Monday, November 26, 2007

An Ethical Question

Over the Thanksgiving holidays, I started catching up on my SF reading. The operative words here are "started," since I am waaayyyy behind, and "thanksgiving," since it will take a miracle to ever get caught up. But almost immediately I ran into a problem.

On the half-assed theory that I should start near the end (looks less daunting that way), I opened the January, 2008 ASIMOV'S, which includes not only the index of all 2007 stories in that magazine but also the ballot to vote for the Twenty-Second Annual Readers' Awards. Now, I published five stories last year in ASIMOV'S, three of which I still like, two of them quite a lot. So the question that hopped into my mind: Is it ethical to vote for oneself?

Presidents do it. SFWA members do it for the Hugos and Nebulas, but for the Nebulas ten other people besides the author have already recommended the story or it wouldn't even make the preliminary ballot. The Hugo ballot, too, goes through a two-tier, general-recommendation process followed by a winnowed ballot. But this is a one-shot deal -- just send in the names of stories you liked best. What if one such story is one's own? Does honesty trump modesty or vice-versa? What if you list your story but also two others (the maximum allowed) in each category? What if you list only your story? Where does self-believe shade into self-obsession?

No answers yet. I'm still thinking.


bluesman miike Lindner said...

I think every creative (writer, musician, artist, actor, et al.) is a LOOK AT ME! soul. And we all want our efforts to be acknowledged and praised. So why the brow-furrowing? Vote for your stories, and the Devil take the hindmost! If nothing else, you're casting a vote for the readers who =would= choose your work, but don't have a ballot.

Mark said...

Let's be utilitarian. If you win the Asimov Reader's Poll you'll receive a) a mounted certificate and b) breakfast in New York. It is not like winning one of John W. Campbell's An Labs where you at least would get an extra half cent a word tossed your way.

Also by the time the award is announced, it is too late to influence the selections Gardner, Jonathan, Richard, David or Ellen make for their best of the year anthologies.

So vote your conscience - I don't see how it'll effect KressCo's bottom line.

Elver said...

Vote for the stories which you've read and which you think are the best.

If, among those that you've read, your own story is the best in your opinion, then vote for that.

If, among those that you've read, your own story is not as good as someone else's story, then vote for someone else's story.

There. Ethical problems solved.

Steven Francis Murphy said...

Umm, I say "screw modesty" and pick the one you like the most and vote for which ever one was your favorite.

I personally think it was an atrocious year for stories in Asimov's. Rest assured, I'll probably vote for at least one Kress story (not made up my mind which one yet). I'll have to wait for the semester break to review which issues I still have.

If it tells you how bad I thought the year was, I let my subscription lapse and outside of targeted newstand purchases for writers I like (such as yourself) I have very little intention of renewing my subscription.

Anyway, I say pick the one you like and vote for it. I really do not understand this unwritten rule that writers are supposed to let everyone else promote their stuff and remain silent.

There is a saying. You want it done right, better do it yourself. No one else will.

My two cents.

S. F. Murphy

Mr. JM said...

All I can say is, "Fountain of Age" was my favorite novella of the year.

I already know who I'm voting for. :)


David de Beer said...

depends on how important winning or being nominated for an award is.

I wouldn't nominate myself, that's all I can say really.

which is not the same as promoting oneself, an endeavour that's to be encouraged.

Awards - nice if you have them, not end of the world if you don't. So, it depends on how important the award is to you, personally, and what your views are regarding the purpose of awards.

David de Beer said...

perhaps a [related] perspective from someone else:

Blue Tyson said...

Sure, why not vote for yourself. I don't see any problem with that.

Carmen Webster Buxton said...

Go for it, Nancy! This isn't 4th grade! Did you ever look at the numbers for Hugo ballots by category? Very few votes can make the difference where books and short stories are concerned, while the movie category has twice as many votes. Go for it!