This year’s Hugo winners were announced a couple weeks ago. I had friends at the event, and I’ve read or seen most of the nominations of core works. I haven’t explored any of the related works or the fan-created stuff (well, other than occasionally catching Squeecast, but with that many published authors involved it’s hard to say that’s a fan product).
However, the three best, most powerful, most interesting, and most emotionally gripping SF stories I’ve experienced in the last (many) years weren’t on the ballot. There’s not even a slot for them. Two of them were epic projects, involving the level of production of “The Avengers” and one had its roots in a graphic novel that beat the pants off “Saga.” They have characters that you care about, stories that grip you, conflicts you are desperate to see resolved. They have female characters with agency and gravitas. They make you part of the story.
They are Bioshock Infinite, The Last of Us, and The Walking Dead (Telltale Games).
They are computer games.
I humbly submit to the Hugo committee that a category be created that will allow these amazing stories to be recognized. It could be Best Other Media. It could be Best Game (I know there are a lot of gamers in the WSFS), which would open it to board / card / dice games as well.
I know there are problems. Bioshock is a FPS, so to “read” that story (you actually live it), you have to be able to play an FPS. The Last of Us is on Playstation only. But there’s really no barrier to playing The Walking Dead – it’s even on iPad.
It just kills me that, especially regarding Bioshock Infinite, an SF story that grapples with real social issues, employs difficult literary mechanisms well, is based on some interesting scientific theories, and is so emotionally powerful, won’t be experienced by the vast majority of people who would love it. I understand that not everyone can play an FPS, and I’d love to pitch Irrational Games about creating a Bioshock RPG, but Ken Levine deserves SF artist recognition as much as Joss Whedon (and you KNOW how much I love Whedon’s work).
At the very least, I encourage the writers and artists competing for Hugos to check out these games and check out your competition.