The OF Blog: Shirley Jackson Award finalists

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Shirley Jackson Award finalists

From the official site:


  • Alive in Necropolis, Doug Dorst (Riverhead Hardcover)
  • The Man on the Ceiling, Steve Rasnic Tem and Melanie Tem (Wizards of the Coast Discoveries)
  • Pandemonium, Daryl Gregory (Del Rey)
  • The Resurrectionist, Jack O’Connell (Algonquin Books)
  • The Shadow Year, Jeffrey Ford (William Morrow)
  • Tender Morsels, Margo Lanagan (Knopf Books for Young Readers)


  • Disquiet, Julia Leigh (Penguin/Hamish Hamilton)
  • "Dormitory," Yoko Ogawa (The Diving Pool, Picador)
  • Living With the Dead, Darrell Schweitzer (PS Publishing)
  • The Long Trial of Nolan Dugatti, Stephen Graham Jones (Chiasmus Press)
  • "N,", Stephen King (Just After Sunset, Scribner)


  • "Hunger Moon," Deborah Noyes (The Ghosts of Kerfol, Candlewick Press)
  • "The Lagerstatte," Laird Barron (The Del Rey Book of Science Fiction and Fantasy, Ballantine Books/Del Rey)
  • "Penguins of the Apocalypse," William Browning Spencer (Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy, Subterranean Press)
  • "Pride and Prometheus," John Kessel (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, January 2008)
  • The Situation, Jeff Vandermeer (PS Publishing)


  • "68° 07’ 15"N, 31° 36’ 44"W," Conrad Williams (Fast Ships, Black Sails, Night Shade Books)
  • "The Dinner Party," Joshua Ferris (The New Yorker, August 11, 2008)
  • "Evidence of Love in a Case of Abandonment: One Daughter’s Personal Account," M. Rickert (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Oct/Nov 2008)
  • "The Inner City," Karen Heuler (Cemetery Dance #58, 2008)
  • "Intertropical Convergence Zone," Nadia Bulkin (ChiZine, Issue 37, 2008)
  • "The Pile," Michael Bishop (Subterranean Online, Winter 2008)


  • A Better Angel, Chris Adrian (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)
  • Dangerous Laughter, Steven Millhauser (Knopf)
  • The Diving Pool, Yoko Ogawa (Picador)
  • The Girl on the Fridge, Etgar Keret (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)
  • Just After Sunset, Stephen King (Scribner)
  • Wild Nights!, Joyce Carol Oates (Ecco)


  • Bound for Evil, edited by Tom English (Dead Letter Press)
  • Exotic Gothic 2: New Tales of Taboo, edited by Danel Olson (Ash-Tree Press)
  • Fast Ships, Black Sails, edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer (Night Shade Books)
  • The New Uncanny, edited by Sarah Eyre and Ra Page (Comma Press)
  • Shades of Darkness, edited by Barbara and Christopher Roden (Ash-Tree Press)

This award, now in its second year, tends to be (along with the World Fantasy Awards, most of the time) closer to my preferred genre reading tastes than other spec fic awards. This is, I believe, a juried award (like the WFAs) so maybe that says something about me as well? Regardless, I have read three of the Best Novel finalists (Ford, Lanagan, and the Tems), will read the Gregory soon, should have bought the O'Connell but for some reason delayed, and will now look into the Dorst. Also, I have read Jeff VanderMeer's The Situation in the Novelette category, as well as Laird Barron's story there as well. Very pleased to see Etgar Keret's collection, The Girl on the Fridge (translated from Hebrew), be a finalist in the Collection category, while Ann and Jeff VanderMeer's original pirate-themed anthology, Fast Ships, Black Sails is the only one in the Anthology category that I've read to date.

What are your thoughts regarding these finalists?


Terry said...

Jack O'Connell's The Resurrectionist is one of the strangest and most interesting novels I've read in a long time -- so strange and interesting that I felt compelled to purchase a signed first edition after I read a library copy of the book. (I don't do that too often since I stopped practicing law full-time; can't usually afford it. This book warranted it.) It's not a perfect book by any means, but it is challenging, different, weird -- right up my alley.

While I think Stephen King does some of his best work at shorter lengths, I wasn't bowled over by Just After Sunset or any of the stories in it.

Laird Barron, William Browning Spencer and John Kessel all have good horses in these races, with excellent stories. I'm persuaded that Laird Barron is one of the great new voices in horror out there (the other being John Langan).

Dangerous Laughter by Stephen Millhauser is an amazingly good collection of stories. Made my personal list of bests last year, and I can't recommend it highly enough. Millhauser doesn't get nearly the recognition he deserves in genre ranks or in the mainstream; he really is something special.

This award seems to cater directly to my taste as well. I'll have to take a close look at those works I haven't heard of that appear on this list.

Mark C Newton said...

I do prefer juried awards sometimes, because there's a good chance that a little-known book will get good publicity, rather than a popular book getting more. Which is not to criticise those fan-voted ones, I just think there's something good for the genre in pushing range.

Plinydogg said...

Here's another vote for O'Connell's The Resurrectionist!

Larry said...


I keep seeing Millhauser's name; might break down and sample his work soon.


That's why I value juried awards, for being more likely to introduce me to good works that I wouldn't have heard of otherwise.


Maybe I need to get around to reading him soon, then? :P

Charles said...

Eh. In this case our tastes are too similar that what you've read is what I've read as well (except you read more than I do so...).

Add to Technorati Favorites