Over the last few years I’ve got into the habit of looking out for the BSFA awards shortlist announcement and resolving to read all the nominees before voting. The year before last I succeeded. Last year I ended up short by one novel, and looking at the way things is stacking up for the first quarter of this year I’d say there’s little point in even trying this year. I’ve read none of the novels (although Beckett’s has been hovering near the top of my pile for ages now). Which is a shame because every one of the writers on the novel list is someone whose previous work I’ve loved.
The shorts are interesting too. I’ve read half of those and look forward to enjoying the others, assuming the BSFA does its booklet again this year (although, with two long works on that list, there might be an issue there).
So, I may not be voting from the standpoint of being fully informed, but I’ll do my best.
Special mention, though, for the indies and self-publishers. Shoe-string presses and self-publishers are now a significant part of genre publishing. And the best of them are people who believe enough in an idea or a style of fiction to put their money behind it and get it out there regardless of whether conventional publishing wisdom thinks its a goer saleswise. So, it’s grand to see Ian Sales’s Adrift On The Sea Of Rains on the list, as it is Karen Burnham’s essay from Rocket Science which Ian also edited and was published by Mark Harding’s Mutation Press (Mutation’s second BSFA nomination in three years).
And great to see that the BSFA voters read widely, from top to bottom.