When I think of genre awards
April 1, 2024 4:42 AM   Subscribe

10 Major Awards for Fantasy Literature (2018) hits the SFF high points. There is, however, a long list of contenders for awards of varying sizes (2019). Another perspective (2016), from around the time of the last major Hugos fracas. If you haven't heard of them, maybe check out the Ignyte Awards, the Lambda Literary Award for Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror (or see the overall database of Lambda winners), or the Prix Jacques Brossard. For more information, visit the Science Fiction Awards Database.

This post inspired by Wobbuffet's comment in the Hugos thread from the other day.

I'll also throw out there the awards offered by the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts, of which I am a member. The winners of the Crawford, given to "a writer whose first fantasy book was published during the previous calendar year," might be of interest to folks reading this thread.
posted by cupcakeninja (9 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I think that fantastic fiction has just outgrown the Hugo's and a single set of awards encompassing everything is always going to lead to problems. The Hugo's made perfect sense when it was just a few publishers and a few hundred books with spaceships and dragons.

The landscape is simply too vast now for the 10ish "best" novels in a year to rise to the top for ranking. So you end up with all sorts of promotion, slating, borderline corruption, group capture, and bad feelings all around.

The Hugo's should consider splitting into more categories. This would dilute the brand and be more work for everyone, but would let similar works be compared more fairly.
posted by AndrewStephens at 6:09 AM on April 1

I ask humbly, because it's only occurred to me: what's the best way for a monoglot English speaker to see what's new & best in translated sci-fi or fantasy (both long- and short-form)?

It would be just the lamest chauvinism to assume that "all the good stuff" is first written in English. So are there specific publishers who specialize in translated works? Or do you have to follow a polyglot reader and wait for them to mention stuff that's been translated? Or copy-and-paste there title of every year's winners into Google, to see if they've gotten an Anglosphere distribution deal?

For speakers of my own language, the lists above are super helpful -- thank you, cupcakeninja!
posted by wenestvedt at 6:23 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]

There was an award for SFF translation, but it didn't last long. I, too, would be interested to know about presses specializing in this -- I hear about translations on an occasional basis, but I'm not familiar with a press that specializes.

Personally, I look to Clarkesworld for some heads-up about what's going on internationally, especially the thriving Chinese SFF scene. The Grand prix de l'imaginaire is relevant for francophone SFF. There's a list at the SFADB, linked above, including a number of awards given for works published in languages other than English, from German to Japanese.

There must be some current subscribers here to Locus, the most important trade journal for the genre. They might be able to speak to how often this comes up there. I look at Publisher's Weekly and some other general industry review outlets, and news of translations does come up there at times.
posted by cupcakeninja at 6:42 AM on April 1 [2 favorites]

This is great to see--thank you! The article gives an overview, but I'll add some non-obvious facts about the Locus Award:
  • The Locus Science Fiction Foundation that organizes the award is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that also publishes Locus: The Magazine of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Field.
  • The awards probably don't get nearly as many votes as the Hugo, which is weird because voting is open to anyone, and you can vote now! The voting deadline is April 15. Click for a voting link, give them your email, fill out a survey (in which demographics, etc., are optional), and then fill out a ballot.
  • Evidently, voting dropped off way back when they started giving non-subscribers only half-credit for their votes, but to get full-credit, subscribe to the magazine at a cost less than a supporting membership for Worldcon (the minimum for voting on the Hugos).
  • Incidentally, regarding the question above about translations, the latest issue has short articles on SF in India and Brazil in addition to the magazine's usual spotlights on current authors/artists, news/reviews, long lists of upcoming books, obituaries/remembrances, bestseller lists, and so on. Just searching for 'translat...' and glancing through it, the upcoming books lists include around ten translations, and a couple of reviews mention translations.
  • Anyway, the award ballot is based on the Locus Recommended Reading List but write-ins are easy to add.
  • The award itself has numerous characteristics addressing common complaints and suggestions about the Hugo, e.g. less controversy, centralized administration, and a split between SF and Fantasy (though only in Novels--and not in First Novel).
  • And there is a special event for it every year. Here's the schedule for last year's, including the ceremony at which Connie Willis was the guest speaker. The ceremony and her talk has since been posted on YouTube.
posted by Wobbuffet at 7:35 AM on April 1 [3 favorites]

What I usually do is troll through Toronto Public Library's new F/SF books list every couple weeks and add things of interest to my holds pile. This picks up up most bestsellers, award nominees, publisher 'best bets', reliable authors, and anything not above that patrons have requested. (I have requested a few things myself.) It's not perfect, but it keeps my to-read pile full.
posted by seanmpuckett at 8:05 AM on April 1

The reason the number of Hugo categories is limited and there's a lot of contention about what the categories should be is that the Hugos are given out at a single ceremony which is supposed to be of manageable length.

The Dragon award is open to everyone who wants to vote (no fee or other requirement). I have a vague impression that the winners been converging on the Hugos.
posted by Nancy Lebovitz at 8:36 AM on April 1

The Locus Awards also have had separate novel categories for Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Horror for a while (as well as Young Adult, and First Novel) (last year's winners) and are a more notable than the Dragon Awards, which I am not sure I can take seriously yet.
posted by 3j0hn at 9:37 AM on April 1 [1 favorite]

Adding some detail to the question about translations, Locus's March 2024 issue mentions these: I've probably missed any that don't mention 'translat...', but yeah, if you want to follow translated SF/F, Locus is a great source.
posted by Wobbuffet at 9:43 AM on April 1 [3 favorites]

Since it's a fun question, here's what the new April 2024 issue has too: posted by Wobbuffet at 7:24 PM on April 1

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