So, for the last few months our merry band of book bloggers have been whittling down our nominations carefully – the last month saw a scramble to read the books we didn’t manage in the first round and then a final debate. It was fun and last Saturday in the bar at Nineworlds we announced the winners of our luxurious awards
Best Fantasy – Under The Pendulum Sun by Jeannette Ng
A tough section for the judges and we often were surprised that some choices exceeded our expectations but this Gothic tale of English Missionaries trying to convert the Fae was the winner by some distance. It’s haunting, surprising, unnerving and eerie. It’s unusual idea and approach really stood out when people tend to focus on the epic fantasies. A worthy winner and if you’ve not yet tried this you need to catch up.
We also got our first ever attendee to take their award in person!
Best Science Fiction – An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon
A tale where a generational spaceship has turned into a hugely racist society with secrets being kept from people captured our attention. It explores the consequences of prejudice and hatred and how that legacy affects every generation that follows. Not an easy read but one that you’ll remember afterwards especially with its lead character who can be frustrating and amazing in equal measure. I’m very much looking forward to reading more of Solomon’s work in the future.
Best Novella – The Murders of Molly Southbourne by Tade Thompson
This was a superb and very painful category to read but then decide on a winner. The tale of a young woman who every time she bleeds creates a clone who wants to kill her takes a simple idea and just creates an entire life for Molly. The brutal mental and physical impacts of these attacks and question of identity make this a horror tale that doesn’t just go for nasty surprises but creeps under the skin. I’m intrigued what lies in the recently announced sequel.
Best Blurred Boundary – The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams
A category where we had a lot of latitude to define what boundaries were being blurred. This new trilogy from Williams gives us an epic fantasy landscape that is under attack from invaders from another world. Magic and technology collide into a great mix. Its got verve, humour and in Vintage who is our middle-aged academic who wields a crossbow heroine one of the best new characters in SF. A novel that beats the Copper Cat Trilogy really set a high bar
Best Series – The Broken Earth by N K Jemisin
While the nominations were very good there was a unanimous vote for this series. Personally, I think this is the best fantasy trilogy this decade – unique world building; brilliant characters; questions on morality, prejudice and resistance that are not easily answered, and the writing makes the story soar. This is a series if you’ve not done it yet for it.
And that’s it!! As reading tends to be an insular experience having a group to discuss it was really entertaining and as all have differing takes it was great to have both new books recommended and be persuaded why some books needed more praise. Hopefully we can do this again next year!
Next steps for me though after a recharge after Nineworlds and some life stuff is a big catch up on a review backlog the next few weeks and I think its time for version 2 of the blog to finally take shape.