And The Award Goes To

Every person’s brain contains a tiny synapse that only fires when the phrase award is picked up by the senses. This synapse serves two purposes. The first is trigger a chain, causing the person to look favorably upon any noun on which the award has been bestowed. The second is to trigger a second, more pernicious chain, resulting in the person questioning the value of any award, ever.

For writers, a third firing occurs and I’ll get to that below.

In this way, any movie-goer, music fan, reader, food aficionado, or real estate agent can at once attach value to a new and previously unknown work—“It won a Golden Globe”—or valid previously enjoyed nouns—“Best place to live in Southern Oregon for three years running, I knew this was a good place to sell”.

And it provides an escape hatch; if one doesn’t enjoy the award-winning book or film, or if the formerly well thought of restaurant fails to meet current expectations, well, “Oh, these awards are meaningless.”

I’m a sucker for the words “Hugo award winner” or “Hugo nominated”, as well as “Edgar award winner”. And every time, that synapse fires and my reading hangs in the balance as I judge the work. Sure, Hugo nominated, so I’ll buy it but will I ever crack the spine? How many award winners sit in the Antilibrary of Eli Jones, dictated to purchase but not read?

On the writing side, a third trigger forms, causing the synapse to fire again. What about my work? The fact that a writer can believe, all at the same time, that award winning books are important, that awards don’t mean anything, and that the writer’s output can be completely judged by award bumper-crop or lack thereof is what makes a writer human. You won’t catch AI caring about this stuff.

About the Author

Eli Jones is a BI Developer and speculative fiction writer living in the Columbia Gorge.