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Posts Tagged ‘lavie tidhar

Handicapping The Best Novel Shortlists

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At the beginning of the month, Niall Harrison had a great post which tried to predict the shortlists and winners of this year’s SF awards for best novel. The first two of these shortlists have now been announced: the BSFA Awards and the Kitschies. What will win though? Well, here are my guesses, starting with the BSFA Award for best novel:

  • Cyber Circus by Kim Lakin-Smith (Newcon Press)
  • Embassytown by China Miéville (Macmillan)
  • The Islanders by Christopher Priest (Gollancz)
  • By Light Alone by Adam Roberts (Gollancz)
  • Osama by Lavie Tidhar (PS Publishing)

Frankly, this is a two horse race. At best. Miéville and Priest are multi-award winners who were always going to appear on the shortlist and it seems inevitable that one of them will walk off with the award. I would put money on that one being Priest. Harrison agrees. He also predicted the titles that would appear on the shortlist (although he allowed himself more than five guesses); I predicted four, thinking Tidhar’s spot would be taken by The Kings Of Eternity by Eric Brown. Part of my thinking has that Brown’s book would have been more widely read than Tidhar which might explain why PS Publishing are currently offering the Kindle edition for free.

Of course, there three other categories. All five stories shortlisted for the short fiction award are available online so I will be reviewing them, setting out my personal ballot and predicting the winner once I’ve read them. Non-fiction I don’t have much to say about, except to predict that the beta of the third edition of the Science Fiction Encyclopedia will win. I also think it is worth reading Harrison’s comments about the viability of the award. Last of all, both the BSFA Awards and the Kitschies also have a category for best artwork and again, I intend to cover that in a separate post.

Now the Kitschies. Pornokitsch are actually running a competition to predict the winners. The four judges – Lauren Beukes, Rebecca Levene, Anne C. Perry and Jared Shurin – haven’t yet made their final decision and I think it is harder to second guess a group of individuals than the membership of an organisation like the BSFA. But I’m going to try. Firstly, the Red Tentacle for best novel:

  • The Enterprise of Death by Jesse Bullington (Orbit)
  • Embassytown by China Miéville (Tor)
  • A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness and Siobhan Dowd (Walker Books)
  • The Testament of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers (Sandstone)
  • Osama: A Novel by Lavie Tidhar (PS Publishing)

Miéville appears again but I think he is much less of an obvious contender this time round. Tidhar also appears again and my instinct is that this comes down to a three way fight between those two and Ness. Harrison thinks Tidhar will win but, whilst I wouldn’t bet against Osama, I think Ness might just take it. Next the Golden Tentacle for best debut novel:

  • Among Thieves by Douglas Hulick (Tor)
  • God’s War by Kameron Hurley (Night Shade Books)
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (Harvill Secker)
  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (Quirk)
  • The Samaritan by Fred Venturini (Blank Slate Press)

2011 has been Morgenstern’s year so I think she’s got it in the bag. Venturini is a completely unknown quantity for me and I imagine Hulick will be discarded fairly early on so if there is any competition it will come from Hurley and Riggs. But I think Harrison will be disappointed if he hopes for God’s War to triumph.

Written by Martin

28 January 2012 at 16:19

Posted in awards, books, sf

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‘The Solnet Ascendancy’ by Lavie Tidhar

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This is a fun story when it is about building a wireless network on the Pacific island of Vanuata. It is a silly story when it is about the same island building a space elevator a couple of years later. It is a shame because the first half includes a criticism of international aid that shows cynicism and optimism aren’t incompatible. From there, however, Tidhar falls too in love with his premise and zooms of exponentially towards the stars.

Near-future? Well, it seems to manage to compress a century into a decade.
Optimistic? Wildly so.
Readable? Yes.
Good? No.

Written by Martin

6 September 2011 at 07:51

Posted in sf, short stories

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Links R Us

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Now that Niall Harrison has completed his multi-million pound international transfer from Vector to Strange Horizons, last Friday’s linkdump at Torque Control was probably the last. This leaves a gap in the market for an intelligent round-up of the best links from across the genre blogosphere (as opposed to the scattergun approach that is all too common). One thing is certain: I won’t be stepping into the breach. However, a few things have caught my eye recently.

Lavie Tidhar launches a new – and in no way tongue in cheek – Science Fiction Dictionary of New Criticism:

Dystopalyptic n. Condition afflicting many authors, leaving them unable to imagine or create an actual working future.

Uses: mainstream writers turning to SF are uniformly dystopalyptic.

Adam Roberts crunches the Booker:

1. The Booker has tracked a shift in taste away from domestic UK fiction and towards a more globalised, multicultural and postcolonial writing. (In the first two decades of the prize about 80% of winners were by UK writers; in the second two decades only 40%)
2. Women do slightly better in the Booker than in publishing as a whole.
3. The Booker is not hospitable to genre—or to put it another way: the Booker is a genre prize—the genre in question being ‘twentieth-century/contemporary literary fiction’.

Patrick Hudson reviews Red Plenty by Francis Spufford:

Marx wasn’t the only one hard at work on this type of utopian politics. The same kinds of rationalist and scientific theories led to all kinds of inventive ideas, from theospophy and Kibbo Kift to the fascism of 1930s Europe. At the same time as this type of millenarian thinking developed, a fiction of this type of imagining began to emerge. SF and Communism were born more or less at the same time – Marx in London, Jules Verne in France – and both had their apogee in the middle of the 20th century. The Golden Age of SF is close to the age of revolution – about 1920 to the end of World War Two.

Jared Pornokitsch reviews The Way Of Kings by Brandon Sanderson:

High fantasy has recently made great strides in storytelling, but there is still much that can be improved qualitatively. Mr. Sanderson has inadvertently exposed many of fantasy’s persistent flaws. The Way of Kings allows us to look past the debate between world-building and character development and take a broader, more critical view of where fantasy stands. Mr. Sanderson has clearly mastered the genre as it is today, and, if he chooses to, would be well-placed to carry its banner forward into the future.

Written by Martin

12 January 2011 at 21:26