I Won a Hugo Award!

You’ll have to wait a bit longer for the 2022 Hugo Winner commentary, because it turns out that I’m one of the winners.

That was a huge surprise, because I honestly didn’t think I’d win this year, considering how strong the Fan Writer ballot was.

I had finished typing up the Dragon Award winner post with about twenty minutes to go. Since I couldn’t attend in person, I was in the virtual finalist Zoom chat in my full Hugo get-up, which you can see below, photographed earlier yesterday in the garden.

In my Hugo gown in the garden.

Hugo gown with sundial

We could watch a livestream of the Hugo ceremony in the virtual Zoom green room, but when your category comes up, you are sent to a breakout room, so they can bring you on stage, if necessary. In this breakout room, you don’t get the ceremony livestream, so you don’t hear the winner announcement. This is why Astounding winner Shelley Parker-Chan was so confused, because they hadn’t heard the announcement. After Shelley won, I told the ceremony Zoom moderator, “You should tell us who won, if we can’t hear it.”

The Lodestar and Fan Artist were awarded and then Best Fan Writer was up and fellow finalist Alex Brown and I were sent into the breakout room. The moderator typed into the chat, “The winner is Cora Buhlert,” and that’s how I learned I won, via Zoom chat. So I delivered my speech – with some action figure assistance – and my own Zoom screen was all I could see.

Though according to photos online, this is what it looked like on the big screen in the Hyatt Regency ballroom in Chicago.

Cora on screen

Cora on screen

The second photo is courtesy of my wonderful fellow finalist Olav Rokne. I don’t know who took the first one. Love the little dog in the front row.

ETA: You can rewatch the entire ceremony on YouTube, which is how I finally saw what happened after I was sent to the Zoom breakout room. Best Fan Writer is announced at the thirty minute mark.

After I’d finished my speech, I was sent back to the regular finalist Zoom green room. By that time, a lady whose name I did not catch [ETA: it was Mary Anne Mohanraj] was introducing Best Fancast. I waited for Fancast and Fanzine to be announced, because I have friends in both categories, though I switched off the camera to take off my gown and tiara. When Fanzine was announced, I got back to the computer to wish fellow virtual finalist Charley Payseur good luck. Unfortunately, typing into the chat switched the camera back on, so I accidentally managed to flash my fellow finalists. Though I don’t think anybody saw anything, because the camera doesn’t go that far down.

I wished the semiprozine and editor finalists good luck and switched off the camera. My parents had given me permission to wake them up in case I won, so that’s what I did. Because you should know that it was almost 4 AM German time by that point. My parents were very happy for me.

I had champagne in the fridge and some really fancy Belgian chocolate in the cellar, so I got that out to celebrate.

Cora celebrating with champagne

Brand-new Hugo winner celebrating with champagne.

And since He-Man and Man-e-Faces assisted with the speech, they got to celebrate with champagne, too.

He-Man and Man-a-Faces celebrate with champagne

Having stopped Skeletor, He-Man and Man-e-Faces celebrate with champagne.

Finally, here is my acceptance speech, complete with stage directions to myself:

Acceptance Speech Best Fan Writer 2022

Thank you very much.

September 4th is “Take Man-e-Faces to Work Day”. And yes, this is a real thing.

Now I happen to have a Man-e-Faces, but since I work from home, I don’t really have a workplace I could take him to. But then I realised that September 4th is actually Hugo Night, so I thought, “Why not take Man-e-Faces to the Hugos?” So here he is:

[Bring Manny on stage]

Say hello to the audience, Manny!

“People of Eternia, I am absolutely thrilled to win the Greatest Actor of the Universe Award…”

“Ahem, Manny, this is actually Chicago and the Hugo Awards.”

“All right then, people of Chicago, I am absolutely thrilled to win…”

“Ahem, Manny, actually I won the award.”

“So what am I doing here then?”

“Well today is “Take Man-e-Faces to Work” day and this is the closest thing to work I could take you to.”

[Bring He-Man on stage]

“Manny, come quick. Skeletor is attacking Castle Grayskull and we need your help!”

“Sorry, got to go!”

[Exit stage right]

Well, looks like Manny and He-Man will be busy for a while, so let’s talk about fandom.

Science fiction fandom was born shortly after the genre itself, in the letter pages of the science fiction magazines of the 1920s and 1930s. Via these letter columns, fans found each other and went on to publish fanzines, found clubs and organise conventions.

From these beginnings, fandom has grown by leaps and bounds into directions the letter writers of the 1930s could never have imagined. Over the past ninety years, thousands of people of all genders and races and from all over the world have written articles and reviews, letters and blogposts, essays and parodies, filk songs, poetry and fanfiction. They published fanzines, created fan art, made fanvids, sewed costumes, started blogs and podcasts, organised cons, all for the love of the genre. And so they all contributed to the great and colourful tapestry we call fandom, a tapestry that is wrapped around the entire world by now.

In the past 83 years, Worldcons have been held on four continents and in ten different countries. Next year, we will add Chengdu in China to the list and in 2024 we are going to Glasgow in Scotland. We also have active bids from Uganda, Egypt, Israel, Australia, Ireland and the US to make it truly a WORLDcon. Cause if there is one thing Worldcon has proven it’s that in spite of our many differences, we all have one thing in common: our love of science fiction, fantasy and horror.

I’m honoured that tonight, the threads I added to the great and glorious tapestry that is fandom have been recognised by you. Thank you very much.

I particularly want to thank Gideon Marcus and the crew at Galactic Journey, Jessica Rydill, my co-conspirator at the Speculative Fiction Showcase, Mike Glyer and everybody at File 770, Jo Van Ekeren, Camestros Felapton, Jason Ray Carney and everybody at the Whetstone Discord, Dr. Ian Watson of the University of Bremen, my parents and of course my wonderful fellow finalists Paul, Jason, Chris, Alex and Bitter. You’re all amazing and as far as I’m concerned, we’re all winners here tonight.

Thank you very much.

[Man-e-Faces and He-Man wave good-bye]

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33 Responses to I Won a Hugo Award!

  1. Mike Glyer says:

    Great speech, and loved that you worked in the He-Man figures. Very fun!

    Congratulations on your Hugo!

  2. Seth Heasley says:

    A well deserved win. Congrats!

  3. Laura says:

    Congratulations! Wonderful speech.

  4. Sarah Elkins says:

    Thanks for the look into the Green Room (and the explanation that y’all weren’t hearing who won, poor Shelley). Glad the camera incident wasn’t too revealing for you. Good speech, I liked the tapestry talk!

    • Cora says:

      They couldn’t run the livestream in the finalist breakout room, because there would have been an echo, but of course you need to know who won. Though I did feel sorry for Shelley.

      Glad you liked the speech and the tapestry metaphor.

  5. Aaron G. says:

    Congratulations, from one of your lurking readers!

  6. StefanB says:

    Congratulation, it was to late to watch it live but I am very happy for you.

    • Cora says:

      Thank you. I totally sympathise. After all, the ceremony did start at 3 AM German time and I likely wouldn’t have watched live, either, if I hadn’t been a finalist.

  7. Dave Hook says:

    Congratulations. Your Hugo is well deserved! Enjoy it.

  8. Estara Swanberg says:

    So well deserved! I haven’t watched TV in ages, but I really enjoy your dissection of various franchise episodes and the Masters of the Universe puppet theatre interpretations a whole lot.

  9. Chuck Litka says:

    Congratulations! You have put the time in over the years to have earned it.

  10. Lurkertype says:

    So proud of you, and happy for you. Love your Hugo outfit. And of course referencing your He-Man series.

    The front row is usually reserved for people with disabilities (you can see 2 people on scooters), so little doggo is probably an assistance animal. He’s got a vest on and his person seems to have a cane.

    PS you need to change one word in your description at the top right!

    • Cora says:

      Thank you very much. Glad you liked my outfit and the He-Man figures.

      You’re probably right that the little doggy is an assistance dog. He or she is a very good dog, at any rate.

      Also thanks for reminding me that I haven’t actually changed the title of the website yet, since I changed my bio almost everywhere else it appears. It’s as with daylight saving time, you inevitably miss a clock somewhere.

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  12. Joachim Boaz says:

    Congrats again Cora! Keep up the good work.

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