Though I’m paying particular attention to the Nebula Awards at the moment, various and sundry other awards are in the offing or have been recently announced for worthy works of literature, both speculative and literary.
Some people look askance at the whole awards culture, which can devolve into a popularity contest, circular back-pat, or narcissistic me-fest, but I think it’s worth recognizing writers and stories that rise above the mundane to the magnificent. Heaven knows authors struggle against what often feels like an eternal gale of criticism, and if history is any indication, many of our finest may only be recognized as such posthumously.
There’s a cheery thought.
Here are a few awards I keep an eye on, as they relate to speculative fiction and/or Christian fiction:
The Hugo Awards: Another of the “Big 3″ science fiction and fantasy awards. The Hugo focuses on science fiction, plus related works, television, movies, and graphic media. Unlike the Nebulas, which are voted on by the membership of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, the Hugos are selected by the World Science Fiction Society, composed of the membership of the previous, current, or next year’s World Science Fiction Convention (this year, it’s LoneStarCon3, in San Antonio, Texas, in September). There’s usually some overlap among Nebula and Hugo nominees, and I’ll cover this year’s Hugos in a later post.
The World Fantasy Awards: This is the equivalent of the Hugo or Nebula for fantasy stories and art. Nominees are selected by a panel of judges and members of the current World Fantasy Convention (in Brighton, U.K. this year, at the end of October). Winners are selected by the panel of judges.
The Christy Awards: Named in honor of author Catherine Marshall, and her classic novel, Christy, the Christys recognize “excellence in Christian fiction” across a variety of genres, recognizing and promoting works “of exceptional quality and impact.” The Christy website explains the process: “Every year publishers are invited to submit novels written from a Christian worldview and copyrighted in the year preceding the awards. Each novel is entered in one of several genre categories and/or the first novel category. Each category of novels is then read and evaluated against a ten-point criteria by a panel of seven judges composed of librarians, reviewers, academicians, literary critics, and other qualified readers, none of whom have a direct affiliation with a publishing company.”
Administration of the Christy is a little odd and has stirred some consternation among readers and writers of Christian fiction who know about it. More to follow on this issue in a separate post.
The Carol Awards: Presented by the American Christian Fiction Writers (a professional organization of Christian writers “devoted to the craft of Christian Fiction”) to recognize “the best Christian fiction published by traditional publishing houses.” Stories are evaluated against a standardized scoresheet by a panel of judges appointed by the ACFW.
The Clive Staples Award: Administered by the Speculative Faith online forum, the Clive Staples Award is an annual “readers’ choice” award for excellence in speculative fiction written from a Christian worldview, with nominees and winners chosen by vote of the readership at large (if you read, this means you, whatever size you happen to be, and the nomination process is underway right now), based on criteria explained here.
The Sir Julius Vogel Awards: Huh? Never heard of this one? That may be because it’s presented by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand for excellence in science fiction, fantasy, and horror writing by New Zealanders. It also considers anthologies published in New Zealand containing works by New Zealand authors. Among this year’s nominees is Splashdown Books’ Avenir Eclectia anthology, which includes some of my stories.
I’ll let you know how that turns out.
UPDATE: Alas, it didn’t. You can find the 2013 Vogel Award winners here.