The 2013 Heinlein Award has been awarded to Allen Steele and Yoji Kondo.
The American Library Association has announced the winners of its 2013 youth media awards. Robin Sloan’s Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore and Louise Erdrich’s The Round House, among others, both won Alex Awards as being among the 10 best adult books that will appeal to teens.
The Goldsmiths Prize has just been invented. It will be awarded to a book written in English and published in the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland that celebrates the spirit of invention and characterizes the genre of literary fiction at its most surprising. I’m very curious to see this particular shortlist. Will the prize go to experimental fiction that is unreadable by anyone who seeks enjoyment from her reading? Or will it go to something that straddles genres and is therefore all the more enjoyable? Or will it go to a third type of book altogether? The judges are Nicola Barker, Jonathan Derbyshire, Gabriel Josipovici, and Tim Parnell. The shortlist will be announced in October, and the winner announced in November. Stay tuned.
I get a kick out of book competitions that aren’t the usual highbrow awards lists, but instead are flat out character vs. character competitions. Like the Suvudu Cage Match, for instance. If you line up Merlin against Prospero, for instance, who’s going to win? And wouldn’t you pay big bucks to watch that match?
The American Library Association’s Reference and User Services Division has published its list of the best genre fiction of the year. Each winner is accompanied by a list of read-alikes—books you’re likely to enjoy if you like the winner—as well as the runners up.
Locus, the trade magazine for science fiction and fantasy, devotes every February issue to the best books and stories published the previous year. Here is its list of recommended reading. Over the years, I’ve found that these lists are excellent guides for my reading, just as the books mentioned are starting to become available in paperback editions. Certainly I can say that the books on the list I’ve already read definitely measure up as being among the best of the year, like John Scalzi’s Redshirts, Ben Aaronovitch’s Whispers Under Ground and Graham Joyce’s Some Kind of Fairy Tale. There are lots of books on this list that are either in my personal library or requested from my public library, and I’ll be adding to my wish list those books that aren’t in either place. My eternal lament—too many books and not enough time!—always becomes louder during February.
Publishers Weekly has posted its list of the most anticipated books of Spring 2013. Publishers, take note: I’ll take one of each, please!
Here’s a list that seems bound to stir up some controversy: the top five literary mystery novels. While it’s hard to argue that Dorothy Sayers’s Gaudy Night doesn’t deserve its place at the top of the list, one must question how Edgar Allen Poe’s Murders in the Rue Morgue got second place, given that it’s not even a novel. And Alexander McCall Smith, literary? Really? He’s down in my book as a strict cozy.
The world’s first science fiction magazine, Amazing Stories, is back, and it’s free. Not much in the way of fiction, but some nonfiction that might make you sit up and take notice.
There is some amazing critical work being published on the Web these days. This essay, Gogol, Theory and the Fantastic by Elvis Bego, published on the relatively new website Weird Fiction Review, is a mind-bending delight.
Writing and publishing are changing industries. It’ll be interesting to see how it all shakes out (though I may mean interesting in the sense of the Chinese curse, May you live in interesting times). Chuck Wendig, a fairly new novelist on the scene, has some hard truths delivered from the front lines. (And don’t miss his books, available from the wonderful publisher Angry Robot.)
Brian Keene also has some advice about writing full-time. This is a great essay about the sacrifices and pleasures that come with the choice to give in to that voice inside that demands that you produce words on pages, day after day after day, to the exception of almost everything else. I should mention, though, that Keene isn’t all that sure it’s actually a choice; he seems to see it as an irresistible compulsion.
And to close: Ira Glass on learning one’s trade. It’s a mighty inspiring few minutes of video.