World Fantasy Award Finalists Include George R.R. Martin, Jo Walton, and Lavie Tidhar
[Editor's Note: Jeff VanderMeer was hesitant to have links to his own books included in this piece, but we at Omnivoracious are proud of his accomplishments, so we put them in. Congratulations on your multiple nominations, Jeff!]
The World Fantasy Award ballot for excellence in the field in 2011 was announced today. The World Fantasy Award finalists are chosen by a jury of professionals in the field combined with the top two nominations in each category as voted on by attendees of the World Fantasy Convention. The judges then pick the winners.
In addition to two lifetime achievement award winners, Alan Garner and George R.R. Martin, the ballot includes finalists in categories ranging from best anthology to best short story. Five books are up for best novel:
Those Across the River, Christopher Buehlman (Ace)
11/22/63, Stephen King (Scribner; Hodder & Stoughton as 11.22.63)
A Dance with Dragons, George R.R. Martin (Bantam; Harper Voyager UK)
Osama, Lavie Tidhar (PS Publishing)
Among Others, Jo Walton (Tor)
The novella and short fiction categories feature many interesting selections, including work by established writers like Karen Joy Fowler, Elizabeth Hand, and Catherynne M. Valente (who dominated the Locus Award and Hugo Award ballots this year). But new writers are also represented, including two rising stars, the high quality of their fiction invigorating for the field: Ken Liu and E. Lily Yu.
This correspondent has three nominations, two with Ann VanderMeer for the anthologies The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories and The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities. A third nomination, with S.J. Chambers, is for The Steampunk Bible, also a Hugo Award nominee All told, the three books collect the work of over 600 creators, and at the very least represent an extreme example of cat herding from 2011.
The inclusion of Lavie Tidhar’s Osama in the best novel category, an excellent title from an indie press, most probably demonstrates the wisdom of using a jury, as it would have been at a disadvantage with a purely reader-driven system in place.
Omni contacted Tidhar after the nomination was announced to get his reaction to the news. Tidhar noted that Osama was “almost impossible to sell.” After over 25 rejections, the UK’s PS Publishing accepted the novel. Following critical acclaim and a Campbell Award nomination, Solaris has finally picked up the mass market rights to Osama. “It's been a real roller-coaster ride, as they say!”
As for the nomination for the World Fantasy Award, Tidhar was “very surprised. And surprised by how much I was touched by this, actually! I tend to be quite cynical about things like awards but I had a very visceral response when I found out, only earlier today. It's been such a long, weird journey with this novel and to get this sort of recognition for it—for a novel we thought, for a long time, won't even be published!—yes, it turns out that it means quite a lot. I'm very grateful.”
The World Fantasy Award winners will be announced at the World Fantasy convention in Toronto in early November.
-- Jeff VanderMeer