Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008 Campbell Award Nominees

Location: Campbell Conference Awards Banquet at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas.

Comments: In 2008, Kathleen Ann Goonan became only the third woman to ever win the Campbell Award. I know that I may sound like a broken record at times, but this track record is kind of ridiculous. Here we are, in the twenty-first century, and the list of nominees for this year only had four nominees written by female authors out of fourteen total nominees. Not only that, the slate of nominees is ridiculously white - there were only two works nominated whose author was not white. The end result is a ballot that is very male and very white. And in 2008, this is simply embarrassing.

Best Novel

In War Times by Kathleen Ann Goonan

Second Place:
The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon

Third Place:
The Execution Channel by Ken MacLeod

Axis by Robert Charles Wilson
Bad Monkeys by Matt Ruff
Brasyl by Ian McDonald
Deadstock by Jeffrey Thomas
HARM by Brian W. Aldiss
Mainspring by Jay Lake
The Margarets by Sheri S. Tepper
The New Moon's Arms by Nalo Hopkinson
Rollback by Robert J. Sawyer
Time's Child by Rebecca Ore
Zig Zag by Jose Carlos Somoza

Go to previous year's nominees: 2007
Go to subsequent year's nominees: 2009

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2008 Prometheus Award Nominees

Location: Unknown.

Comments: The Prometheus Award Hall of Fame is, and always has been, something of an odd duck. The nominees are usually an almost random grab-bag ranging from classic works of fiction that tangentially touch upon themes dear to the hearts of libertarians, to recent works published by authors who are idolized by the members of the Libertarian Futurist Society, plus an assortment of works that don't fit into this axis, many of which seem to be present merely to give the award some intellectual heft. In 2008, the nominees were all classic works that feature passing mentions of libertarian-like sentiments, but which, in many cases, don't really seem to support the libertarian ideology. I can understand wanting to have authors like T.H. White and J.R.R. Tolkien on a libertarian award's list of honorees. It gives a certain amount of respectability to have works by such authors listed with the other works that have been honored. But the honor rings hollow when their works don't really espouse the libertarian ideology.

Best Novel

(tie) The Gladiator by Harry Turtledove
(tie) Ha'Penny by Jo Walton

Other Nominees:
The Execution Channel by Ken MacLeod
Fleet of Worlds by Larry Niven and Edward M. Lerner
Ragamuffin by Tobias S. Buckell

Hall of Fame

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

Other Nominees:
As Easy as A.B.C. by Rudyard Kipling
The Lord of the Rings (The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King) by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Once and Future King by T.H. White
That Hideous Strength by C.S. Lewis

Go to previous year's nominees: 2007
Go to subsequent year's nominees: 2009

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2008 Clarke Award Nominees

Location: Sci-Fi London at the Apollo Piccadilly Circus in London, United Kingdom.

Comments: You can often discern the concerns of an era by looking at the science fiction that its authors produce. The 2008 Clarke Awards were focused on militarism, as reflected in Richard Morgan's novel Black Man, terrorism as reflected in Ken MacLeod's novel The Execution Channel, and fear of nuclear holocaust, as reflected in Stephen Baxter's The H-Bomb Girl. The unifying theme of the genre fiction that appears on this year's ballot appears to be fear of our neighbors and fear of our own creations. Science fiction has always had an undercurrent of fear of technology and fear of the other, starting with Frankenstein, and that undercurrent rises and falls seemingly in time with the mood of the society around it, and in 2008, the mood of the society was decidedly fearful and that is reflected in the fiction that was produced.

Black Man by Richard Morgan

The Carhullan Army by Sarah Hall
The Execution Channel by Ken MacLeod
The H-Bomb Girl by Stephen Baxter
The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall
The Red Men by Matthew de Abaitua

What Are the Arthur C. Clarke Awards?

Go to previous year's nominees: 2007
Go to subsequent year's nominees: 2009

Book Award Reviews     Home