Last day to nominate for best of 2012

As of when I post this, there is slightly less than 24 hours in which to nominate the best UK sf of 2012 for the BSFA Awards.

Works nominated thus far are listed here, but don’t let that limit your suggestions. Equally, don’t assume that a book already nominated will necessarily have enough nominations to make the shortlists without your contribution. Only BSFA members can nominate, but this year’s Eastercon attendees will be able to vote as well on which piece will win each of the four awards from the most-nominated works.

P.S. I note that thus far, only four novels by women have been nominated for best novel of 2012, as opposed to 34 by men. I suspect this is the aftermath of the paucity of contracts held by UK women sf authors a couple of a years ago; but that doesn’t mean the current nominations exhaust works worth considering for nomination.

Vector 271 goes to press!

Vector 271, the last issue of 2012 (technically), is now at the publishers, along with the latest issue of Focus! They’re still on track to be delivered in January.

Speaking of BSFA mailings, we’ll be sending out the BSFA Awards Booklet in late February/early March, regardless of whether or not Vector 272 is ready to go then, to make sure members receive the booklet in plenty of time before Eastercon and the voting deadline.

What will you be voting for? Well, that depends on what’s nominated – and how frequently it’s nominated – in the first place. You have until THIS Friday, January 11th, to submit your nominations for the best novel, short story, artwork, and non-fiction work of 2012.

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!

Updates

Vector

Thanks to the assistance of yet another layout volunteer, Vector 271, the last issue of 2012, will be coming out in January 2013, along with a guest-edited version of Focus. Vector 272 should follow a month or two later, along with the BSFA Award Booklet.

BSFA Awards Nominations

The deadline for the BSFA Awards Nominations is January 13, 2013. BSFA members should nominate early and often!  Works currently nominated are available to peruse here. Don’t take for granted that if your favourite sf book, short story, work of non-fiction, or artwork is on that list that it will receive enough nominations to make the shortlists. Equally, if a work worthy of nomination isn’t on that list, consider it your personal responsibility to nominate it so that it is.

Divine Endurance: Flowerdust Edition

Gwyneth Jones has revised her first sf novel, Divine Endurance, collating it with its companion novel Flowerdust. Divine Endurance was the first novel published under her own name, in 1984. The edited pair are available and, more specifically, available for free today on Amazon.co.uk!

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.

Advanced voting for the BSFA Awards closes today

If you’re not attending Eastercon this year, then today, Monday 2 April, is the last day to vote on the BSFA Awards, by email or online form.  If you’re attending Eastercon, you can vote on site by paper ballot up until noon on the day of the ceremony, i.e. Sunday, 8 April. Both BSFA members and Eastercon members can vote at the convention.

The newest BSFA mailing is starting to arrive, and along with it, the BSFA Awards booklet, which will hopefully help you make up your mind as to what to vote for in the Awards’ four categories.

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!

Eastercon on track to sell out this week

For the first time ever, so far as anyone I’ve talked to can remember, Eastercon is due to sell out before the convention. This means there will be no memberships whatsoever, whether for the weekend or day passes, available at the convention itself, unless pre-bought. None at all.

If you’d like to attend this year’s BSFA Awards, on Sunday, 8 April at 6 pm at this year’s Eastercon, Olympus 2012, you’d better get your membership if you don’t already have it.

As a reminder, all Eastercon members can also vote for the BSFA Awards! But you don’t have to attend to do that, so long as you are a BSFA member and submit your votes by the 2nd of April.

If all goes to plan, you should even have the awards booklet by then. The printers started printing it this weekend.

Update: Eastercon memberships are selling fast enough that they are likely to be sold out before this time tomorrow/Tuesday!