The OF Blog: Part II of My Admin Votes for the 2006 OF Awards

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Part II of My Admin Votes for the 2006 OF Awards

OK, for brevity's sake, let's just say that I will not be giving my choices in all of the categories for various reasons. For example, I am not a movie-watching person, having seen an average of 1-2 movies a year, so there won't be any choices there. Another is that I feel uncomfortable discussing rationale behind the more 'community' type categories here, so don't expect to hear how I voted for those categories. But below are my choices in a few categories that interested me, with brief explanations for most of them:

Best New Author of 2005:

This was a tough category to choose a particular winner or runner-ups to, in part because I haven't read that many authors that have two or less books out. But reflecting back on the books I've read in 2005, there is one story that I enjoyed most:

1. Caitlin Sweet, The Silences of Home - Although this is her second novel, Sweet has been a virtual unknown outside of Canada, which is a shame, as she writes some very good tales that envoke all sorts of emotions when the reader stops to consider what she is writing. While her first story, A Telling of Stars, isn't as much of a novel as a fable in many aspects, The Silences of Home (a prequel of sorts), is a fully-realized novel with interesting characters, a plausible and interesting plot, and an underlying theme about the fragility of truth and the lies that bend it. All of these elements combine to form a story that was one of my favorite reads for 2005.

2. Tim Pratt, Little Gods - Pratt is a really good short story writer. Although I have yet to read his first novel, The Strange Adventures of Rangergirl, he gets this high position based solely on this one volume of collected short stories, which are excellently told and with a depth of meaning to them that many, more established writers fail to bring to the table.

3. Ian Cameron Esslemont, Night of Knives - Despite my choosing of this book as being Most Disappointing (due to technical/editing problems, not with his potential as an author), I believe Esslemont has the potential to develop into a solid, entertaining author whose stories should complement quite nicely those of tag-team partner Steven Erikson.

Most Hyped Event of 2005:

1. J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - The numbers don't lie - millions of books sold in 24 hours, hundreds of people discussing the book in a one-week period over at OF. Love her or hate her (and I tend to like her), Rowling knows how to turn up the hype machine and get the ball rolling with her releases.

2. George R.R. Martin, A Feast for Crows - Again, a no-brainer, as fans have waited for 5 years for the fourth volume to the popularly and critically-acclaimed A Song of Ice and Fire series to be released. While early returns might have been somewhat mixed, it seems that the wait helped drive hundreds-long lines of people at his booksignings in November and December 2005.

3. Serenity - Although this is a movie and not a book, it seems that geeks and otherwise 'normal' fans of the cancelled Fox series Firefly made this movie a cult-like hype event. Although I've never seen the TV series and have no desire to see the movie, I thought I might as well acknowledge the hype that its fans gave to it and the numerous posts about it in 2005.

Most Underrated Book of 2005:

1. Umberto Eco, The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana - Although I could praise Eco's latest to the heavens, it seems that for the local reading public, Eco is a treasure waiting to be discovered. This would be a great book to start with, as it's one of Eco's most accessible and yet thought-provoking books, a tale that deals with memory loss and what it means to live only with a superficial relationship to the outside world via comic books and adventure stories, among others. A must-read book that sadly hasn't yet received the ink here at OF that it has elsewhere.

2. Kelly Link, Magic for Beginners - Link is one of the best short fiction writers out there. She's been nominated for all sorts of awards and was one of Time's Five Fiction book choices for 2005. Yet hardly a word about her here at OF unless I or Drkshadow03 (and maybe Jake) mention her. Almost a crime, that is. Hopefully, she'll get more ink here in the near future, as more people read her excellent stories.

3. Caitlin Sweet, The Silences of Home - I've already said plenty above about this novel. Let's just hope as her reputation grows, that this book and others of hers will find a wider audience outside of Canada and the few lucky Americans such as myself that have read her.

And those are the categories that I choose to reveal my votes. Perhaps this will encourage some to discuss them here or elsewhere. The true value of these things really deals with persuading people to think about the excellent fiction there is available and perhaps to buy some of the works mentioned here or elsewhere because of the praise received.

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