BSFA News: Awards and Party

Or, in chronological order, Tony Keen has news about a party:

On Wednesday 26th November 2008, from around 7pm


The Melton Mowbray (18, Holborn, London, ec1n 2le)

BSFA 50th anniversary party

Including the announcement of the winner of the BSFA Short Story competition


(No entry fee or tickets. Non-members welcome. There will be a raffle.)

(Note one-time only change of venue.)

And Donna Scott wants nominations for the awards:

BSFA Awards 2008 – Nominations

The rules
You may nominate a work if YOU:
— Are a member of the BSFA
— Send or give your nominations to the Awards Administrator to arrive by January 16th 2009.

Best Novel
The Best Novel award is open to any novel-length work of science fiction or fantasy that has been published in the UK for the first time in 2008. (Serialised novels are eligible, provided that the publication date of the concluding part is in 2008). If a novel has been previously published elsewhere, but it hasn’t been published in the UK until 2008, it is eligible.

Best Short Fiction
The Best Short Fiction award is open to any shorter work of science fiction or fantasy, up to and including novellas, first published in 2008 (in a magazine, in a book, or online). This includes books and magazines published outside the UK.

Best Artwork
The Best Artwork award is open to any single science fictional or fantastic image that first appeared in 2008. Again, provided the artwork hasn’t been published before 2008 it doesn’t matter where it appears.

Best Non-Fiction
The Best Non-Fiction award is open to any written work about science fiction and/or fantasy which appeared in its current form in 2008, in print or online. Whole collections comprised of work that has been published elsewhere previous to 2008 are ineligible.

Subject to these other rules, you may nominate as many pieces as you like in any category, but you may only submit one nomination for any particular piece.

The shortlists for these four awards will be comprised from the five works in each category that receive the most individual nominations by the deadline. Works published by the BSFA, or in association with the BSFA, are ineligible for a BSFA award. The deadline for me to receive nominations will be midnight, Friday January 16th 2009.

Your nominations can reach me in several ways. Perhaps the easiest is by email – I can be reached at It would be helpful if you can write the award category, author or artist, title, and the source (i.e. the publisher or magazine). There are columns for this information on the form that should have gone out with this mailing for those who would prefer to use snail mail. All nominations must be received in writing, and must include your name to be accepted.

16 thoughts on “BSFA News: Awards and Party

  1. Whole collections comprised of work that has been published elsewhere previous to 2008 are ineligible.

    Well, that’s me out of the running for the Non-Fiction Award. Is this a new rule? I don’t remember it in previous years?

  2. Well, that would be a sophistical way of looking at it, yes. Out of 32 essays, six are previously unpublished, which means that the book is largely made up of previously published material. I am not sure I would consider that eligible under these rules.

  3. I could see it going either way — time for a ruling from the administrator, I think. (Of course, even if the collection as a whole is ruled ineligible, the original essays would be eligible.)

  4. Further to Paul’s comment, I’d note that these criteria would also rule out the Gary Wolfe book Soundings that won a couple of years back.

  5. Well, no; the introduction was original, so if the decision is that the “whole book” part of the rules is intended to exclude pure reprint collections only, then Soundings would be eligible.

    That said, I am not the award administrator, and I’m not sure what relevance the eligibility criteria for an earlier iteration of the award which followed a different process is, anyway.

  6. The administrator says:

    I am happy to take nominations for the collection as it is not a “Whole [collection] comprised of work that has been published elsewhere previous to 2008”.

    I don’t care about sophistry or any other method of making cushions.

  7. That’s nice for me, thank you.

    But it doesn’t really answer the more general point, which Graham also raised in relation to Gary Wolfe. Practically all non-fiction books, at least those dealing with literary criticism, will contain material that has been previously published, because that’s how ideas are tried out. Bringing them together doesn’t necessarily change their content, but it puts them into a context as part of a continuing argument that is fresh. So I am really worried that this rule is unnecessarily narrowing the range of works eligible for the award. It would, as Graham points out, exclude Gary Wolfe’s BSFA Award Winner, it would also exclude a number of John Clute’s books.

    Since these collections can also consist of material previously published in non-genre locations, in academic journals, or (as in the case of one piece in my book) in a magazine with a print run of just 6, it is also unlikely that voters will have had much chance to see all of this material before volume publication.

  8. But what percentage of the collection needs to be new to allow it to be no longer regarded as a “Whole collection comprised of work that has been published elsewhere previous to 2008”? Presumably not just bunging on an introduction (although obviously one could nominate the introduction for the award in its own right). I hope that half a dozen new or rare pieces in Paul’s book makes it eligible.

    I would hope that collections of reviews by Clute, Wolfe, Kincaid, Harrison, Russ, Broderick, Jones should be eligible for the year in which the collection is produced even though all of the reviews are reprints; the collecting act is the crucial point, and it’s that that gives the work its award-worthy gravitas.

  9. The rules say “whole collection”. Which should (and on the precedent of Soundings does) mean anything less that 100% reprint makes a work eligible. So bunging on an introduction is enough (again, precedent of Soundings).

  10. Well, yes. If we’re going to apply the word “whole” literally, then new collections by Clute, Wolfe et al would (on past form) be eligible, since they tend to contain new introductions, at least. The interesting test case would actually be Russ’s The Country You Have Never Seen (2007) which, unless memory fails, is comprised solely of material previously published. This eligibility criterion would rule it out, and I myself think it ought at least to be available for recognition by the BSFA.

    So…would the non-fic award be damaged simply by deleting the second sentence from the text above? I’d argue that it wouldn’t.

  11. I kinda like it being there as a block to taking the piss completely. Perhaps the solution is to add the word ‘normally’, thus keeping the criterion but allowing the Administrator flexibility to make exceptions. But it’s down to the current Administrator to make that decision. And I’m not sure that this is something we need to worry about too much, until something is excluded that plainly shouldn’t be.

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