BSFA Award Nominees

Best Novel

Flood cover Gone-Away World cover
Night Sessions cover Anathem cover

Flood by Stephen Baxter
The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway
The Night Sessions by Ken MacLeod
Anathem by Neal Stephenson

Best Short Fiction
“Exhalation” by Ted Chiang (Eclipse 2)
Crystal Nights” [pdf] by Greg Egan (Interzone 215)
Little Lost Robot” [pdf] by Paul McAuley (Interzone 217)
Evidence of Love in a Case of Abandonment” by M. Rickert (F&SF, Oct/Nov 2008)

Best Non-Fiction
Physics for Amnesia” by John Clute
Superheroes!: Capes and Crusaders in Comics and Films by Roz Kaveney (I.B. Tauris)
What It Is We Do When We Read Science Fiction by Paul Kincaid (Beccon)
Rhetorics of Fantasy by Farah Mendlesohn (Wesleyan)

Best Artwork
Cover of Subterfuge, ed. Ian Whates, by Andy Bigwood
Cover of Flood by Stephen Baxter, by Blacksheep
Cover of Swiftly by Adam Roberts, by Blacksheep
Cover of Murky Depths 4 by Vincent Chong
Cover of Interzone 218 by Warwick Fraser Coombe

Congratulations to all the nominees! Note that there are only four nominees in the Best Novel, Best Short Fiction, and Best Non-Fiction categories due to multiple-way ties for fifth place. The Awards will be presented at this year’s Eastercon, LX, on 11th April.

28 Responses to “BSFA Award Nominees”

  1. Jonathan M Says:

    Solid if uninspiring Best Novel shortlist.

    There’s one that surely nobody thinks is the best book of the year, two that were decent books in a bad year, and one that will probably get a Hugo on name-recognition alone despite people buying it and then not reading it or giving up half-way through because life is too short ;-)

    I’m also delighted that we managed to get a non-fiction shortlist out even if there aren’t any huge surprises on it. I don’t think we’re out of the woods with this award though as this year has been something of a ‘perfect storm’ in which a number of well-known and respected British critics have put out books. Ah well… the price of critical glory is eternal vigilance and all that.

  2. Liz Says:

    a bad year

    I thought it was a smashing year, to be honest – The Knife of Never Letting Go, Song of Time, The Steel Remains and Memoirs of a Master Forger were all excellent, and Matter, Halting State and House of Suns were solid works even if not the best their authors have ever produced. I would be happy with a shortlist containing any of those.

    Plus, I only have to read “Little Lost Robot” and I’ve read all the fiction nominees. At this rate I might get to the non-fic before Eastercon.

  3. Eric Says:

    Part of me quibbles that “Exhalation” is more of a thought experiment than a story. But then the other, bigger part points out that it nonetheless moved me almost to tears, and was anyhow a very beautiful, rigorous thought experiment, so I say fuck it, give Ted Chiang a couple more trophies.

    I’m frankly surprised by the entire shortlist for shorts, especially with strong Link and Bacigalupi stories in the running.

    That any one of those novels beat out “Knife of Never Letting Go” is…staggering and disheartening.

  4. Jo Walton Says:

    Only three women out of seventeen nominations, and two of them in non-fiction.

    Still, a pretty good line-up.

    (And JonathanM, I’ve read _Anathem_ twice already.)

  5. Martin Says:

    That any one of those novels beat out “Knife of Never Letting Go” is…staggering and disheartening.

    I don’t think it is staggering. It wasn’t even reviewed by Vector and it is only really in the last couple of months that it has come to the attention of the SF crowd. It is a shame though and I certainly nominated it.

    It will be interesting to see how the second volume is received since it has clearly become one of the most anticipated SF novels of the year.

  6. Jonathan M Says:

    Liz — Haven’t read The Knife of Never Letting Go yet but I think it would be a sad world indeed if The Steel Remains, Matter or Halting State were among the best books of any year. Mileages vary obviously ;-)

    Jo — I haven’t even bought it yet. I’m not a big fan of hardbacks at the best of times but when they’re like 1000 pages long then they might as well be the size and weight of a depleted uranium coffee table for all the use I’m likely to get out of them. I read in bed and am prone to dropping books on the head of the girlfriend whilst nodding off.

    She was absolutely terrified when I brought home Alice in Sunderland.

  7. Niall Says:

    Jonathan, Liz: I stand between you. I think 2008 was a very solid year; I don’t think I read any outright classics, but most of what I read was good.

    Eric: Chiang: Indeed. As for the rest of the list, well, I wouldn’t have objected to seeing “The Gambler” or “The Surfer” there, but I do think all four stories we did get are worthy nominees.

    Jo: Indeed — though the publishing proportions were also very uneven this year, as they have been for the last few years (and possibly before, but I wasn’t paying so close attention then). I counted only about nine of sixty science fiction novels published in the UK last year as by women (and half of those from non-genre publishers); I’m sure I’ve missed some, and I’m also sure including fantasy, which is eligible for the award but which I don’t track as closely, would improve the balance, but it’s still not a pretty picture. (Though I would hope that next year, with UK editions of books like Lavinia, Tender Morsels and new novels from Gwyneth Jones and Steph Swainston (and Margaret Atwood …) in the running, things will end up more even.)

  8. James Says:

    will the full long lists be published?

  9. Niall Says:

    James, I believe Donna is planning to publish the list of everything that received at least one nomination, yes. (Technically the long list for novels would be every sf and fantasy book published in the UK last year …)

  10. Niall Says:

    Plus, I only have to read “Little Lost Robot”

    Both this and “Crystal Nights” are now online (as pdfs); I’ve updated the post with links.

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  12. David Moles Says:

    So does this mean more than two people read Eclipse Two, or did they all read Ted’s story in YBSF The Mammoth Book of Best New Science Fiction?

  13. Niall Says:

    I know that more than two people read and nominated “Exhalation”; I don’t know how many people nominated it in total, or that they’ve all read the whole of Eclipse Two. (And, notwithstanding the fact that the Dozois for 2008 isn’t out yet, it’s not even going to have “Exhalation” in it, is it?)

  14. David Moles Says:

    Both good points. I may be mixing Gardner’s YBSF with some other YBSF that, however, also won’t have come out yet?

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  20. Judy Says:

    Ted Chiang’s story is great. Loved it!!!!

    Gwyneth Jones’ “Tomb Wife”would be a good second – how come that isn’t nominated?

  21. Niall Says:

    Well, it was first published in 2007, so wasn’t eligible. That said, it didn’t make the ballot when it was eligible, either. The ballot is made up of the stories that receive the most nominations from BSFA members, so presumably either not many members read “The Tomb Wife”, or not many liked it enough to nominate it as one of the best of its year.

  22. Judy Says:

    I didn’t realize the Nebula awards were significantly different in timespan. That’s interesting.

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