2016 Alfie Awards at World Con
August 23, 2016
The highlight of this years Hugo Losers Party during the iconic World Science Fiction and Fantasy Convention was George RR Martin’s the presentation of this year’s Alfie Awards.
Some wonder, what the hell are the Alfie Awards?
Well, to understand that, it helps to know a bit about Hugo history. The first Hugo Awards were presented in 1953 at the 11th worldcon, in Philadelphia. Alfred Bester won for Best Novel (the big one, then as now) with his soon-to-be-classic THE DEMOLISHED MAN. Fannish legend tells us the first awards were made from Oldsmobile hood ornaments… but that’s not quite true, as it turns out. Maryland fan Jack McKnight made those first awards himself in his machine shop, working all through the con and finishing just in time for the presentation. Which is not to say that the ‘hood ornament’ legend is entirely wrong. Just the date is off. It was the 1956 Hugos that are actually Oldsmobile hood ornaments. Dave Kyle made the awards that year. Kyle presumably lacked McKnight’s machine shop and metal-working skills, so he raided some junkyards for hood ornaments from the 1950 or 1951 Oldsmobile Rocket 88, and screwed them to an upright wooden stand.
Fast forward to 1976, and that first Hugo Loser Party in Kansas City hosted by GRRM and Gardner Dozois. During the first Hugo Losers Party Gardner Dozois acted as a herald/ doorman, loudly announcing each guest who would attempted to enter, proclaiming them either a winner or a loser. Losers were cheered and welcomed, winners booed and pelted with peanuts, etc. Which leads me to the moment when Alfred Bester himself appeared in the door. “ALFIE BESTER,” Gargoo roared. “You won the FIRST Hugo!!!” Alfie was undeterred. “Yes,” he shouted back, “but it was an Oldsmobile hood ornament, and it’s all pitted and rusted and corroded now!” And the boos changed to cheers, and Alfie entered the party and proceeded to drink us all under the table.
With this illuminating bit of history now enter George deciding to host his own awards to the writers, fans, and stories who were pushed off the Hugo ballot by the Puppy slates, he decided to call them “Alfies” in Bester’s honor, and of course they had to be made out of old hood ornaments.
Herewith, the Alfie trophies for 2016:
Best Short Story: “Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers,” by Alyssa Wong
Best Related Work: Letters to Tiptree, by Alisa Krasnostein and Alexandra Pierce
Best Graphic Novel: Bitch Planet, Volume 1: Extraordinary Machine, by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Valentine De Landro, Taki Soma, and Robert Wilson
Best Artist: Julie Dillon
Best Fanzine: Journey Planet
Best Fancast: Tea and Jeopardy, by Emma Newman & Peter Newman
Best Fan Writer: Alexandra Erin
Special Committee Award: Black Gate
Special Committee Award: Locus