Tom Hunter has restricted attendance at the Arthur C. Clarke Awards to those who have already RSVPed. I forgot and have been relegated to a waiting list; as a former judge who only found this out because I had the temerity to ask for a plus one, I am a bit vexed at this.

I’m not sure I will go even if I get a place now.


About rozkaveney

Middleaged, trans, novelist, poet, activist
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  1. I’ve no direct involvement in the ACCA but circumstances mean that I’m reasonably au fait with some of its organisation.

    As far as I am aware, nobody, with the possible exception of this year’s shorlisted authors, gets a ‘plus one’. I know that one former shortlistee refused to attend last year because he was told that he could only have an invite for himself. I’m the immediate past chair of one of the main supporting bodies of the ACCA and my invite made it very plain that I could not bring a guest.

    The venue is too small. It is also one the ACCA is not charged for and which is associated with an event (Sci-Fi London) that has given the ACCA a lot of support and publicity. Until someone either sponsors the ACCA to the tune of several £k per annum – and I’ve been involved for several years in fruitless efforts to obtain such support – or we get another, but larger, free venue in central London, this problem won’t go away.

    Honestly, I’m sure it’s nothing personal. Tom is in an awkward position and I recognise that his only option is to be ruthless with ticket allocation.

    • rozkaveney says:

      All fair points – up to a point.

      I was aware of pushing it with the plus one, which is why I asked.

      On the other hand, the policy has not been this strict in previous years at the Apollo and there have always been empty seats in the auditorium. Given the decision to tighten up – a defensible one – either there have been enough non-repliers that an announcement could have been made, or so few that people could have been checked in with.

      I go to a lot of events, some of which are very strict about RSVP, yet those are precisely the ones which build slack into the system for the odd person who is busy or simply forgets, and contacts them late. They are also the ones aware of the need to be flexible in other ways – what happens if publishers or authors, who happen to be in town on the day, turn up and there is an incident with the SciFi London security?

      I can certainly see Tom’s POV but I am not sure that this has been thought through.

      • gummitch says:

        I think the policy was in place last year. I get an invitation as a former judge, was tardy with my RSVP and lost my place. I did get through the waiting list, but had by then made alternative arrangements for that evening.

        I don’t think the number of seats in the auditorium is the relevant factor; it’s the space in the lobby.

  2. mevennen says:

    Roz, do you want my place (and I think we did actually get one for Trevor)? Things here are hectic and I don’t think we’re going to be able to make it on Weds.

    Let me know asap and I will email Tom and see what I can do.

  3. I wasn’t even invited, despite having edited Vector throughout the relevant year. You have, at least, retained your importance!

  4. I remain pretty hacked off that despite continuing to give his professional time and expertise for free, for SFF, for years on end, no longer gets a ACCA invite. Though of course it would be irrelevant if he didn’t get a +1, as I can’t imagine he’d want to go without me.

  5. Anonymous says:

    From Tom Hunter

    Hi Roz

    Tom Hunter here (who doesn’t have an LJ account so I hope this appears ok)

    I’d like to assure you and anyone reading that a great deal of thought and effort goes into the administration of the invite list for the Clarke Award ceremony and the coordination of the event every year.

    Since we’re already talking on email I won’t discus your particular situation here if that’s ok, but as you’ll see from the comments above this isn’t a new policy that’s suddenly been introduced as we’ve been stressing the need to RSVP to guarantee a seat for several years.

    While we’ve been in the same venue for several years now its true to say no one year is exactly like another and we have to consider a great deal of competing and shifting issues each time, including but not limited to who’s shortlisted and can attend, who is sponsoring sci-fi-london and who they’ve invited, the maximum capacity of the venue, the fact we’re becoming ever more popular and well known (great, but with its own associated capacity issues) and so forth.

    I work very hard to try and be fair and reasonable to everyone and to assist wherever possible (one of the reasons I send invites personally and also include my mobile contact number amongst other things) and try to walk a line in all of our invite correspondence between balancing the need for people to please confirm their attendance with my own preference that our invites aren’t packed with unfriendly clauses and small print and final rulings because, like I say, no year is the same.

    I notice you mentioned a number of different scenarios above and on Twitter, so I just wanted to say they’re all ones I’ve either considered in our planning or directly encountered in the past and we do our best to deal with these on a case by case basis.

    I don’t want to discuss every single one of these here as that would probably take rather a while, but I would invite anyone who has queries here to contact me at

    • rozkaveney says:

      Re: From Tom Hunter

      I would emphasize again that no-one I have talked to has been aware of this being rigorously enforced on any previous occasion – even though clearly it has eg . If you have been excluding people who forget to RSVP, then we all needed to know this, long ago.

      I would suggest that threatening sub-clauses are preferable to people who have every professional reason to put the ACCA into their personal calendars every year suddenly finding out that they aren’t going because they forgot to RSVP. As most of us do from time to time without consequences.

      • rozkaveney says:

        Re: From Tom Hunter

        Also, I am glad to know that you have considered and/or encountered the scenarios I mentioned on twitter. What I want to know is, how did you resolve them and were all the people involved in that resolution happy with them?

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