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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 Awards for 2019

The BSFA has just published the short lists for the awards for works published in 2019.

As far as the fiction goes we have:-

Best Novel:

Juliet E McKenna – The Green Man’s Foe (Wizard’s Tower Press)
Emma Newman – Atlas Alone (Gollancz)
Gareth L Powell – Fleet of Knives (Titan Books)
Adrian Tchaikovsky – Children of Ruin (Tor)
Tade Thompson – The Rosewater Insurrection (Orbit)

Best Shorter Fiction:

Becky Chambers – To Be Taught, If Fortunate (Hodder & Stoughton)
Amal El-Mohtar & Max Gladstone – This is How You Lose the Time War (Jo Fletcher Books)
Fiona Moore – Jolene (Interzone #283)
Gareth L Powell – Ragged Alice (Tor.com)
Tade Thompson – The Survival of Molly Southbourne (Tor.com)
Ian Whates – For Your Own Good (Wourism and Other Stories, Luna Press)

I have read none of the novels so far though Atlas Alone is on my tbr pile. The Tade Thompson is the second in a trilogy of which the first Rosewater is also on the pile. I’ll need to get round to that soon as I want to read it before The Rosewater Insurrection.

In the shorter works I reviewed This is How You Lose the Time War for Interzone 283 but not yet here. Jolene also appeared in that Interzone issue. My thoughts on it are here. I look forward to the arrival of the usual BSFA Awards booklet with all the shorter works (or extracts therefrom.)

BSFA Awards Booklet 2018

BSFA, 2019, 104 p.

BSFA Award Booklet for 2018

It would appear from the nominations for shorter fiction appearing in this year’s booklet that the SF short story is dead. Barring the last in the booklet none of the shortlisted stories is printed in its entirety. The others are all extracts from longer pieces of fiction.
Nina Allan’s The Gift of Angels: an introduction1 is narrated by a Science Fiction writer, whose mother was the first person on Mars but whose fate remains unknown, and tells what appears to be his life story. The tale riffs on and critiques the films La Jetée and Twelve Monkeys. Allan has a beautiful writing touch. I did want to find the longer version to finish it. The story, though, refers to Harry Potter and Game of Thrones as famous. I doubt these will be quite such cultural touchstones in the fifty years or so time when this is set as they are now.
I read The Purpose of the Dodo is to be Extinct by Malcolm Devlin in Interzone 275, where it was first published. I reviewed the issue it appeared in here.
The Land of Somewhere Safe3 by Hal Duncan is one of the author’s Scruffians stories. Here we have a wonderfully linguistically inventive tale (Dunstravaigin Castle is a brilliant coinage) involving wartime evacuees to Skye and a Nazi spy.
The magnificent Time Was by Ian McDonald I reviewed here.
Exit Strategy (The Murderbot Diaries Vol 4)5 by Martha Wells is narrated by a murder bot apparently lured to a planet by an organisation that has sequestered its boss. The story suffers from being told to us rather than shown and did not grab me in the slightest.
Phosphorus6 by Liz Williams is set on Mars and the planet Winterstrike. One of its viewpoint characters is dead. However, the extract is not really long enough to judge whether its balance is askew or not nor to evaluate the story properly.
Kingfisher7 by Marian Womack is set in a future where wildlife is all but vanished and human births a rarity yet libraries seem to abound. Our protagonist is saddled with a useless tool of a husband, an abiding sense of failure and a fascination with birds. There is a hint of a writerly sensibility lurking underneath the prose but the story is riddled with a ridiculous number of errata.

The non-fiction nominees section contains two of Nina Allan’s “Time Pieces”a columns from Interzone, ditto for Ruth E J Booth’s Shoreline of Infinity essays published as “Noise and Sparks”, Liz Bourke has five of her “Sleeps with Monsters”b columns for Tor.com, Aliette de Bodard writes “On Motherhood and Erasure”c from the blog “Intellectus Speculativus” and there is an extract from Adam Roberts’s “Publishing and the Science Fiction Canon: The Case of Scientific Romance”d.

Pedant’s corner:- 1“A sinister band of scientists prey off” (a band preys off,) “sprung up” (sprang up,) “the museum has replacedtheir stash” (its stash,) “a cetain child .. finds themselves” (a child finds itself.) 3puntied in (punted?) argylle socks (argyle,) liptick (lipstick seems intended but liptick may be one of Duncan’s neologisms.) 5GrayCris’ (GrayCris’s.) 6governess’ (governess’s,) mistress’ (mistress’s,) “The scatter of hovels erected at the tip of the Tail were the last to fall behind..” (The scatter … was the last.) 7 “each bar offered their personal take” (each bar offered its personal take,) statues becomes statue several lines later, “a prevalent Sun descended” (a prominent Sun?) “it was frightening how comforting was to fall back into” (how comforting it was to.) “The library would pay for my librarianship degree on the sole condition that I came back to work for them for three or four years” (to work for it, or, to work there,) “climbing up thopusands of miles up in the air” (one ‘up’ too many,) a ‘seem’ where ‘seemed’ fits the other tenses in the sentence, “and they would let themselves been touched” (be touched,) “Jonas was better at cooking at me” (than me,) “scribbled in old pieces of reclaimed paper” (scribbled on,) “in a strangely elaborated [dream]” (elaborate.) “I looked a Jonas” (at Jonas.) “I fell a moment of void” (I felt.) “I had never knew whsat to do with it” (I had never known, or, I never knew,) although there were not fluff” (although they were not fluff,) “but they seem to accumulate” (seemed,) “when I notice a stain” (noticed,) “too look inside” (to look,) “the dinning room” (dining room,) “what they where for” (were for.) “Whener I don’t remember what it means to be sad I took it out and look at those pages” (either ‘remembered’, and ‘looked’, or, ‘take’,) “minus zero” (that would be zero, then,) “magazines cut-outs” (magazine cut-outs,) “I had tided them up” (tidied,) “plastics bags” (plastic bags.) “They were not native to the local fauna” (‘They were not native’, or, ‘they were not local fauna’,) “so effectively they had contaminated the environment” (so effectively had they contaminated the environment.)
a“are startling out of step” (startlingly.) b“I’m going to look at take two books together” (either ‘look at’ or ‘take’ not both, automatons (automata,) “Neither of them resolve anything” (neither of them resolves anything,) “[X]’s .. pregnancy …. and her feelings … is central to the narrative” (there’s an ‘and’ in there; that makes for a plural verb subject, so, ‘are central’.) “The poets are most affect by” (affected by.) c“are littered with the death of mothers” (deaths.) d“is comic-satiric impossible voyage” (is a comic-satiric impossible voyage,) “triple-decker length SF form this era” (from, I think,) “the content of which were published” (was published.)

BSFA Awards Booklet 2019

BSFA Awards Booklet for 2019

This year’s booklet arrived this morning.

It contains all the short fiction and non-fiction nominees for the BSFA Awards for works published in 2018 and the artworks nominated for the relevant award.

On perusing it I found the closing date for electronic voting is today so I had a lot of reading to pack in this afternoon.

I have been expecting the booklet’s arrival since the turn of the month and was getting worried it would not be forthcoming in time.

Eastercon, which I will not be attending this year, where the final awards will be announced, is of course this Sunday coming.

BSFA Awards Booklet Arrives

The BSFA’s annual booklet containing the nominees for the various awards for 2017 publications arrived on Thursday morning 29th Mar.

BSFA Award Booklet 2017

The deadline for postal votes is (was!) Mon 26th Mar and for electronic submissions Wed 28th Mar. The results will be announced on Saturday 31st Mar.

Not the BSFA’s fault it arrived late. Easter is about as early as it can be this year and there was precious little time between the close of the submission phase for the final nominations and Easter. They’ve done well to get it out at all.

Just as well I’m going to Eastercon this year where I can vote in person.

I’ve got my work cut out to read it all before then though.

My (belated) thoughts on its contents will appear next week.

BSFA Awards Lists

The BSFA has just announced the short list for this year’s awards (ie for works published in 2015.)

See this link for the full lists.

As far as the fiction is concerned the final nominees are

Best Novel:-

*Dave Hutchinson: Europe at Midnight, Solaris

*Chris Beckett: Mother of Eden, Corvus

Aliette de Bodard: The House of Shattered Wings, Gollancz

*Ian McDonald: Luna: New Moon, Gollancz

Justina Robson: Glorious Angels, Gollancz

Best Short Story:-

Aliette de Bodard: Three Cups of Grief, by Starlight, Clarkesworld 100

Paul Cornell: Witches of Lychford, Tor.com

*Jeff Noon: No Rez, Interzone 260

Nnedi Okorafor, Binti, Tor.com

Gareth L. Powell: Ride the Blue Horse, Matter

Of those, I have read the ones asterisked. That’s three out of the five novels and one of the five shorts. I look forward to receiving the usual booklet containing the short stories.

BSFA Awards for 2014 Announced

The winners were announced yesterday at Eastercon and are:-

Best Novel: Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie (Orbit)

Best Short Fiction: The Honey Trap by Ruth E. J. Booth, La Femme (Newcon Press)

Best Non-Fiction: Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers and the First World War by Edward James

Best Art: “The Wasp Factory” after Iain Banks by Tessa Farmer

Congratulations to all. Commiserations to all the runners-up.

BSFA Awards Booklet 2014

This year’s booklet plopped on the doormat on Monday. Just in time for me to fill in the online voting form on Tuesday, one day before the deadline!

BSFA Awards Booklet 2014

The non-fiction items this year were:-
”Deep Forests and Manicured Gardens” by Jonathan Mcalmont, a discussion of two online magazines

”Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of the Great War” edited by Edward James. A record of research the author has done on the lives and war experiences of SF and fantasy writers during the Great War.

“Call and Response” by Paul Kincaid. The introduction to Kincaid’s book about criticism is reprinted.

”Greg Egan” by Karen Burnham. An examination of some of Egan’s themes.

The State of British SF and Fantasy: A Symposium” various authors. Contributions to the symposium first published in Strange Horizons. See http://www.strangehorizons.com/2014/20140728/1britsf-a.shtml

As to the fiction:-

The Honey Trap by Ruth E J Booth. La Femme, NewCon Press.
Bees are extinct. An industrialised fruit grower (whose plants are pollinated by hand) is tempted by the sweetest apple he has ever tasted – despite its ugly appearance and the scruffiness of its grower.

The Mussel Eater by Octavia Cade. The Book Smugglers, Nov 2014
Karitoki tries to make friends with a Pania, one of a set of (genetically engineered?) creatures sworn to protect whales, dolphins and seals, by cooking mussels for it. Its taste is for fresh, not cooked, food.

Scale-Bright by Benjanun Sriduangkaew. Immersion Press, 2014
Set in a Hong Kong where demons and gods interact with humans, but the story also contains excursions to heaven. One of the gods requires the help of the human Julienne to release her sister from imprisonment. This story had too many fantasy incursions for my taste and whether the pay-off was worth the inordinate length is debatable.

Jack Vance

I see from Locus and The Guardian that one of SF’s luminaries, Jack Vance, has died.

I can’t say I’ve read a lot of his work – I picked up his Araminta Station on the raffle at the BSFA stall at an Eastercon once and I have the “tribute albumSongs of the Dying Earth on my tbr pile so have that to look forward to.

He was prolific, though.

Jack Vance (John Holbrook Vance.) 28/7/1916 -€“ 26/5/2013. So it goes.

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