Awards season

Paul Raven @ 06-04-2010

Well, I’m back from Eastercon, and – as is traditional at this time of year – the genre fiction awards cycle is gearing up, with results and nominations and longlists flying in every which direction.

At Eastercon itself, China Mieville took the BSFA Best Novel award while the inimitable Ian Watson and Roberto Quaglia took the Short Fiction gong, and we got to hear the Hugo nominations announced to the world; last week saw the Arthur C Clarke Award shortlist announced, and the Philip K Dick Award has just been called for Bitter Angels by C L Anderson – the latter being both a book and author of whom I am completely unaware.

If nothing else, the genre scene’s ability (and will) to debate the merits of the the work produced within it (and, in some cases, beyond it) shows little sign of going away… and as far as I’m concerned, that’s the very best thing about all these awards. I’m much less bothered by who wins than I am by the discussions they generate about the winners, the losers and the utterly overlooked.

But I was thinking perhaps I should start some sort of Futurismic annual-awards-type-of-thing, if only because our reader demographic here is skewed rather more away from regular fandom (if there can be said to be any such thing) than many other genre webzines. What do you think? Suggestions for categories and nominees more than welcome – pipe up in the comments. 🙂


Kim Stanley Robinson asks why science fiction isn’t winning awards; I ask why we should care

Paul Raven @ 17-09-2009

Science fiction heavyweight Kim Stanley Robinson crops up in the current edition of New Scientist to sing the praises of British sf… and of sf in general. In addition to presenting flash-length pieces by a handful of big names – Ken MacLeod, Geoff Ryman, Justina Robson and more – he has a lengthy article decrying the blinkered tastes of the juries for awards like the Booker Prize:

… it seems to me that three or four of the last 10 Booker prizes should have gone to science fiction novels the juries hadn’t read. Should I name names? Why not: Air by Geoff Ryman should have won in 2005, Life by Gwyneth Jones in 2004, and Signs of Life by M. John Harrison in 1997. Indeed this year the prize should probably go to a science fiction comedy called Yellow Blue Tibia, by Adam Roberts.

This is hardly a new complaint – fandom has always muttered darkly into its real ale about the shunning of science fiction by the literary establishment, and this year saw some Guardian book bloggers attempt to redress the imbalance by running an open-nomination “Not The Booker” Prize (only to see all the genre titles swiftly voted out of the running, natch) – but to have it appear on the pages of New Scientist is an interesting development. Indeed, NS seems to be quite deliberately aligning itself with a science fictional/futurist mindset of late; perhaps the editorial team are equally convinced of sf’s didactic and educational powers as Robinson is?

Personally, I’ve always felt that prizes and public acceptance are overrated, and that science fiction does itself a disservice by chasing after them; Robinson appears to me to be taking a similar stance. I’ve never picked books because they won awards; personal recommendation has always carried far more weight, ever since I was quite young.

And if we truly believe that science fiction has the power and potential to open minds (and change them), isn’t the sincere recommendation of a book from friend to friend the best form of evangelism? To use an analogy with science itself: many of the greatest scientific innovators achieved their leaps of progress in spite of great public opposition and the opprobrium of the establishment; rather than kowtow and beg for crumbs of approval, they just knuckled down and got on with it, fueled by their own defiance, converting their few faithful supporters through their unflappable loyalty to their own ideas.

Don’t get me wrong, here: I’d love to see the authors I admire being paid more, or being interviewed as insightful pundits rather than geeky fringe artists who are good for ridiculous out-of-context quotations. I’d love to see science fiction as a powerful and accepted part of modern cultural discourse… but I don’t think it’ll ever achieve that through us pleading for legitimacy on its behalf.

As recent events have shown, hearts and minds aren’t won with shock and awe; they’re won with honesty and sincerity. If you care enough about science fiction that you want to see it read more widely and appreciated as something more than simple escapist entertainment, don’t waste your time storming the ramparts of the crumbling ivory tower of literature, or decrying the inevitably populist results of fan-voted awards. Instead, try to convert one other book-lover. If all of us managed to do that, we’d double the power of the genre almost overnight, and weaken the factional schisms within it at the same time.

Rant over. 😉


SF Awards – rubbish.

Adam Roberts @ 28-01-2009

The Adam Roberts Project

A new year is upon us, which means in the happy lands of SF the first prize shortlists are peeking over the lip of their nests. Here’s the BSFA shortlist; Clarke, Nebula, Hugo and Phil Dick are all in the offing, sifting through 2008’s output to boil it down to a list of the best of the best.

Award shortlists are all rubbish.

Let me explain what I mean. Continue reading “SF Awards – rubbish.”


Nebula Award winners announced

Tomas Martin @ 28-04-2008

Chabon has moved to embrace genre writing over the last few yearsOver the weekend, the Nebula Awards Ceremony took place in Austin Texas. Hosted by the Science Fiction Writer’s Association of America (SFWA), the following excellent works from last year won the top prizes:

Novel: The Yiddish Policemen’s Union – Chabon, Michael (HarperCollins, May07)

Novella: “Fountain of Age” – Kress, Nancy (Asimov’s, Jul07)

Novelette: “The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate”
– Chiang, Ted (F&SF, Sep07)

Short Story: “Always” – Fowler, Karen Joy (Asimov’s, apr/may07)

Script: Pan’s Labyrinth – del Toro, Guillermo (Time/Warner, Jan07)

Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Rowling, J. K. (Scholastic Press, Jul07)

Damon Knight Grand Master for 2008: Michael Moorcock

Personally I’m delighted to see Chabon and del Toro get recognised for their work. The Yiddish Policeman’s Union is a tremendously rich alternative history detailing a Jewish settlement in Sitka Alaska coming to the end of its 50 year lease.

[via Ellen Datlow, book cover via amazon]


Nebula final ballot revealed

Tomas Martin @ 22-02-2008

This year’s Nebula nominees have been released. The winners will be announced in April after the ceremony in Austin, Texas.

Novels:
Odyssey – McDevitt, Jack (Ace, Nov06)
The Accidental Time Machine – Haldeman, Joe (Ace, Aug07)
The Yiddish Policemen’s Union – Chabon, Michael (HarperCollins, May07)
The New Moon’s Arms – Hopkinson, Nalo (Warner Books, Feb07)
Ragamuffin – Buckell, Tobias (Tor, Jun07)

Novellas:
“Kiosk” – Sterling, Bruce (F&SF, Jan07)
“Memorare” – Wolfe, Gene (F&SF, Apr07)
“Awakening” – Berman, Judith (Black Gate 10, Spr07)
“Stars Seen Through Stone” – Shepard, Lucius (F&SF, Jul07)
“The Helper and His Hero” – Hughes, Matt (F&SF, Feb07 & Mar07)
“Fountain of Age” – Kress, Nancy (Asimov’s, Jul07)

Novelettes:
“The Fiddler of Bayou Teche” – Sherman, Delia (Coyote Road, Trickster Tales, Viking Juvenile, Jul07)
“Pol Pot’s Beautiful Daughter” – Ryman, Geoff (F&SF, Nov06)
“The Evolution of Trickster Stories Among the Dogs Of North Park After the Change” – Johnson, Kij (Coyote Road, Trickster Tales, Viking Juvenile, Jul07)
“Safeguard” – Kress, Nancy (Asimov’s, Jan07)
“The Children’s Crusade” – Bailey, Robin Wayne (Heroes in Training, DAW, Sep07)
“The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate” – Chiang, Ted (F&SF, Sep07)
” Child, Maiden, Mother, Crone” – Bramlett, Terry (Jim Baen’s Universe 7, June 2007)

Short Stories:
“Unique Chicken Goes In Reverse” – Duncan, Andy (Eclipse 1: New Science Fiction And Fantasy, Night Shade Books, Oct07)
“Titanium Mike Saves the Day” – Levine, David D. (F&SF, Apr07)
“Captive Girl” – Pelland, Jennifer (Helix: A Speculative Fiction Quarterly, Fall06 Issue #2)
“Always” – Fowler, Karen Joy (Asimov’s, apr/may07)
“Pride” – Turzillo, Mary (Fast Forward 1, Pyr, February 2007)
“The Story of Love” – Nazarian, Vera (Salt of the Air, Prime Books, Sep06)

Scripts:
Children of Men – Cuaron, Alfonso & Sexton, Timothy J. and Arata, David and Fergus, Mark & Ostby, Hawk (Universal Studios, Dec06)
The Prestige – Nolan, Christopher and Nolan, Jonathan (Newmarket Films, Oct06 based on the novel by Christopher Priest)
Pan’s Labyrinth – del Toro, Guillermo (Time/Warner, Jan07)
V for Vendetta – Wachowski, Larry & Wachowski, Andy (Warner Films, Mar06 Written by the Wachowski Brothers, based on the graphic novel illustrated by David Lloyd and published by Vertigo/DC Comics)
World Enough and Time – Zicree, Marc Scott and Michael Reaves, Michael (Star Trek: New Voyages, www.startreknewvoyages.com, Aug07)
Blink – Moffat, Steven (Doctor Who, BBC/The Sci-Fi Channel, Sep07)

Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy:
The True Meaning of Smek Day – Rex, Adam (Hyperion, Oct07)
The Lion Hunter – Wein, Elizabeth (Viking Juvenile, Jun07 (The Mark of Solomon, Book 1))
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Rowling, J. K. (Scholastic Press, Jul07)
The Shadow Speaker – Okorafor-Mbachu, Nnedi (Jump At The Sun, Sep07)
Into the Wild – Durst, Sarah Beth (Penguin Razorbill, Jun07)
Vintage: A Ghost Story – Berman, Steve (Haworth Positronic Press, Mar07)
Flora Segunda: Being the Magickal Mishaps of a Girl of Spirit, Her Glass- Gazing Sidekick, Two Ominous Butlers (One Blue), a House with Eleven Thousand Rooms, and a Red Dog – Wilce, Ysabeau S. (Harcourt, Jan07)[via about 50,000 writers’ livejournals]


Next Page »