2009 BSFA Awards Shortlists

Best Novel

Ark cover Lavinia cover
The City & The City cover Yellow Blue Tibia cover

Ark by Stephen Baxter (Gollancz)
Lavinia by Ursula K Le Guin (Gollancz)
The City & The City by China Mieville (Macmillan)
Yellow Blue Tibia by Adam Roberts (Gollancz)

Best Short Fiction
Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast” by Eugie Foster (Interzone 220)
The Push by Dave Hutchinson (Newcon Press)
Johnnie and Emmie-Lou Get Married” by Kim Lakin-Smith (Interzone 222)
“Vishnu at the Cat Circus” by Ian McDonald (in Cyberabad Days, Gollancz)
The Beloved Time of Their Lives” [pdf link] by Ian Watson and Roberto Quaglia (in The Beloved of My Beloved, Newcon Press)
The Assistant” by Ian Whates (in The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction 3, ed. George Mann)

Best Artwork
Alternate cover art for 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (art project), Nitzan Klamer
Emerald” by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law
Cover of Desolation Road by Ian McDonald, by Stephan Martinière, jacket design by Jacqueline Nasso Cooke
Cover of Interzone 220, Adam Tredowski
Cover of Interzone 224, Adam Tredowski
Cover of Interzone 225, Adam Tredowski

Best Non-Fiction
Canary Fever by John Clute (Beccon)
I Didn’t Dream of Dragons” by Deepa D
Ethics and Enthusiasm” by Hal Duncan [Note: withdrawn from consideration]
“Mutant Popcorn” by Nick Lowe (Interzone)
A Short History of Fantasy by Farah Mendlesohn and Edward James (Middlesex University Press)

Congratulations to all the nominees! Note that there are only four nominees in the Best Novel category, and six nominees in the Best Short Fiction and Best Artwork categories due to ties for fifth place. The Awards will be presented at this year’s Eastercon, Odyssey.

“Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast” by Eugie Foster

IZ220 coverA more polished offering, about masks and made of masks, all the way down. How much to unmask here? Let’s say that structure – numbered sections, from one point of view – masks the real story, and trappings – Queen and court, available trades – mask the real setting. Masks themselves define the narrator each day, job and personality and gender. Every aspect of identity. They’re elaborate things, painted dressed-up colours: sable or ebony black, saffron yellow, jasper red, sapphire blue. Fun! Except when your job is to be tortured to death, perhaps.

One by one the masks are stripped away. “Imprint” isn’t the first clue, but may be the moment the story fully reconfigures itself in the mind. It’s a criminal offence to be in a position to hear that meaning of that word, of course, an illicit thrill: learning who’s running this dollhouse and how is forbidden. Suffice to say that there isn’t necessarily salvation in taking off the mask, in the certainty of “I”. That would be too easy. I liked the story for that, and for toying with me. It’s also available online, here.