Introducing Non-Fiction Spotlights

Last year, I started the Fanzine/Fancast Spotlight project to highlight the many worthy fanzines, blogs and fancasts are out there.

Originally, that project was intended to coincide with the nomination period for the 2021 Hugo Awards. However, I have been continuing that project, because there are new fanzines, blogs and fancasts springing up all the time plus plenty of existing ones that I missed the first time around. Besides, after the Hugo nominations is before the Hugo nominations.

I also expanded the Spotlights to cover semiprozines, because there are a lot of semiprozines out there doing great work that don’t receive enough attention. The Semiprozine Spotlights never took off like the Fanzine/Fancast Spotlights, simply because semiprozine editors are very busy people, though I hope to run a few more before the Hugo nomination deadline.

That said, I have decided to run yet another Spotlight project, focussing on SFF-related non-fiction. The reason is that SFF-related non-fiction books are not really getting the attention they deserve. The Nebulas and World Fantasy Awards don’t have a non-fiction category, though the Bram Stoker Awards do. But while some specialty awards like the Mythopoeic Awards, the Robert E. Howard Foundation Awards or Tolkien Society Awards have non-fiction categories or even focus on non-fiction, the closest thing to a broad spectrum award for SFF-related non-fiction that we have is the Best Related Work category of the Hugos. And as I’ve been complaining about repeatedly, the Best Related Work category of the Hugos is featuring more and more edge case finalists and seems to be in the process of turning into “Best Fannish Thing” or “Best Response to Whatever Annoyed Us at Last Year’s Worldcon”.

Now the edge case finalists we’ve seen in recent years were worthy projects, born out of a genuine love and passion for SFF, fandom and Worldcon. However, the rise of the “Best Fannish Thing” finalists is crowding out the equally worthy non-fiction works. This is a pity, because not only is non-fiction important for fostering our knowledge and understanding of the genre and its history, it is also very research intensive. And I think that those non-fiction works and their authors deserve recognition.

So I want to shine a spotlight on works of long form non-fiction that came out in 2021. The main focus of this series will be on non-fiction books, whether academic or popular, though I will also feature the occasional documentary or blog series. And indeed the first installment of this series will feature a non-fiction book which started out as a series of blogposts. I am not looking for essays, articles, poems, Twitter threads, virtual cons, podcasts, archives, databases, recommendation lists and similar projects at the moment, no matter how worthy.

Have you published an SFF-related non-fiction book, documentary or series of articles in 2021 and want it featured? Contact me or leave a comment. If your non-fiction project is coming out in 2022, I’m still happy to feature you, though to avoid confusion, I’ll wait until the 2022 Hugo nomination period is over.

I want to feature as many different non-fiction works as possible and everybody is welcome to participate. However, I reserve the right to refuse to feature something, e.g. if a work (and/or the people behind it) is known for shitposting, harrassment and generally terrible behaviour.

I will post responses as I get them, including potentially controversial answers, unless there are egregiously problematic, e.g. racist, sexist, homophobic, etc… comments, in which case I will contact the interviewee to discuss edits.

Finally, a feature is not an endorsement. Instead, the Non-Fiction Spotlight project is intended as a resource to show potential Hugo nominators and SFF fans in general what’s out there.

The first Non-Fiction Spotlight will go live tomorrow and I hope to have many more.

So check out the great non-fiction works that will be featured and consider nominating your favourites for the 2022 Hugo Awards.

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