I dissembled slightly when I wrote that more people nominated for the best novel category than any other. It’s true – but it’s not true by very many.
This year, 40 BSFA members nominated a total of 97 short stories for the BSFA Award for Short Story, or a little less than 7% of the BSFA’s members. This is the category with the greatest number of nominations per nominator on average. In no other category did nominators average over two nominations per person.
In a fit of impressive serendipity, the same number of short stories were nominated this year as last, 97 both times. The attentive may notice I said the same thing about the novel category, 60 and 60 nominated novels. Lest you think I am mixing my list of statistics, I swear there is major divergence in the non-fiction category coming up. The year before last, 88 short stories were nominated.
The number of short stories being nominated certainly shows great health – if lack of an initial consensus – in the field. The number of people reading those short stories, however, or at least the number of short story readers bothering to nominate, is down from last year, more so than the few by which the novel category was down. Last year, 47 people nominated short stories for the award ballot; this year, only 40 of them did.
On the bright side, as far as the authors of the four short stories which made the shortlist are concerned, those stories did so under by far the most competitive circumstances. A mere 4.1% of the nominated short stories made it onto the ballot!
Those four short stories are all available online. In addition, they will be sent to BSFA members in the next mailing, so there are multiple ways to read them – including in their original publications – and consider voting on them. Both BSFA members and Illustrious (Eastercon 2011) members are eligible to vote for the BSFA awards.