Sunday, July 12, 2009

2009 Campbell Award Nominees

Location: Campbell Conference Awards Banquet at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas.

Comments: As glad as I am that Cory Doctorow won a well-deserved Campbell Award for his novel Little Brother, the 2009 slate of nominees seems to me to have been a distinct step backwards. In the couple of years leading up to 2009 women and minority writers were distinctly underrepresented in the lists of nominees for this award, but at least they had some representation. In 2009, there was a distinct lack of books penned by female or minority authors on the ballot. In effect, the judges seem to be saying there were no books by female authors or non-white authors that were even worthy of consideration for the award, which seems to be both an amazing and completely unbelievable statement.

The other striking thing about the 2009 Campbell Award ballot is the extremely truncated list of finalists included on the ballot. Since the Campbell Awards began reporting the list of non-placing finalists, most years had a roster of nine or ten "also-rans", but for some reason the 2009 list only included three. There seems to be no reason for such a short list - just as many good science fiction novels seem to have been published in 2009 as in any other year. As with so many of the odd and inexplicable decisions made by the Campbell Award judges, this one seems to be a complete mystery.

Best Novel

(tie) Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
(tie) Song of Time by Ian R. MacLeod

Third Place:
The Philosopher's Apprentice by James Morrow

Anathem by Neal Stephenson
City at the End of Time by Greg Bear
Valley of Day-Glo by Nick Di Chario

Go to previous year's nominees: 2008
Go to subsequent year's nominees: 2010

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