Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas! I was finally able to put together my list of awards, so the wait is over! There's a bit of humor, of course. And as always, many of you won't agree with my selections. That's quite all right with me, as long as we agree to disagree!:-)
Although the Fantasy Hotlist Awards has a nice ring to it, I'm afraid I'm looking for something with a little more cachet. In the film industry, one can win an Oscar. In the music business, you can take home a Grammy. To celebrate American Theatre excellence, one can win a Tony. So in speculative fiction, why couldn't we have a Terry?
Imagine the prestigious trophy. Can you picture that little golden statuette of man with his arms crossed against his chest, his entire demeanor radiating unflagging steadfastness? Can you see it in your mind's eye, sporting a pony tail and a beard, a hard-faced mien meant to project unyielding toughness, yet not quite capable of concealing the underlying ridiculousness of his expression? Yes, a Terry is just what we need! A plaque bearing the inscription "Fantasy is for hacks" would be the perfect finishing touch, making a Terry the second-most sought-after accolade after the World Fantasy Award. What say you, the fans!?! Could we be onto something here!?!;-)
TOP 10 NOVELS OF 2006
1- The Thousandfold Thought (R. Scott Bakker)
2- The Bonehunters (Steven Erikson)
3- Vellum (Hal Duncan)
4- River of Gods (Ian McDonald)
5- The Lies of Locke Lamora (Scott Lynch)
6- Temeraire/His Majesty's Dragon (Naomi Novik)
7- Crossover (Joel Shepherd)
8- Winterbirth (Brian Ruckley)
9- The Crooked Letter (Sean Williams)
10- Blindsight (Peter Watts)
Okay, so some of these books were released earlier in the UK or elsewhere. And yet, those titles are part of the list because I read the North American version which came out this year. But I see you coming. You'll counter by telling me that some novels in the top 10 are not yet available on this side of the Atlantic Ocean. Well, I live in Canada, which means that I, supposedly, have the best of both worlds (my country being part of the Commonwealth and all that crap!). And it's my own damn list, so I can do what I want!;-)
There are three Pyr titles in that list. Hopefully most of you will be smart enough to understand what that means. . .
BEST SFF MESSAGE BOARD
I enjoy every online community I frequent, but Ran's board is where it's at! Mainly because everyone from everywhere seems to converge there!
BEST BOOK I'VE READ THIS YEAR
- Memories of Ice by Steven Erikson
Honorable mention: Deadhouse Gates by Steven Erikson
I'm a recent Malazan convert, as you well know. What can I say!?! It's been that kind of year!
FAITH OF THE FALLEN AWARD: WORST BOOK I'VE READ THIS YEAR
- Talon of the Silver Hawk by Raymond E. Feist
Honorable mentions: King of Foxes and Into a Dark Realm, both by Raymond E. Feist
Yikes! Tough year for Feist, one of my favorite fantasy authors.
COMEBACK OF THE YEAR AWARD
- Melanie Rawn, author of Spellbinder
Honorable mention: Raymond E. Feist, author of Flight of the Nighthawks
Welcome back, Melanie! And Feist proved that he could still write some ripping yarns!
THE BEASTIE BOYS "I'LL KICK YOU OUT OF MY HOME IF YOU DON'T CUT THAT HAIR" AWARD
- We have a tie between R. Scott Bakker and Scott Lynch!
Honorable mentions: Hal Duncan and Terry Goodkind, for his patented Yeard!
MOST OVERRATED NOVEL
- City of Saints and Madmen by Jeff Vandermeer
I know I'm going to take some heat for this one, but this book simply didn't live up to my expectations. It's not bad -- far from it. The hype surrounding this one was probably too strong. And I guess the squid lore didn't quite do it for me. . .
MOST UNDERRATED NOVEL
- Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
Honorable mentions: Forest Mage by Robin Hobb, The Mark of Ran and This Forsaken Earth by Paul Kearney
FAVORITE RELATED BLOG
I read and enjoy many blogs on a daily/weekly basis. I think my list of links attest to that fact (though I don't update it nearly often enough, I know!). But this year, William Lexner gets the nod.
I mean, come on! Stego's been accused of single-handedly killing Emerald City (seriously, it will be missed)and nearly destroying the Hugo Awards! And here I am, doing interviews with authors such as George R. R. Martin, Orson Scott Card and Guy Gavriel Kay, receiving Erikson's Reaper's Gale manuscript months in advance, as well as other such nonsense. Hmmm, it must be nice to have that kind of notoriety.
Keep up the good work, William!
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR AWARD: BEST DEBUT
- Hal Duncan, author of Vellum
Honorable mentions: Scott Lynch, author of The Lies of Locke Lamora; Naomi Novik, author of Temeraire/His Majesty's Dragon; Brian Ruckley, author of Winterbirth; Joel Shepherd, author of Crossover
I can't recall another year in which there was so many impressive debuts. Still, for writing such an ambitious and mesmerizing book, Duncan takes the cake!
Now Hal, I'm aware that this isn't exactly the WFA. But it's still something. . . Right!?! Let me make it up to you by sweetening the deal a bit. First drink on me, should we ever meet in person. How about that!?!
THE LOIS McMASTER BUJOLD "THIS ONE WILL WIN AN AWARD OR THREE" AWARD
- Lois McMaster Bujold, author of Beguilement
Who else, really? Every time this woman writes something, it ends up winning an award. Poor Kay, Ysabel has no chance to capture the WFA. . .
On a more serious note, Peter Watts' Blindsight appears to be a sure nominee for the next Hugo Awards.
THE MICHAEL RICHARDS AWARD: RANT OF THE YEAR
Unlike many blogs and websites out there, I don't have resident hecklers and haters. Be that as it may, I nevertheless receive occasional emails and PMs ripping me and my posts. Hence, I've decided to give you a little sample of what sometimes comes my way.
Some of you have already read or heard of the "Lemmings of Discord" rant I received last summer. For your reading pleasure, hereby you will find the best parts of that message. It's from Ron Wilson, aka MyStar, close friend of Terry Goodkind and webmaster or admin of the author's official website. At the time I was trying to get an interview with Goodkind, hoping the give him an opportunity to address many of the controversial issues that surround him. During that same period, the Goodkind parody threads on westeros really took off, and like many I made it a point to read them every day. Well, MyStar saw a glib remark from me on one of those threads, and that was the end of it. For the record, I must admit that our correspondence prior to that moment was very civil. After that, however, well let's just say that I never got a Christmas card from him. Oh, and he doesn't hold the people at westeros in his heart. . .
Here's a taste of what he had to say (the spelling and grammatical errors are his, not mine):
And as for "detractors" the 5 people at your westros board don't really count as "detractors", more along the lines of hecklers and gits. But I've got better things to do with my time than spend reading or interacting with people who are incapable of any kind of coherent thought. Attacking Goodkind for what they admire in GRRM or Bakker etc... sorry pot calling the kettle black simply doesn't warrant time from me. [...]
I've read many of your reviews for some time now. While I will admit you have wrangled a few interviews, they came not from
anything "you" did but rather you asking (most persistently I might add, so says the people offering these reviews) to do them and trying to sell yourself to the task. Mediocre at best. I've seen worse interviews, but I've seem much better as well. You seem to get hung up on "your view of things, from your perspective only", and not allowing that opposing views have any merit. [...]
Yet, you not only lower your self by your close association with these trolls, but the quality of your work. You forget to remove yourself from a neutral standpoint and rather encourage the shtick. Bad form! I can only imagine that publishers getting excerpts of your behavior and lack of professional demeanor are going to be frowning at your so called ability to be fair and respectful. [...]
These poor pathetic people have no clue as to anything Goodkind is writing about. Faith of the Fallen in any poll out there is always 9 out of 10 top favorite of the series. That you and these lemmings of discord find it reprehensive is telling indeed. Telling everyone that you indeed have missed the whole point of the book as well as the series. No wonder you cannot tell good literature from mindless drivel. These people of Westros et al. read a paragraph, them proceed to eliminate anything they do not want to be there, and instead focus on only what they wish to see. [...] Sorry these people you hang out with have no idea about any thing other than their mindless attempts at twisting the series into something unrecognizable and vile for their own sick entertainment. [...]
You seem to be under the impression that because you read a wide Varity of "Fantasy" that you are the rule,when nothing is further from the truth. The "small" number of vulgar voices at westros et al, is but a scattering of sand in a vast sea of readers. Having just gotten back from the book signing and Meet the Author" I arrange for Terry, I have come away with some new insights. Goodkind readership is vast and world wide. These people are not only willing to travel from all parts of the world to get a book signed but to meet the man himself and tell him face to face what truly phenomenal work he has done. I've been to many many book signings by Goodkind and never once have we ever heard anything but praise and adoration of Goodkind and his work. This weekend has shown that you and your band of troll are not only wrong, but far far in the minority. Something I honestly think you are aware of but refuse to admit. [...]
Pat, the thing about all of this is honesty and respect. You show neither. You may well not care for Goodkind, fine. I've no problem with that. But you not only do yourself a disservice, but you fail all of your readers when you refuse to see that there are more positive aspects to Goodkind and his works that you are willing to let on. You do yourself a disservice when you try to dismiss the facts that are so clearly evident and rather try to diminish them by refusing to admit that Goodkind and his series has merit. Trust me when I say, you will never achieve your goals until you embrace that which you refuse to admit...the truth. I do think you have potential, as long as you can keep your focus and stop letting your friends direct your thoughts. [...]
There you have it: The truth will set us free. So forget about Bakker, Duncan, Erikson, Miéville, Gaiman, Kay, and the rest. Go read the SoT and get real!;-) As to all you trolls on westeros, see how you've ruined my reputation! Bastards, every last one of you!;-)
At least he recognized the fact that I read a wide varity of fantasy novels!
THE BEST THING SINCE SLICED BREAD AWARD
A breath of fresh air in both the fantasy and science fiction genres.
UNEXPECTED SURPRISE AWARD
- Kitty Goes to Washington by Carrie Vaughn
Okay, so she's won this award two years in a row. I guess I didn't think that Vaughn could do it again. . . But she certainly did!
INTERVIEW OF THE YEAR
- We have a tie between R. Scott Bakker (December 2005) and Steven Erikson (January 2006)
Honorable mention: Peter Watts (December 2006)
I've been very fortunate to get all those interviews in 2006. To me, it's a real privilege to have the opportunity to ask questions to some of the most popular novelists out there. Hence, each Q&A was an enjoyable experience for me. Hopefully the authors feel the same way!:-)
So why Bakker and Erikson? Simply because these two were the first to really take the ball and roll with it. Political correctness was left behind, and that made for two very refreshing interviews. I may be wrong, but I'm persuaded that these two interviews truly helped generate interest in this blog. Which, in turn, subsequently allowed me to secure interviews with notable authors such as George R. R. Martin, David Eddings, Jacqueline Carey, and all the rest.
MOST PROMISING NEW VOICE AWARD
- Scott Lynch
Hands down, this award can go to no one else! The Lies of Locke Lamora showed that this guy has it all and could possibly go all the way. Unless it was a fluke (which I doubt), Red Seas Under Red Skies should establish Lynch as one of the elite of the fantasy genre.
MOST ACCESSIBLE AUTHOR
- Scott Lynch
Honorable mentions: Robin Hobb, Brandon Sanderson, Joe Abercrombie, John Scalzi
I don't believe any other writer was more present "everywhere" in 2006. Whether it was on sffworld.com, on westeros, on The Right People, Scott was always there to answer questions. Heck, the guy even sent someone a personalized autographed copy of his debut for her parody of a Goodkind story using Lynch's own characters! Who else would set up a contest in which the prize is an ARC of his upcoming novel for the person who created the best drink that symbolized The Gentlemen Bastards!?!
MOST AMBITIOUS PROJECT
The Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson
So vast in scope, it blows my mind! Erikson and Esslemont truly created something special.
K-FED AWARD: DUMBASS OF THE YEAR
- Terry Goodkind
For his outstanding contribution to all things idiotic, this one can go to no one but TG. Hard to put a finger on exactly what clinched it, as we could probably ballpark the amount of material worth winning him this award. Comparing Canadians to Iranians last spring comes to mind, though. . . Very special thanks are owed to Larry (Dylanfanatic), who doesn't miss much when it comes to yet another Goodkind cretinous moment! The beauty of it remains that most members of the author's forum regard Goodkind as wisdom made flesh. . . Food for thought. . . Oh damn! Since Goodkind doesn't write fantasy, can he still win this distinguished K-Fed Award!?!;-)
MVP: AUTHOR OF THE YEAR AWARD
- Scott Lynch
For writing an entertaining debut like The Lies of Locke Lamora; for being accessible to fans and critics in a manner that is above and beyond the call of duty; for his candor and good humor.
For all of the above, this Terry goes to Scott!
***DISCLAIMER: The owner of this blog would like to reassure the public by informing them that no bribes were received during the selection process of these awards. To anyone dimwitted enough to believe that bribes are the only way Mr. Scott Lynch could have won so many Terrys, please bear in mind that the owner of this blog is still waiting for the initial bribe he was promised for writing a positive review for Lynch's fantasy debut last June.
There you have it, folks! Hope I didn't ruffle too many feathers!;-)
Enjoy the rest of the Holidays!:-)