The Nebula Awards
Under the rules of the Nebula awards of the Science Fiction Writers of America, I'm entitled to vote on the entries. So I'm trying to pack as many in as I can.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman
Given the short time before the votes, I didn't manage to read any others, but I didn't have any reservations about giving this book my vote.
I managed to read two in this section:
Wakulla Springs, by Andy Duncan and Ellen Klages
Well worth reading. A delightful generation-spanning tale set in and around a Florida Hotel, seen through the eyes of 'the help'. Only SFF in the loosest sense, save for the last paragraph.
It got my vote.
Burning Girls, by Veronica Schanoes
There's paranormal and there's a Jewish perspective on the paranormal. This was the latter, and I loved that aspect of it. It's a people story, with elements of Jewish culture (but not overwhelmingly so) and the struggle for a better life free from oppression.
It was a hard call whether to vote for this or Wakulla Springs - both were thoroughly deserving.
I didn't manage to read anything in this category, though I'm currently enjoying They Shall Salt the Earth with Seeds of Glass, by Alaya Dawn Johnson.
This was the only category for which I managed to read all the entrants.
The Sounds of Old Earth, by Matthew Kressel
Earth has become uninhabitable, and a new earth is being built. Starting in the last days of the evacuation, this story was gentle, melancholy and balanced, but the ending was just a bit too pat.
Selkie Stories Are for Losers, by Sofia Samatar
A tale of life cut off from one's roots. It got my vote.
Selected Program Notes from the Retrospective Exhibition of Theresa Rosenberg Latimer, by Kenneth Schneyer
A satire on pretentious criticism. It wasn't enough to sustain my interest, though I did finish.
If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love, by Rachel Swirsky
An exercise in style, which was well done, though meandering. It succeeded at what it wanted to do, I think, but didn't sway me.
Alive, Alive Oh
A lot to like about this. Some family resonances with Swansea, but a deeply poignant tale of emigration to a too-hostile planet. Again, desperately close to getting my vote.
Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation
The only two I'd seen were Doctor Who/Day of the Doctor and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Doctor Who got my vote, though I'd have liked to have found time to watch Gravity.
Andre Norton award for YA / Childrens SF
I tried really hard to visit all the books in this section, as it's the genre I'm working in.
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, by Holly Black
If I were the author, I'd be annoyed that the publisher only made available the first 8 chapters for review. As a matter of integrity, I wouldn't be happy voting for a work that I hadn't read all the way through to the end.
Still, having seen some enthusiastic reviews, I made a start on this, but it was Vampires. No.
When We Wake, by Karen Healey
Sister Mine, by Nalo Hopkinson
The Summer Prince, by Alaya Dawn Johnson
I've got a long way into this, and the writing is good, the setting intriguing. As an aside, this is the first YA that I've read that writes about female masturbation. (Which is so well written that you barely notice.)
At 75% of the way through, the book has made another turn, and I'm anxious lest it fall back into ordinariness. I really hope Johnson chooses from the more poignant end of the spectrum of conclusions abvailable to her. A conventional YA ending would be a real disappointment.
Definitely a contender.
(updated 23 March) Despite the merits of When We Wake, I think The Summer Prince has just overtaken it. I've just finished it and the ending is both surprising and fitting. I probably ought to dip back into When We Wake, to remind myself of its merits, and there are two books that can't yet be ruled out.
Hero, by Alethea Kontis
What I said about vampires, but about fairies. No.
September Girls, by Bennett Madison
This is the only one so far with male protagonists. In with a chance, but it hasn't gripped me yet. Looks like it may be a Road Novel. I ran out of time.
A Corner of White, by Jaclyn Moriarty
What I said about vampires and fairies. This one's horoscopes. Double no.