It was a busy weekend on the SF awards front. The Gemmell Awards longlist was announced on Friday and the Nebula Award winners were announced on Saturday. The Gemmell Awards are fantasy-only and anyone can vote. Voting on the longlist will be used to compile a shortlist for which there will be another round of voting. Three awards are given: The Morningstar Award for Best Debut Fantasy Novel in English, The Ravenheart Award for Best Fantasy Cover Art, and The Legend Award for Best Fantasy Novel. The David Gemmell Awards also have the coolest trophies of any set of awards. Here are the longlists for the Legend Award, the Morningstar Award, and the Ravenheart Award.
The Nebulas are voted on by the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) and the categories are Novel, Novella, Novelette, Short Story, Dramatic Presentation, and Young Adult. Works of science fiction, fantasy, and the assorted subgenres are eligible. You can find the finalists and winners here.
Some quick thoughts:
From the Legend Award longlist, I’ve read Twelves Kings in Sharakhai by Brad Beaulieu, The Dread Wyrm by Miles Cameron, The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard, The Autumn Republic by Brian McClellan, Uprooted by Naomi Novik, and Shadows of Self
by Brandon Sanderson, and I’m currently reading The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher. Those are all strong works, but The Dread Wyrm and Uprooted stand well clear of the pack (both were on my Hugo Awards nomination ballot). I also have copies of Black Wolves, A Crown for Cold Silver, and The Mechanical, and I’m excited about Son of the Black Sword, Knight’s Shadow, and The Fifth Season (the latter two of which I will be reading for Hugo Awards voting). Of course I may never get to many of those. I haven’t read any of the Morningstar Award nominees, although I have a copy of Battlemage.
I might blog and vote on the Gemmell Awards this year. I really like reading, thinking about, and blogging on award nominees. Even though I am a fantasy fan first, I like that the Hugo Awards are broad-based—it introduces me to great stuff that I otherwise wouldn’t read. But with the turmoil around the Hugo Awards I don’t know that it will continue to be fun to discuss. But I’m pretty well committed to doing so this year, so whether I blog on the Gemmell Awards shortlist may depend on how many books there are on it that I’ve read already. It’s a tall order if I have to read every nominee within five weeks, especially if several entries are latter books in a series.
The Nebula Awards are interesting in part because there was a fair amount of overlap with the Hugo Awards finalists and probably would have been more sans Puppies. There were three shared nominees for best novel, and one of those, Uprooted, won. I’ve only read two of the Nebula finalists (The Grace of Kings being the other), but Uprooted is so far and away my favorite book from the past several years that I feel pretty happy about the SWFA pick. I hadn’t read any of the shorter fiction finalists, although I have a copy of Wings of Sorrow and Bone and I read Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers on Sunday morning (available online for free here). It’s well crafted and crawling with creepy imagery and an enjoyable read once you get past an appearance of being written for the sort of person who reads fiction checklist in hand. Is it the best speculative fiction short story published in the past year? I don’t know about that, but the usual caveats regarding awards apply. Alyssa Wong was nominated for the Campbell Award and I do look forward to reading more of her work (she is a short fiction specialist, as I understand it). The novella winner, Binti, is another Hugo Awards finalist that I look forward to reading.