Bewildering Stories

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What Really Happened During the Hugo Awards Ceremony

Scott Danielson and The Invincible Spud

During the Hugo Awards Ceremony, held at ConJose on 1 September 2002, starting at 8:00 p.m. Pacific, I ventured online to the chat site in hopes of attending the annual Hugo chat, during which someone actually present at the ceremony relates the events and the winners to the general public as it happens. This year, unfortunately, something very bewildering was happening. There was apparently no chat, and yet the subject line for the chat room said something about ConJose, though it didn't explicitly mention the Hugos. Even stranger was the fact that the chat room was moderated (meaning one couldn't type to the chat room but could only send private messages), but there was no moderator. How strange—and ultimately bewildering!

At that chat that never happened, I met Scott Danielson, who apparently came to the chat room for the same reason I did—and met the same dire outcome. How extremely peculiar and odd and strange it was that there was no Hugo chat! How could this be?! Obviously, something was happening to the space-time continuum...

And so, we began speculating... The product of our private conversations is reprinted here in its entirety, without modification, except in only two places: Scott's first line, which was lost and couldn't be retrieved, and my e-mail address, which I have removed to protect my privacy. Other than that, what you see here really and truly happened. Bewildering, isn't it?

—The Invincible Spud

SD: [a message that is now unfortunately lost to the ether]
IS: just got back to this window... Yes? Hello? Um...
IS: Is there supposed to be a Hugo chat tonight?
SD: I was hoping the same...
IS: So there's no chat? :(
SD: I don't know... it starts at 8pm Pacific doesn't it?
IS: Yep, that should be a few minutes ago...
SD: hmmm
IS: why is this moderated right now? do you know?
SD: No, I don't...
IS: Very strange indeed...
SD: Are you in Idaho?
IS: I'm in Texas
SD: I'm in Idaho -
SD: Was wondering about Spud
SD: :)
IS: No connection. :)
SD: Gotcha.
SD: Could it be on another channel?
IS: I don't know...I haven't heard any mention of it...
IS: Hi again. Got disconnected.
SD: Howdy!
IS: :)
SD: No luck... I'm looking for another source.
IS: OK...
IS: Very strange indeed. I don't think there *is* a chat tonight... and yet it's moderated... How very strange indeed.
IS: Of course, last year's chat wasn't moderated, but...
IS: ...*very* strange...
SD: My title says SF WorldCon, too...
IS: Mine does, too, but it doesn't say anything about Hugos
SD: Mine neither...
SD: hmmm
SD: Dang.
SD: I'm not finding anything.
IS: Me neither. I did a search at Yahoo... nothing...
SD: has this thing where they say they will be there, but no link.
IS: You know what? I think we're in the wrong universe. In the one next door, everyone's having a chat...
SD: Are you affiliated with anything that's up for an award?
SD: Ha!
IS: No,...
IS: I'm just an enthusiast
SD: Let me just adjust my phase settings...
IS: I like the suspense of almost being there without paying for it... :)
SD: Ha!
SD: I write for one of the nominated websites - SFSite.
IS: Really? Cool!
SD: We're on the most popular and probable winner right here, though...
IS: I like Locus Online, myself, but I think is impressive...
SD: Yeah, it's cool... wish I was there!
SD: I've never been to a WorldCon.
IS: Sci Fiction's the only part of it I access frequently, though...
SD: Maybe next year... Toronto, I hear.
SD: I haven't visited that one for a while... I liked it though!
SD: The website award is a one-shot deal, though. Not a permanent category.
IS: Yep.
IS: Not lucky to have 13 categories *every* year... :)
SD: Ha! Very good point!
IS: Maybe that's why there's no chat tonight....
SD: Bad luck?
IS: Maybe.
SD: How long does a Hugo ceremony usually last?
IS: I don't know....
IS: I don't think it should take longer than two hours, though.
IS: Probably an hour and a half.
IS: I was at last year's chat, but I don't remember how long it took, alas.:)
SD: 13 categories is not quite the Oscars... 1.5-2 hours seems about right.
SD: a few minutes for each speech, no commercials...
SD: :)
SD: What about the Michael Jackson number? That's got to take ten minutes or so...
IS: What?
SD: Ha! Kidding...
IS: That went right over my head...
SD: SciFiAudio has some free readings... Sawyer and Mieville.
SD: Have you read Mieville yet? I haven't...
SD: I liked Sawyer's Hominids.
IS: Cool. I've read _Perdido Street Station_. Pretty good.
SD: What is it like? It's a fantasy?
IS: It's basically a fantasy novel, but it's very heavily science-based, rather than magic-based, like most fantasy.
IS: There's AI in it... :)
SD: hmmm... interesting.
IS: although it's called "constructed intelligence"
SD: Cool... I've got to check it out. You liked it?
IS: I think it's very good. The ending was a bit disappointing, but it was a logical conclusion...
SD: I'm reading Wolfe's Book of the new Sun right now... just finished the first book.
SD: Shadow of the Torturer.
IS: Cool. I've heard it's good. Haven't read it yet.
SD: For SFSite, I do audiobooks.
SD: Just received Speaker for the Dead and Shadow Puppets by OSCard
IS: Neat.
SD: He's one of my favorites... have you read his?
IS: I've read the four original Ender books and Ender's Shadow, but none of the last two
IS: I mean, neither of the latest two
SD: Shadow of the Hegemon was a bit of a strech for me...
SD: I just started the new one, and it's good so far.
SD: Loved the original 4 and Ender's Shadow.
IS: I liked them, too.
SD: I recently read one called The Disappeared by Rusch. Excellent.
SD: How about you? Read anything good lately?
IS: Perdido Street Station, but I already mentioned that...Hmmm...what else...
IS: *thinks*
IS: can't think of anything.
IS: I've read some good stuff in the past, but not *lately*...
IS: sort of...
SD: :)
IS: I'm confused, rather.
SD: Ha!
SD: I'm going through a bit of a spurt... reading everything.
SD: Kind of comes in waves for me.
IS: I'm looking at right now. I see a column called "Vox: SF for your Ears" by Scott Danielson. Is that you?
SD: Yes! That's me.
IS: Cool!
SD: Check out the review of Fifth Sorceress at the bottom there...
SD: It's a wild book... abridged audio, though.
SD: I usually do audiobook reviews, but was looking for something different so I did those three web shows.
IS: I'll have to check it out. I got it in pdb format for free from
SD: Anything audio and science fiction related is fair game.
SD: Yeah, I saw that! I wonder why they're giving it away?
IS: I don't usually read fantasy, though, but if I have time, I'll give it a try.
SD: It must be slated for a lot of volumes or something.
IS: I don't know, exactly. But look at what happened with Baen's Free Library..
SD: I'm no fantasy reader, either. Loved LotR, and am on the third volume of Martin's series.
SD: It increased their sales?
IS: yep.
SD: That's good news.
SD: That was daring. Hopefully others will follow.
SD: Did you happen to see Signs?
IS: No.
IS: Haven't seen any movies lately
SD: I went the other day... liked it quite a bit.
SD: I live in a tiny town... no movie theater. I don't get to many, either.
IS: Hmmm...still no chat...
SD: Yes... VERy disappointing. I've enjoyed talking to you, though. Very nice to meet you.
IS: Nice to meet you too.
SD: It's probably about 1/2 over.
IS: I wonder who's won already...
SD: hmmm... do they save the Novel to the end?
SD: I think American Gods will win novel.
IS: I think so. They did that the last two times... Seems logical and builds up the suspense
SD: I read Passage as well... those are the only two on the list.
SD: That I've read.
IS: I think either Passage or American Gods, but I'm hoping Perdido Street Station.
SD: Mieville is VERY popular right now - he may do it.
SD: But so is Gaiman.
IS: Then again, I've only read Passage and Perdido
SD: What did you think of Passage? I liked it, but didn't love it.
IS: I thought it was a bit *too* long... Enjoyable, but drawn out.
SD: I remember the main character running around with something at the tip of her tongue....
SD: thouroughly frustrating.
SD: Loved Willis' Doomsday Book and To Say Nothing of the Dog
SD: I heard an interview with her... she's working on a comic novel about Area 51
SD: Looking forward to it...
IS: cool...
IS: sounds interesting...
SD: She can be hilarious.
IS: I loved To Say Nothing of the Dog and am four chapters into Doomsday Book
SD: Cool!
SD: Say Nothing had me laughing out loud.
IS: Me too.
SD: Another book that really tickled me was Gaiman and Pratchett's Good Omens.
IS: haven't read that one...
SD: I've never read a Discworld novel, though...
IS: Me neither.
IS: If I suddenly vanish without a trace, assume I've been disconnected...
IS: I hope not, though.
SD: OK - if I suddenly vanish, assume that I've been abducted by aliens. Call a proctologist, stat!
SD: :)
IS: OK... :)
SD: check out
IS: um, ok... anything special I'm supposed to look at?
SD: No... it's just from ConJose.
SD: Horrendous site.
SD: I got on their chat, and no one's there.
SD: I thought I was onto something.
IS: *Extremely* strange indeed....
SD: Look at the homepage...
SD: Wow.
IS: I'm one of the editors of the nonpaying webzine Bewildering Stories ( Maybe I should write something about this bewildering experience...
SD: Ha! Very cool!
SD: Do you do any writing? Checking it out now...
IS: Yes, actually, under various pseudonyms...
SD: Savanterio Nouveaux?
IS: No, that's not me...
SD: That IS a pseudonym, right?
IS: Yes... I don't have anything in the latest issue
IS: but I have stuff in the prior issues.
SD: The suspense is killing me!
IS: "The Invincible Spud" is definitely me.
SD: Found one...
IS: Say...I'm thinking about copying the transcript of this private chat and publishing it at Bewildering Stories... Is that OK with you?
SD: Supreme Perfect Awesome Magnificent Fantastic Luxurious August Megalomaniacal Empire (SPAMFLAME). Ha! Love it!
SD: Sure, go right ahead.
IS: Cool...
SD: Can I change my name to All-Being Master of Space and Time?
SD: :)
IS: seriously?
SD: No - just kidding...
SD: I just loved your SPAMFLAME
SD: Check this out:
SD: Type your name in there, and you get an acronym for yourself.
SD: As if you were a cyborg.
SD: I am SCOTT: Synthetic Construct Optimized for Terran Troubleshooting.
IS: Ack, got disconnected again... Darn!
SD: Hi!
IS: Anyway... We've already published an unedited, uncensored, unaltered real-life bewildering thread from the Asimov's Forum... why not publish a very bewildering private chat? :)
SD: Sounds wonderful!
SD: Count me in.
IS: Awesome.
IS: If you want to write anything for us, we'd really love it...
SD: It says on the front page that Sept 2 is Kaenu Reeves' birthday.
IS: Interesting.
SD: Keanu, that is...
IS: Same diff. :)
SD: Do we get that day off?
IS: Why not? :)
SD: I often wonder how he got famous, though... he is not what you'd call... a steallar actor.
SD: stellar, that is.
IS: Who knows?
IS: Strange thing is, we've (actually, my co-editor Jerry Wright has) managed to secure permission to reprint an article from Grammy-winning singer Janis Ian, which was quite unexpected, but wonderful nevertheless.
SD: Hey, cool!
IS: It's in our latest issue.
SD: She was at a con near here lately, but I didn't get to see her. EnderCon - an OSCard convention.
IS: Cool.
SD: I got to go to the writing class after the convention.
IS: What was it like?
SD: Two days with OSC and about 90 others.
SD: It was incredible. He's great.
SD: Now if I could just put it all into practice, I'd be in business.
SD: He talked a lot about idea generation.
SD: One of the coolest parts of it was his Thousand Idea sessions.
IS: I'm missing the first part of this private chat with you, lost when I got disconnected the first time.... If it's not too inconvenient (and if it's still there), could you copy, paste, and send it to me at [my e-mail address] please? Thanks a lot. I want to get the whole thing reprinted... :)
SD: The whole class would throw out ideas, and a story would take shape.
SD: Let's see...
IS: everything before "Hi again. Got disconnected."
SD: Looking
SD: ok - sent!
IS: cool! thanks...
SD: You bet.
SD: Hey, I just found that the 2005 Worldcon will be in Glasgow. Wanna go?
IS: Whoa, too far...
SD: I guess it IS a bit of a hike...
SD: Are all Scotsmen like Mike Myers?
IS: I don't know... :)
SD: I could use a pint of Guiness, though.
IS: OK, I've opened up the message... thanks again... but do you remember the first thing to private msg'd me? ...
IS: 'you private..." i mean
SD: I think I said, "Is this thing going to happen tonight?"
SD: I don't see it on mine.
IS: OK. that's all right.
IS: Thanks.
SD: You bet!
SD: So what happens in Texas?
SD: Are you a big Cowboys fan?
IS: No, I'm not really into sports.
SD: A friend told me that they should play football with robots.
IS: Hey! Cool!
SD: No one would get hurt.
IS: Though the programming has to be different for the two teams... otherwise...
SD: The engineer would be the most important guy on the team.
SD: You bet...
SD: It would be like a super junk yard wars.
SD: She breakin up Captain! SHe can't take no more!
SD: Just one more play, dammit!
SD: One more play!
SD: Aye, sir...
SD: Hike!
IS: Anyway, I'm wondering what do I call you when I reprint this at Bewildering Stories? MrScott? Scott Danielson? Scott?
SD: Whatever you'd like!
IS: I'll send you a galley when I format it and everything...
SD: Cool - sounds great.
SD: They should be done by now.
SD: And the Best Novel winner is...
SD: American Gods!
IS: Really?
SD: The crowd goes nuts.
SD: No... not really.
IS: cool...
SD: I'm just imagining.
IS: The crowd goes nuts... Enter maniac squirrel...
SD: I have no data... still looking, though.
SD: Ha!
IS: I make no sense...
SD: I have no idea who would post the results this late at night.
SD: I assume CNN is not there.
SD: What about C-SPAN?
IS: Locus Online? That's my premier SF/F news source. When do they post the results?
IS: Do you know?
SD: Looking...
IS: My secondary SF/F news source is SFWA
SD: They are also one of the nominees.
SD: SFWA is a good bet.
SD: My primary source is SciFiWire.
SD: Nothing at either site.
SD: I imagine the best we'll do is tomorrow morning.
IS: I think so too.
IS: Say, just two little tidbits...
IS: When I got disconnected the two times, did you private msg anything to me? Between my messages "I don't know...I haven't heard any mention of it..." and "Hi again. Got disconnected." and between "No - just kidding..." and "Ack, got disconnected again... Darn!"? I just want to get the whole thing, you know. Thanks.
SD: OK - just one part... sent it to you
IS: OK, thanks!
SD: You bet!
IS: OK...we have to wrap up this chat sometime. It was really fun, and the experience certainly was bewildering...
SD: Yes, it was great!
IS: And I'm going to get disconnected again soon...
SD: Fantastic to meet you.
IS: You too.
SD: OK have a great night!
SD: Talk to ya soon...
IS: Bye! I'll send you the galley shortly!
IS: See ya...
SD: OK! Looking forward to it!
SD: I wonder if scribe and Snoopy are talking, too?
IS: I don't think so. They're always here.
SD: :)
SD: Really? How bizarre!
IS: Well, um, I'm going to post the last message in the transcript sometime... If you have anything more to say, say it now...
SD: I have nothing more to say... :)
SD: Let er rip.
IS: OK, well see ya. It was a great chat, and I hope to talk to you again sometime. (this is the last message appearing on the reprinted transcript)

Copyright 2002 by Scott Danielson and The Invincible Spud.