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Award Frenzy

Gosh. I’ve been a member of the British Science Fiction Association for nearly twenty years. And… they’ve just announced their shortlist for the 2007 BSFA Awards. Plenty of others have already repeated the lists below, and/or commented on it. But I thought I’d do it anyway.

Best Novel:

Pretty much all of the above I’d planned to read anyway. The Execution Channel and The Prefect I’ve already read. My sister gave me Black Man for Christmas, and I bought her Alice in Sunderland. The rest… I suppose I’ll have to buy copies before Eastercon. I was going to buy them anyway.

Could this be the first time I’ll have actually read all of the BSFA shortlisted novels before the award is handed out? I’m not sure what that says about the sf novels published in 2007. Normally, I’ve heard of every title on the shortlist, but there are one or two I’ve no desire to read.

Best Short Fiction:

And, bizarrely, I have all of the stories on this shortlist except Ian Whates’, which was published online anyway. I suspect Chiang will win, although I thought ‘The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate’ was weak for him. But that may have been because I read it after finishing Robert Irwin’s The Arabian Nightmare.

And uniquely this year, there is also:

BSFA Fiftieth Anniversary Award: Best Novel of 1958:

I believe I’ve actually read all of these, although many years ago. Three of them, I notice, are in the SF Masterworks series – A Case of Conscience, Non-Stop and A Clash of Cymbals (as part of the Cities in Flight omnibus).

Having seen what else was published that year (see here), I think the best was shortlisted. I mean, half a dozen pseudonymous novels by Robert Silverberg, and the same number under his own name… Eric Frank Russell’s The Space Willies (!)… The Languages of Pao is not one of Jack Vance’s best. Mind you, Equator is one of my favourite Brian Aldiss novels – it’s a fun sf thriller with little or no pretensions. It’d probably make a great film. Wilson Tucker’s The Lincoln Hunters was, I thought, well-regarded, although I’ve never read it. Given some of the names on the BSFA list of eligible novels, I suspect there are either a few hidden gems there (Edward Eager? Hugh Walters? Mervyn Jones?), or a lot of deservedly obscure novels. Now, there’s a reading challenge for another year…

Update: Interzone have now made Alastair Reynolds’ ‘The Sledge-Maker’s Daughter’ available on-line, so I’ve added the link.

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