Robert J. Sawyer

Hugo and Nebula Award-Winning Science Fiction Writer

A Call for On-Site Aurora Voting at Con*Cept

by Rob - September 3rd, 2007.
Filed under: Uncategorized.

A Call for On-Site Aurora Voting at Con*Cept

We now face a major crisis — yet again — related to the credibility of the Aurora Awards, thanks to the tardiness of release of the final ballot.

The facts:

1) For good or ill, VCon, the convention at which the Aurora Awards will be presented in Vancouver, has taken the decision to have on-site voting for the Aurora Awards this year.

2) The final Aurora Award ballot has been delayed yet again. With the ceremony scheduled for next month, and no list of nominees available, readers will have very little time to evaluate and vote on works.

As it happens, though, one of Canada’s major regional conventions takes place just one week prior to VCon: Con*Cept in Montreal is October 12-14, 2007; VCon is October 19-21, 2007. As it also happens, VCon is the westernmost annual regional convention left in Canada and Con*Cept is the easternmost.

To salvage this year’s Auroras — a year in which no eligibility lists were ever released, a year in which the final ballot has been repeatedly and unconscionably delayed, a year in which the host convention has broken with tradition and decided unilaterally to have local on-site voting — it seems to me that the CanVention and Aurora administrators should immediately arrange to have on-site voting at BOTH VCon AND Con*Cept, with members of both conventions being allowed to vote for free (in addition to the normal paid by-mail balloting), with the proviso that those who happen to be attending both conventions still may only vote once.

The Prix Aurora Awards are national, bilingual awards; most of Canadian fandom is being disenfranchised by the ridiculously late release of the ballot this year; the only possible salvation for this year’s awards is to encourage maximum voter participation despite the irregularities and delays — and the lucky happenstance that Con*Cept ends five days before VCon begins affords an opportunity that should not be missed.

Doubtless some suspicious soul will now ask how this affects me personally. The answer: not at all. I won’t be at VCon (instead, I will be at the Harbourfront International Festival of Authors in Toronto) and I won’t be at Con*Cept (instead, I will be at WordFest: The Banff-Calgary International Writers Festival), and I DON’T have a novel eligible this year. But the Auroras are in crisis, and I call upon the administrators of this year’s awards to take at least this step to ameliorate the problem.

Robert J. Sawyer
in Beijing

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