2012 BSFA Award Shortlists

The shortlists for the 2012 BSFA Awards are out!

We’ll be sending out the now-traditional BSFA Awards booklet in February to help BSFA members consider the shortlists in more detail. The booklets will also be available at Eastercon. 2013 Eastercon members are, in addition to BSFA members, eligible to vote for the winners.

The winners will be announced at EightSquared, the 2013 Eastercon (29th March-1st April 2013), Cedar Court Hotel, Bradford this Easter, in a ceremony hosted by London Falling novelist, Paul Cornell.

The shortlisted nominees are:

Best Novel

Dark Eden by Chris Beckett (Corvus)
Empty Space: a Haunting by M. John Harrison (Gollancz)
Intrusion by Ken Macleod (Orbit)
Jack Glass by Adam Roberts (Gollancz)
2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit)

Best Short Story

Immersion” by Aliette de Bodard (Clarkesworld #69)
“The Flight of the Ravens” by Chris Butler (Immersion Press)
Song of the body Cartographer” by Rochita Loenen-Ruiz (Phillipines Genre Stories)
“Limited Edition” by Tim Maughan (1.3, Arc Magazine)
Three Moments of an Explosion” by China Mieville (Rejectamentalist Manifesto)
Adrift on the Sea of Rains” by Ian Sales (Whippleshield Books)

 

Best Artwork

Ben Baldwin for the cover of Dark Currents (Newcon Press)
Blacksheep for the cover of Adam Roberts’s Jack Glass (Gollancz)
Dominic Harman for the cover of Eric Brown’s Helix Wars (Rebellion)
Joey Hifi for the cover of Simon Morden’s Thy Kingdom Come (Jurassic London)
Si Scott for the cover artwork for Chris Beckett’s Dark Eden (Corvus)

Best Non-Fiction

“The Complexity of the Humble Space Suit” by Karen Burnham (Rocket Science, Mutation Press)
The Widening Gyre” by Paul Kincaid (Los Angeles Review of Books)
The Cambridge Companion to Fantasy Literature by Edward James and Farah Mendlesohn (Cambridge University Press)
The Shortlist Project by Maureen Kincaid Speller
The World SF Blog, Chief Editor Lavie Tidhar

The official BSFA announcement post is here.

New Year’s Nominations

I’m a big believer in making new year’s resolutions with very clear end points. I want to know that I’ve achieved them. Move countries. Buy a scale. That kind of thing.

A good candidate for a resolution with a clear goal is award nominations. Submit at least one nomination for at least one science fiction award in 2013.

You have only ten more days to nominate works for the BSFA Awards; its deadline is January 11th. If you haven’t already, and can think of one or more worthy nominees (which you didn’t create yourself) in the categories of novel published in the UK, short story, artwork, or non-fiction, then go forth and nominate.  Don’t assume that just because someone else has

If you’re a member of 2014’s Loncon3 (and many of you are!), then you also have the right to nominate for this year’s Hugo awards. Voting on the winners is restricted to members of this year’s Worldcon, LonestarCon3, but until Sunday, March 10, 2013, 11:59 p.m. EDT, the nominations are open.

Whether or not you make a resolution to do so this year, consider nominating anyways. Relatively often, the exact makeup of the shortlists (especially for the BSFA Award, but also for some of the less-nominated-for categories of the Hugos) can be decided by a single nomination.

Happy 2013!

Tentacular Grapplings

This post is the first in a series here on Torque Control from Ian Whates.

***

The world of awards seems to be an ever-expanding one, with more and more accolades being presented in every field going. Genre fiction is no exception. In this country alone we have the BSFA Awards, the Clarke, the Gemmells, the British Fantasy Awards, the James White Award, and that’s not even considering global awards such as the Hugos, Nebulas, World Fantasy and Stoker awards, or those voted on by the readers of various magazines… So is there really room for another set of awards?

The Kitschies are the new kids on the block, and their organisers would argue that there certainly is. 2011’s winners were announced at a ceremony during the SFX weekender in February 2012, and, with an expanding set of categories and increasing prize money, the Kitschies are certainly hard to ignore. We asked the organisers, Anne Perry and Jared Shurin, to tell us a bit about the awards and to explain why they’re so different. In particular, they’ve focussed on the Golden Tentacle, awarded for best debut novel.

As a follow-up to this, we’ll be taking a look at each of the novels shortlisted for the Golden Tentacle over the next few months, to get an idea of what makes the Kitschies tick.

“The Kitschies’ shortlists are selected based on strict criteria: progressive, intelligent and entertaining books with elements of the speculative or fantastic. Within those terms, we try to err on the side of inclusivity, and allow each year’s judges the freedom to bring in their own perspective.

Although debut novels are judged by the same criteria (progressive, intelligent, entertaining), they’re a separate category for several reasons. The first is for the authors. There’s something warm and cuddly about discovery. We get to encourage new talent, authors who may not already have an existing audience or support structure. Bringing new books to readers’ attention: that’s the best thing that any award can do.

The second is for the books. This oversimplifies things terribly, but there are different expectations of a debut novel. These are new voices; writers who are challenging their categories in order to wedge their way onto crowded shelves. New authors have to work even harder to get readers’ attention – they need to be brasher, louder, more aggressive. The resulting books are often more raw: shoutier, less polished but, in many cases, also more daring.

The third is for the judges. This is the fun category. Everything is new; the expectations are different. With a debut novel, there are no middle volumes in long series; less predisposition, hype and (hopefully) scandal. In our oversaturated marketing environment, reading a debut is as close as we can get to judging in a vacuum. There’s just the text itself, and whatever surprises it may hold.

The 2011 finalists were an exceptionally diverse group containing (if you’ll pardon the labels): space opera, paranormal romance, epic fantasy, YA and splatterpunk horror. Of course, none of them fit neatly within the boundaries, and if there’s one thing that unites all five titles, it is the fact that they aggressively challenge readers’ assumptions. Several of these titles have gone on to be nominated for – and win – other awards, while others have crept along more quietly.

The Kitschies’ mission is not to dictate taste, but to encourage discussion. For that very reason (and others), we’re grateful to the BSFA for setting up this series. Whether or not you agree with our panel’s selections (and we expect that not everyone will), we hope you enjoy the conversation.” – Anne and Jared.

Guess-the-Arthur-C-Clarke-Award-Shortlist Contest Winner

At long, long last, SCI-FI London begins today, the winner of the Arthur C Clarke Award will be announced on Wednesday, and we have a winner for the Guess-the-Clarke Shortlist contest!

Thanks to the generosity of the Clarke Award, the winner will receive a copy of every book on the shortlist.

Three entries, submitted by Nicholas Whyte, Duncan Lawie, and Kenny Lucius, tied for first place, with four correct guesses each. For comparative purposes, I note that all three correctly guessed Embassytown and Rule 34.

Contest judge Tom Hunter has drawn the winning name from the hat… and the winner is Duncan Lawie!

BSFA Awards Winners

Congratulations to all those who won the BSFA Awards for work produced in 2011!

Best Non-Fiction: The SF Encyclopedia, third edition (beta), edited by John Clute, Peter Nicholls, David Langford and Graham Sleight.
Best Artwork: Cover of Ian Whates’s The Noise Revealed by Dominic Harman (Solaris)
Best Short Fiction: “The Copenhagen Interpretation” by Paul Cornell (Asimov’s, July)
Best Novel published in Britain: The Islanders by Christopher Priest (Gollancz)

At Eastercon, as well as four other conventions held that same weekend, the Hugo shortlists were announced. The BSFA Award winners for best non-fiction and best short fiction both made that ballot, so their fans will have another opportunity to vote for them, should they wish!

Gollancz did extremely well this year, since they host/publish The SF Encyclopedia as well as The Islanders.

P.S. Please see the BSFA’s apology for the way the awards ceremony worked out.

Arthur C Clarke Award Shortlist 2012

The Waiting, Part I, is over, and this year’s Clarke Award shortlist is out. (Since it was released all of twelve hours ago, many or most of you reading this are already well-aware that it’s out.)

There are five members of the jury, which this year is comprised of Juliet E McKenna (BSFA), Martin Lewis (BSFA), Phil Nanson (SFF), Nikkianne Moody, SFF, and Rob Grant (SCI-FI-LONDON film festival), with Andrew M. Butler representing the Arthur C. Clarke Award as the Chair of Judges. The jury read the sixty books submitted to the award, ruled out the ones they considered to not be science fiction, and from the rest, chose what they collectively agreed (through however much argument and compromise) to be the best six works of science fiction published in Britain in 2011.

  • Greg Bear, Hull Zero Three (Gollancz)
  • Drew Magary, The End Specialist (Harper Voyager)
  • China Miéville, Embassytown (Macmillan)
  • Jane Rogers, The Testament of Jessie Lamb (Sandstone Press)
  • Charles Stross, Rule 34 (Orbit)
  • Sheri S.Tepper, The Waters Rising (Gollancz)

There’s plenty of commentary elsewhere about the items actually on the shortlist. I’ll be number-crunching all of the entries in the Guess the Shortlist contest in another day or so, although some of that analysis has already been done elsewhere.

There’ll be even more speculation available at the SFF’s Not-the-Clarke Award panel at Eastercon on Saturday, 7 April, at 17:30 (but only if you’re an Eastercon member this year; join now if you haven’t already and plan to attend, as they’re on course to sell out this week, before the convention.).

But meanwhile, speaking of the Clarke Award, have a look at its tasteful, newly-redesigned website!

Updates: Guess the Clarke shortlist, BSFA Awards, Spirit

It’s been an exciting week, with the guesses coming in as to what will be on this year’s Arthur C Clarke Award shortlist.

In posting her guesses to her blog as to what books might be on that shortlist, Nina Allan wrote,

What matters most about the Clarke is not who wins, but that it acts as a showcase for what is happening in SF now. As such, I believe it should take a pride in presenting writers who are prepared to risk themselves intellectually, stretch themselves imaginatively and hone their skills as writers to produce works of artistic originality and lasting literary power.

It is certainly not clear exactly which six books will be on the shortlist for this year’s, but every guess in the contest (ongoing until Sunday) is a contribution toward the wider discussion of “what is happening in SF now”.

What impresses me in particular about this year’s guesses so far is how wide-ranging they are. About two-thirds of the submitted books have appeared on one or more possible lists so far. It’s entirely possible that one or more of the currently unguessed books will be on that shortlist. Last year, only one person correctly guessed that Declare would be on it, after all.

For those of you who haven’t already entered the contest (and those of you thinking about the state of SF today), here are the currently unguessed-at books for your consideration:

Dead of Veridon by Tim Akers (Solaris)
Novahead by Steve Aylett (Scar Garden)
Sequence by Adrian Dawson (Last Passage)
The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan (Canongate)
Gods of Manhattan by Al Ewing (Abaddon Books)
Final Days by Gary Gibson (Tor UK)
Heaven’s Shadow by David S. Goyer & Michael Cassutt (Tor UK)
The Ironclad Prophecy by Pat Kelleher (Abaddon Books)
Shift by Tim Kring and Dale Peck (Bantam)
Echo City by Tim Lebbon (Orbit)
Nemonymous Nights by D.F. Lewis (Chomu Books)
The Age of Odin by James Lovegrove (Solaris)
The Shadow of the Soul by Sarah Pinborough (Gollancz)
The Straight Razor Cure by Daniel Polansky (Hodder and Stoughton)
Here Comes The Nice by Jeremy Reed (Chomu Books)
The Demi Monde: Winter by Rod Rees (Jo Fletcher Books)
War in Heaven by Gavin Smith (Gollancz)
The Noise Revealed by Ian Whates (Solaris)
Son of Heaven by David Wingrove (Corvus)

The contest is open for entries until this coming Sunday night, 11th March, at 23:59 GMT.

The Clarke Award isn’t the only thing going on right now. Hopefully, many of you are busy reading and examining the shortlists for the BSFA Awards, which will be announced on the Sunday of Eastercon this year. Forbidden Planet is offering discounts on all the novels on the shortlist. Also, the BSFA Awards short story booklet is on track to go out with the next mailing.

Finally, we never quite finished discussing all of the books we had planned to last year, here on Torque Control. We’ll be filling in those gaps this year, starting with Gwyneth Jones’ Spirit, toward the end of March.

Contest: Guess the 2012 Arthur C Clarke Award Shortlist

This contest is now CLOSED. Please check back in late March to find out what the actual shortlist is and which entry has won the contest.

The 2012 Arthur C Clarke Award Submissions list is out, and with it, as last year, a competition: guess the shortlist!

The winner, thanks to the generosity of the Arthur C Clarke Award, will receive copies of all six of this year’s shortlisted novels.

To enter, post a comment in reply to this post with a list of six books (no more, no fewer), selected from the list of sixty eligible submissions, along with a rationale as to why you think that shortlist will be the ones which the judges have chosen. Pingbacks won’t be accepted as entries.

Your rationale can be anything you like, whether brief or detailed, whether your guess is based on extensive reading or randomly guessing; but you must provide one in order to have a valid entry for this contest.

You may not enter this contest if you are a current Clarke award judge, a family member of a current judge, someone who has access to the currently-embargoed press release containing the shortlist, or if you are on the board of Serendip or the BSFA. You may not enter the contest multiple times: only your first entry will be entered into the contest. You are welcome to enter from wherever you are: the prize can be shipped internationially.

The winner will be the person who has correctly guessed the most shortlisted books. In the event of a tie, the winner will be randomly chosen by Tom Hunter, Clarke Award Director, from those who correctly guessed the most shortlisted books, and his decision in all aspects of the contest is final.

Tom Hunter has noted that he’s never correctly guessed the full shortlist. Last year, when we ran this contest for the 2011 Clarke Award shortlist, the most anyone guessed was four of the six shortlisted novels. Can you do better than that this year?

The deadline for your six guesses, posted as a reply to this post along with your rationale for your guess, will be 23:59 GMT on Sunday, 11th March.

BSFA Award Nominees: Short Story Club

Over at Everything is Nice, Martin Lewis is leading discussions of the nominees for the BSFA award for best short story of 2011 this week.

Links above are to the stories themselves, not this week’s posts about them.

Discussion of today’s story, Allan’s “The Silver Wind”, is already underway there if you’d like to join in.

Reading Books of 2012

With those extra days’ reprieve for online nomination for the BSFA Awards, I went back to see what I’d read that had been published in 2011. I knew it hadn’t been much. Six novels. Two short story collections.

I vowed I would do better this year.

The problem is, award season is such a distraction because it highlights all those interesting 2011 books I didn’t get around to reading in the calendar year itself, but which I bought, or noted, or for which I put in library requests. I want to finish reading the BSFA award shortlists. I’d like to read A Monster Calls, newly winner of the Red Tentacle at yesterday’s Kitschies. I know I’ll be tempted by the Clarke Award shortlist, the Hugo shortlists…. and it’s not as if one desire precludes the other goal.

Last year’s books are the shiny things I’m reading about right now, not the new ones, the potential winners of next years’ awards, the books which are only just beginning to be read. Last year’s are the ones I have handy already, the ones I know I’ll read at some point anyways, and I could just pick one up now since I already have it in the house….

I know it’ll be easier later in the year, when the awards peter out and novels published earlier in 2012 have had the time to accrue a critical mass of other peoples’ recommendations or reminders, in a way that the award-neglected books of Decembers’ publishings rarely do in time for the next round of award nominations.

There are still the better part of eleven months to go before other peoples’ “best of 2012” lists start appearing. But it sure feels like a betrayal of new resolution to begin 2012 by reading lots of last year’s books.