2017 WSFA Small Press Award Finalists

The Washington Science Fiction Association (WSFA) has announced the finalists for the 2017 WSFA Small Press Award:

  • “Foxfire, Foxfire,” by Yoon Ha Lee, published in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, ed. by Scott H. Andrews, (March 2016);
  • “Jupiter or Bust,” by Brad R. Torgersen, published in Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, ed. by Scott Roberts, (March/ April 2016);
  • “The Mytilenian Delay,” by Neil James Hudson, in Hyperpowers, ed. by Bascombe James, published by Third Flatiron Publishing (May 2016);
  • “Only Their Shining Beauty Was Left,” by Fran Wilde, published in Shimmer Magazine, ed. by E. Catherine Tobler, (September 2016);
  • “Radio Silence,” by Walter H. Hunt in Alien Artifacts, ed. by Joshua Palmatier and Patricia Bray, published by Zombies Need Brains, (2016);
  • “A Salvaging of Ghosts,” by Aliette de Bodard, published in Beneath Ceaseless Skies, ed. by Scott H. Andrews, (March 2016);
  • “The Tomato Thief,” by Ursula Vernon, published in Apex Magazine, ed. by Jason Sizemore, (January 2016);
  • “Vengence Sewn With A Fey Cord,” by Christine Lucas, published in The Future Fire, ed. by Djibril al-Ayad, (April 2016);
  • “The Witch’s Knives,” by Margaret Ronald, published in Strange Horizons, ed. by Niall Harrison, Jane Crowley, Kate Dollarhyde, Lila Garrott, Catherine Krahe, An Owomoyela, and Vajra Chandrasekera, (October 2016).

The WSFA Small Press Award honors the efforts of small press publishers in providing a critical venue for short fiction in the area of speculative fiction. The award showcases the best original short fiction published by small presses in the previous year (2016). An unusual feature of the selection process is that all voting is done with the identity of the author (and publisher) hidden so that the final choice is based solely on the quality of the story.

The winner is chosen by the members of the Washington Science Fiction Association and will be presented at Capclave, held this year on October 6-8, 2017 in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

2017 Baen Fantasy Adventure Award

J.P. Sullivan won the 2017 Baen Fantasy Adventure Award with his short story “The Blue Widow.” Sullivan’s story was selected by Baen editorial staff. The announcement was made at Gen Con 50 on August 19.

GRAND PRIZE:

  • “The Blue Widow” by J.P. Sullivan

SECOND PLACE:

  • “Dust of the Fallen” by Barbara Doran

THIRD PLACE:

  • “And Not Go Hungry” by Laurie Tom

Started in 2014, this is the fourth annual Baen Fantasy Adventure Award.

As the grand prize winner, Sullivan won an engraved award, and a prize package containing various Baen Books.

His story “The Blue Widow” will be a featured story on Baen.com main page.

The annual contest was held in conjunction with the Gen Con Writers Symposium.

Second place finisher Barbara Doran is shown in this public post on FB receiving her certificate.

Barbara Doran receives her second place certificate from James Minz (left) and Larry Correia (right).

2016 Sidewise Awards

The winners of the 2016 Sidewise Awards for Alternate History have been announced.

Short Form

(Tie)

  • Daniel Bensen, “Treasure Fleet,” Tales from Alternate Earths, Inkling Press
  • Adam Rovner, “What If the Jewish State Had Been Established in East Africa,” What Ifs of Jewish History

Long Form

  • Ben Winters, Underground Airlines, Mulholland

This year’s award judges were Stephen Baxter, Karen Hellekson, Matt Mitrovich, Jim Rittenhouse, Kurt Sidaway, and Steven H Silver.

2017 ENnie Award and Spotlight Winners

The 2017 ENnies, the Gen Con EN World RPG Awards, and Judges Spotlight Winners were presented on August 18. The ENnies celebrate excellence in tabletop roleplaying gaming.

And congratulations to the Age of Ravens blog, run by Cat Rambo’s brother, for winning silver in its category.

Best Adventure

Gold: Blood in the Chocolate (Lamentations of the Flame Princess)

Silver: Doors to Darkness (Chaosium)

Best Aid/Accessory

Gold: Call of Cthulhu – Keeper’s Screen Pack (Chaosium)

Silver: Kobold Guide to Plots & Campaigns (Kobold Press)

Best Art, Cover

Gold: Call of Cthulhu – Investigator Handbook (Chaosium)

Silver: Torment: Tides of Numenera — The Explorer’s Guide (Monte Cook Games)

Best Art, Interior

Gold: Tales from the Loop – Roleplaying in the ’80s That Never Was (Free League Publishing)

Silver: S. Petersen’s Field Guide to Lovecraftian Horrors (Chaosium)

Best Blog

Gold: Gnome Stew: The Gaming Blog

Silver: Age of Ravens

Best Cartography

Gold: 7th Sea: Map of Théah (John Wick Presents)

Silver: Call of Cthulhu – Keeper’s Screen Pack (Chaosium)

Best Electronic Book

Gold: The Things We Leave Behind (Stygian Fox Publishing)

Silver: Hubris: A World of Visceral Adventure (DIY RPG Productions)

Best Family Game

Gold: Bubblegumshoe (Evil Hat)

Silver: Masks: A New Generation (Magpie Games)

Best Free Product

Gold: 7th Sea: Basic Rules (John Wick Presents)

Silver: City of Mist – Free PDF Starter Set (Son of Oak Game Studio)

Best Game

Gold: Tales from the Loop – Roleplaying in the ’80s That Never Was (Free League Publishing)

Silver: 7th Sea: Core Rulebook (John Wick Presents)

Best Miniature Product

Gold: Achtung! Cthulhu Skirmish: Servitors of Nyarlathotep (Modiphius Entertainment)

Silver: Dungeons & Dragons: Molzur’s Marvelous Miniatures (WizKids)

Best Monster/Adversary

Gold: S. Petersen’s Field Guide to Lovecraftian Horrors (Chaosium)

Silver: Veins of the Earth (Lamentations of the Flame Princess)

Best Podcast

Gold: Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff

Silver: Spellburn

Best Production Values

Gold: Call of Cthulhu – 7th Edition Slipcase Set (Chaosium)

Silver: Unknown Armies Deluxe Set (Atlas Games)

Best RPG Related Product

Gold: Call of Cthulhu: The Coloring Book (Chaosium)

Silver: The ABCs of RPGs (Hunter Books)

Best Rules

Gold: 7th Sea: Core Rulebook (John Wick Presents)

Silver: Adventures in Middle-Earth Player’s Guide (Cubicle 7 Entertainment)

Best Setting

Gold: Tales from the Loop – Roleplaying in the ’80s That Never Was (Free League Publishing)

Silver: The Dark Eye: Aventuria Almanac (Ulisses North America)

Best Supplement

Gold: Pulp Cthulhu (Chaosium)

Silver: 7th Sea: Pirate Nations (John Wick Presents)

Best Website

Gold: Tabletop Audio

Silver: Elven Tower, RPG articles and cartography website

Best Writing

Gold: Tales from the Loop – Roleplaying in the ’80s That Never Was (Free League Publishing)

Silver: Veins of the Earth (Lamentations of the Flame Princess)

Product of the Year

Gold: Tales from the Loop – Roleplaying in the ’80s That Never Was (Free League Publishing)

Silver: 7th Sea: Core Rulebook (John Wick Presents)

Fans’ Choice for Best Publisher

Gold: Wizards of the Coast

Silver: Chaosium

Judges’ Spotlight Winners

The livestream video of the awards ceremony can be viewed at YouTube.

2017 Diana Jones Award

The winner of the 2017 Diana Jones Award for Excellence in Gaming was announced on August 16, the day before the start of Gen Con, in Indianapolis.

The winner is:

 

Gen Con A games convention

Gen Con is a fifty-year-old game convention originally organized in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, by Dungeons & Dragons co-creator Gary Gygax. Now accurately billed as ‘The Best Four Days in Gaming’, under the stewardship of Adrian Swartout Gen Con has become the key annual gathering for the entire worldwide tabletop gaming hobby. Not simply long-lived and highly regarded, Gen Con’s greatest impact lies in showcasing, year after year, the amazing diversity of gaming’s events, people, commerce, and camaraderie.

 

The Award was decided by judges whose names are generally secret, except for Peter Adkison, Matt Forbeck, John Kovalic and James Wallis, who have revealed their panel membership.

The award winner receives the Diana Jones trophy, which they may keep for a year before it passes to the next winner of the Award. They and the other nominees receive the right to use the Diana Jones Award logo for promotional purposes.

As for how that misshapen lump of plastic filled with scorched bits came to be the award trophy —

The Diana Jones trophy was originally created by the UK office of TSR Hobbies in the mid-1980s, to commemorate the expiration of that company’s licence to publish the Indiana Jones Role-Playing Game and the subsequent destruction of all unsold copies of the game. It was liberated from TSR Hobbies by forces unnamed and subsequently came into the custody of a member of the Diana Jones committee.

The trophy is a four-sided pyramid made of Perspex, standing ten centimetres high and mounted on a wooden base. Sealed within the Perspex are the burnt remains of the last copy of the Indiana Jones RPG, including two still-recognizable cardboard ‘Nazi™’ figures, as recorded in gaming folklore.

The Diana Jones committee believes that a trophy that embodies the destruction of the last copy of one of the games industry’s most unloved and least-mourned products is a suitable symbol for the aims of the Diana Jones Award.

What The Dragon Awards Will Never Be

The Dragon Award nominees came out August 3 and voting continues until September 1 — the deadline having been extended by two days after author withdrawals were permitted (although the award’s own webpage has yet to be updated.)

Larry Correia’s latest appeal to voters includes the line:

Unlike certain other awards, the Dragon actively encourages authors to ask their fans to turn out.

My first thought was I saw what you did there, then I realized he also had illuminated the essence of the award – it’s a tribal competition.

Previous to the announcement of the nominees nobody will have read more than a small fraction of the 51 novel finalists (never mind all the comic books and graphic novels). There’s not enough time for a voter to read the dozens of books they hadn’t already seen. (Well, my fellow fans Don D’Ammassa and Marty Massoglia could, but not the rest of us.) And I’ll leave aside the question of whether people will pay for access to all these books.

In short, this is just a raw get-out-the-vote scenario. Nobody is expected to have an informed opinion about which nominees are the best, only an opinion about who they want to give an award to. Unlike certain other awards.

2017 Tähtifantasia Award

The 2017 Tähtifantasia Award, given for the best translated fantasy book published in Finnish during the previous year, was presented at Worldcon 75 on August 10.

The winner is:

  • Kazuo Ishiguro: Haudattu jättiläinen [The Buried Giant] (Tammi, suom. Helene Bützov)

Translator Helene Bützow accepted the prize.

The award jury was composed of critic Jukka Halme, critic Aleksi Kuutio, author and publisher Anne Leinonen, and fantasy reporter, Osmo Määttä, representative of Risingshadow.net.

Translator Helene Bützow

N.K. Jemisin Withdraws from Dragon Awards

N.K. Jemisin has announced she is “Withdrawing from the Dragon Awards”.

Last year, as a 2016 nominee in the Best Fantasy Novel category she says, “I took at face value the DA administrators’ insistence that they were trying to create a fair, open, ‘people’s choice’ award process, I just chalked the problems up to growing pains, took it as an honor, and moved on.” There are a couple of major reasons she has decided against participating in 2017.

…Suffice it to say that the Dragon Awards voting process no longer seems fair or transparent to me, in actual practice.

And then I heard about author Alison Littlewood’s request to withdraw from the awards, and the awards admins’ refusal to honor this request. Important: as of this morning, they’ve changed their minds about this policy and are now removing Ms. Littlewood’s book from the ballot. That’s great. It sounds like this change is enough to assuage John Scalzi’s concerns about the award; that’s also great. I have nothing but respect for other people’s decisions re this whole matter.

It ain’t working for me, though. Let me break this all the way down.

There’s a nasty tendency on the part of some organizations to try and use tokens — most often women and people of color — as ornamentation and flak shielding. It’s a way of saying, “Hey! Look! We’re diverse. We’re fair. [Person X’s presence] proves it!” when in fact the fairness may be an unearned veneer and the diversity a reluctant afterthought. There’s a name for this process when it occurs in corporate settings under certain circumstances. And I’ve become more sensitive to being used this way myself because it’s been happening a lot more, lately. This is the kind of thing that happens when people who don’t understand social justice concepts — or who have contempt for them — attempt to deploy them anyway for appearances’ sake. It’s not always malicious, but it’s noticeable, and it’s never a good look. And those of us who get put into the ornament/flak shield position don’t actually like being used this way, see? I don’t, anyway.

So when it became clear that the opacity of the voting process was intentional — in effect, when I realized there was no way to know if my book’s presence on the list was legitimately earned through individual, freely-chosen votes by a representative sampling of DragonCon members (or SFFdom as a whole) — a gentle ping of flak warning went off in my mind. But when DragonCon initially refused to accept Ms. Littlewood’s request for withdrawal for the reasons stated here, those gentle pings escalated to full-on DANGER WILL ROBINSON alarm bells. It’s good that they’ve changed their minds about letting authors off the list, and I think they meant well… but at this point those alarm bells cannot be un-rung.

So. I had a pleasant phone call this morning from a spokesperson for the Dragon Awards who discussed the process with me, and let me know that they’re planning to fix some of its problems and do a better job in the future. He assured me that the votes which put The Obelisk Gate on the ballot were legitimate — and I was glad to hear that, seriously. Thank you, to all of you who voted for me. However… I still choose to withdraw. I will be happy to participate in the Dragon Awards at a future date, if I am so honored — after the process has been substantially improved. I very sincerely wish them luck in working on this, and will look forward to positive results.

[Thanks to Matt Y and JJ for the story.]

Dragon Awards Reverse Decision: Littlewood Withdraws, But Scalzi Stays

Dragon Con, has informed Alison Littlewood and John Scalzi they now have the option to withdraw from the Dragon Awards, after initially informing them that they would not be allowed to. However, Scalzi surprisingly has decided to leave his book on the ballot.

Littlewood tweeted —

Littlewood’s book has now been removed from the 2017 Dragon Awards nominee list.

John Scalzi told his Twitter followers —

And the statement he gave to The Verge’s Andrew Lipkin says —

After I contacted the Dragon Award administrators regarding my intention to withdraw, the administrators got back to me and asked if I would consider staying on the ballot. They were hearing the community’s feedback and criticism and were acting on it. Their decision to honor Ms. Littlewood’s request to withdraw is a first example of what I see as their willingness to listen and learn, and is an action I applaud. To honor that action, and in sincere appreciation of the readers and fans who placed me on the Dragon Awards finalist list, I have agreed to remain on the ballot this year. I encourage everyone to vote for their own favorite works on the Dragon Awards finalist list.

And at the Dragon Awards website, they have posted their justification for both the original refusal and the subsequent change in policy, A New Day and a Fresh Perspective, which says in part —

Alison Littlewood, the author of The Hidden People, was nominated for a Dragon Award, which asks ordinary fans what they like to watch, read, and play. It’s a fan’s choice award, plain and simple. And it ought to be a good thing.

Though she clearly has a fan base of her own, Ms. Littlewood’s book was also included on a “slate” proposed by an individual/group she didn’t want to be associated with. She worried that she couldn’t trust the nomination was fairly won. And so, she asked if her book could be pulled from the ballot.

It put us in a jam. We have strong faith in the integrity of the Dragon Awards ballot because it was created by fans, the everyday people who actually read the books and nominate them. In seven categories for literature, there were 53 different novels that represented the broad spectrum of fandom and there was something for everybody. It made an excellent reading list for fans everywhere.

So we told her no.

And then, over the last couple of days, we got an earful from our fans and others. We’ve reconsidered and changed our mind. This is what’s happening next.

We will remove Ms. Littlewood’s book from the 2017 Dragon Awards ballot and re-issue ballots to those people who voted for her book. We believe that fans who voted for The Hidden People should have a second chance to vote for a favorite horror work. No new title will be added to the ballot.

We are extending all voting for this year’s Dragon Awards by two days, to midnight on Sept. 1st, so that everybody who wants a chance to vote will have a chance. Register for a ballot at awards.dragoncon.org.

After this year’s awards, which will be conferred on Sunday, Sept. 3, we’re going to take a hard look at the way we do things at the Dragon Awards. It will still be the “fan’s choice” award, with fans nominating the works and fans voting on the winners. But, we also need to do a better job of listening to the authors and creators of these works. One of the things we will look at is how best to give them a chance to opt off a ballot before its finalized.

John Scalzi has also written an explanatory post at Whatever, Update on the Dragon Awards and Me, part of which is in a Q&A format addressing hypothetical reader questions like these —

I still have issues with the Dragon Awards.

That’s fair. They’re new and still figuring this out, which is not an excuse but is an explanation. In my discussions with the folks running them, my sense is that they really do want to make the awards something that is viable and useful (and fun) for fans of the genre. They have a lot of work to do (this is, I suspect, in the nature of awards in general). Hopefully they’ll get there. As I noted, some of the steps they’re taking now indicate to me they want to get it right. Your mileage may vary. In the meantime, with this as with anything, you’re perfectly within your rights to have issues and criticism. Fire away.

So are you going to the awards ceremony now?

Nope, I’m still counter-scheduled in Washington DC that weekend.

[Thanks to Andrew Liptak, David Langford, and Cat Rambo for the story.]

Dragon Con Refuses To Let Authors Withdraw from Dragon Awards

Alison Littlewood has been told by the President of Dragon Con, Pat Henry, that she will not be allowed to withdraw as a nominee of the Dragon Awards. She posted the convention’s answer on her blog in “Another statement regarding the Dragon Awards”.

As stated in my previous post, I have contacted the Dragon Awards administrators to request that my nomination for The Hidden People be withdrawn. The book has been selected as part of a voting slate by a member of the ‘Rabid Puppies’ voting bloc, which I feel may have undue influence over the awards outcome. I have no connection with the Rabid Puppies and have no wish to benefit from any kind of interference in the voting process.

I have today received the following response:

Good morning Ms. Littlewood,

 While I appreciate your sense of fair play, I must decline your request to remove The Hidden People from the Dragon Award Nominations. 

We are aware of the rabid puppies and justice warriors efforts to effect the voting and we go through a number of steps to avoid ballot stuffing or other vote rigging behaviors.  While we didn’t start the Dragon Awards to foil these two groups, we believe that as we add voters, they will become irrelevant in the our awards.

We believe the “people’s choice” approach is a better way to recognize authors and their works.  The Dragon Awards ballot – which consists of works nominated by fans – is a broad representation of the best science fiction and fantasy literature available today.  With 53 novels listed, there is actually something for everybody on this ballot.     

The original purpose of the Dragon Awards was not so much as awards but as a quality reading list.  The cost of reading current material has been rising steadily for years.  Library budgets are not adequate to have all, or even a decent collection of  the type of materials that Dragon Con fans enjoy.

Thank you for your interest in the Dragon Con Awards.  Please do not let Mr. [redacted] ruin for you, the positive reception of your work. 

Pat Henry – President

. . . So there you have it. I tried. I have never heard of any awards keeping writers on the nominees list against their wishes, particularly when those wishes are surely the same as the organisers’ – to ensure that the process goes forward fairly and without interference. However, it seems in this case there is little more I can do.

Jim C. Hines, in his post about the Dragon Awards controversy observed:

Note the false equivalence of rabid puppies, a self-proclaimed group created by Vox Day, with “justice warriors,” generally used as an insult against people speaking up for greater representation and inclusion. The rabid puppy slate was posted on Vox Day’s blog back in June. I’m curious where the equivalent “justice warrior” slate supposedly appeared…

Meantime, Brian Niemeier tweeted a response to Henry’s announcement: “Scalzi is now trapped in here with me”. Scalzi had also announced his withdrawal from the awards.

And another nominee, Castalia House author Benjamin Cheah Kai Wai, has inserted a proscription list in his new post  “Between SocJus and PulpRev at the Dragon Awards”

In addition, I must point out the nominees known to be affiliated with or are social justice warriors….