So now that 2010 is done and other authors are starting to put out their not-quite-solicitations for Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy award nominations, I suppose I’ll jump on the bandwagon. Sorta. Because I’ve got an odd request.
See, I’ve got two eligible short stories (“The Effluent Engine” and “On the Banks of the River Lex”) and two eligible novels this year. I’ve actually published three shorts, not two, but the third, “Sinners, Saints, Dragons, and Haints, in the City Beneath the Still Waters,” is ineligible for a Hugo or Neb due to being published in the UK rather than the US. (Feel free to nom it for a WFA or BSFA, tho’!) And while I was expecting a fourth story, “The Trojan Girl,” to come out in Weird Tales in 2010, it looks like that won’t be out ’til sometime in 2011.
Which leaves me with an odd dilemma, particularly regarding the Hugos and Nebulas, since it’s nominating time for both of those. While I’m very proud of my eligible shorts this year — I don’t even send out a story unless I’m happy with it — “Effluent” wouldn’t even be out yet if I hadn’t posted it for charity (the anth it’s due to be pub’d in won’t be out ’til later in 2011), and it seems somehow wrong to me to use a charity effort for such a self-aggrandizing purpose as an award. And to put it bluntly, I don’t think “Lex” is as strong as last year’s Non-Zero Probabilities. I get that the whole reason for annual awards is so that various authors can compete against each other, not so that an author’s body of work can compete against itself. But, well, personally speaking, I do compete against myself. So if another short of mine lands on the Hugo or Neb ballots, I want it to be as good as or better than the last one that did so. I don’t want to be one of those authors who gets on the ballot every year due to familiarity/popularity, assuming I ever get to be that popular. I would rather be nominated only when I’ve written something that kicks ass.
And given that it is a competition with other authors, I think there are stronger works out there that deserve the nom. I’m planning to nominate Genevieve Valentine’s “Seeing” for the Nebula, for example, because it’s the first hard-SF story I’ve read in years that pinged my sensawunda and my sense-of-damn-good-writing. Also thinking about nomming Saladin Ahmed’s delicious fantasy adventure Mr. Hadj’s Sunset Ride, because holy crap, zombies and gunslinging magicians and a realistically multicultural Old West! Pure fun.
But back to my point. My novels represent an even bigger dilemma, award-wise. I would definitely love to see either The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms or The Broken Kingdoms nominated for some major award… but because both books are eligible in the same category and the same year, they’ll inevitably compete against each other. It would be an honor if they could both end up on the various ballots, yeah… but realistically, that’s unlikely. It’s tough enough to get one thing on these award ballots, let alone two.
So to make a long story short (too late), I’m asking that if you can nominate any of my works for an award this year, please spend your vote on The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. Not my short stories, not The Broken Kingdoms, to maximize my chances. I’m not gonna lie or pretend, ya’ll; I want to get nominated again this year. Hell, I want to win. So let’s see if this helps.