Thursday, December 31, 1981

1981 Mythopoeic Award Nominees

Location: Unknown

Comments: After a four year hiatus, the Mythopoeic Society resurrected the Mythopoeic Awards and then bestowed them in what seems to be the most incestuous way possible, honoring J.R.R. Tolkien's book Unfinished Tales with their Best Fantasy Literature Award, and handing the Scholarship Award to Christopher Tolkien. When you are a society dedicated to honoring and celebrating scholarship related to a specific group of authors, it seems almost like self-dealing to bring a particular sets of awards back into circulation and then give one award to one of those authors and, even more of a conflict of interest to, at the same time, give another one to that author's son.

Best Adult Fantasy Literature

Unfinished Tales by J.R.R. Tolkien, edited by Christopher Tolkien

Other Nominees:
The Beginning Place by Ursula K. Le Guin
The Grey Mane of Morning by Joy Chant
Lion of Ireland: The Legend of Brian Boru by Morgan Llywelyn
The Wounded Land by Stephen R. Donaldson

Scholarship Award in Inklings Studies

Christopher Tolkien

Other Nominees:

Go to previous year's nominees: 1976
Go to subsequent year's nominees: 1982

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1981 Locus Award Nominees

Location: Unknown.

Comments: There is an old adage that the golden age of science fiction is twelve. I have some quibbles with this - I think that the term was coined when science fiction was regarded as "kid stuff" and older readers were expected to have left it behind, an assumption that I don't think has held true for quite some time. But leaving that aside, 1981 was the year I turned twelve, which means that the 1981 Locus Award ballot is a reasonable snapshot of the landscape of science fiction and fantasy during the year that I "came of age" so to speak. And the science fiction represented here is, for the most part, the kind of science fiction I tend to gravitate towards. But I think that for me the most important thing on these lists is in the Best Nonfiction, Related, or Reference Work category, where Carl Sagan's Cosmos appears. It didn't win a Locus Award in 1981, but of all the books listed here, it probably did more to shape who I am now than any other.

Best Science Fiction Novel
1.   The Snow Queen by Joan D. Vinge

Other Nominees:
2.   Beyond the Blue Event Horizon by Frederik Pohl
3.   The Ringworld Engineers by Larry Niven
4.   Wizard by John Varley
5.   Timescape by Gregory Benford
6.   Mockingbird by Walter S. Tevis
7.   Serpent's Reach by C.J. Cherryh
8.   Firestarter by Stephen King
9.   The Number of the Beast by Robert A. Heinlein
10. The Magic Labyrinth by Philip José Farmer
11. Two to Conquer by Marion Zimmer Bradley
12. Wild Seed by Octavia E. Butler
13. Golem100 by Alfred Bester
14. Dragon's Egg by Robert L. Forward
15. Dangerous Games by Marta Randall
16. Songs from the Stars by Norman Spinrad
17. Songmaster by Orson Scott Card
18. Eyes of Fire by Michael Bishop
19. (tie) The Gardens of Delight by Ian Watson
      (tie) Molly Zero by Keith Roberts
21. Thrice Upon a Time by James P. Hogan
22. Waves by M.A. Foster
23. First Channel by Jean Lorrah and Jacqueline Lichtenberg
24. City Come A-Walkin' by John Shirley

Best Fantasy Novel
1.   Lord Valentine's Castle by Robert Silverberg

Other Nominees:
2.   The Shadow of the Torturer by Gene Wolfe
3.   The Wounded Land by Stephen R. Donaldson
4.   Changeling by Roger Zelazny
5.   The Northern Girl by Elizabeth A. Lynn
6.   Split Infinity by Piers Anthony
7.   The Beginning Place by Ursula K. Le Guin
8.   The Vampire Tapestry by Suzy McKee Charnas
9.   Shadowland by Peter Straub
10. The Mist by Stephen King
11. Ariosto by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
12. Kill the Dead by Tanith Lee
13. Thorn by Fred Saberhagen
14. Sabella by Tanith Lee
15. After Dark by Manly Wade Wellman
16. A Storm of Wings by M. John Harrison
17. The Orphan by Robert Stallman
18. Duncton Wood by William Horwood
19. All Darkness Met by Glen Cook
20. (tie) Firelord by Parke Godwin
      (tie) Necropolis by Basil Copper
22. Master of the Five Magics by Lyndon Hardy

Best First Novel
1.   Dragon's Egg by Robert L. Forward

Other Nominees:
2.   The Orphan by Robert Stallman
3.   Sundiver by David Brin
4.   Beyond Rejection by Justin Leiber
5.   The Gates of Heaven by Paul Preuss
6.   Master of the Five Magics by Lyndon Hardy
7.   Hawk of May by Gillian Bradshaw
8.   Still Forms on Foxfield by Joan Slonczewski
9.   Yearwood by Paul Hazel
10. Scavengers by David J. Skal
11. Web of Angels by John M. Ford
12. White Light by Rudy Rucker
13. The Man in the Darksuit by Dennis R. Caro
14. One On Me by Tim Huntley
15. A Lost Tale by Dale Estey

Best Novella
1.   Nightflyers by George R.R. Martin

Other Nominees:
2.   The Patchwork Girl by Larry Niven
3.   The Web of the Magi by Richard Cowper
4.   The Autopsy by Michael Shea
5.   Dangerous Games by Marta Randall
6.   Unicorn Tapestry by Suzy McKee Charnas
7.   Slow Music by James Tiptree, Jr.
8.   Lost Dorsai by Gordon R. Dickson
9.   All the Lies that Are My Life by Harlan Ellison
10. Buoyant Ascent by Hilbert Schenck
11. There Beneath the Silky-Trees and Whelmed in Deeper Gulphs Than Me by Avram Davidson
12. Soldier of an Empire Unacquainted with Defeat by Glen Cook
13. One-Wing by Lisa Tuttle and George R.R. Martin
14. Le Croix (The Cross) by Barry N. Malzberg
15. On the North Pole of Pluto by Kim Stanley Robinson
16. Anasazi by Dean Ing
17. Tell Us a Story by Zenna Henderson

Best Novelette
1.   The Brave Little Toaster by Thomas M. Disch (reviewed in Fantasy & Science Fiction: Volume 116, Nos. 4 & 5 (April/May 2009))

Other Nominees:
2.   Beatnik Bayou by John Varley
3.   The Way Station by Stephen King
4.   Strata by Edward Bryant
5.   The Ugly Chickens by Howard Waldrop
6.   The Lordly Ones by Keith Roberts
7.   Feesters in the Lake by Bob Leman
8.   Saving Face by Michael Bishop
9.   Variation on a Theme from Beethoven by Sharon Webb
10. Tutor by J. Ray Dettling
11. The Feast of Saint Janis by Michael Swanwick
12. Apotheosis of Myra by Walter S. Tevis
13. The Cloak and the Staff by Gordon R. Dickson
14. Billy Big-Eyes by Howard Waldrop
15. Savage Planet by Barry B. Longyear
16. Scorched Supper on New Niger by Suzy McKee Charnas
17. Earth and Stone by Robert Holdstock
18. Raising the Green Lion by Janet Morris
19. Ginungagap by Michael Swanwick
20. Have You Heard the One . . . ? by Spider Robinson
21. The Curse of the Mhondoro Nkabele by Eric Norden

Best Short Story
1.   Grotto of the Dancing Deer by Clifford D. Simak

Other Nominees:
2.   Bug House by Lisa Tuttle
3.   Our Lady of the Sauropods by Robert Silverberg
4.   Window by Bob Leman
5.   The Last Answer by Isaac Asimov
6.   The Detective of Dreams by Gene Wolfe
7.   Saint Amy's Tale by Orson Scott Card
8.   Frozen Journey by Philip K. Dick
9.   The World Science Fiction Convention of 2080 by Ian Watson
10. Prairie Sun by Ed Bryant
11. Prime Time by Norman Spinrad
12. Secrets of the Heart by Charles L. Grant
13. A Sunday Visit with Great-Grandfather by Craig Strete
14. Rautavaara's Case by Philip K. Dick
15. Men Like Us by David Drake
16. Lindsay and the Red City Blues by Joe Haldeman
17. War Beneath the Tree by Gene Wolfe
18. Child of Darkness by P.C. Hodgell
19. The Confession of Hamo by Mary Pangborn
20. The Fear that Men Call Courage by James Patrick Kelly
21. Some of My Best Friends by François Camoin
22. Antithesis by Michael Kube-McDowell
23. Spidersong by Susan C. Petrey

Best Single Author Collection
1.   The Barbie Murders by John Varley

Other Nominees:
2.   Shatterday by Harlan Ellison
3.   The Last Defender of Camelot by Roger Zelazny
4.   The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories and Other Stories by Gene Wolfe
5.   San Diego Lightfoot Sue and Other Stories by Tom Reamy
6.   The Stories of Ray Bradbury by Ray Bradbury
7.   Expanded Universe by Robert A. Heinlein
8.   Antinomy by Spider Robinson
9.   Fundamental Disch by Thomas M. Disch
10. Out There Where the Big Ships Go by Richard Cowper
11. The Best of Walter M. Miller, Jr. by Walter M. Miller, Jr.
12. Lost Dorsai by Gordon R. Dickson
13. Unfinished Tales by J.R.R. Tolkien, edited by Christopher Tolkien
14. The Golden Man by Philip K. Dick, edited by Mark Hurst
15. Lore of the Witch World by Andre Norton
16. Wave Rider by Hilbert Schenck
17. The Man Who Loved the Midnight Lady by Barry N. Malzberg
18. Manifest Destiny by Barry B. Longyear
19. The Science Fiction of Mark Clifton by Mark Clifton, edited by Barry N. Malzberg and Martin H. Greenberg

Best Anthology
1.   The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction: A 30 Year Retrospective edited by Edward L. Ferman

Other Nominees:
2.   The Best Science Fiction of the Year #9 edited by Terry Carr
3.   Tales from the Vulgar Unicorn edited by Robert Lynn Asprin
4.   The Arbor House Treasury of Modern Science Fiction edited by Robert Silverberg and Martin H. Greenberg
5.   Dark Forces edited by Kirby McCauley
6.   Universe 10 edited by Terry Carr
7.   What If? Vol. 1 edited by Richard A. Lupoff
8.   Galaxy: Thirty Years of Innovative Science Fiction edited by Frederik Pohl, Martin H. Greenberg, and Joseph D. Olander
9.   New Dimensions 11 edited by Robert Silverberg and Marta Randall
10. New Voices III edited by George R.R. Martin
11. The 1980 Annual World's Best SF edited by Donald A. Wollheim with Arthur W. Saha
12. The Best Science Fiction Novellas of the Year #2 edited by Terry Carr
13. Basilisk edited by Ellen Kushner
14. Orbit 21 edited by Damon Knight
15. The Arbor House Treasury of Great Science Fiction Short Novels edited by Robert Silverberg and Martin H. Greenberg
16. Nebula Winners Thirteen edited by Samuel R. Delany
17. Dragons of Light edited by Orson Scott Card
18. Their Immortal Hearts edited by Anonymous
19. The Best of All Possible Worlds edited by Spider Robinson
20. Best Science Fiction Stories of the Year: Ninth Annual Collection edited by Gardner Dozois
21. Nebula Winners 14 edited by Frederik Pohl
22. Stellar #5 edited by Judy-Lynn del Rey
23. Interfaces edited by Ursula K. Le Guin and Virginia Kidd

Best Nonfiction, Related, or Reference Book
1.   In Joy Still Felt: The Autobiography of Isaac Asimov, 1954-1978 by Isaac Asimov

Other Nominees:
2.   Dream Makers by Charles Platt
3.   Cosmos by Carl Sagan
4.   Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors: A Bibliography of First Printings of Their Fiction and Selected Nonfiction by L.W. Currey
5.   Jack Vance edited by Tim Underwood and Chuck Miller
6.   Teaching Science Fiction: Education for Tomorrow edited by Jack Williamson
7.   Robert A. Heinlein: America as Science Fiction by H. Bruce Franklin
8.   Giger's Alien by H.R. Giger
9.   A History of the Hugo, Nebula, and International Fantasy Awards, Revised edition by Donald Franson and Howard DeVore
10. Unbuilding by David Macaulay
11. The Science Fictionary by Ed Naha
12. The Sixth Book of Virgil Finlay edited by Gerry de la Ree
13. Science Fiction in Old San Francisco, Vol. 1: History of the Movement by Sam Moskowitz
14. The Literature of Fantasy by Roger C. Schlobin
15. The Cybernetic Imagination in Science Fiction by Patricia S. Warrick

Best Magazine
1.   Fantasy & Science Fiction

Other Nominees:
2.   Locus
3.   Analog
4.   Omni
5.   Asimov's
6.   Science Fiction Review
7.   Fantasy Newsletter
8.   Destinies (Ace)
9.   Starship
10. Amazing/Fantastic
11. Thrust
12. Science Fiction Chronicle
13. Starlog
14. Future Life
15. Questar
16. Janus
17. File 770
18. Cinefantastique

Best Publisher
1.   Ballantine/Del Rey

Other Nominees:
2.   Ace
3.   Pocket/Simon & Schuster
4.   DAW
5.   Berkley/Putnam
6.   Science Fiction Book Club
7.   Doubleday
8.   Dell/Dial
9.   Bantam
10. Gregg Press
11. Phantasia
12. Underwood-Miller
13. Harper & Row
14. Donald M. Grant
15. Avon
16. (tie) St. Martin's
      (tie) Viking
18. Gollancz
19. Houghton Mifflin
20. Atheneum

Best Artist
1.   Michael Whelan

Other Nominees:
2.   Don Maitz
3.   Boris Vallejo
4.   Vincent Di Fate
5.   Stephen Fabian
6.   Rowena Morrill
7.   Frank Kelly Freas
8.   Paul Lehr
9.   Alicia Austin
10. Tim Kirk
11. Alexis Gilliland
12. Rick Sternbach
13. Frank Frazetta
14. (tie) Carl Lundgren
      (tie) Leo Dillon and Diane Dillon
16. Darrell Sweet
17. (tie) H.R. Giger
      (tie) Ron Walotsky
19. George Barr
20. John Schoenherr
21. William Rotsler
22. Victoria Poyser
23. Wayne Barlowe
24. (tie) Ralph McQuarrie
      (tie) David Hardy
26. H.R. Van Dongen
27. Barclay Shaw

Go to previous year's nominees: 1980
Go to subsequent year's nominees: 1982

Book Award Reviews     Home

1981 World Fantasy Award Nominees

Location: World Fantasy Convention, Berkley, California.

Comments: In 1981, although no one knew it at the time, the World Fantasy Awards became an example of the limitations of genre when the judging panel bestowed the Best Novel award on Gene Wolfe's Shadow of the Torturer.  This is not to say that Wolfe's novel was not deserving of recognition, as it is a magnificent piece of speculative fiction, but it isn't fantasy fiction. In fairness, this fact wasn't readily apparent in 1981, with only the first book in the Book of the New Sun series having been published by that point, but as the succeeding volumes were released, it became clear that despite having some of the superficial trappings of fantasy, Severian's story was actually a science fiction story, and not a fantasy story.

But this is illustrative of a larger issue in genre fiction, which is that the borders between different genres such as science fiction and fantasy are blurry and indistinct. There are some books, such as Stephen Baxter's Ring, that are clearly science fiction, and could never be mistaken as an example of any other genre, and others, such as J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings, that are unmistakable as anything other than fantasy. But there are vast numbers of works that exist in a nether region between the two genres, and many others that live in the shadowy space between science fiction and horror or fantasy and horror. Trying to set clear guidelines around the various speculative fiction genres is a fool's errand, and someone who claims to love science fiction but turns their nose up at fantasy is doing themselves a disservice. Genre is fluid, and should be treated as such.

Best Novel

The Shadow of the Torturer by Gene Wolfe

Other Nominees:
Ariosto by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
Firelord by Parke Godwin
The Mist by Stephen King
Shadowland by Peter Straub

Best Short Fiction

The Ugly Chickens by Howard Waldrop

Other Nominees:
Cabin 33 by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
Children of the Kingdom by T.E.D. Klein
Unicorn Tapestry by Suzy McKee Charnas

Best Anthology or Collection

Dark Forces edited by Kirby McCauley

Other Nominees:
Dragons of Light edited by Orson Scott Card
Mummy! A Chrestomathy of Crypt-ology edited by Bill Pronzini
New Terrors 1 edited by Ramsey Campbell
Shadows 3 edited by Charles L. Grant
Shatterday by Harlan Ellison

Lifetime Achievement

C.L. Moore

Other Nominees:
Joseph Payne Brennan
Avram Davidson
L. Sprague de Camp
Andre Norton
Jack Vance

Best Artist

Michael Whelan

Other Nominees:
Alicia Austin
Thomas Canty
Don Maitz
Rowena Morrill
Gahan Wilson

Special Award, Professional

Donald A. Wollheim

Other Nominees:
Terry Carr
Lester del Rey
Edward L. Ferman
David G. Hartwell
Tim Underwood and Chuck Miller

Special Award, Non-Professional

Pat Cadigan and Arnie Fenner

Other Nominees:
Charles de Lint and Charles R. Saunders
W. Paul Ganley
Stephen Jones and David Sutton

Special Convention Award

Gahan Wilson

Other Nominees:

Go to previous year's nominees: 1980
Go to subsequent year's nominees: 1982

Book Award Reviews     Home