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Thursday, December 31, 2009

The 2009 WISB Awards!

With 2009 almost over, it's about time to toss out some of my worthless WISB Awards to the fine folks who deserve them (if I could make them worth something, I would, but I'm unfortunately not the Nebula's).

You can see previous winners at the following links: 2008; 2007.

Some things are changing this year, though. First, I am no longer going to make the awards about what was published in 2009. While I would like to be able to do this every year, I also am wholly inadequate to the task of keeping up with what's being published year in and year out and find myself consistently jumping around between 2007, 2008, and 2009 in my reading. So, from now on the WISB Awards are going to focus primarily on what I have read in a particular year rather than one what was published in that year.

For a quick refresher, here are the award categories with brief explanations of what they represent:
Kudos Award (given to a writer who has done something to further the genre or make the genre community a better place)
Best Novel (self explanatory)
Best Publisher (self explanatory)
Best Cover (self explanatory)
Best Writer (self explanatory)
Worst Writer (given to a writer who does something detrimental to their career or the genre)
(There will not be a category for movies this year, primarily because I have not seen enough 2009 films to feel comfortable making that choice.)

So, without further delay, here are the award winners:

The 2009 Kudos Award -- John Scalzi

Why Scalzi? Well, let's run down the list, shall we? He saved Strange Horizons, one of the few pro-paying markets for SF/F left for us writerly folk; he helped out Peter Watts after the Canadian SF author was arrested and charged with a bunch of bogus crap; and he has been writing and supporting SF/F on his blog for years now. If anyone deserves a Kudos Award this year, it's Scalzi.

Keep up the good work!

Best Novel of 2009 -- The House of the Stag by Kage Baker
I'm apparently not well known as a fantasy reader around these parts, mostly because I don't talk about fantasy all that much on this blog (although I happen to read a lot more fantasy than I do science fiction for reasons that I can't quite explain). This year, however, completely shattered my expectations of the genre by providing me the opportunity to read The House of the Stag by Kage Baker. I started reading The House of the Stag thinking it would be another adventurous, epic fantasy, but it turned out to be so much more. I won't ruin my review of the novel, though. All I have to say is that if any novel deserves it this year, it is The House of the Stag.

(You can see my review of The House of the Stag here. I also interviewed Kage Baker here.)

Best Publisher of 2009 -- Angry Robot Books
One of the most unique publishing ventures to come into existence in the last decade, Angry Robot Books not only publishes some fantastic, edgy novels (all science fiction or fantasy), but it also has a unique approach to working with reviewers like myself and writers. I think some of the big boys could learn a few things from this brilliant startup.

(You can read my reviews of some Angry Robot publications at the following links: Angel of Death by J. Robert King; Kell's Legend by Andy Remic.)

Best Cover of 2009 -- Terra Insegura by Edward Willett (illustration by Stephan Martiniere)
I guess it shouldn't be a surprise that Martiniere has won for best cover art this year. The artwork for Terra Insegura is stunning, as are all of Martiniere's paintings. A big plus is the cover actually matches what is in the book. What more can I say? Just look at it!

(You can read my review of Terra Insegura here. Stephan Martiniere can be found on his website. I also interviewed Mr. Willett here and here.)

Best Writer of 2009 -- Kage Baker
I've read two of her novels this year and have to admit that Baker is one of the best writers currently writing in the genre right now. She has a remarkably poetic prose style and a pension for crafting lovable and complex characters. I've enjoyed her work so much that I actually wrote a paper (partly) on one of her novels. Add to that her wonderful use of fairytale stylings and her winning personality (she was a joy to talk to over email for this interview) and it should be no surprise why she is my choice for the best writer of 2009.

(You can see my reviews of her novels at the following links: The House of the Stag; The Empress of Mars.)

Worst Writer (Personally) of 2009 -- John C. Wright
There are so many to pick from this year. I could go with a recent example, like Candace Sams, or I could pick someone who hits a little closer to home. I'm going to do the latter.

John C. Wright rightly deserves the award for worst writer of 2009 for one-upping Orson Scott Card this year by writing this "brilliant" attack against homosexuals (and anyone who supports equal rights in this country). You'll notice that the link doesn't actually go to Wright's blog. Why? Because Wright pulled it down after he was flamed to death for being a homophobic douchebag (though I suspect he'll claim his motivations were otherwise). Still, he's been ousted as super douche of the year by most people and with the wonders of the Internet we have the luxury of seeing everything he's said pasted permanently on the WWW.

Good job, Mr. Wright. Nothing like being a horrible human being to boost those sales (not that he actually saw a reduction in sales, but I sure as hell refuse to give him a single cent now that he's joined the league of extraordinary jackasses).

And that's it! Did I miss anything?

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  1. Wait, wait, wait.
    What did Orson Scott Card do?

    Also, I love Scalzi. He seems like a great person.

  2. Well, Card basically said that we should destroy the government if it allows gay people to get married. He's also been very vocal about his hatred for homosexuals, among other things. He's just a crazy old Mormon nutjob these days. And that's why I don't buy his books anymore.

  3. Best publisher? Oh my. You boys made us cry big manly tears. Many thanks from the AR crew and may your critical faculties continue to be spot on for 2010.

  4. Marco: Well, technically it's just one boy. I occasionally have guest posts here, but mostly it's all me :P.

    I hope my brain will stay on track for 2010. We'll see. Just keep churning out good books!

  5. I hadn't heard those comments by Card-- that's disappointing.

    I am a huge fan of Scalzi--totally agree there.

  6. SQT: Yeah. You can read more about that here: Yeah, yeah. It's Wikipedia, but that's the best way to find all his anti-gay stuff.