The Nova Awards Rules
The Nova Awards celebrate fanzines, fanzine writing and fanzine artwork produced by science fiction fans resident in the UK or Ireland, providing a friendly pat on the back to those whose efforts gave the greatest pleasure to Novacon members during the previous year. They have no vast cosmic significance. Should any difficulties arise in interpreting the rules governing the Nova Awards (henceforth referred to as the Novas), those concerned are urged to follow the course most in keeping with this spirit.
- The Novas shall be announced at Novacon, the convention organised annually by the Birmingham Science Fiction Group.
- The categories shall be "Best Fanzine", "Best Fan Writer" and "Best Fan Artist".
- A trophy shall be supplied in each category by the Novacon committee, for presentation at the awards ceremony on Sunday afternoon.
- The trophies shall be presented by Novacon’s guest(s) of honour (or, if unavailable, by the Novacon committee chair), on behalf of the convention membership.
- In the event of a tie, the joint recipients shall be asked to share the trophy unless the Novacon committee is willing and able to fund a duplicate trophy.
- As the Novas are awarded by popular vote, there is no mechanism for eligible editors, writers or artists to withdraw their work or themselves from consideration. A winner determined not to be honoured can always refuse to accept his or her award.
- In the event that Novacon should not be held in any given year, the Birmingham Science Fiction Group shall be requested to underwrite a ballot in early October of the preceding Novacon’s membership, using established criteria and deadlines. Winners shall be notified by e-mail and post, with the full results publicised through fanzines and electronic noticeboards. If the Birmingham Science Fiction Group is willing and able to fund trophies, these shall be presented at the next Eastercon or similarly major event.
- Should Novacon be cancelled for a second year in succession, the Nova Award Administrator (henceforth referred to as the Administrator) shall meet with the committee of the Birmingham Science Fiction Group to decide as a matter of urgency whether to discontinue the Novas or allow another convention to take over Novacon’s role.
- For the purposes of the Novas, a fanzine shall be defined as an amateur publication concerned with science fiction and / or fantasy, fans of science fiction and / or fantasy, and / or related subjects, copies of which may be obtained in exchange for other such publications or in response to letters of comment. In the event that eligibility is unclear, the decision of the Administrator shall be final.
- The "Best Fanzine" category shall be open to any fanzine published in the UK or Ireland, provided at least one issue has been published between 1 October of the preceding year and 30 September of the current year. In cases where a fanzine has two or more editors, at least one must be resident in the UK or Ireland.
- Electronic fanzines ("e-zines") shall be eligible in the "Best Fanzine" category, provided each issue is a distinct entity and a printed copy is available if preferred. A file copy must also be lodged with the Administrator, whose decision on eligibility shall be final.
- The "Best Fan Writer" category shall be open to anyone resident in the UK or Ireland who has contributed a piece of writing to an eligible fanzine published beween 1 October of the preceding year and 30 September of the current year.
- The "Best Fan Artist" category shall be open to anyone resident in the UK or Ireland who has contributed a piece of artwork to an eligible fanzine published between 1 October of the preceding year and 30 September of the current year.
- Voting shall be open to any member of that year’s Novacon, provided he or she has received at least six different fanzines published in the UK or Ireland between 1 October of the preceding year and 30 September of the current year (separate issues of an individual fanzine or various organs of a group / society shall not be considered as different fanzines for the purposes of this total). Voters are not required to be resident in the UK or Ireland.
- Ballot forms shall be circulated with the final Novacon progress report each year, to facilitate voting by post or e-mail prior to Novacon. The deadline for postal and electronic votes shall be 23:59 GMT on the Saturday prior to Novacon; the deadline for voting in person shall be 23:59 GMT on the Saturday of Novacon.
- Only one ballot form shall be accepted from each member, and votes for themselves or their own fanzines will be disallowed (should a duplicate form be received, it should be clearly marked "Invalid" and exempt from the count).
- Valid ballots should include the voter’s name, address and Novacon membership number, plus the titles of six different fanzines published in the UK or Ireland between 1 October of the preceding year and 30 September of the current year (separate issues of an individual fanzine or various organs of a group / society shall not be considered as different fanzines for the purposes of this total).
- Ballots sent by post or handed in at the convention should be signed. Those sent electronically should emanate from the voter’s known e-mail address.
- Production of ballot forms, organisation of the count and general promotion of the Novas shall be the responsibility of the Administrator, appointed by the preceding year’s Novacon committee. The Administrator should have a good basic knowledge of British fanzines but, to prevent dispute, it is preferable he or she should not edit a fanzine likely to qualify.
- The Administrator shall in turn nominate two Novacon members to assist with the count on the Sunday of the convention; again, they should have a wide knowledge of fanzines but preferably not edit a fanzine likely to qualify. During the count, they shall also assist the Administrator with issues of eligibility and ballot validity. The decision of this group shall be final.
- First-, second- and third-place votes shall be available in each category. First-place votes shall be allocated three points, second-place votes two points and third-place votes one point.
- In the event of a tie on points, the Nova in that category shall be awarded to the nominee with most first-place votes. In the event of a tie on first-place votes, the award shall be made to the nominee with most second-place votes. Only in the case of identical voting patterns shall a formal tie be announced.
- The identity and choices of individual voters, as well as any discussions during the count, shall remain confidential. A complete breakdown of nominees and points received shall be released within one month of the announcement of the winners.
- The Nova Awards ballot form shall comprise a short introduction to the aims of the award and appropriate footnotes on definitions and eligibility, plus space for the voter to identify themselves and indicate their receipt of at least six different fanzines published in the UK or Ireland between 1 October of the preceding year and 30 September of the current year (separate issues of an individual fanzine or various organs of a group / society shall not be considered as different fanzines for the purposes of this total).
- Further, the ballot form shall list the three categories, "Best Fanzine", "Best Fan Writer" and "Best Fan Artist"; in each case, space will be allotted for first-, second- and third-place votes.
- Finally, if he or she wishes, the Administrator shall include a shortlist of known eligible fanzines, making clear this is intended as an aide memoire and is in no sense definitive.
- Once the winners in all three categories have been decided, the ballot forms and any related notes shall be placed into an envelope and sealed, to be retained by the Administrator for one calendar month in the event the results are challenged. If no such query is raised during this period, the envelope and its contents shall be destroyed. Should the results be called into question, the envelope – still sealed – shall be handed over to the chair of the relevant Novacon committee for further investigation.
- The rules shall be posted on the Novacon website and hardcopies made available for a reasonable fee (covering printing and postage) upon request from the Administrator.
- Any amendments to the above rules shall be made by the current Administrator in conjunction with the committee of that year’s Novacon.