Leading off at a tangent: in light of the age profile of Hugo nominees/winners, has anyone done anything similar about SFWA and the Nebulas? What’s the average age of SFWA members, and what’s the average age of Hugo voters? Could the perceived loss of relevance of the Nebulas over the past decade possibly be a harbinger of the same trend — age-related conservativism — hitting the Hugos?
I don’t know of any available demographic data about the age of SFWA members or Hugo voters, but we do have the list of Nebula winners, courtesy once again of Nicholas Whyte. Here’s the graph for the Nebulas, done in the same way as for the Hugo graph in the previous post:
Doesn’t look much different, does it? The average age of a Nebula winner has risen from 37 in the 1960s, to 53 in the most recent decade, but the most telling data is the number of winners who were in their twenties and thirties per decade. In the 1980s, there were 27 winners in their twenties and thirties; in the past seven years, there have been four. And three of them were Kelly Link.
This age trend doesn’t hold for the Clarke or Tiptree award, both juried awards, but neither of them have been around for very long compared to the Hugos and Nebulas. Jeff suggests that we look at the Hugo nominees, to see if the nominees are younger and the older, familiar name always wins, and it might be interesting to look at the Locus award to see if the wider voting population makes a difference, but I think I am turning into crazy stats lady already and I will leave those for another day.