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BSFA Awards Booklet 2021

This is the first such BSFA booklet to contain nominations for the Best Book for Younger Readers. The extracts seem to be mostly first chapters from the nominees. I didn’t read any of those since I doubt I’ll ever go on to read the whole book for any of them. I may get round to some of the Best Novel contenders – already have done so for Aliya Whiteley’s Skyward Inn – but probably not all.

As to the Best Shorter Fiction we have:

Fireheart Tiger by Aliette de Bodard1
Thanh is the daughter of the Queen of Bình Håi, but had spent time in the overseas country of Ephteria effectively as a hostage. Strange instances of small fires plague her. She is assisting her mother at a trade meeting with representatives of Ephteria when she is surprised by one of the delegates, Princess Eldris, and even more surprised when Eldris reveals she wishes to rekindle the affair they had had in Ephteria. This ends inconclusively, as if it were an extract from a longer piece – but it isn’t labelled as an extract.

Light Chaser by Peter F Hamilton and Gareth Powell2
This too ends inconclusively. Perhaps they’re all extracts. Interstellar legend Amahle the Light Chaser travels the Domain at near light speed on a cycle through the worlds. The story begins with her deliberately crashing her ship the Mnemosyne into a red giant to create a quark star before moving into a scene from one of her trading visits.

O2 Arena by Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki3
For some reason this story is preceded by a “Content Warning; Cancer, Death or dying, Sexual assault, Terminal Illness, Violence.” Leaving aside the fact that these could be said to apply to just about all modern Science Fiction at least one of them isn’t true. There is no sexual assault described in the story. Sexual harassment and requests/demands for sexual favours in return for good exam grades are imputed by two of the characters as applying to another (minor) one but no actual assault occurs in the narrative. (The other warnings stand.)

But to the business of the story (which does have an ending.)
Global warming has killed off phytoplankton. Oxygen is so scarce it is rationed by cost. Currency is by means of O2 credits. Our narrator has gone through University but is now at a strict law school so as to get the best job possible to earn credits. (The school is riddled with sexism and favour-seeking lecturers.) His friend Ovuke is also a student but is dying of ovarian cancer and her family is running out of money, leading the narrator to resort to desperate measures to get some. The story here is fine but its execution is marred by excessive info dumping and unnecessary insertion of acronyms.

Things Can Only Get Better by Fiona Moore4 also comes to an ending. It is one of those light-touch would-be humorous tales that can be extremely irritating if they don’t work. Moore just about gets away with it. Our narrator is an autologist called in by the police to investigate a case of illegal gambling in a syndicate centred on the hospital where she used to work. This is in a future where people and machine intelligences (Things) both work on the wards.

I also read the bits from the non-fiction works. These are mostly precis/preambles to the full work. How anyone can choose between such diverse works which is the best is a moot point.

The winners were announced here.

Pedant’s corner:- 1“sharp inhale of breath” (inhalation,) vermillion (x 2, vermilion,) “laying low” (lying low,) “that room Giang falling to her knees” (needs a comma between room and Giang,) unneeded paragraph indentations and line breaks. 2“was very different beast” (was a very different beast,) stranglet (later ‘strangelet’,) relatavistically (relativistically.) 3 “Not that the air there was any better there” (has one ‘there’ too many,) “letting her lay back” (lie back.) 4 “even if the only things to which that description could be implied was to Wills and me” (were to Wills and me,) no full stop at the story’s end.

Winners of BSFA Awards This Year

I’ve only seen one website so far (a blog) give the 2022 winners (for works published in 2021.)

Best Novel: Adrian Tchaikovsky, Shards Of Earth

Best Short Fiction: Aliette de Bodard, Fireheart Tiger

Best Younger Readers: Xiran Jay Zhao, Iron Widow

Best Non Fiction: Francesca T Barbini, Worlds Apart: Worldbuilding in Fantasy and Science Fiction

Best Artwork: Iain Clarke, Glasgow Green Woman

Another BSFA Awards Booklet

BSFA Awards 2021

This year’s BSFA Awards Booklet (for stories published in 2021) arrived on Wednesday.

Unfortunately due to things happening in my life I had no time to read it before voting ended. I’ll get round to it soon.

The awards themselves will be announced tomorrow – as usual at Eastercon.

BSFA Award Nominees 2022

The nominees for the BSFA Awards for works published in 2021 have been announced.

There is a new award this year for best book for younger readers. Of the novels I have read only one, Skyward Inn by Aliya Whiteley for which my review is here. Neither have I read any of the shorter fiction nominees but I assume the usual BSFA booklet containing them will be forthcoming.

Best Book for Younger Readers

The Raven Heir by Stephanie Burgis, Bloomsbury Children’s Books

A Snake Falls to Earth by Darcie Little Badger, Levine Querido

Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao, Rock the Boat

Redemptor by Jordan Ifueko, Hot Key Books

The Empty Orchestra by Elizabeth Priest, Luna Press Publishing

Utterly Dark and the Face of the Deep by Philip Reeve, David Fickling Books

Best Novel

A Desolation Called Peace by Arkady Martine, Tor

Blackthorn Winter by Liz Williams, NewCon Press

Purgatory Mount by Adam Roberts, Gollancz

Shards of Earth by Adrian Tchaikovsky, Tor

Skyward Inn by Aliya Whiteley, Solaris

Green Man’s Challenge by Juliet E. McKenna, Wizard’s Tower Press

Best Shorter Fiction

‘Fireheart Tiger’ by Aliette de Bodard, Tor.com

‘Light Chaser’ by Peter F. Hamilton, Gareth L. Powell, Tor.com

‘O2 Arena’ by Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki, Galaxy Edge Magazine

‘Things Can Only Get Better’ by Fiona Moore, Abyss & Apex

Best Non-Fiction

Cyberpunk Culture and Psychology: Seeing Through the Mirrorshades, by Anna McFarlane, Routledge

Diverse Futures: Science Fiction and Authors of Color, by Joy Sanchez-Taylor, Ohio State Press

The Anthropocene Unconscious: Climate Catastrophe Culture, by Mark Bould, Verso Books

Worlds Apart: Worldbuilding in Fantasy and Science Fiction, ed. Francesca T. Barbini, Luna Publishing

Octothorpe Podcast, by John Coxon, Alison Scott, and Liz Batty, Octothorpe

Science Fiction and the Pathways out of the COVID Crisis, by Val Nolan, The Polyphony

Hugo Awards 2021

The short lists for this year’s Hugo Awards have been announced.

The fiction nominees are:-

Novel-

Black Sun Rebecca Roanhorse (Gallery/Saga Press/Solaris)
The City We Became N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)
Harrow The Ninth Tamsyn Muir (Tor.com)
Network Effect, Martha Wells (Tor.com)
Piranesi Susanna Clarke (Bloomsbury)
The Relentless Moon Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor Books/Solaris)

I note here the crossover with the BSFA Award list as regards N K Jemisin (which I reviewed for Interzone 287 but have not yet published here) and Susanna Clarke.

Novella-

Come Tumbling Down Seanan McGuire (Tor.com)
The Empress of Salt and Fortune Nghi Vo (Tor.com)
Finna Nino Cipri (Tor.com)
Ring Shout P. Djèlí Clark (Tor.com)
Riot Baby Tochi Onyebuchi (Tor.com)
Upright Women Wanted Sarah Gailey (Tor.com)

I have read none of these.

Novelette-

Burn, or the Episodic Life of Sam Wells as a Super A T Greenblatt (Uncanny Magazine, May/June 2020)
Helicopter Story Isabel Fall (Clarkesworld, January 2020)
The Inaccessibility of Heaven Aliette de Bodard (Uncanny Magazine, July/August 2020)
Monster Naomi Kritzer (Clarkesworld, January 2020)
The Pill Meg Elison (from Big Girl, (PM Press))
Two Truths and a Lie Sarah Pinsker (Tor.com)

Ditto.

Short story-

Badass Moms in the Zombie Apocalypse Rae Carson (Uncanny Magazine, January/February 2020)
A Guide for Working Breeds Vina Jie-Min Prasad (Made to Order: Robots and Revolution, ed. Jonathan Strahan (Solaris))
Little Free Library Naomi Kritzer (Tor.com)
The Mermaid Astronaut Yoon Ha Lee (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, February 2020)
Metal Like Blood in the Dark T Kingfisher (Uncanny Magazine, September/October 2020)
Open House on Haunted Hill John Wiswell (Diabolical Plots – 2020, ed. David Steffen)

Ditto.

Series-

The Daevabad Trilogy S A Chakraborty (Harper Voyager)
The Interdependency John Scalzi (Tor Books)
The Lady Astronaut Universe Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor Books/Audible/Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction/Solaris)
The Murderbot Diaries Martha Wells (Tor.com)
October Daye Seanan McGuire (DAW)
The Poppy War R.F. Kuang (Harper Voyager)

Ditto.

I’m obviously not keeping up with SF from the US. (Mind you the stuff from there I have read recently hasn’t been too inspiring.)

BSFA Award Winners

This year’s BSFA Award winners have been announced. (They were livestreamed from Confusion – this year’s Eastercon – and on You Tube.)

They are:-

Best Novel: N.K. Jemisin, The City We Became (Orbit)
Best Non-Fiction: Adam Roberts, It’s the End of the World: But what are we really afraid of? (Elliot & Thompson)
Best Shorter Fiction: Ida Keogh, Infinite Tea in the Demara Cafe (London Centric)
Best Artwork: Iain Clarke, ‘Shipbuilding Over the Clyde,’ art for Glasgow in 2024 Worldcon bid.

I must say I don’t think 2020 was a vintage year. I have read (or seen) all – or part of – the winners’ works, though. (In the novel’s case that’s a bit fortunate as it is the ooly one of the nominees I did read due to reviewing it for Interzone.) Some of the other novel nominees I may get round to in time. When more normal service in daily life has returned.

BSFA Awards Booklet 2020

BSFA, 2021, 64 p.

Ivory’s Story (extract) by Eugene M Bacon. (PS Publishing, 2020.)1

Ivory, or Izett, has suffered in a series of foster placements, her only stable influence a nun in a Catholic children’s home. This has hardened her. The only SF aspect of the extract here (very well written though it is) was in the opal pendant she wears which burns people who touch it if they are inimical to her.

All I Asked For by Anne Charnock. (Part of the Future Care Capital charity’s Fiction Series, edited by Keith Brooke.)2

An expectant couple spend their evenings counting the movements of Alice, their yet-to-be born baby, on the screen in their living room. Because the mother is forty-six her foetus was transferred to a baby-bag at twenty-two weeks gestation. (“We must do what’s best for the baby.”) Some mothers opt for the procedure but this mother (despite her own telling her that childbirth belongs to the Stone Age) feels disappointment at never having felt her baby kick inside her.
I note here that my own story about artificial wombs (Osmotic Pressure, in The Company He Keeps, PS Publishing, 2010, took a different tack.

Red_Bati (extract) by Dilman Dia. (Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora)3

The story relates the experiences of a robot dog who thinks he’s human and speaks ony to a holographic granny who walks through a forest. Impressed as a mining dog he has been damaged and faces shut down and total memory loss so is forced to take over the space ship he is on.

Ife-Iyoku, the Tale of Imadeyunuagbon (extract) by Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki, (Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora)4

This is set in a post-nuclear war African enclave, outside which lies corruption and mutation, and where the survivors recount the myths and legends of the god who saved them from the devastation.

In Infinite Tea in the Demara Café by Ida Keogh, (London Centric, NewCon Press) a man who has been stifling the memories of his dead wife for twenty years through simple routine – like a daily cup of coffee in a certain café – suddenly finds himself being transported between parallel worlds, where he finds others who have suffered loss give him new focus.

Isn’t Your Daughter Such a Doll by Tobi Ogundiran, (Shoreline of Infinity)5 is structured awkwardly, with a different view point suddenly thrown in to provide a necessary but up till then peripheral perspective. It is the tale of a girl’s affection for her doll shading into something more. Woven into it is a Nigerian folk-tale (whether invented by Ogundiran or not I am unqualified to judge.)

In the non-fiction we have a precis of each of the essays in Ties That Bind: Love in Fantasy and Science Fiction edited by Francesca T Barbinia; an excerpt from the introduction to from The Unstable Realities of Christopher Priest by Paul Kincaid; an extract from Science Fiction and Climate Change by Andrew Milner and J R Burgmannb; It’s the End of the World but What Are We Really Afraid of? by Adam Robertsc; another extract, Estranged Entrepreneurs by Jo Lindsay-Waltond; and Books in Which No Bad Things Happen by Jo Waltone.

Pedant’s corner:- 1“flora and fauna and the way it behaved” (the way they behaved,) “a Joey in its pouch” (joey, capital not required,) sat (seated, or, sitting,) “was a foster dad after foster dad” (was foster dad after foster dad,) Zeus’ (Zeus’s,) “whose two speakers were scattered about the room” (I would humbly submit that the minimum for a scattering is three.) 2focussed (focused.) 3The first paragraph is repeated for some unknown reason. “-250o C” (-250 oC,) “-400o C” (presumably meant to be -400 oC but this temperature is impossible, absolute zero is -273.15 oC,) “16o C” (16oC,) “300o C” (300 oC,) “one of the tube’s data rod” (data rods,) “to fix critical damages to the ship” (why the plural? ‘critical damage’ serves perfectly well,) “space crafts” (space craft.) 4“with the savagery that made Morako swallow” (with a savagery,) “was no ordinary tales” (tale,) “in front Ologbon” (in front of Ologbon,) Igbo Igboya (x 1, elsewhere this is always italicised.) 5Should there not be a question mark at the end of the title? “fit” (fitted,) confectionaries (x2, confectionery,) “in the hopes that” (in the hope that,) snuck (x2, sneaked,) “who had fopund companion in a doll,” (either ‘found a companion’, or, ‘found companionship’.)
ain “New Frontiers in Romantic Fiction Relationships in Science Fiction Josephine by Maria Yanasak-Leszczynski that ‘Josephine’ is surely misplaced, Chambers’ (Chambers’s,) “E.T. A Hofmann’s” (either E.T.A. Hoffmann’s, or, E T A Hoffmann’s, not this mish-mash.) “Unrequieted love” (unrequited,) “Unrequired love” (unrequited.) bfocussed (focused,) H2O (H2O,) earnt (earned.) c“food for the imagination no the body” ([I didn’t realise Roberts was Scottish – joke.] It should be ‘not the body’,) “and yet is finality is a kind of deferment” (has one ‘is’ too many,) “in a way that is howsoever lame, at least, hearfelt way” (has one ‘way’ too many.) “most of the apocalypses we will be looking are gaudy dreams” (looking at are,) quick-sand (quicksand,) “some who insists” (insist,) “little-rear-view mirror fixed to lour heads” (mirrors,) “a world that stubborn;y persist” (persists,) momentarily (this is used in the USian sense = ‘in a moment’, rather than its usual sense = ‘for a moment’,) “we are woring on assumption that” (on the assumption,) “the glass if its shopfront” (of its shopfront,) Bayes’ (many times, Bayes’s,) “we’re not the centre around which the entire cosmos, but in fact are” (around which the entire cosmos turns, but in fact.) dtwo full stops missing. e“Raymond Briggs The Snowman” (Briggs’s) “no more than threats that pass over safely Cotillion does this” (needs a full stop after safely.)

BSFA Awards 2020

BSFA Awards 2020

The usual annual booklet containing the nominated short stories and non-fiction plus images of the artworks for the BSFA Awards dropped onto the doormat this morning.

That’s my short reading for the next few days fixed then.

BSFA Award Time Again

The short lists for this year’s awards (for works published in 2020) have been announced.

In the fiction categories we have

Best short fiction:-

Eugen M. Bacon, Ivory’s Story, Newcon Press.

Anne Charnock, All I Asked For, Fictions, Healthcare and Care Re-Imagined. Edited by Keith Brookes, at Future Care Capital.

Dilman Dila, Red_Bati, Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction From Africa and the African Diaspora, Aurelia Leo. Edited by Zelda Knight and Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki.

Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki, Ife-Iyoku, the Tale of Imadeyunuagbon, Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction From Africa and the African Diaspora, Aurelia Leo. Edited by Zelda Knight and Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki.

Ida Keogh, Infinite Tea in the Demara Caf, Londoncentric, Newcon Press. Edited by Ian Whates.

Tobi Ogundiran, Isn’t Your Daughter Such a Doll, Shoreline of Infinity.

I have read none of these but of course the annual BSFA Awards booklet ought to be able to remedy that.

The Best Novel list is longer than usual due to a tie for fifth place in the nominations:-

Tiffani Angus, Threading the Labyrinth, Unsung Stories.

Susanna Clarke, Piranesi, Bloomsbury.

M. John Harrison, The Sunken Land Begins to Rise Again, Gollancz.

N.K. Jemisin, The City We Became, Orbit.

Gareth L. Powell, Light of Impossible Stars, Titan Books.

Kim Stanley Robinson, The Ministry for the Future, Orbit.

Nikhil Singh, Club Ded, Luna Press.

Adrian Tchaikovsky, The Doors of Eden, Tor.

Liz Williams, Comet Weather, Newcon Press.

Nick Wood, Water Must Fall, Newcon Press.

I reviewed The City We Became by N K Jemisin for Interzone 287 (May-Jun 2020) but that review has not appeared here yet.

That leaves nine others to get through before April 4th. No chance. (I see from the link, though, that BSFA members are to receive a PDF containing excerpts of the nominated works.)

BSFA Awards for 2019

It seems the BSFA Awards were announced on 17/5/20. (I found out the novel winner via a mention on Ian Sales’s blog and I subsequently checked the full list on the Wiki page for the Awards.)

They were announced via live streaming and the video is on You Tube.

The winners were:-

Novel: Children of Ruin by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Short Fiction: This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone
Artwork: cover of Wourism and Other Stories (Luna Press) by Chris “Fangorn” Baker
Non-Fiction: The Pleasant Profession of Robert A. Heinlein by Farah Mendlesohn

I voted for only one of these.

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