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Opinion

The Fannish Life: No Red Carpet

Not a lot of ways for genre fans to honor their favorites, but Ann Morris discuses two


There’s no red carpet, no fancy gowns and hairdos to rate and no statuette.

But the Portal Awards have their own special charm. We science-fiction and fantasy fans get to pick who and what gets recognized. Like Fezzes and Stetsons, that’s cool.

I don’t know of any other fan-given awards for science-fiction and fantasy television and film except for the Hugos given at the World Science Fiction Convention for best dramatic presentation, long and short forms. I suggested to the People’s Choice Awards that they add a category for science-fiction and fantasy films and television but they haven’t seen the wisdom in my suggestion so far.

At Oasis 24, a science-fiction convention in Orlando, Fla., our very own Michael Hinman of Airlock Alpha and Juan Sanmiguel, the con chairman and a longtime Hugo voter (who writes about the Hugos for Airlock Alpha) presented a panel on the significance of the Hugos. A major point of discussion was the fact that you must be a member of the World Science Fiction Convention to vote for the Hugos. No little expense there, but you can vote for the Portal Awards by just visiting the Airlock Alpha website and clicking on your choices.

There was a period of my life when I attended the World Cons and voted for the Hugos. but even then, I was aware of how small a sample of people voted and how meaningless the award was for most readers and watchers. I was working in bookstores at that period of my life as well and in talking with hundreds of science-fiction and fantasy readers, I learned that most don’t care about conventions or are even aware of the Hugos. They just want good books to read.

I think if the Hugos paid more attention to television and movies, they’d get a bigger sample of science-fiction fans and be a more valid award.

World Cons have gotten smaller and smaller, while conventions that feature guests from the film and television industry have continued to increase their attendance.

What does this tell you? What does this tell me? Probably nothing we don’t already know. A whole gazillion people watch science-fiction and fantasy telly and movies.

I’m not saying the literature of the genres is not as important as genre film and television. I’d never say that. I love books and most, if not all, of my friends are avid readers. The science-fiction convention we put on each year, Necronomicon, is primarily a literary science-fiction convention. Still, we pay homage to film and television too.

Someone has to write the scripts and someone has to come up with the stories and often, the stories come from great science-fiction and fantasy books. The current HBO series “Game of Thrones” is based on a series by well-known fantasy author George R.R. Martin. But he’s also written an episode or two as well.

There’s a lot of good science-fiction and fantasy writing on television and in film, and the Portal Awards put a spotlight on that with their Best Episode, Best Series and Best Film awards.

They also give us a chance to recognize actors and actresses who get very little recognition from even the People’s Choice Awards, much less the Emmys.

I’m not putting down the Emmys. I watch a lot of television and am interested in how the peers of the industry vote. I just wish they didn’t ignore science-fiction and fantasy as they seem to do.

What I like about awards shows is settling in with a bag of Mint Milanos, a frosty diet cola, and playing fashion police. This year, too much beige on blondes. Not good. Just sayin’.

The Portal Awards don’t have a show on telly but wouldn’t it be cool if they did? Or even a video on YouTube? Now, that’s a show I’d really like to see. I’d like the hosts to be Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar, Jim Parsons and Johnny Galecki. They can’t be nominated for Portal Awards for “The Big Bang Theory” because it’s not a science-fiction show, but they’d be great hosts.

I’d like to be a presenter and fashion commentator. I do the latter so well from my comfy chair, so why not for real?

Seriously, well, not really seriously, but more in touch with the real world; it would be a great show for we who love science-fiction and fantasy. It would be a total geek fest.

As a staff member of Airlock Alpha, I get to send in nominations for the Portal Awards. This is not as easy as it seems it would be at first thought. I had a lot of trouble with the “Best Actress in a Movie” category. The roles for women in genre films are pretty darn few and far between.

The “Best Actress in a Television Series” is a different story. “Game of Thrones” has some really juicy roles for women and there are several other series that have good female lead characters.

“Best Episode,” as I mentioned before, is a writing award. You have to figure that the acting, effects, art direction and other such things will be consistent but writing is the game changer. It’s hard getting to a point where you can say this one episode is better than all the rest of a season but we are allowed to nominate multiple episodes from a series, so I did manage to make my picks without my head exploding.

I think we may need a new movie category. There were enough animated science-fiction and fantasy animated movies to have one and I found myself nominating actors and actresses from these movies in the Best Actor and Best Actress categories.

It’s very hard to pit something like “Tangled” against “Inception.” They are very different kinds of movies. I liked them both quite well but saying which I enjoyed more is difficult. They gave me different things. I guess if I had to choose between the two, “Tangled” would get my nod. I can’t help but relate to a girl with long blonde hair. I got a lot of comments about “Tangled” and my hair when the movie was in the theaters.

It’s about time for this shameless commercial for the Portal Awards to end. I hope you will keep a look out for the commencement of the voting and will vote for your favorites from the nominations. Let’s make this the award everyone wants to receive.

Till next time, take care and have fun!

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