BSFA Award Nominations So Far — Best Novel

As I have mentioned, the deadline for nominating in this year’s BFSA Awards is nearly upon us — just over a week to go. Full details are here, but the short version is that BFSA members should send their nominations, plus membership number (or failing that, postcode), to You can nominate in four categories — Best Novel, Best Short Fiction, Best Non-Fiction, and Best Artwork. Novels must have been published in the UK in 2009; the rest can have appeared anywhere in 2009.

Over the next four days I’m going to post the nominations received so far in each category, as a prompt to get people thinking, possibly last-minute reading, and nominating. Remember, inclusion on one of these lists means that something has received one or more nominations; the five items with the most nominations go forward to make the shortlist. You can make as many nominations as you want, so if you see something and think, oh yes, that was good, wasn’t it? — you should nominate it.

So, to start with: here’s what’s been nominated for Best Novel so far.

Twisted Metal by Tony Ballantyne (Tor UK)
Ark by Stephen Baxter (Gollancz)
Transition by Iain Banks (Little, Brown)
The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry (William Heinemann)
Moxyland by Lauren Beukes (Angry Robot)
The Accord by Keith Brooke (Solaris)
Xenopath by Eric Brown (Solaris)
The Naming of the Beasts by Mike Carey (Orbit)
Fire by Kristin Cashore (Gollancz)
Generation A by Douglas Coupland (William Heinemann)
Makers by Cory Doctorow (HarperCollins)
The Other Lands by David Anthony Durham (Doubleday)
Fragment by Warren Fahy (Harper)
Nova War by Gary Gibson (Tor UK)
The Magicians by Lev Grossman (William Heinemann)
Avilion by Robert Holdstock (Gollancz)
Spirit, or, The Princess of Bois Dormant by Gwyneth Jones (Gollancz) [download pdf]
Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan (David Fickling)
Lavinia by Ursula K Le Guin (Gollancz)
Journey into Space by Toby Litt (Penguin)
The Age of Ra by James Lovegrove (Solaris)
Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry (Gollancz)
Gardens of the Sun by Paul McAuley (Gollancz)
The City & The City by China Mieville (Macmillan)
The Ask & The Answer by Patrick Ness (Walker)
White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi (Picador)
Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett (Doubleday)
Yellow Blue Tibia by Adam Roberts (Gollancz)
Book of Secrets by Chris Roberson (Angry Robot)
Galileo’s Dream by Kim Stanley Robinson (Harper Voyager)
The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan (Gollancz)
The Girl with Glass Feet by Ali Shaw (Atlantic)
Drood by Dan Simmons (Quercus)
Far North by Marcel Theroux (Faber & Faber)
Ultrameta by Douglas Thompson (Eibonvale)
Slights by Kaaron Warren (Angry Robot)
In Great Waters by Kit Whitfield (Jonathan Cape)
One by Conrad Williams (Virgin)
Peter and Max: a Fables Novel by Bill Willingham (Titan)
Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding (Gollancz)

I confess: if “Vishnu at the Cat Circus” has received only one nomination, it is mine. I wonder whether I am the only one. (Per wordcount in the comments, it has been moved to the short fiction category.)

16 thoughts on “BSFA Award Nominations So Far — Best Novel

  1. Has it been determined that ‘vishnu at the cat circus’ is a novel rather than short fiction for these purposes? I’ll be nominating it too, but was unsure which category to put it in.

  2. Another interesting list; I’ve read maybe 13 of the list, browsed several unfamiliar titles which I have received but did not get excited enough to read them (the AR ones), have received but avoided some others, so essentially there are only 3 titles I am curious about – Ballantyne – first trilogy left me cold so have not tried this – Shaw and the McDonald piece – this one I have so will look at

    For me there is one title that towers above the rest and that’s Spirit who is just an amazing novel – it would be my top 09 sff novel by far and competing with Byatt’s TCB for #1 09 overall, but the December 30 08 pub date and my reading an arc in late 08 made it an 08 novel for me; after that White is for Witching would be my second choice and then the sf trio (Gibson, Roberts, McAuley) that I ranked in my top 11-20 sff novels of 09

    I loved the writing of In Great Waters but the protagonists skirted my suspension of disbelief; if they were maybe about 5 years older, so starting in their teens and ending in their 20’s and I would have appreciated this one much more

    Far North is well written but as with this kind of novel (post-apocalyptic or more generally sfnal written by non-sf authors who reinvent the wheel so to speak) it is very “gimmicky” and while Margaret Atwood or Jeanette Winterson have the narrative power to carry a novel that way, I felt Mr. Theroux failed a little short

    The Magicians was a minor disappointment – I felt it badly written and whiny to boot and the repetition of “Quentin this”, “Quentin that”, was like water-dripping torture on my eyes/ears, while I could not really get into either Flood or Ark very well

  3. Kev: I estimated the wordcount to be a bit over 36,000, which would put it within the 10% discretionary margin for the Hugo definition of a novel, at least. But my nomination is based on its complexity as much as its length.

  4. Isn’t Ark published by Gollancz? And Fragment is by Warren Fahy.

    Only read seven of these, but I’d be happy to see any of them on the shortlist. And quite surprised no one nominated Transistion.

  5. Interesting selection. Fragment by Warren Fahy, rather than Fahy Warren, is top of my list!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s