are here. List of the fiction awards below the fold with brief reactions.
- Leviathan Wakes, James S.A. Corey (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
- Deadline, Mira Grant (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
- A Dance with Dragons, George R.R. Martin (Bantam; Harper Voyager UK)
- Embassytown, China Miéville (Del Rey; Macmillan)
- Among Others, Jo Walton (Tor)
- ‘‘The Ice Owl’’, Carolyn Ives Gilman (F&SF 10-11/11)
- ‘‘Countdown’’, Mira Grant (Orbit Short Fiction)
- ‘‘The Man Who Bridged the Mist’’, Kij Johnson (Asimov’s 10-11/11)
- ‘‘Kiss Me Twice’’, Mary Robinette Kowal (Asimov’s 6/11)
- ‘‘The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary’’, Ken Liu (Panverse Three)
- Silently and Very Fast, Catherynne M. Valente (WSFA)
- ‘‘Six Months, Three Days’’, Charlie Jane Anders (Tor.com 6/8/11)
- ‘‘The Copenhagen Interpretation’’, Paul Cornell (Asimov’s 7/11)
- ‘‘What We Found’’, Geoff Ryman (F&SF 9-10/11)
- ‘‘Fields of Gold’’, Rachel Swirsky (Eclipse Four)
- ‘‘Ray of Light’’, Brad R. Torgersen (Analog 12/11)
BEST SHORT STORY
- ‘‘Movement’’, Nancy Fulda (Asimov’s 3/11)
- ‘‘The Paper Menagerie’’, Ken Liu (F&SF 3-4/11)
- ‘‘The Homecoming’’, Mike Resnick (Asimov’s 4-5/11)
- ‘‘Shadow War of the Night Dragons, Book One: The Dead City (Prologue)’’, John Scalzi (Tor.com 4/1/11)
- ‘‘The Cartographer Wasps and the Anarchist Bees’’, E. Lily Yu
I don’t have informed opinions about the shorter fiction, with the exception of “The Ice Owl,” which I read and didn’t much like. I have read (or in the case of the ‘Mira Grant’ book, half-read) all of the novels that were nominated. Leviathan Wakes was, I thought, enormously disappointing. I thought Daniel Abraham’s “Long Price” quartet, was beautifully written (and with the exception of its ending, which was too sentimental) an outstanding study of character (how what might seem like minor flaws in youth can curdle into tragedy in late middle-age). Abraham is one of the co-authors of Leviathan Wakes, but it’s neither beautifully written nor particularly well thought out – stock characters from bad detective noir lurching around a solar system described in mediocre prose. Deadline, I thought was ho-hum zombie fiction, like its predecessor. A Dance with Dragons was very good, but left too many plotlines dangling to be entirely satisfying – I’d have to guess that it’s the likely winner though. Embassytown, unsurprisingly is the stand-out for me – the pacing is not perfect, but it is an extraordinary and innovative novel, which really manages to reinvent science fiction as a literature of ideas. Among Others is a novel that many loved, but I merely quite liked – I preferred Francis Spufford’s The Child That Books Built which covers some of the same territory in a non-fictional format.
Two books that I was surprised not to see on the list. Hannu Rajaniemi’s The Quantum Thief got a lot of attention and buzz. I wasn’t as impressed as many – while the concepts (esp. the privacy system and the infinitely iterated prisoner’s dilemma prison) were fun, the underlying plot-engine was a rather creaky caper story. Its general setting – Solar System Baroque – reminded me a little of David Herter’s Ceres Storm, which sank like a stone when it came out twelve years ago, but was both lovely and impenetrable. Charlie Stross’s Rule 34 also looked like a strong contender to me – and a really nice combination of intelligent sociological speculation and extrapolation and Christopher Brookmyre-style entertainment.
Obviously, others’ mileage may vary – feel free to disagree/agree in comments as you like.