Awards fever

As Oscar Wilde once nearly said: “To be listed on one awards shortlist is unfortunate, to be listed on two looks like carelessness.”

Oh Oscar, you old grump!

We are, of course, completely over the moon with the news that came this morning with the announcement of two sets of awards shortlists. One prestigious and long established, the other a newcomer on the scene but already noted for their eclectic and intelligent take on what genre fiction has to offer.

The British Science Fiction Association have a long tradition and, hand-in-hand with the Clarke Award (although rarely in complete agreement) have shaped the SF award landscape in the UK. Voted for by members (the Clarke is a juried award) it provides a valuable and informed snapshot of the books that have had an impact with the readership. So we’re absolutely thrilled to have two authors on the shortlist for the Best Novel Award: M. John Harrison for Empty Space and Adam Roberts for Jack Glass. Mike and Adam are commonly seen to be at the ‘literary end’ of the SF scale. But this placing should not distract from the fact that both authors not only make language sing but have a deep-rooted love of SF (however they might play with and poke at its conventions) and a profound empathy with their characters (not to be confused with an all-consuming and dishonest sympathy). These are books that might well make you think but will certainly make you feel. For the BSFA to recognise this by shortlisting them is immensely exciting.

And it’s hugely pleasing to see the hard work and deep creativity of the design-company Blacksheep  rewarded by having their cover for Jack Glass shortlisted for the best cover Award. Given that Blacksheep have turned out gobsmacking cover after gobsmacking cover for many of Adam’s books it’s a delight to see all those efforts awarded with their gorgeous design for Jack Glass.

The Pornokitsch website has quickly established itself as the home for some wonderfully smart, witty and energetic views on our genre. A fresh voice is always welcome and they don’t come much fresher than Pornokitsch’s. When they inaugurated their own awards three years ago they quickly caused excited comment and debate.  New voices informed a  new take and a new feel for the whole idea of an award ceremony. If an award that now approaches its fourth year doesn’t seem that new, please bear in mind that this particular fossil is now well embarked on his third decade of genre awards…

So reaching for my hearing trumpet and spectacles I’m delighted to see that the Kitschies have, this year, put Adam’s Jack Glass on the shortlist for the Red Tentacle – their award for Best novel.

So huge congratulations to Mike, Adam and Blacksheep. Huge congratulations also to all the other novelists, short-story writers, designers and non-fiction authors, critics and website co-ordinators who have been shortlisted this year.

And a big thank you to the awards and the organisations behind them who continue to breathe life into the constant debate about where our genres are heading and where they are embarking on that journey with particular style and panache.

Thank you  – you make being a genre publisher a whole lot of fun.