Brief thoughts on the 2013 Kitschies finalists

January 24, 2014 § 1 Comment

Thursday, the finalists for the fifth Kitschies awards were announced.  For those not familiar with it, this is an UK-based (with finalists from throughout the Anglophone world) juried award that seeks out titles that are “progressive” and which contain elements of the speculative and/or fantastic to them.  It may not be as visible as most SF/F genre awards, but with payments up to £1000 to the winners, it certainly is one of the highest-paying awards.  This link covers the details, now onto my initial impression of the shortlists (or rather, the first two, as I will not comment on cover art awards out of general principle; bolded titles indicate works read):

The Red Tentacle (Novel), selected by Kate Griffin, Nick Harkaway, Will Hill, Anab Jain and Annabel Wright:

  • Red Doc> by Anne Carson (Jonathan Cape)
  • A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki (Canongate)
  • Bleeding Edge by Thomas Pynchon (Jonathan Cape)
  • More Than This by Patrick Ness (Walker)
  • The Machine by James Smythe (HarperCollins / Blue Door)

 The two highlighted titles made my year-end Top 25 and the Carson intrigues me enough to place a pre-order for the paperback.  The Ness I likely will read in the near future as well, but the story doesn’t appeal to me as much as the others.  Not much interest in the Smythe title, to be honest.

The Golden Tentacle (Debut), selected by the above panel:

  • Stray by Monica Hesse (Hot Key)
  • A Calculated Life by Anne Charnock (47 North)
  • Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie (Orbit)
  • Nexus by Ramez Naam (Angry Robot)
  • Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

 The Leckie I read back in December and found it to be underwhelming.  The descriptions of the other books are fairly boilerplate and until I read something more substantive about them, I likely will not read them at all.

Yet despite the terseness of my reactions here, on the whole, I do find this award to be more to my taste than most other SF/F-oriented awards, with perhaps only the World Fantasy Awards being esteemed more.  Certainly would be nice if some of the Novel finalists would appear on other genre-related awards ballots in the coming months.

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