Lynne M. Thomas wins second Hugo Award

Lynne M. Thomas

Lynne M. Thomas

Lynne M. Thomas, curator of Rare Books and Special Collections for NIU Libraries, has earned her second Hugo Award, the leading award for excellence in the field of science fiction and fantasy.

Earlier this month, Thomas was presented with the award for Best Fancast from the World Science Fiction Society at the 70th World Science Fiction Convention (WorldCon) for her collaborative work on “SF Squeecast.”

“ ‘SF Squeecast’ is a monthly podcast  featuring a roundtable discussion about science fiction topics,” Thomas said. “It  serves as an audio show-and-tell for we, the hosts, to bring in a piece of work that we like, and talk about it.”

“A ‘squee’ is the high pitched shrill of excitement that comes out before you have found the words to express the excitement you are experiencing,” she added. “Our goal is to get to the ‘why’ of that excitement, and we are excited to have that appreciated by the Hugo voters.”

Though it is a simple concept, Thomas said, the key to the show’s success is a high level of enthusiasm from her and her co-hosts: Paul Cornell, Elizabeth Bear, Seanan McGuire and Catherynne M. Valente.

“We have to be enthusiastic because the show is designed to be positive,” Thomas said.

The hosts occasionally welcome special guests such as fantasy author Jim C. Hines and “Game of Thrones” author and co-executive producer George R.R. Martin. “We cover a wide array of topics from hardcore science fiction works all the way to Disney’s ‘Phineas and Ferb,’ ” Thomas said.

The Hugo awards are not voted on by an exclusive academy of science fiction experts, but by a group of individuals who have chosen to participate in voting. This aspect of the award makes it all the more meaningful for Thomas. The show’s first broadcast reached 300 listeners, but the most recent broadcast boasted an audience of 1,200.

Just last year, Thomas was recognized with a Hugo Award in the Best Related Work category for her editing work on the book, “Chicks Dig Time Lords: A Celebration of Doctor Who by the Women Who Love It.”

“It is an honor to be recognized with two Hugo Awards,” Thomas said. There have only been 113 multiple Hugo winners in the award’s 60-year history.

In addition to her win this year, Thomas was also nominated for Best Semiprozine  for her online publication, Apex Magazine. “A semiprozine is a magazine that pays its writers’ professional rates, but has a staff that only works part-time or is primarily volunteer,” Thomas said.

Moving forward, Thomas said she would like to keep up the excellence of Apex Magazine and expand it in the hopes of being once again recognized by Hugo voters in the coming year.

by Constance Ervins

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