They’ve closed the polls, and announced the Locus Award finalists. I’m not going to ‘do a Niall’ on this, because I’m just not widely read enough to be able to do a worthwhile assessment of what should or shouldn’t be in there. But personal feelings? You bet.
Best Science Fiction Novel
Blindsight, Peter Watts (Tor)
Carnival, Elizabeth Bear (Bantam Spectra)
Farthing, Jo Walton (Tor)
Glasshouse, Charles Stross (Orbit; Ace)
Rainbows End, Vernor Vinge (Tor)
Very happy to see Vinge and Watts in there; likewise Stross, though I’ve not read Glasshouse yet. Opinion seems divided on Elizabeth Bear, at least among people I know well enough to talk to about such things, so it’s probably high time I read something of hers, too. I seem to remember people talking about Farthing, but what I heard obviously didn’t lodge in my brain enough to make me interested in learning more.
Best Fantasy Novel
The Jennifer Morgue, Charles Stross (Golden Gryphon Press; Ace)
The Last Witchfinder, James Morrow (Morrow)
The Privilege of the Sword, Ellen Kushner (Bantam Spectra)
Soldier of Sidon, Gene Wolfe (Tor)
Three Days to Never, Tim Powers (Subterranean Press; Morrow)
I’m not much of a fantasy reader these days (and when I was one, I only ever read RPG tie-in novels), so I’ll decline to comment much on this, except to say that the little of Gene Wolfe’s work I’ve read was excellent, and that describing The Jennifer Morgue as a fantasy novel seems a bit of a cop-out (despite not being personally able to supply an acceptable alternative categorisation).
Best First Novel
Crystal Rain, Tobias S. Buckell (Tor)
The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters, Gordon Dahlquist (Bantam; Viking UK)
The Green Glass Sea, Ellen Klages (Viking)
The Lies of Locke Lamora, Scott Lynch (Gollancz; Bantam Spectra)
Temeraire: His Majesty’s Dragon/Throne of Jade/Black Powder, Naomi Novik (Del Rey; Voyager); as Temeraire: In the Service of the King (SFBC)
Crystal Rain is the only one of those I’ve read, but I’m more than happy to see it in there. In the spirit of intarweb transparency and so forth, I should mention that Toby is a friend and co-blogger at Futurismic, but I stand by my assertion that I’d still have really enjoyed the book if I’d never heard of him before. Good writing is good writing.
Skimming a few categories, we see not one but two Doctorow shorts in the running – free online availability a factor there, perhaps? Ryman’s Hugo-nominated “Pol Pot’s Beautiful Daughter” gets a look-in also; not the sort of thing I usually read, but it moved me to tears when I finished it – which, as Mr. Ryman was most amused to hear, was a rather embarrassing thing to happen – given that I was sat on the last train home from London with a carriage full of drunk football fans at the time.
Very proud to see Interzone in the Best Magazine category (although I believe that, historically, it gets nominated for things all the time but never wins anything). Very interesting to see Strange Horizons in there too – an all electronic no-fee publication, no less.
Best Publisher … how curious that Baen makes the list, but there’s only one piece of Baen-published fiction in the other categories. Is this something to do with the sheer number of books they publish each year? Tor is the inevitable shoo-in, I’m guessing. Good to see Subterranean and Night Shade in there, though; the ‘small’ in small press is starting to be a real oxymoron, which can only be a good thing.
I’m not a great art fan, but I am somewhat shocked to see Stephan Martiniere didn’t make the grade. I think he did almost every cover I really liked in the last year, too – does this mean that I’m secretly a shiny-rocketship skiffy lover? To be fair, Picacio’s a fine artist as well, but while having an identifiable style is all well and good, I’m a little tired of the ‘head/face with stuff coming out of it’ thing.
As for the non-fiction prize, the possibility of that going to anything other than the Tiptree biography seems ludicrous. I’ve not read it myself, but the virtually unanimous acclaim heaped upon it by all and sundry speaks volumes – and I get the feeling that the subject matter is a large part of its appeal, defining it as ‘one of those books that needed to be written’. I hadn’t heard there was a book by Delaney about writing; I may have to hunt that one down through the library system.
There’s my two pence worth. What do you think?