We hardly know each other, you and I, but our humble rivalry has made us the best of friends, the worst of enemies.
I speak, of course, of our standing on the ditmar nominations. For years now, I have been second to you, the man with nine ditmar nominations that has never won, vs the man with ten ditmar nominations who has never won. It would make no difference if you or I were a woman. We would be the woman with nine ditmar nominations who never won and the woman with ten ditmar nominations that has never won. Our rivalry is not about gender, no. Nor is our rivalry about quality, or skill, or who has the most friends who shows up at a convention to vote for them. That is for others. Let those who wish to fight on the convention floor do what they must, for we, sir, we are better than that. We are of the rivalry for who can last the longest, who can lay claim to the most nominations without an actual win.
We, sir, are for the noblest of pursuits.
This year, I draw equal to you.
This year, I reach ten nominations.
In accordance with that, I have decided that we can no longer be secret, no longer hide our contest. I hope over the years you have received my mail about this. My postcards made from hasty newspaper type. My packages that leaked. My admiration in the way you pre-empted me by beginning your work on the year I was born, in 1976, is without peer. An early strike for your fine fanzine Interstellar Ramjet Scoop, which then took a lazy tour through the wild before it returned in 1999, and to appear steadily up to 2010. I applaud you, sir, for the work, the dedication that you have shown. Compared to you, I am but a novice, with not yet ten years of ballot life yet. But still, sir, while my respect for you is strong, there must come a time when all those we aspire to must fall. Like Darth Vader killing the Emperor, like William Shatner telling the fans to get a life, like Chuck Norris turning to conservative politics, nothing can remain as it once was, and all must change.
I have no fear that I will be knocked out of our competition by foul play. Through steady work, I have ensured my safety from winning. To ensure it still, I will begin a campaign of comparing various people in the scene to animals that are not considered cute, and I will accuse others of cheating. I will make cookies for others and show the ugly sex photos to those who think I might still be worthy. It is old, old work, for which I can only assume that you are familiar with just as I am. But, such is our lot. We will not be understood, you or I. People will not respect what it is that we do, but we, of the old science fiction guard, of the counter revolutionary forms that emerged in the sixties and seventies, we remember what JG Ballard said when he turned down the Queen's honours:
"The whole thing is a preposterous charade," he said. "Thousands of medals are given out in the name of a non-existent empire."
To you, my most worthy friend and enemy, I salute.
Soon, we shall be equal.
And then, I shall defeat you.