I always enjoy the BSFA awards. They usually can be relied on to reward very good work, and the decisions they come to usually have the feeling of being the nod of approval of a collective, cohesive community. You can often read a book and know that it’s a BSFA award contender. And that’s how society awards should work.
As an Eastercon attendee for nearly 18 years, and BSFA member for most of that, I’ve voted on the shortlist many times, but I have to admit to being less consistent in nominating works I thought were worthy. Like many people I suppose that’s because I never considered my reading wide enough to make reasonable comparative judgements. And like many more I assumed that the great reading membership of the BSFA were nominating in their droves anyway, so my contribution could hardly be noticed, could it?
Well, yes, it could. I don’t know how many nominations are received for the BSFA awards, but I’ve got a very strong feeling that many more people wait until the shortlist is announced before troubling to get involved in the process than have a sit down and think about nominating the books and stories they read and like during the previous year. And that’s important because (and I didn’t actually know this until a year or so ago) the shortlist is comprised purely of the five works in each category that garner the most nominations. That’s important because the nominations are usually spread across a large number of works, which means that every single nomination is statistically significant…which means that an individual nomination for any given piece of work could make the difference between it appearing on the shortlist or not.
This year’s nominations were supposed to close last weekend, but the deadline has now been extended until tomorrow, Thursday 19th.
So, if you’re a BSFA member, even if you only read one book that liked last year, or one short story or article, or like one piece of artwork, why not get over to the BSFA today or tomorrow and nominate it?
Current nominations list (to give your memory a nudge).