This isn’t false modesty. (I don’t do modesty. I’m a good writer. I know it.) I had no expectations because it’s been so long since I wrote a short story that I had no notion of the climate out there.
All writing genres have their in-crowd, their Young Turks and Grand Old Men and Women (in our house we call them GOMs and GOWs–there are many more of the former; it’s the nature of the beast). They have their tight communities and their passing fashions. For some awards it frankly doesn’t matter how good you are; if you don’t look right and smell right, if their people don’t know your people or you’re slightly out of style, you’ll never get the gong.
I’m a native of f/sf but not a full-time resident. For the last dozen years I’ve been writing other things. I had no expectation that anyone would even notice this story. I certainly wasn’t thinking about that when I wrote it. I simply had a blast, got paid reasonably, and went back to working on my magnum opus.
So the story’s reception caught me off guard. But, hey, I adjust fast, and now I’m imagining shiny objects on my shelf. I’ll be crushed when someone else takes them home. (Which will happen: my fellow nominees have written some very, very good work. Go read it.) But, wow, I got nominated for my very first Hugo! For my first short story in a decade! How cool is that?
Plus, I’ve now sold the story three (or four, or five–I’m wary of counting until the contract is signed) times. So here’s my theory: I don’t qualify as a GOW, and I’m definitely not a Young Turk. So I must be a Grand Old Dyke. Yep. I’m a GOD.