The 2015 BSFA Best Novel Rundown: My Thoughts

The 2015 BSFA Award winners were announced this weekend! Here’s my rundown on the Best Novel shortlist.

After discovering new favorites on previous BSFA award lists, and thoroughly enjoying five-eighths of the BSFA Best Novel shortlist last year, I finally got myself a BSFA membership, perhaps becoming the only Texas member of the British Science Fiction Association. I didn’t nominate or vote because it just doesn’t feel right to do so as an outsider, but I do like to play along and support things I like. Call me a shadow member.

I didn’t experience as much delight with this year’s BSFA Best Novel list, (and no, I haven’t yet touched the short fiction nominees, though I might do a rundown of the really fab nonfiction nominees later on), but this selection of novels is way more interesting than this year’s Hugo list that hasn’t been determined yet but I’m probably right.

Anyway, here are my thoughts on the 2015 British Science Fiction Association Best Novel shortlist: Continue reading

2016 SF Book Awards Update: The Kitschies and The Nebulas

We are well into the 11 months of SF Book Award Season. Adding to the PKD Award shortlist, which I didn’t cover because it’s always a weird list that I never know what to make of it, and the BSFA Award shortlist, which I talk about all the time, the Nebulas and the Kitschies have now arrived.

The Nebula Rundown Continue reading

BSFA Awards 2015 Shortlist Announced

The biggest, the most exciting, the most SUPER event of the year! So THAT’S why they were out of party foods at the grocery store today…

The British Science Fiction Association announced the shortlist nominees for the 2015 BSFA Awards. The winners will be announced on March 26 at Mancunicon (Eastercon) in Manchester. This is one of my favorite SF book awards to follow, a great place to discover and celebrate excellent and sophisticated speculative fiction. The BSFA isn’t immune to cheesy sci-fi, but it’s not the pasteurized disappointment certain other big name SF book awards prove to be year after year.

The 2015 BSFA shortlists….

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Recommended Recommended Reading Lists, plus Locus List Addendum

On Monday, the long-awaited Locus Recommended Reading list hit the digital cosmos, and everyone gathered ’round to see if their favorites made the cut. Locus coverage often feels a little stale to me, but the publication of this list is exciting because it essentially kicks off SF book award season. I have learned to anticipate its release during my short history of SF book award voyeurism.

The 2015 Locus List is pleasing in some ways, perplexing in others, but short-reaching and predictable in almost all the ways. It’s a good place to start, but the Locus list is the beaten path, and not the place to go for discovery if you’ve been paying attention to buzz all year. Along with great reading recommendation responsibility comes great book lover criticism– that’s how the saying goes, right?– so I’m sure there’s been plenty of “but what about–?” omission nods from fellow readers. I saw a few surprising omissions I’d like to acknowledge, as well as some other recommended reading lists that venture away from the generic and routine.

SURPRISING OMISSIONS
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Claire North wins the John W. Campbell Memorial Award!

TheFirstFifteenLivesofHarryAugustThe John W. Campbell Memorial Award was announced this weekend and Catherine Webb took the prize. The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August was easily one of the best and most satisfying SF novels of 2014 and well done to Catherine Webb (aka Claire North) for winning! Recognized on several shortlists, and competing against many well-deserved finalists for this particular award, I’m happy to see this well-written novel finally get some award recognition!

Here’s my quickie-review, and here’s more info on the award and the list of finalists.

 

 

 

Annihilation Wins a Nebbie!

southernreach1Toastmaster Nick Offerman thinks we should start calling them “Nebbies,” and I’m all for it.

I stayed up past my bedtime to watch the Nebula Awards online last night, which was more entertaining than some book award ceremonies I’ve seen. The comedian-hosted event was quick and somewhat funny, albeit a bit too heavy on the gay sex jokes and awfully light on any jokes remotely related to the content of the program. (There was a funny Three-Body Problem pick-up line he used. That’s about it.) I wish Offerman had been a bit more knowledgeable about the nominated books, but after the whole Jonathan Ross/Hugo controversy last year, I was happy to see SFWA welcome a comedian to the stage.

(Say what you want about Jonathan Ross, but I think he might have been daring enough to make some biting, underhanded quips about the whole SP affair.)

Joanna Russ won a posthumous Solstice Award, which Mary Anne Mohanraj accepted in her honor and shared some powerful anecdotes about working with Russ. And, in case we might worry that the ceremony was getting too cosmopolitan and sophisticated, Larry Niven, (dear, dear Larry Niven) won the Damon Knight Grand Master Award.

Other Winners:

Best Short Story: “Jackalope Wives” by Ursula Vernon

Best Novelette: “A Guide to the Fruits of Hawai’i” by Alaya Dawn Johnson (she also won the Andre Norton Award for Best YA novel)

Best Novella: Yesterday’s Kin by Nancy Kress

Best Novel: Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

VanderMeer wasn’t present to accept his award, but his speech included an appeal for more attention to international, non-Anglocentric SF, and he also thanked fans for keeping him off the Hugo shortlist this year. Too funny.

Much as I had problems with Annilhilation, VanderMeer’s novel about fungal terroir-ism is the most deserving and Nebbie-rific novel in the category. I am pleased as pestilence-inducing, supernatural mildew that Annihilation won. And, after Chaos Horizon’s post this morning, I think perhaps Annihilation wasn’t weird enough for me and I need to try VanderMeer’s other works.

Click here for the full list of winners and nominees.

Introducing the 2014 BSFA Best Novel Shortlist Review Series

BSFA-logo-with-Celebration-slice_v2_2An American WereReader in CyberLondon

Uck, horrible. No.

*****

Putting a temporary hold on my normal vintage review fare to share my thoughts on the rich and varied 2014 British Science Fiction Association shortlist. Over the next couple of weeks, as we count down to Eastercon and the BSFA ceremony in April, I’ll be posting a series of infobyte-style reviews of the novels on the 2014 BSFA shortlist.

Why infobyte reviews? Because eight books, the BSFA. Eight.

europeinautumntheracecuckoosongTheMoonKing

lagoonancillarySwordTheFirstFifteenLivesofHarryAugustwolves1

 (Now you know why I’ve been so quiet lately.)

Above is the order in which I will be posting these reviews, probably Monday through Thursday for the next two weeks.

Did I love them all? Nope! So my concerns about sounding too squee-happy were unfounded, thank goodness. BUT, there is something for everyone on this diverse list of undeniably progressive and intelligent speculative fiction. I strongly encourage all readers to sample something.

See you tomorrow, when we will begin with David Hutchinson’s Europe in Autumn!