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Black Gate Receives an Alfie Award from George R.R. Martin

Sunday, August 21st, 2016 | Posted by John ONeill

George RR Martin John O'Neill Alfie Award-small

George RR Martin and John O’Neill

Yesterday, while I was walking through the crowded halls of Worldcon in the Kansas City Convention Center, I was given an invitation to the Hugo Losers party, courtesy of the party’s distinguished host, George RR Martin. I was quite flattered, as Black Gate was not even up for a Hugo (we declined the nomination, as we did last year, to make room for another nominee on the ballot), but didn’t think much more about it.

The Hugo Losers party is the hottest ticket of the convention, as I soon discovered. George personally hands out the Alfie Awards to those Hugo losers whom he feels (quite rightly, I think) were unjustly robbed of an award by slate shenanigans. And this year he spared no expense to do it in style, renting out the Midland Theater, hiring a band, and plying hundreds of guests with fabulous food and drink. The Awards themselves are gorgeous, constructed of vintage hood ornaments, in honor of the design inspiration for the first Hugo Awards.

George funds and hosts the awards, but the Alfie’s are in truth a fan award… the winners are determined by the results of the Hugo voting. But after the first few were awarded, George announced that the Alfie committee had the right to give out special awards. And as the sole member of the committee, he’d decided to give a special award this year to recognize one publication “for integrity” in declining a Hugo nomination two years in a row. Without further ado, George announced the award was to be given to Black Gate, and I was called to the stage to accept it.

It was a very real honor for me. In a very real way George exemplifies all that’s best about fandom — its inclusiveness, its quest to reward excellence, and especially its talent for building a community. I was very proud to accept the award on behalf of everyone who’s worked so hard to make Black Gate a success these last few years.

Geroge RR Martin relaxes with fans after the awards-small

George RR Martin relaxes with fans after the awards

I have lots more to comment on — especially on the Hugo Awards themselves — but for now it’s 2:52 am, and it’s very definitely bed time. See you tomorrow.


  1. Awesome news! Congratulations John, you and your team deserve it!

    Comment by jeffreycrogers - August 21, 2016 4:30 am

  2. You’re a loser, John … but WHAT a loser! Congratulations! 😀

    Comment by dolphintornsea - August 21, 2016 7:20 am

  3. Congratualions! You and BLACK GATE will always be winners in my eyes! George R. R. Martin attracts a lot of “interesting” fans!

    Comment by - August 21, 2016 8:46 am

  4. This is pretty awesome, John! Congratulations, my friend — and kudos to the Staff (and Sword?) I like to call the Brotherhood of the Black Gate.

    Comment by Joe Bonadonna - August 21, 2016 8:52 am

  5. Congrats!

    Comment by Jeff Stehman - August 21, 2016 9:01 am

  6. This is great. Meaningless awards are the most meaningful. Congrats, man.

    Comment by Jackson Kuhl - August 21, 2016 9:35 am

  7. Wow. Just wow. Congratulations, John! Well deserved.

    Comment by Matthew Wuertz - August 21, 2016 10:15 am

  8. Congrats!!!!!!!!!!!!! You and the entire BG staff richly deserve it and it says a lot about GRRM that he would so publically recognize that. Also it is incredibly cool that a mega-bestselling author like that is even aware of BG.

    Comment by Amy Bisson - August 21, 2016 10:34 am

  9. Well done George, well deserved, John.

    Comment by R.K. Robinson - August 21, 2016 11:05 am

  10. This is awesome news John. So well deserved. A Hugo Loser’s party! What a great idea and I’m impressed with George RR Martin for hosting it. Both of you are class acts.

    Comment by Barbara Barrett - August 21, 2016 11:23 am

  11. Congratulations, John! Love the grin

    Comment by Fletcher Vredenburgh - August 21, 2016 9:04 pm

  12. What a great honor, what an honorable bunch of people! Congratulations, Mr. O’Neill. I look forward to the day on which you are banned from the Losers Party!

    Comment by Eugene R. - August 21, 2016 11:05 pm

  13. Thanks to call for the comments! I am home now from Kansas City, weary but happy. The Alfie award is safely stashed in its temporary home in the living room (although my wife has made it very clear that it will NOT be going on her mantle, and I need to find some other place for it.)

    I greatly appreciate all the kind words (and Jeff — I’m sorry we never connected at Worldcon! Next time.)

    Comment by John ONeill - August 21, 2016 11:45 pm

  14. That Alfie certainly would have gone on my mantle, had I won it!

    Comment by R.K. Robinson - August 22, 2016 2:25 pm

  15. Congratulations, John and all at Black Gate Magazine! The recognition is well-deserved.

    Comment by William Patrick Maynard - August 23, 2016 4:11 pm

  16. Congratulations, you won at losing!

    Seriously, I’ve been impressed with your decision two years in a row, and I’m glad to see that good deeds do get rewarded from time to time.

    Comment by darangrissom - August 23, 2016 11:15 pm

  17. I thought that might happen. Congratulations all around.

    Maybe someday the Hugo issues will settle down and there won’t be a need for the Alfies. Meanwhile, I’m so glad GRRM has added them to the Hugo Losers’ Party.

    (And now I’m imagining the Hugo Losers’ Party as a small political party in a parliamentary democracy somewhere. Or in Portland. Perhaps they’d form a coalition government with the Homespun Yarn Party.)

    Comment by Sarah Avery - August 24, 2016 3:36 am

  18. Woo-hoo!!!!!!

    That’s so awesome! Totally made my day :)

    Big love to all at Black Gate, my fav site!

    And big thank you to GRR Martin!

    Comment by DrFated - August 24, 2016 9:56 am

  19. Thanks for the congratulations, all! It was definitely a high point of my year.

    I was also pleased to see just how well we did on the nominating ballot, the details of which were released after the awards. We had the second highest number of nominations, and while the numbers were well behind Mike Glyer’s FILE 770, it’s clear it wasn’t just Puppies nominating us.

    Best Fanzine (1,455 ballots)

    1027 File 770 Edited by Mike Glyer 70.58%
    461 Black Gate Edited by John O’Neill 31.68%
    404 Superversive SF Brian Niemeier 27.77%
    398 Castalia House blog Edited by Jeffro Johnson 27.35%
    396 Tangent Online Edited by Dave Truesdale 27.22%
    125 Lady Business Edited by Clare, Ira, Jodie, KJ, Renay, and
    Susan 8.59%

    Comment by John ONeill - August 26, 2016 10:01 am

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