Harlan Ellison's Watching...

Harlan Ellison

You know, every week I come out here; sometimes I have clothing on, sometimes I don't, and I usually have something to kvetch about, I have something to argue about, or something to yell about and everybody gets nasty with me and they get cranky with me and they go, "Oh what a curmudgeon." And now, sometimes I just feel good - and I don't really want to bash anybody, I don't want to "dis" anybody, I don't want to like pretend I'm Bob Dole holding on to his pen. I... I... I want to be a nice guy - but I can't because the world is so filled with doofuses and gazoonies that is very difficult.

Let me give you a for instance: Every year at every convention where they give an award - whether it's the H.W.A. (Horror Writer's Association) Banquet where they give out the Usher Houses, which we call Bram Stoker Awards, or it's the World Science Fiction Convention, where they give out the Oscar of the SF world, which is called the Hugo, or the S.F.F.W.A., where they give out the Nebula Award; they all maintain secrecy. World Fantasy Convention maintains secrecy you cannot find out who won any of the categories. And that means, that often, there is nobody there to accept the awards. For instance: Look, see back there? See right behind me? That is a painting by Yatchak Yurki. I did this book Mind Fields with the paintings of Yachak Yurki. Yachak Yurki lives in Poland and he won the World Fantasy Award for the Most Outstanding Artist. Did they tell anyone? NO! So Yachak was not there, nor was his publisher, Jim Cowan of Morpheus, nor was anyone there who could accept this and say a few words on his behalf. No one bothered to get in touch with Yachak and say, "Hey, you've won". The man's in - you get it? - Poland! We're talking Poland! Nobody bothered to tell him.

They play this stuff with such incredible vainglorious hubris like these itty, bitty, pishy, little, awards were the Oscars! Like somebody really gives a hoot! Like someone is going to be very upset if the winners are revealed ahead of time. Please, folks, this is all ego, it is silliness. It's the maintaining of secrecy which is idiocy. If the people have won - let them know! Let then attend if they want to so they can be there to pick up the award. People will say, "if we see them in the audience we'll know they have won." So what? So what if you know they've won? What's the big damn deal? And this goes on and on. Every year this, this ridiculous amateurism in which people who give out awards think that their awards are the end all and the be all, that you must climb the northern face of Annapurna to get the damn award. No, all you have to go is someplace like Eugene, Oregon or to New Orleans and be there. Which would be very nice for the people who paid all that money and gone to the convention and have gone to this big banquet and paid all the money to see the awards won.

So, please, would you mind? Knock off this secret ballot crap. You know, I mean, once they've won, they've won. Send out the word, let them know. Tell them, "Look, keep it to yourselves, we'd like it to be a surprise". That's fine. But tell the people so they can get their awards. Uh huh. Now you see I didn't want to have to get mean with you. I didn't want to say anything bad to you. But you people just won't leave me alone. You won't act like adults. What am I to do?

From Sci-Fi Buzz, episode 141

Publishing Rights to 'Harlan Ellison's Watching' copyright 1996 the Killimanjaro Corporation.