Now, if you're not going to WorldCon, you may wonder why this is relevant to your interests. I have two words for you: voter packet.
All Supporting Members receive, in addition to Hugo voting rights, a copy of the Hugo voter packet. This includes all the nominated works for the year. Novels, novellas, novelettes, short stories, graphic stories, and yes, related works (so this year, they had to figure out how to include MP3s of an entire filk album—I am a living complication). Strictly speaking, this is well over a $50 value. I mean, the Related Works category alone would probably cost you around $80 if you bought all the physical media, and that doesn't go into the fiction categories at all. So you save a lot, while getting a neat little packet containing electronic copies of what the community thought was best about the previous year. And oh, I forgot to mention there's also samples of the Fan Writer nominees, and art, and and and and...
And here's the thing. I can't pretend that I don't have a vested interest in this year's Hugos: I said last year that no one accepts a nomination when they don't want to win, and I meant that sincerely and without embarassment. It's even worse this year, when I'm on the ballot four times and terrified of losing four times. I want to win. But even more, if I'm going to lose, I want to lose fairly. I want to lose because the community spoke, and what they said was "this one over here should be the victor." That means people need to vote.
Every year, when the Hugo ballot is announced, some people say "these things, these things are wrong." Then, after the votes are counted, some people say "these wins, these losses, they are also wrong." But the only way to change the wrongness is to participate. That means nominating, and that means casting your vote. It's never been easier, and it's never been more...balanced, for lack of a better word. $50 isn't peanuts. There have been years where I wouldn't have been able to afford that. On the other hand, you get a lot of bang for your bucks, and you get to be a part of shaping our community's history. And if you register now, you may even have time to read everything before the deadline!
If you can afford a Supporting Membership, I highly recommend it. It's a fair value, and it lets you participate. Everybody loves participation, right?
This ends today's public service announcement.