Gray-Award-Information-and-Procedures.aspx)

Phoenix Award (Children’s Literature Association):
No apparent definition of children’s literature on site
(http://www.childlitassn.org/phoenix-award)

Americas Award (Consortium of Latin American Studies Programs):
“The title may be for primary or secondary reading levels.”
(http://claspprograms.org/uploads/Americas_Guidelines2011-1320961588.pdf)

Orbis Pictus (National Council of Teachers of English):
“each nomination should be useful in classroom teaching grades K-8”
(http://www.ncte.org/awards/orbispictus)

National Book Award (National Book Foundation):
No apparent definition of “Young People’s Lit” on site
(http://www.nationalbook.org/nbaentry.html#.VCHzci5dUkg)

The Andre Norton Award (SFWA)
No apparent definition of “young adult or middle grade work”
(http://www.sfwa.org/nebula-awards/the-andre-norton-award/)

The Sunburst Award for Excellence in Canadian Literature of the Fantastic (Sunburst Award Society)
No apparent definition of “young adult”
(http://www.sunburstaward.org/)

Locus Young Adult Book Award (Locus)
No apparent definition of “young adult”
(http://www.locusmag.com/News/2015/06/2015-locus-awards-winners/)

RT Young Adult Urban Fantasy/Futuristic/Paranormal (Romantic Times Reader’s Choice Awards)
No apparent definition of “young adult” on site
(http://www.rtbookreviews.com/rt-awards)

Hal Clement Award (Golden Duck Awards)
“The award is for science fiction books written for ages 12-18 that have a young adult protagonist, a teenager who must make adult decisions.”
(Helen Gbala, Golden Ducks)

Walter Dean Myers Award:
No apparent definition of “a YA work”
(http://weneeddiversebooks.org/grants-and-awards/)

Explanatory Rider from 2012 Proposed WSFS Amendment (Short Title: Hugo Category Young Adult Fiction):

“A young adult book is defined as one in which the author(s) and/or the publisher specifically targeted a potential nominee to this intended audience. In the event of any confusion on the issue, the Hugo Administrator may inquire with the author(s) of potential nominated work for clarification.”

Academic Definitions:

Michael M. Levy and Farah Mendlesohn (Forthcoming 2016), Introduction to Children’s Fantasy Literature (Cambridge University Press).

  • “We have also taken decisions around the definition of children’s literature that argue for a flexible and reader-oriented understanding…children’s literature is that set of fiction read to or by children, whether or not it was originally published for children and whether or not adults have approved of children reading it… The second decision is almost more important because it explains the changing scope of the book as it proceeds to narrate three centuries of fiction for children: this book might best be understood as a history of fantasy for school-age children. It is extremely noticeable that the age at which fiction specifically for children is pitched has been gradually extended. In our earliest chapters the protagonist is rarely over eight years old; by the 1930s twelve seems to the cut-off point, by the 1950s and into the 1980s fourteen-year-olds are regularly appearing in children’s fantasy. From the 1980s onwards a new category begins to develop – first through appropriating the work of adult writers, later as new teen lists, until it emerges as Young Adult, which features protagonists in their late teens. By the time this book concludes, there is a swathe of fiction labelled Young Adult (or more recently New Adult) which features protagonists in their early twenties and is clearly aimed at late teens and early twenties readers, readers who are in this modern world still quite likely to be in school.”

Michael Cart (UCLA): “Chapter 1. From Sue Barton to the Sixties: What’s in a Name and Other Uncertainties” in Young Adult Literature: From Romance to Realism (2010). [see GoogleBooks]

  • Discusses history of juveniles, teen lit, YA, and changing definitions. Settles on age ranges (12-18 yrs), although in a new book (2013, p.6) he argues for ‘teen lit’ (12-18 yrs) and ‘young adult’ (19-24 yrs).

“A Young Adult Novel is a work of science fiction or fantasy which is written about teens (Age 12 to 21) in a distinctly teen voice and which explores one or more of the following issues of adolescent life: the onset of puberty, sexuality, and sexual identity; detachment from parent or parents; the emergence of more advanced reasoning abilities; the shift in interest from parental to peer relations; the training for adult work, family, and citizenry roles; and legal status as juveniles.”

Marketing Categories:

  • Perhaps remove the ‘subjective’ quality by requiring that a work be published by a YA/teen imprint and creating a list of imprints which qualify?
    • Marketing categories are notoriously fluid, with imprints going in and out of business quickly, and YA books often published with an ‘adult lit’ author’s standard press
    • Marketing Categories have developed historically
      • Fantasy written for children has always been popular with and acclaimed by adults. However, if we go with the age of the protagonists as a guide, there was no real development of fantasy for teens as a group until well into the 1970s.
      • Science fiction for younger readers appeared in dime novels in the nineteenth century, then emerging as the Juvenile market in the 1930s through the 1970s.
      • The teen SF market switches to what is called the YA mode in the 1980s
      • ‘YA’ as specific Marketing Category begins in the 1980s and especially the 1990s, when the age range targeted expands as far as 11-25 yrs old

EXHIBIT 3: THE HUGO VS. THE NEWBERY

In the debate regarding creating a Hugo award for Young Adult (“YA”) speculative Fiction, it is sometimes stated that if a YA book is worthy of a Hugo nomination, it will be nominated and receive one. YA books are eligible, but they have not often won the award. In the 64 years the Hugos have existed, five books that fall within YA/teen lit have been nominated for Best Novel. These books are:

Ender’s Game– Orson Scott Card (1986 Hugo winner)
Harry Potter and the Prisoner Of Azkaban– J. K. Rowling (2000 Hugo nominee)
Harry Potter and the Goblet Of Fire– J. K. Rowling (2001 Hugo winner)
The Graveyard Book– Neil Gaiman (2009 Hugo winner)
Little Brother– Cory Doctorow (2009 Hugo nominee)

As a comparison, we have likewise examined the Newbery Awards. The Newbery Award lists itself as an award given “annually by the Association for Library Service to Children (“ALS”), a division of the American Library Association, to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.” Not all Newbery winners are given the “Newbery Medal” that is reserved for what the ALS believes to be the most distinguished contribution. However, the ALS also awards “Newbery Honoree” designations for worthy works of children’s fiction that the ALS believes deserve recognition.

The following list indicates speculative fiction titles/authors that have received Newberys since 1950:

The Secret River– Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (1956 Newbery Honoree)
The Gammage Cup– Carol Kendall (1960 Newbery Honoree)
A Wrinkle in Time– Madeleine L’Engle (1963 Newbery Winner)
The Black Cauldron– Lloyd Alexander (1966 Newbery Honoree)
The Animal Family– Randall Jarrell (1966 Newbery Honoree)
The Fearsome Inn– Isaac Bashevis Singer (1968 Newbery Honoree)
The High King– Lloyd Alexander (1969 Newbery Winner)
Journey Outside– Merry Q. Steele (1970 Newbery Honoree)
Enchantress from the Stars– Sylvia Engdahl (1971 Newbery Honoree)
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH – Robert C. O’Brien (1972 Newbery Winner)
The Tombs of Atuan– Ursula K. Le Guin (1972 Newbery Honoree)
The Headless Cupid– Zilphia Keatley Snyder (1972 Newbery Honoree)
The Dark is Rising– Susan Cooper (1974 Newbery Honoree)
The Grey King– Susan Cooper (1976 Newbery Winner)
A String in the Harp– Nancy Bond (1977 Newbery Honoree)
Anpao: An American Indian Odyssey– Jamake Highwater (1978 Newbery Honoree)
A Ring of Endless Light– Madeleine L’Engle (1981 Newbery Honoree)
The Blue Sword– Robin McKinley (1983 Newbery Honoree)
Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush– Virginia Hamilton (1983 Newbery Honoree)
The Wish Giver– Bill Brittain (1984 Newbery Honoree)
The Hero and the Crown– Robin McKinley (1985 Newbery Winner)
The Giver– Lois Lowry (1994 Newbery Winner)
The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm– Nancy Farmer (1995 Newbery Honoree)
The Moorchild– Eloise McGraw (1997 Newbery Honoree)
The Thief– Megan Whalen Turner (1997 Newbery Honoree)
Ella Enchanted– Gail Carson Levine (1997 Newbery Honoree)
The House of the Scorpion– Nancy Farmer (2003 Newbery Honoree)
The Tale of Despereaux– Nancy Farmer (2004 Newbery Winner)
Princess Academy– Shannon Hale (2006 Newbery Honoree)
The Graveyard Book– Neil Gaiman (2009 Newbery Winner)
Savvy– Ingrid Law (2009 Newbery Honoree)
When You Reach Me– Rebecca Stead (2010 Newbery Winner)
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon– Grace Lin (2010 Newbery Honoree)
Splendors and Glooms– Laura Amy Shlitz (2013 Newbery Honoree)
Doll Bones– Holly Black (2014 Newbery Honoree)

In the time that the Hugo awards have nominated five YA works for Best Novel, thirty-five YA works have been honored with the Newbery. Nine of those works have won the Newbery Medal. Three of the five works nominated for Best Novel have won the Hugo.

Among the especially famous speculative fiction works missed by the Hugos are:

A Wrinkle in Time– Madeleine L’Engle (1963 Newbery Winner)
The High King– Lloyd Alexander (1969 Newbery Winner)
The Tombs of Atuan– Ursula K. Le Guin (1972 Newbery Honoree)
The Grey King– Susan Cooper (1976 Newbery Winner)
The Giver– Lois Lowry (1994 Newbery Winner)

The only book that has won both the Hugo and the Newbery in 64 years is:

The Graveyard Book– Neil Gaiman (2009 Newbery Winner)

EXHIBIT 4: NEXT YEAR’S YA AWARD COMMITTEE

The present Committee has touched upon some of these issues, but next year’s committee would need to debate in more detail:

  • Will the award be sponsored like the Campbell’s?
  • Will the award be named for a person?
  • How will the votes be tallied?
  • How will the category be defined? By age, by marketing category, or by general ‘teen’ designation?
  • Will the award be for science fiction/fantasy or speculative fiction?
  • Will the award be called ‘YA’, ‘teen lit’, or some other such thing?
  • Will there be a word length limit, such as 40,000 words?
  • Details of the sunset clause?
  • The issue of dual eligibility?

*****

C.3.3 WSFS Membership Types and Rates Committee

Mark Olson is chair of this committee that was reconstituted at Loncon 3. The members for 2014-2015 are Gary Blog, Kent Bloom, Warren Buff, Martin Easterbrook, Donald Eastlake 3rd, Kevin Hewett, Colin Harris, Tim Illingworth, Kevin J. Maroney, Priscilla Olson, Ron Oakes, Perky Raj (“PRK”) Khangure, Howard Rosenblatt, Ian Stockdale, Kevin Standlee, Don A. Timm, Leslie Turek, and Mike Willmoth.

In view of recent events, the committee recommends that “A.4 Short Title: WSFS Membership Types and Rates” be ratified, and another committee be appointed once we have a chance to see the outcome of that amendment.

*****

D. FINANCIAL REPORTS

Click here for a pdf of the Financial Reports. Each report is separately bookmarked.