I focus on the Hugo Awards a lot, but of course they aren’t the only awards out there. I guess I like the Hugos because I can participate in them. I’d like to give a quick shout-out to some other award winners and nominees.
First off, the Locus Awards. I covered the announcement of the finalist, but now the winners have been announced here. Now, this is old news, so I’m mostly just going to bring up how convenient it is for my book bingo challenge that Middlegame won in the Best Fantasy category. I read Middlegame when it was announced as a Hugo finalist this year. Now that it has won this award, I can use it for one of my bingo tiles. When I made this challenge, I never envisioned a scenario where a book could suddenly fulfill a bingo challenge months after it had been read. Interesting that I can find weird gameplay workarounds in bingo.
Out of the winners in the five novel categories, the only one I haven’t read is the winner for Best Horror Novel, James Marlon’s Black Leopard, Red Wolf. Oddly though, from what little I knew of this book, I thought it was more a fantasy. I added it to my To Read list, but since it’s the start of a trilogy I’m still reluctant to check it out.
Another interesting award I found out about last month is the Cordwainer Smith Rediscovery Award. Most of the awards focus on current books, but this one seeks to draw attention to older writers whose work deserves more attention. Previous winners have included Olaf Stapledon and Leigh Brackett, as well as less well known writers.
This year’s winner was Rick Raphael, whose 1966 fix-up novel Code Three and 1960 novella Make Mine Homogenized were cited by the jury as significant works of his.I’ve never heard of him, and never heard of a lot of the previous winners, but I think I read and review project focused on these awards could be an interesting way to look at some older classics and forgotten gems.
The other big award ceremony to mention is the World Fantasy Awards, which have recently announced their finalists recently. The finalists can be found here, and the results will be announced virtual World Fantasy Convention at the end of October. Being entirely focused on fantasy, there are more unfamiliar works here for me. The two novels new to me (The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa and Queen of the Conquered by Kacen Callender) seem really interesting. Queen of the Conquered is the start of a trilogy though, so there is a bit of reluctance to pick it up anytime soon.
As I was getting this post ready, I realised that the Dragon Awards have announced their finalists for 2020. You can see their absolutely huge ballot here. As well as having a huge list of nominees, the Dragon Awards are also completely open to the public; no membership required. Due to the nature of the awards, they have been targeted by right-wing slate voting ground like the Sad/Rabid Puppies (the group that tried to ‘reclaim the Hugos from SJWs’ a few years back) in the past. Also, It seems that as well as Sad Puppies there are now also Happy Frogs now. And Red Pandas? No, I think they’re against the Puppies and Frogs? I am so confused. But it seems that the Dragon Awards have grown big enough not to be derailed by these campaigns and there are a lot of very strong contenders in all the categories. Maybe I’ll join in on the voting too.
I guess the takeaway from all these awards is that there were a lot of amazing books written in 2019. I could spend all year reading those amazing books. But then I wouldn’t get around to reading all the amazing books coming out in 2020. Or the amazing books from 2018. Or 1998. When I first started getting into speculative fiction, I had no idea just how large the genre was. Bookstores typically carry mostly big name authors or classic works. Or, they did about fifteen years ago. And of course, I was mostly buying my books second hand, which further limited the works I was exposed to. It’s been about eight or nine years since I got my kindle and was able to easily browse the Amazon Kindle Store for books. Around that time I also became more involved in online S/SF communities, and my horizons have been expanded so much.
In short, don’t panic if you have more books on your TBR list than you could ever possibly read. Yes it is frustrating, but I find it comforting to know that I’ll never not have something new and exciting to read.