The Hotties: 2009 Year-End Awards


It's about time to kiss 2009 goodbye, so what better way to do so than with Yours Truly's year-end awards!?!

Oh, of course, the Hotties might not be as glamorous as the Hugo or the Nebula Awards. And they might not be as prestigious as the World Fantasy Awards. Heck, we don't even have a stupid trophy to hand out! But it's better than nothing, right!?!

Many SFF fans seem to feel that it wasn't a very good year for speculative fiction. Which is a bit weird, for when I take a look at my top reads of the year there are a good number of terrific books that were published in 2009. Sure, GRRM, Scott Lynch, Tad Williams, Patrick Rothfuss, and a few others remained missing in a action. But overall, it was still a very good year. At least in my own humble opinion. . .=) But I'm a dumbass, so what do I know!?!

An editor recently asked me how it felt to be what is probably the most influential SFF book-reviewing blogger on the web? Well, considering the amount of people who hate my guts and appear to believe that I have as much insight as what can be found in your cat's litter box, I'm unsure as to how much influence I may or may not have on the blogosphere. People continue to visit Pat's Fantasy Hotlist in droves, more so this year than ever before. So I guess that this ought to count for something, right? I don't know. . . When the elitist wankers and their ilk agree with me, I'm considered an online reviewer. When they don't, I'm relegated to the status of a vulgar blogger, something that appears to be a necessary evil, like dog poop that must be sidestepped when strolling in the park. All I know is that I've been doing the same thing since January 2005. And as long as it's fun, I'll probably keep on doing it. After nearly 5 years of blogging, I figure that people should know what to expect by now. . .

Without further ado, here are the 2009 Hotties Award!

TOP 10 SPECULATIVE FICTION TITLES OF 2009

1- Dust of Dreams by Steven Erikson (Tor Books/Bantam Press)
2- The Judging Eye by R. Scott Bakker (The Overlook Press/Orbit)
3- The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (Doubleday/Weidenfeld & Nicolson)
4- Wings of Wrath by C. S. Friedman (Daw Books/Orbit)
5- Fall of Thanes by Brian Ruckley (Orbit)
6- Twelve by Jasper Kent (Pyr/Bantam Press)
7- Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie (Orbit/Gollancz)
8- Cyberabad Days by Ian McDonald (Pyr/Gollancz)
9- A Magic of Nightfall by S. L. Farrell (Daw Books)
10- The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi (Nightshade Books)
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11- Thousandth Night & Minla's Flowers by Alastair Reynolds (Subterranean Press)
12- The City & the City by China Miéville (Del Rey/Pan MacMillan)
13- City Without End by Kay Kenyon (Pyr)
14- The Burning Skies by David J. Williams (Bantam Spectra)
15- The Eternal Prison by Jeff Somers (Orbit)
16- The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (Tor Books/Orbit)
17- Imager by L. E. Modesitt, jr. (Tor Books)
18- Suicide Kings edited by George R. R. Martin (Tor Books)
19- Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry (St. Martin's Griffin/Gollancz)
20- Muse of Fire by Dan Simmons (Subterranean Press)

PUBLISHER OF THE YEAR AWARD

- Orbit

With 3 Orbit titles in my top 5 and 6 in this top 20, Orbit is now a force to reckon with on both sides of the Atlantic. Which might not please everyone on our side of the pond. You know, the one where we drive on the right side of the road!:P

FAVORITE SFF BLOG

- The Wertzone

If you hang out on the principal SFF message boards, you probably know Adam "Wert" Whitehead. Well, the guy also has a very nice blog that you should check out from time to time.=)



MOST IMPROVED AUTHOR AWARD

- It's a tie between Jeff Somers for The Eternal Prison (Canada, USA, Europe) and David J. Williams for The Burning Skies (Canada, USA, Europe). I feel that both authors should be read more widely.

BEST SFF MESSAGE BOARD

- http://asoiaf.westeros.org/

Honorable mention: SFFWorld.com

I know that the Hotlist is the only place some readers visit for SFF news and reviews. But even if you are just a lurker, these two message boards should be visited to get a more global feel for what's going on in the genre.

MOST AMBITIOUS PROJECT AWARD

- The Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson and Ian Cameron Esslemont

In terms of depth and scope, nothing even comes close to this series. I say that every year, but it's true!

MOST OVERRATED NOVEL AWARD

- Lev Grossman's The Magicians (Canada, USA, Europe)

Still not sure how this novel managed to garner all these rave reviews. . .

MOST UNDERRATED NOVEL AWARD

- S. L. Farrell's A Magic of Nightfall (Canada, USA, Europe)

Farrell's The Nessantico Cycle is one of the better ongoing fantasy series out there. You should give A Magic of Twilight (Canada, USA, Europe) a shot.




BEST COVER ART AWARD

- Michael Komarck's wrap-around cover for the Subterranean Press lettered edition of Steven Erikson's Gardens of the Moon. WOW!

MOST ACCESSIBLE AUTHOR AWARD

- Patrick Rothfuss

Honorable mentions: Peter V. Brett and Joe Abercrombie

Sure, some of you could bitch about the fact they they aren't writing the books you're waiting for while they are being so friendly to their fans. But those are the same people bitching about the fact that authors like George R. R. Martin and Scott Lynch never provide updates anymore, etc. Food for thought. . .

SHAME ON YOU AWARD

- Tor Books

For coming up with godawful covers for the new WoT eBooks. Damn, I feel bad about having complained about the Sweet WoT covers in the past.

INTERVIEW OF THE YEAR

- Glen Cook Q&A

The wankers jumped up and down in glee, happy to see me look bad, while many people felt that the author acted like a complete idiot. This from a Tor bestselling author: "What an asshole." Do read it again, though. It's probably the most entertaining interview I have ever done.;-) A writer who has known Cook for years told me, "This is just Glen Cook acting like Glen Cook." If you haven't read it yet, don't let that Q&A deter you from giving the Black Company books a shot.

UNEXPECTED SURPRISE AWARD

- Brandon Sanderson proving that, while he can never make A Memory of Light as good as Robert Jordan would have, he can nevertheless do a very good job of it. And he won't accept anything less than his best effort.

MOST DISAPPOINTING NOVEL AWARD

- I would say that it's a tie between Lev Grossman's The Magicians (Canada, USA, Europe) and John Twelve Hawks' The Golden City (Canada, USA, Europe ).

Honorable mention: Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's Bones of the Dragon (Canada, USA, Europe)

MOST PROMISING NEW VOICE AWARD

- Paolo Bacigalupi for The Windup Girl (Canada, USA, Europe). Already an award-winning short fiction author, I'm looking forward to any novel-length material he'll come up with.




DUMBASS OF THE YEAR AWARD

- Robert Stanek

This self-proclaimed bestselling and beloved fantasy author joins past dumbass finalists such as Terry Goodkind and M. John Harrison for coming up with stuff you wouldn't believe. For the full story, check out these links: link 1, link 2, link 3, link 4.

Who am I to say stuff like this? Why just the kind of guy who gets shanked in jail. . .:P




ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: BEST DEBUT

- Twelve by Jasper Kent (Canada, USA, Europe)

This one came out in January, and no debut managed to even come close to it in terms of quality.

THE LOIS McMASTER BUJOLD "THIS ONE WILL WIN AN AWARD OR THREE" AWARD

- Sadly, I have a feeeling that the wankers will give a lot of love to Lev Grossman's The Magicians. But if Paolo Bacigalupi doesn't win the Hugo for The Windup Girl, what little respect I have left for the Hugo Awards might evaporate rather quickly. . .

MVP AWARD

- Lou Anders

The heart and soul behind the Pyr imprint, this man is pretty damn close to being a genius. Though he's the head of a smaller publishing house and hence cannot compete financially with the genre powerhouses, Lou Anders always managed to put out a wide array of quality speculative fiction titles every year. He's like the general manager of a small-market team who always finds a way to get the players he needs for the team to make the playoffs. And with what he and the Pyr crew has in store for 2009 as they celebrate the imprint's 5th anniversary, this could be Pyr's biggest year yet! Long live!=)


Happy Holidays, and roll on 2010!

27 commentaires:

ERIC said...

Pat, when u get a sec check out Michael J Sullivan and his novel "The Crown Conspiracy" ..its a great read and the first of a six book series..hes a newbie and low under the radar but still a great book..happy new year..cheers!

Roland said...

I am ever amazed by your ability to combine vast SFF knowledge with blind fanboy-fanaticism. I mean, most of the world agrees that Sanderson's WoT is far superior to any of the previous six novels, but no - "he could never write it as well as Jordan would have", even though Jordan - may he rest in peace - was only writing knitting manuals and his previous three books are actually more engaging if you read their synopses in Wikipedia... And then you have an award for an author who hasn't published a book in years (Rothfuss). What for? For being a nice guy? I didn't know that's an award-worthy trait.

Not that I don't agree with most of the others, but... come on dude, you're better than this!

Ran said...

"For coming up with godawful covers for the new WoT eBooks."

Are you kidding, Pat? These are the covers the series should have had all along. Donato Giancola's depiction of Rand is now the definitive depiction of WoT's most central character ... and it only took 19 years for it to happen.

Anonymous said...

another nod towards the wert zone, his big fat head will now become even fatter, I don't get what people like about his blog, he writes shitty reviews about old games or old tv shows (mostly copypaste from wikipedia)and has the worlds biggest "this is my opinion and I a fucking right" complex.

Methinks you gave him the award because he is one of the few big bloggers who doesn't bash the hotlist.

Katie Rask said...

Thanks for the list, Pat!

Patrick said...

Roland: You say that most of the world agrees that Sanderson's WoT is far superior to any of the previous six novels. I'm not sure where you hang out... Dragonmount? I've looked around and , while everyone agrees that Brandon did a great job, not everyone is saying he's the best thing since sliced bread. But hey, that's a matter of opinion. So mine is not better than yours. We'll just have to agree to disagree on this one.=)

And fan-friendly authors usually sell a lot more books. Just look at Scalzi, and he's not even in the same ballpark as Rothfuss. I have a feeling that THE WISE MAN'S FEAR will outsell THE NAME OF THE WIND, and that novel was the bestselling fantasy debut of all time in hardcover. So as a career move, "taking care of his fans" might not be a bad thing, you know...

Ran: Hopefully you are kidding, my friend. That one with Rand hanging from the mast was unbelievable!

Anonymous: Wert's good! You say that he writes shitty reviews about old games or old tv shows (mostly copypaste from wikipedia)and has the worlds biggest "this is my opinion and I a fucking right" complex. Well, I've been accused of doing that too...

Anonymous said...

The Author I was able to chat with the most was Alan Campbell. But Joe Abercrombie was a close second.
I like the list, overall, read most of the books. It is a good way to point out a couple of books I have not read yet.
On and on the blind fan-boy comment.. um.. isn't it a blog and thus opinion based? Just checking there. Everyone is entitled to one I guess. Carry on!

Roland said...

Pat, fair enough. I guess I just can't digest the fact that you think Jordan would've done it better, considering the crap he was peddling in his last years.

machinery said...

I bought "the name of the wind" by rothfuss, and I have to say, it's so far from "all that".
the book is just not good.
it's not bad, and it could be a decent start for the trilogy, but overall, it's not good.

Adam Whitehead said...

Interesting, since I write a lot of articles for Wikipedia. Personally I thought I was allowed to plagiarise myself.

Cheers for the shout-out Pat. Nice to know when I get shanked in prison, you'll be right there beside me! Or something like that.

As for the Jordan/Sanderson thing, I think everyone would prefer it if Jordan was still alive and if he'd brought his story to a close according to his own design. I suspect if this would have happened the book would also have been split into 3 volumes, if not more. However, I think Sanderson did a blinding job, the best possible under difficult circumstances, with this book and he's brought back a lot of people who gave up on the series years ago. That deserves some plaudits, I think.

gryn said...

I'm curious - if Paolo Bacigalupi should win the Hugo for The Windup Girl, why is it #10 on your list? Is it because it's the highest ranked SF novel on your list? If so, fantasies have won Hugos as often as SF lately (Neil Gaiman, Susanna Clarke, Lois McMaster Bujold, JK Rowling).

Anonymous said...

Oddly enough, I find your best-of list a nice corrective in that a lot of year's best lists seem to turn a blind eye toward heroic fantasy. So while this list definitely skews toward a particular type of fantasy, for the most part, it's a good value.

Could've done without the blather before the list, though.

Happy holidays.

JeffV

Anonymous said...

Oh--and by the way, who the f--- cares whether you can chat with an author or not? Writers shouldn't feel like they have to put out in a conversational way all the time. I value the ones who say f--- off as much as the ones who engage. You're kinda saying with that award that authors ought to make themselves accessible.

Okay, then, might as well say your plumber and your snail mail person ought to do the same. Oh--and your carpenter, your drycleaner, the guy you buy your CDs from, etc.

JeffV

Kyle said...

JeffV: As Pat states, it can be a good PR move to make yourself accessible. Look at John Scalzi. A mediocre writer and a through and through Heinlein wannabe, but his Whatever website is so popular that people buy his books because he's such a funny, witty, and friendly guy.

I'd love to get the new Rothfuss today if that was a possibility. But for those of us who can't afford to attend cons, it's neat to have the opportunity to get to know him through Facebook and his blog.

Joe Sherry said...

Look at John Scalzi. A mediocre writer and a through and through Heinlein wannabe, but his Whatever website is so popular that people buy his books because he's such a funny, witty, and friendly guy.

I'll grant that people may buy one book because "he's such a funny, witty, and friendly guy", but I'd be willing to put down money that they keep buying his books because they like his books.

I've met some funny, witty, and friendly folks - sometimes all in the same person - but if they wrote shitty novels I wouldn't buy them.

Anonymous said...

Sure, Rothfuss and co can be commended for being so friendly. But those who worry about the waste of time have a point : internet activities are terribly time-consuming.
That's the reason why Scott Bakker has withdrawn from the discussion boards, or why Robin Hobb stays away from the internet.

wassr said...

S. L. Farrell is a name used by Stephen Leigh. link here shows this.

http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/l/stephen-leigh/

Larry said...

Kyle,

Something tells me JeffV knows quite a bit about the importance of PR and accessibility... ;)

Pat,

While the list is not bad at all (of the books I've read, none were unappealing to me), the tone of your Hotties has changed a bit the past couple of years. I wish you'd stop being so self-defensive about differences of opinions and the occasional personal attack. For several, you are a leading authority when it comes to certain types of SF books. Wish you'd be more confident in that and stop worrying about other groups and making sniping remarks about the "wankers'" tastes. Too much of the above sounded rather petty, to be honest. Perhaps next year's edition can be devoid of the defensive attitude and comments?

Anonymous said...

Larry, I think that based on Pat's thoughts on the topic (which he has made abundantly clear over the years), it's more about him not giving himself airs. Don't know him personally, but I don't think he considers himself all that influential, no matter how popular the hotlist has become. He's just one of the guys, and I think that's why he is so well liked by many.

As for the wankers, well we all know how he feels about them and how they feel about him!:D

Is JeffV VanderMeer? If so, I find it a bit odd that someone like him would make such a remark. Perhaps people would pay more attention to his works if he was more accessible..? Lynch and Abercrombie had success early on because of their presence on mbs like Westeros and sffworld.com. Plus they had terrific books! Maybe that's why VanderMeer never managed to become more of a known figure outside of the more elitist circles...

If not for mbs, no one would even know who the heck the guy is, you know.

Sandra

Larry said...

Sandra,

Please don't take this the wrong way, but the only word I can think to describe your comments is "ignorant." In the sense of not knowing situations elsewhere rather than not being capable of comprehension. I would guess that most of the MBs that you've frequented are oriented toward epic/heroic fantasies and when an author writes outside that mode s/he likely is not going to be talked about on those sites as much...but a lot more via other media, such as blogs, LJs, Facebook, etc.

But I will admit it's rather ironic considering this that some want to take the author to task for "accessibility."

Anonymous said...

I mean no disrespect but who is Jeff VanderMeer? Never heard of him.:S

Richard

Larry said...

Richard,

I think that's an audience issue. For some audiences, the name "Steven Erikson" gets associated with Steve Erickson, who wrote the excellent Arc d'X and Zeroville, among several other books. Others will go "huh?" when they see the name Michael Chabon.

Those who are familiar with the New Weird movement/moment will recognize VanderMeer's name (just like they'll know who is Steph Swainston, for example). Those who are not likely won't know. Ignorance runs in so many directions - just a matter of if people are willing to explore things beyond their "comfort zones," I suppose.

But this is all risking going off-task here, no?

Carl V. said...

Though we certainly will have to agree to disagree on this one, I feel compelled to put my two cents in regarding the new TOR covers for the WoT books...infinitely better than the crap Sweet has been doing for years. I mean, really. What the hell is that latest cover even about? What a mess. That being said, we all have different tastes, but I just cannot go with you on this one.

As for accessible authors, sure I always appreciate it when an author is a decent person and at least devotes some time to interacting with the fans that make him or her a success. At the same time, I often find myself wishing that the more outgoing authors would spend less time not writing books and more time writing books. That is incredibly selfish of me, I know. But hey, I cannot get enough of my favorite authors.

While it is great that John Scalzi is our there interacting with fans, that hasn't once influenced me to buy one of his books. I bought the first one because I heard good things about the book and I bought subsequent books because I don't find him a mediocre writer, I find him an extremely engaging storyteller...and dammit I want him to get cranking on the books! Ha!

As always, I certainly enjoy reading your year end reports as I always find books that I want to check out. Personally 09 was a very satisfying reading year, and I wish you and even better one in 2010, Pat.

Anonymous said...

Your ignorance is astounding Sandra .

Have a look at the traffic SFFworld or westeros receives , neither are large (or influential enough)to have any real say in the success of an author , and as for claiming that they had a hand in Abercrombie or Lynch doing well.....lol ?

The same goes or Scalzi, yes his site is popular, but popular in the genre blogosphere != large numbers of people , to claim he only sells because people like to visit his blog is a ridiculous statement, and one that would indicate (much like your statement about Abercrombie and Lynch) that you have no idea what the hell you are talking about.

Roland said...

I couldn't care less about whether an author is accessible or not. I WILL find out about their work and if it looks promising, I'll give it a go. Scott Bakker is absolutely off the grid, yet his "Prince of Nothing" trilogy is by far the greatest completed work of fantasy I have ever read (and I've read quite a lot).

While my previous favourite Steven Erikson could be easily found on-line, I wish he spent more time polishing his books and wasn't obsessed with the "once per year" factor. I was a raving Malazan fanboy just two years ago, but books 6, 7 and 8 were one disappointment after another (and each one in a different way to boot). I'm yet to muster the courage to start Book 9.

So yeah, it's cool when you can chat with the guy. It's cooler when they write their books though, cause I have a lot of really nice people to chat with whenever I feel the urge, and this is not what I want from SFF authors.

Katie Rask said...

I find it hilarious that everyone gets so worked up about the 'accessibility of the author' award. Pat didn't say that an author's accessibility makes them better than other authors. It's just a nice shout-out to contrast with the 'Dumbass Award.'

It's cool to feel a sort of connection with some authors. That doesn't mean that all authors should start crazy personal blogs. I can't fathom why people would assume that having a nice little 'award' like the 'accessibility' one means its a judgment on the failure of all other authors.

Jeesh, people. Relax.

Anonymous said...

I mean, most of the world agrees that Sanderson's WoT is far superior to any of the previous six novels


Man, are you on drugs???