ME:So... what's up with these Nebula Awards I keep hearing people talk about?
MYSELF:You mean people like Jason Sanford and Rachael Swirsky?
ME:Yeah, well done on the name check. It's not like you know these people personally...
MYSELF:I follow their blogs, okay? It's good enough. Anyway, the Nebula Awards. Their given out every year by the Science Fiction Writer's Association of America--
ME:Hang on, who are they?
MYSELF:An association of American science fiction writers.
ME:Thanks, Captain Obvious. What do you have to do to become one?
MYSELF:You've got to live in America and be a professionally published author.
ME:Right. So about their award...
MYSELF:Yeah, it's given out to the best science fiction or fantasy published in the United States during the previous year. There's five catagories: Novel; novella; novelette--
ME:Novelette? What the crap?
MYSELF:Longer than a short story, but shorter than a novella. You know how these Americans like to sub-categorize things. Anyway, shut up and stop interpreting me. So, novelette, short story and script.
(beat)You can talk again now.
ME:Fantastic. So, who get to decide who gets what?
MYSELF:Rule 12 (f): Only Active members in good standing shall be eligible to vote.
(beat)What's that look on your face for?
ME:I'm just wondering why I should care. A bunch of Americans voting on which of a bunch of American fiction is best. I mean, power to them making a space for their own culture and all, but as an Englishman living in Wales, why should I support a cultural juggernaut which is stomping on everything in it's path?
MYSELF:Okay, firstly, it's not just fiction by American authors. It's fiction published in America. The difference is important. Secondly, don't tar everything with the same brush. Sure, McDonalds and Hollywood are killing indigenous cultures like it's going out of fashion but you can't then turn around and say, 'everything American is bad'. Like you said, they're making a space for their own culture, they're not actively stomping on anyone else's, and they've got a lot to offer the world. Plus, what's the population of Wales?
ME:According to Wikipedia, about 3 million.
MYSELF:And the population of the UK is about 62 million. Know what the population of the US is? 308 million. So that's why an award voted for by a bunch of Americans is important. By head, they make up a huge proportion of the international community. It's like asking why anyone should care what the Conservative party think. Sure, they're just one party in Parliament, but they're a very big party. And it's not like those 308 million are all white, middle-class Christian Republicans. 79.8% self-identify as white compared to 92.1% in the UK, and that's just skin colour.
ME:Okay okay, so I can't vote. I can't take part. But I should probably watch, right?
MYSELF:You know, if I trot that line out, in that tone of voice, during the World Cup this summer you're going to smack me in the face.
ME:Yeah... fair play.
MYSELF:And when authors get nominated, they tend to put their stories up for free so people can read them. And by people, I don't just Americans, either. That's good for everyone.
MYSELF:So, we're sorted?
MYSELF:I'll take that as a yes. Or are we going to have an argument about this?
I:Fuck that, let's get pizza.
MYSELF and ME: