In case you haven't noticed already, I love chatting with other people about scifi and fantasy books. So my mind - which works in mysterious ways - decided that it would be fun - ha! Fun! Let's talk about that again when we reach the shortlist part! - to talk some of my fellow readers into joining me in trying to pick up our favourite scifi and fantasy stories of the past year.
The definition closely resembles that of an award with a jury. But, we are obscure, we don't have a catchy name or famous patron, and we don't even have a venue to give out the awards. Heck, we don't even have an actual award to hand!
Anyway, "Awards" sounded nice and self aggrandising, so we wouldn't say no to it, but we felt like adding "Kind of" in front of it in case someone would dare taking us seriously. (Besides, when you shorten it, it makes SCKA and I've always liked Madness.)
Anyway, I put out a call, asked some people and thus the Famous Seven were chosen: Eowyn, Hammard, Imyril, Runalong Womble, Bethan, David and me.
From there, we had to decide on rules or categories. To keep the story short: the word "Chaos" in the awards name isn't here by chance, as we decided upon the trusted path of "Make up the rules as you go along", and whenever possible "Those aren't rules, they are merely guidelines".
We also chose categories and decided upon five:
- Best scifi novel;
- Best fantasy novel;
- Best story that blurs the boundaries (including Lovecraftian stories);
- Best novella (either scifi or fantasy);
- Best series (either scifi or fantasy). A best series nominee must have a volume released within the year but need not be completed.
Afterwards, we set out to create our own shortlists, each secretly drafted in our little corners before putting them in common to create our final shortlist. Our own shortlists had one primary nominee, and a back up, in case the primary nominee would also be nominated by someone else. Of course, we picked what we knew, what we had read, and though we are all readers, sometimes even devourers, of fiction, we are bound to have missed some great stuff. We only chose traditionally published stories, indifferently from small presses or bigger publishers.
But the fun didn't stop there as we realised there some issues: one story wasn't actually published in 2017, it was a re-issue; in some cases the genre was argued, so one story had to be moved from this category to this category; etc. (please see above at why "Chaos" in the name of our kind of awards).
In the end, I think that our shortlist is full of pretty exciting stuff I'm eager to read.
... And it's when the shortlists began to be handed in that I realised how many books to read we would end up with: "Yay! Books!" and "Oh my goodness! Look at my TBR pile!"
*more rolls of drums, confettis, firecrackers, etc.*
Behold! The 2018 Subjective Chaos Kind of Awards shortlist!
BEST FANTASY STORY CATEGORY
BEST SCIENCE-FICTION STORY CATEGORY
BEST SERIES CATEGORY
BEST NOVELLA CATEGORY
BEST STORY BLURRING THE BOUNDARIES CATEGORY
Now, we begin the reading and the debating, which is the part I'm looking forward to the most.
I'm obviously convinced that my opinions are the best, the most enlightened, and the most thoughtful. So it will be very interesting - to say the least - to confront them to others'!
There are also some stories which are obvious favourites, considering how many times they were our primary nominees, but we are nonetheless looking forward to reading them all and confront them all on their own merits.
A member of the jury doesn't have to participate in each category, but, of course, if you participate in a category, you have to read all the shortlisted stories.
I, and my fellow bookbloggers who take part in this little adventure, will regularly report on our debates (mayhem! Chaos! Betrayal! Name calling! Unsurmountable TBR piles! ... It should be fun!) on our respective blogs.
We hope to have finished some time this summer.
Wish us luck! I, for one, look forward to reading all that I've missed!
Update, 19/01/2018: Thanks to Paul Cornell warning us, we've moved Chalk from the novella category. We had thought it could be considered either a short novel or a long novella, but the writer himsef considers it a novel. It is now in the Fantasy category, which brings the total of stories for this category to 8.
My fellow book bloggers for the SCKA can be found here: Bethan May Books, Runalong the Shelves, Blue Book Balloon and X+1. You can also find Hammard on GoodReads (private profile) and Eowyn on Twitter.