Finalists for the 2011 Prix Aurora were announced at Boréal on May 15. The full list appears after the jump.
Stunningly, nothing was nominated in the Best Fan Publications category, vacated by the administrators with the explanation, “No award will be given out in this category due insufficient eligible nominees.”
The country that gave us Mike Glicksohn, Chester Cuthbert, and Susan Wood hasn’t stopped producing all kinds of traditional fanzines and sf blogs. What about R. Graeme Cameron, Garth Spencer or that James Davis Nicoll fellow? What’s the story?
The presence of the word “eligible” makes the announcement more mysterious, not less. It’s sheer nonsense to think all the Canadian fanzines and sf blogs we know fail to qualify in some way, despite that being what the use of “eligible” suggests. Now if the real problem is that hardly anybody submitted a vote in this category, or the only nominee declined, or they didn’t get enough nominees and won’t run a category unless voters nominate at least three things (I observe that’s the number of nominees in the other three fan categories), wouldn’t the explanation be worded differently?
It’s not like anything is barred from competing that a fanzine fan might expect to see on the final ballot. The Prix Aurora category definition is at least as broad as the comparable Hugo category:
Best fanzine or fan newsletter or publication either in print or by electronic means, whose content significantly relates to Science Fiction or Fantasy, published by a Canadian at least once during the previous calendar year.
This category covers both paper and web fanzines. It can also include on-line fan-run blogs or review sites. We require that a significant amount of their content to be dedicated to Science Fiction and Fantasy genre-related topics such as books, movies, comics, gaming, filk or conventions. They can not be ones that have commercial products for sale or be dedicated to a professional group or person. It must be fannish in nature.
The rule obviously keeps the country’s most famous sf writer and a prolific blogger, Robert Sawyer, out of the fan category. How it has prevented all the rest of the Canadian fanpublishing community from being “eligible” is not so obvious.
Voting is open until October 15.
Click on the link for the full list of Aurora nominees.
2011 Prix Aurora Nominees
Best English Novel
Black Bottle Man by Craig Russell, Great Plains Publications
Destiny’s Blood by Marie Bilodeau, Dragon Moon Press
Stealing Home by Hayden Trenholm, Bundoran Press
Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay, Viking Canada
Watch, by Robert J. Sawyer, Penguin Canada
Best English Short Story
The Burden of Fire by Hayden Trenholm, Neo-Opsis #19
Destiny Lives in the Tattoo’s Needle by Suzanne Church, Tesseracts Fourteen, EDGE
The Envoy by Al Onia, Warrior Wisewoman 3, Norilana Books
Touch the Sky, They Say by Matt Moore, AE: The Canadian Science Fiction Review, November
Your Beating Heart by M. G. Gillett, Rigor Amortis, Absolute Xpress
Best English Poem / Song
The ABCs of the End of the World by Carolyn Clink, A Verdant Green, The Battered Silicon Dispatch Box
Let the Night In by Sandra Kasturi, Evolve: Vampire Stories of the New Undead, EDGE
Of the Corn: Kore’s Innocence by Colleen Anderson, Witches & Pagans #21
The Transformed Man by Robert J. Sawyer, Tesseracts Fourteen, EDGE
Waiting for the Harrowing by Helen Marshall, ChiZine 45
Best English Graphic Novel
Goblins, Tarol Hunt, goblinscomic.com
Looking For Group, Vol. 3 by Ryan Sohmer and Lar DeSouza
Stargazer, Volume 1 by Von Allan, Von Allan Studio
Tomboy Tara, Emily Ragozzino, tomboytara.com
Best English Related Work
Chimerascope, Douglas Smith (collection), ChiZine Publications
The Dragon and the Stars, edited by Derwin Mak and Eric Choi, DAW
Evolve: Vampire Stories of the New Undead, edited by Nancy Kilpatrick, EDGE
On Spec, edited by Diane Walton, Copper Pig Writers Society
Tesseracts Fourteen, edited by John Robert Colombo and Brett Alexander Savory, EDGE
Best Artist (Professional and Amateur)
(An example of each artist’s work is listed below but they are to be judged on the body of work they have produced in the award year)
Lynne Taylor Fahnestalk, Brekky cover art, On Spec Fall
Erik Mohr, cover art for ChiZine Publications
Christina Molendyk, Girls of Geekdom Calendar for Argent Dawn Photography
Dan O’Driscoll cover art for Stealing Home
Aaron Paquette, A New Season cover art, On Spec Spring
Fan/ Amateur Awards
Best Fan Publications
No award will be given out in this category due insufficient eligible nominees
Best Fan Filk
Dave Clement and Tom Jeffers of Dandelion Wine for “Face on Mars” CD
Karen Linsley; concert as SFContario Guest of Honour
Phil Mills, for “Time Traveller” (song writing)
Best Fan Organizational
Andrew Gurudata, organizing the Constellation Awards
Brent M. Jans, chair of Pure Speculation (Edmonton)
Liana Kerzner, chair of Futurecon (Toronto)
Helen Marshall and Sandra Kasturi, chairs of Toronto SpecFic Colloquium (Toronto)
Alex Von Thorn, chair of SFContario (Toronto)
Best Fan Other
Tom Jeffers, Fundraising, FilKONtario
John and Linda Ross Mansfield, Conception of the Aurora Nominee pins
Lloyd Penney, Articles, columns and letters of comment – fanzines
For one thing, there actually aren’t many fanzines being published in Canada. Not counting small run apazines seen only by members, there are one or two clubzines that I heard about from time to time — one is BCSFAzine and the other comes from Ottawa I think. There is Dale Spiers Opuntia. R. Graeme Cameron publishes WCSFSAzine and Auroran Lights. Garth Spencer publised Royal Swiss Navy Gazette until recently, when it became One Swell Foop. I’ve published one revived issue of New Toy and a one-off Worldcon Trip report. So far as I know, that’s all there is, in the traditional way of thinking.
The rules likely permit zines we don’t ordinarily think of as contenders — costuming zines, filk-singing zines, comics zines. I have no idea what’s out there in those genres.
But, talking with Graeme and Garth, it appears that Canadian fans just don’t read fanzines, for the most part. You can pub ’em, but nobody will read ’em. Not even American fanzine fans are eager to crack the pages of WCSFAzine and see if Tanya Huff is still in the list of Canadian authors published every issue. Canadian zines are typically rather parochial, I’m afraid. Who knows… maybe that’s why we won’t read them?
Actually, I asked Clint Budd, who just sent out the official Aurora press release, to clarify the situation, and I reckon it’s not so much a mystery as possibly unclear wording: they just didn’t get enough nominations to justify a final ballot. It doesn’t have much to do with “eligibility,” so I reckon that’s something of a red herring. As I recall, the Auroras, like the Hugos, give the Administrator latitude to decide on his/her own judgment whether there were enough nominations to justify the category, and that’s what seems to have happened in this case.
I guess it just comes down to the Aurora electorate not reading (and nominating) many fanzines.
Kevin: Basically, that’s what I said.
I know some of the local fans in Toronto, and apart from me, Lloyd Penney and maybe Colin Hinz, none are interested in fanzines. Running the con, or doing something at the con, is everything. I’d wager money — if I had any — that other Canadian fan centers are much the same.
That is it exactly. If the problem was that fanzines, etc. were no longer being published, then there would be no category. It would be dropped from the nomination form. The actual problem is that there were not enough nominations of any publication to shortlist. I agree that lack of readership is likely the cause. I suspect people who used to read fanzines are now getting RSS feeds from originating blogs and ‘friending’ on Facebook. The times they are a changing.
We are happy to announce that voting for the 2011 Prix Aurora awards is now open.
After a long and arduous road the new and improved Aurora awards voting website is now open. A lot has changed, for the better we hope. We have, with the help of the Hugo awards committee, created a more streamlined voting form to help our members quickly and easily cast their ballots.
The Auroras are open to all Canadian citizens or landed immigrants. Canadian citizens living abroad are eligible. The awards are managed and tabulated by CSFFA (Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association). This year we will be giving out nine awards from Best English Novel to Fan Organizational.
Each year CSFFA awards a Canadian convention the rights to host Canvention which is the annual English language convention that runs the Aurora awards ceremony. This year’s Canvention is being hosted by SFContario in Toronto on the weekend of November 18-20, 2011. The awards banquet and ceremony will be held at 11 am on Sunday November 20th. Tickets are limited and are on sale now.
Full details about the awards and how to register with CSFFA and vote are available on our website at http://www.prixaurorawards.ca/wordpress/.
If you have any questions please contact us at info[at]prixaurorawards.ca.
2011 Aurora Awards Committee