Here's the very preliminary scoop. When kenscholes, lasirenadolce and I were speaking with Tom Doherty this last fall at the palatial Tor world headquarters, Tom asked why there wasn't a Hugo for people like Betty Ballantine. He observed that Judy Lynne Del Rey had won a Hugo posthumously, and wasn't it a shame we didn't have a Hugo to recognize the people who'd spent their lives bettering our field.
He had a point.
Fast forward a couple of months. I've been discussing the process with some folks who understand the ins and outs very well. With their advice, I have an action plan on how to develop the formal proposal and some timing on when and how to roll it out. I'm throwing this flag mostly to see if anyone is interested in helping me pull and prod this along (along with my general rubric of public openness). The basic vision is to propose a Hugo Award for Lifetime Achievement. It could be won once and only once, by a nominee who was still alive, at least at the time of balloting. It would be for whoever the Hugo electorate wants to honor — lifelong fans, conrunners, writers, editors, publishers, critics, etc.
Obviously there's a lot of logical and procedural holes to be filled before this makes any real sense, but I welcome preliminary comments. I'll be working on this proposal for some months to come, and paying much closer attention to WSFS processes than I have in the past. I'll carry the ball during the long, quiet hours which slowly unwind through my empty days.