Examining the Hugo Awards “Asterisks” – Refunds Aweigh!

The Hugo Award footage came out, and several things have been confirmed:

1) That the “Asterisk” was an official award, of which a small facsimile could be purchased by fans for charity. Sasquan Hugo Administrator John Lorentz currently denies this: “They were not awards. They were *gifts* to each and every nominee.”

2) Contrary to Mr. Lorentz’ assertion that “the Hugo Administrators knew nothing about them”, the Asterisk Awards carry the legally-protected Hugo mark, were introduced on-stage, and a special slide for the projector was used to display the Award at that time. The Awards are also lettered with “Official WorldCon 2015 Asterisk” on one side and “2015 Hugo Award Nominee” on the other.

3) The Asterisk was introduced thusly: “In the sports world, when a year is unusual, we mark it in the record book. This year, especially.”

(http://livestream.com/worldcon/2015HugoAwards?t=1440633884950) (from 1:40)

PROBLEM: “The sports asterisk has come to signify a record that is in question.”


For all the efforts of Hugo emcee David Gerrold and award creator Jim Wright, to make the asterisk about combining exclamation points and representing fandom as a wildcard, neither ever came back to address the “mark it in the record book” elephant. The reality is, the asterisk can be, and is, absolutely everything which was said about it on stage — including a symbol which stains awards as illegitimate. Put as many flowers on that carcass as you like.

When we look to the origin for the idea of the 2015 Asterisk Award, this purpose becomes all too clear. On April 14th, Gerrold said:

“This year — this stuff, this little turd in the punch bowl — the community will survive it. Whatever happens, the Hugo will survive. With an asterisk, perhaps. (Maybe we’ll hand out official asterisks with the trophies this year.) But the one thing that is growing more and more likely … the architects of this squabble will have indelibly damaged themselves in the eyes of the SF community.”


The Asterisks were meant, from the beginning, as a stain on the Hugos. They ARE a stain on the Hugos. They will ALWAYS be a stain on the Hugos.

But more importantly, setting aside all the stupid acrimony, the Asterisks also invalidated each and every nominee. They did so without anyone, even once, alleging that the World Science Fiction Society’s Constitution, or the Hugo Award rules governed by it, had been breached.

My vote, and the vote of everyone in this record-setting year of Hugo votes, was invalidated. Because, no matter who we voted for, they were ALL awarded an Asterisk.

Sasquan, you’ve refused me a very simple request: a refund and a copy of my struck ballot. I mean to have my refund. And everyone who voted in your farce, your insult to a venerable institution, the one that even now you’re denying in writing ever happened at all, deserves their money back as well.

2 thoughts on “Examining the Hugo Awards “Asterisks” – Refunds Aweigh!

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