For some reason I feel motivated to do a post mortem on this year's Pegasus ballot and results.
In the Best Filk Song category, the nominees were Archetype Cafe, The Girl That's Never Been, Rocket Ride, Stimmen im Wind, and Uplift. Not that real clunkers tend to make it to the ballot in this category, but these are all excellent. However, Rocket Ride stands above the others for me as the one that really needs the award, and I was pleased that it won. I was really impressed at the nominees' concert performances of The Girl That's Never Been and Stimmen im Wind, but even if I had been voting at-con, I still would have picked Rocket Ride.
In the Best Classic Filk Song category, the nominees were Before the Dawn, Chess, Marcon Ballroom, Nessie, Come Up, and Never Set the Cat On Fire. All of these are very familiar to me except Before the Dawn, and they're all cherished old friends, and Before the Dawn is impressive. But Never Set the Cat On Fire is one of the songs that defined what filk was back in the day when I was getting started; it's hard to believe that it hadn't won a Peggy before, and it was unthinkable that it wouldn't win this time. Good choice.
For Best Performer, we had Jeff and Maya Bohnhoff, Dr. Mary Crowell, Heather Dale, Divine Strumpet, and Carla Ulbrich. Divine Strumpet was the one nominee on the whole ballot I was completely unfamiliar with, and it certainly wasn't easy to choose among the other 4. I voted for Mary, but I can't say I think the world made a bad choice in the Bohnhoffs.
For Best Writer/Composer, we had Heather Dale, Cat Faber, Blake Hodgetts, Seanan McGuire, and Tom Smith. Cat and Tom are both incredible songwriters, but as they have both won twice, I feel they've been sufficiently honored. Heather is also wonderful, but I don't feel quite ready to vote for her for a Peggy. That left me trying to choose between Blake and Seanan, and that was the toughest choice I made in filling out my ballot. I went with Blake, probably because I'm more familiar with his work; if I could have filled out my ballot after Seanan's Toastmaster concert, I would have voted for her. But the award went to Tom, which I was just a little annoyed by, because, ya know, he's already won it twice.
Then we get to the rotating categories. The rotating categories are the one thing I don't like about the Pegasus awards, and the reason I don't like them is well illustrated by this year's nominees: most of the nominees, though they are fine songs, do not belong in the categories they land in. For me, it diminishes the awards and the songs to have them nominated, or worse, win, in categories they don't fit. (I hear that for next year, the ballots will actually have some description of what the categories are supposed to mean, rather than just naming them. Hopefully this will improve the situation.)
The first rotating category was Best Space Opera Song. I talked about this during the nominating process. Space opera means something fairly specific to me, something which I have trouble defining, but I do know it when I see it. The nominees were The Ballad of Stan Long, Barrayaran Roses, Evil Overlords Anonymous, Our Space Opera Goes Rolling Along, and Signy Mallory. Evil Overlords Anonymous is cute, but doesn't have anything at all to do with the category, and Barrayaran Roses and Signy Mallory are both great songs, but I think both of them are from source material too serious to be called space opera. Stan Long is a good space opera plot, and Our Space Opera Goes Rolling Along is actually about true hard-core space opera, so it is certainly the most on-point song of the nominees. It's also a sentimental favorite going way back; it was one of the first half dozen songs I collected for my filk book, and might be the first one I memorized, so I voted for it. Signy Mallory won. Great song, but Cherryh's Alliance/Union series is more than space opera, and I didn't think it should have been nominated.
The second rotating category was Best Sword and Sorcery Song. We had Dragon For Sale, Feygrass, Threes, Urban Legends, and Wizard of Macke Town. Now, Sword and Sorcery is a specific subgenre of fantasy. It is not just anything about magic. Feygrass and Urban Legends are not there at all, and Dragon For Sale is only very tenuously there. Threes and Wizard, on the other hand, fit the category perfectly, and they're both kick ass songs; I voted for Threes because it's been a favorite for a very long time, and I was glad to see that it won. (Which reminds me that the lyrics Mary sang in the concert were quite substantially different from the version I know, from Horsetamer's Daughter and also from Misty's own songbook, that she gave me a copy of back in the day when she actually came to cons and we were friends. Where did those lyrics come from?)