Edward Lear
Something else stuck out for me in Vivienne Raper’s recent blog here about what short stories she might have nominated for the Hugo Awards. Her first choice was Eugie Foster’s “When It Ends, He Catches Her.” This was a story published by Daily Science Fiction, and it does have a lot to recommend it. For one thing, Eugie Foster died September 27, 2014, the day after the story was published, from complications of lymphoma.

In the story, a lonely zombie woman dances on a theater stage, long after humanity has died in the apocalypse. After the fact, this can easily be read as a comment on the effects of Foster’s illness and her feelings of how it affected both her and other people around her. Foster was a talented up-and-coming writer, and as Raper comments, this was her last shot at recognition through a Hugo Award. The story received 44 nominations for the Hugo ballot, less than the 5% required. It’s true the Sad Puppies’s slate disrupted the process, but it’s likely the story wouldn’t have made it regardless of the slate kerfluffle. The interesting point, though, is the reason Raper thinks it didn’t rate. She says “…this story wasn’t published in one of the big professional magazines.”

At first glance, this statement is a head-scratcher. Daily Science Fiction is one of the big professional magazines. It receives about 800-900 submissions a month, pays pro rates, is recognized by the SFWA and publishes 365 stories a year. But now we’re down to what I blogged about yesterday. Regardless of its size and pro status, this is not a publication that is considered for awards. Because of its format, Daily SF publishes mostly flash fiction. It tends to vignettes and minimally developed short stories that it can deliver through e-mail subscriptions. It only reserves space for one longer story each week.

So, it doesn’t get any respect from people reading and making lists for possible Hugo winners. This is what Raper is really complaining about. This means publications like Daily SF don’t win awards because the perception is they don’t win awards. This will remain true regardless of the quality of stories they publish.

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