The OF Blog: 2009 World Fantasy Award finalists announced

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

2009 World Fantasy Award finalists announced


The House of the Stag, Kage Baker (Tor) - Have book, but haven't yet read it
The Shadow Year, Jeffrey Ford (Morrow) - Have book, one of my Best of 2008 Fictions
The Graveyard Book, Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins; Bloomsbury) - Read it a few months ago; good, but not as good as the Ford or Lanagan.
Pandemonium, Daryl Gregory (Del Rey) - Have book, haven't yet read it (but I'll probably read it and the Baker before the WFAs are announced)
Tender Morsels, Margo Lanagan (Allen & Unwin; Knopf) - Have book, one of my Best of 2008 Fictions. Will have to flip a coin between it and the Ford perhaps, as both are outstanding and well-deserving of this award.


“Uncle Chaim and Aunt Rifke and the Angel,” Peter S. Beagle (Strange Roads)
“If Angels Fight,” Richard Bowes (F&SF 2/08)
“The Overseer,” Albert Cowdrey (F&SF 3/08)
“Odd and the Frost Giants,” Neil Gaiman (Bloomsbury; HarperCollins)
“Good Boy,” Nisi Shawl (Filter House) - Only one on the list I've read so far. Quite good.

Short Story - Need to catch up with my short fiction, as I haven't read any of these.

“Caverns of Mystery,” Kage Baker (Subterranean: Tales of Dark Fantasy)
“26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss,”, Kij Johnson (Asimov’s 7/08)
“Pride and Prometheus,” John Kessel (F&SF 1/08)
“Our Man in the Sudan,” Sarah Pinborough (The Second Humdrumming Book of Horror Stories)
“A Buyer’s Guide to Maps of Antarctica,” Catherynne M. Valente (Clarkesworld 5/08)


The Living Dead, John Joseph Adams, ed. (Night Shade Books) - Have, but haven't finished it. Very good, the little I have read so far.
The Del Rey Book of Science Fiction and Fantasy, Ellen Datlow, ed. (Del Rey) - Excellent, one of the two best on this list, in my opinion.
The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror 2008: Twenty-First Annual Collection, Ellen Datlow, Kelly Link, & Gavin J. Grant, eds. (St. Martin’s) - Don't own.
Paper Cities: An Anthology of Urban Fantasy, Ekaterina Sedia, ed. (Senses Five Press) - Read and enjoyed it, but slightly less than the other two I've read.
Steampunk, Ann & Jeff VanderMeer, eds. (Tachyon Publications) - Very, very good. If they were to divide this category into original and reprint, this would easily get the nod for reprint. But since there's an original on this list that I liked equally as much, it's hard for me to decide which I think is the absolute best on this list.


Strange Roads, Peter S. Beagle (DreamHaven Books) - Don't own. My fault, as I fully expect this one is great.
The Drowned Life, Jeffrey Ford (HarperPerennial) - Excellent. My favorite on a very slim margin.
Pretty Monsters, Kelly Link (Viking) - Very good. Very near the top in my opinion.
Filter House, Nisi Shawl (Aqueduct Press) - Weakest of the four I've read. But that's like saying Wilt Chamberlain is weak compared to Kareem, Michael, Bird, or Magic.
Tales from Outer Suburbia, Shaun Tan (Allen & Unwin; Scholastic ‘09) - Up there with the others. This is like a Murderer's Row for me to choose one from, since all are worthy of the award.

Artist - Each of these are outstanding. Nice to see Janet Chui get recognition for her artwork in A Field Guide to Surreal Botany.

Kinuko Y. Craft
Janet Chui
Stephan Martinière
John Picacio
Shaun Tan

Special Award—Professional - Quite a few cool people on this list, having had the pleasure of having some contact with three of them. Congrats to all.

Kelly Link & Gavin J. Grant (for Small Beer Press and Big Mouth House)
Farah Mendlesohn (for The Rhetorics of Fantasy)
Stephen H. Segal & Ann VanderMeer (for Weird Tales)
Jerad Walters (for A Lovecraft Retrospective: Artists Inspired by H.P. Lovecraft)
Jacob Weisman (for Tachyon Publications)

Special Award—Non-professional - See what I said above, just with slightly fewer people I've chatted with at least once.

Edith L. Crowe (for her work with The Mythopoeic Society)
John Klima (for Electric Velocipede)
Elise Matthesen (for setting out to inspire and for serving as inspiration for works of poetry, fantasy, and SF over the last decade through her jewelry-making and her “artist’s challenges.”)
Sean Wallace, Neil Clarke, & Nick Mamatas (for Clarkesworld)
Michael Walsh (for Howard Waldrop collections from Old Earth Books)

My thoughts on this finalist list? Nice, fairly strong list. Easily my favorite out of the three major American-oriented SF/F awards. What do you think about this slate?


Joe Sherry said...

Oh good, you noticed.

I know you were asking about this a couple weeks ago. I get excited about World Fantasy. I feel like there are more things to discover here than the Hugos and Nebulas.

Larry said...

Yes, I was just later in finding out since I didn't have much time in front of the computer until this evening. I've been following the WFAs closely since the 2005 group, which was outstanding (Murakami won that year, I believe).

James said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
James said...

I think that I should actually get around to reading some of the things on this list--I've read only two:

- The Graveyard Book, which was good, but I do not feel as though it was particularly award-worthy.

- 26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss, which had an odd format, but was entertaining. Since I haven't read any of the others I cannot be sure how it stacks up in comparison.

Unlike the Hugo award noms, this list makes me want to go out and read some of these novels. So I think the slate is just frustrating overall. My to-read pile is already some sixty books high and growing. Like I need my attention brought round to even more...

[Damned typos.]

Larry said...

James, that's the perilous beauty of discovering books; always more to read! I constantly maintain about 100 purchased books that I've yet to read (not counting the hundreds of review copies that I know I'll never read due to lack of interest in most of them) and I wouldn't have it any other way.

James said...

I wouldn't have it any other way either, which is why the stack continues to grow. I've always likened reading to a journey--there is always something new to discover. There are few things I enjoy more than doing just that.

Terry Weyna said...

I agree that this seems to be the strongest slate among the various awards this year. I have much to read yet among the nominees, but those I have read are very strong. Some have even already won awards elsewhere (e.g., Filter House won the Tiptree Award, and "Pride and Prometheus" won the Nebula Award).

I enjoyed "Uncle Chaim and Aunt Rifke and the Angel," and identified it as one of the best of the stories in the collection in which it appeared when I reviewed it.

I'm reading The Living Dead now -- rather slowly, as it's hard to read in bed, which is where I'm doing much of my reading these days (it seems the only time I get to read is just before I fall asleep, which is why I'm 200 books or so behind you on my count for the year). I've already read The Del Rey Book of Science Fiction and Fantasy, and didn't react to it the way you did at all -- I thought it rather unremarkable. Datlow's Poe is a much better anthology! I presume it'll be on ballots next year.

I read much of Filter House, and didn't much care for it. I'm not sure why, and I probably gave up too easily. I have no recollection of "Good Boy," the story that's been individually nominated. I loved The Drowned Life, but then, I unreservedly love Ford's short fiction; man, it's great stuff!

I'm so delighted that the World Fantasy Convention is in my neck of the woods, so that I'll be able to go this year; it's been a long time. (11 years to be exact; have I mentioned that it's where I met my husband, when it was held in Monterey? Great memories!)

Greyweather said...

After the disappointment of last year's WFA (with Territory the lone exception) I wasn't sure I was going to bother following the WFA this year. Looking at this year's finalists, I am both relieved and encouraged.

Gaiman's book was good, and has a decent shot at a Hugo, but I think the competition here is a little too stiff for it.

I'm reading Daryl Gregory's novel now and it is very good.

Of the two collections I've read, I favor Ford over Link.

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