I’ve just worked up the nerve to express something that’s been boiling.
I believed the trophy needed to be changed decades ago. Why?
1. My reaction on seeing it as a teenager: “This is the goddamn ugliest award.” It is as hideous a piece of ’70’s kitsch that ever graced a flea market discount bin. How stoned was the awards committee when they approved it? Don’t care that Gahan Wilson was the designer. It looks like strangulation sprayed with chrome paint.
2. No one person should be identified with an abstract. “J.C. Campbell Award for Best New Writer of Fantasy”? Sure, that’s specific. No problem. The World Fantasy Award is supposed to reflect All Of Fantasy in the Entire World. What face could possibly mean that to even a majority of people? Tolkien? Even if we put J.R.R. Tolkien’s head on the award, it makes the award too European for the “Entire World” award. The Stoker Award is a spooky tomb-house. The Nebula is a beautiful lucite nebula. The Hugo is a plastic bullet-shaped rocket. Make WFA award a big dragon or sword.
3. Lovecraft had only a marginal effect on fantasy, because he was a horror writer.
4. Look at it. It is the ugliest damn thing I’ve ever seen, much less wanted to win.
Some want to replace Lovecraft with Octavia Butler’s head. Do not do this! How badly will that sculpture be botched? What conversation will will be huffing over fifty years from now due to either Butler’s shortcomings or the change in values?