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 this...by 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
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?