Before anything, I'd like to pay homage to four of my favorite authors who died this year:
Lucius Shepard (1947-2014)
Graham Joyce (1954-2014)
Peter Matthiessen (1927-2014)
Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1927-2014)
No more from you great storytellers is a grievous loss, but what you left in the dirt for all of us leaves your immortality unquestioned. Thanks, guys, for your heart. You will be missed.
I paged through about 45 books this year, with my major foothold being—gee, whowoulda thought—Horror. My photography instincts continued to grow fainter as my physical activity became more entropic. Summer was a major meltdown with selling/buying houses and Sparky's non-functioning liver. Consolation was sought in Netflix and HBO, not so much in literature.
Weird Fiction seems to be a designation that came up with China Mieville back before 911 made the world look like weird fiction. But in the Horror genre it aims at that unsettling glimpse of something—always sinistaer and foreboding—scurrying around the peripheral and just out of sight. Most of the time it is given to you in deconstructed prose or deliberate, withheld solutions that force conclusions from educated guesses, blogging other confused readers, personal & idiosyncrapic soap boxes, or deeply-embedded dysfunctions from psycho/social/sexual twistings masquerading as personality quirks. I finally acknowledge this as my genre of choice. The god of these slippery slopes is Arthur Machen. The major pit crew is that Aickman-Ligotti-Barron team everyone talks about; however, intrepid explorers can be found in all class designations, like Alan and Caitlin and Algernon, to name a few.
But before we get to the major awards, a new recognition has been set forth:
THE CRAWFORD CONFERRALS
(a simple salute for simple-minded readers like myself)
Best read novel of the Year: In Delirium's Circle by Steven J. Clark
Best read surprise of the Year: The Orenda by Joseph Boyden
Honored Mentionables: Faith by John Love
Amazonas by Alan Ryan
Finishing Touches by Thomas Tessier
Last Days by Adam Nevill
The Dry Salvages by
Caitlin R. Kiernan
Ammonite by Nicola Griffith
A discovered dead Author of the Year: Alan Ryan (1943-2011)
A discovered live Author of the Year: Jeff Vandermeer (1968-)
Summarizing 2014 with regards to fantasist literature is probably best illustrated by the major award winners for best novel.
The Nebula was won by Ann Leckie for Ancillary Justice.
The Hugo was won by Ann Leckie for Ancillary Justice .
The World Fantasy Award by Sofia Samatar for A Stranger in Olondria.
The International Horror Guild Award was discontinued in 2008, but we still have the Stoker, which was staked out by Stephen King for Doctor Sleep, and Rena Mason's The Evolutionist for 1st Novel Award.
Across the pond, The British Fantasy award now splits in two for the novel category, with The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes winning the August Derleth (horror) award and A Stranger in Olondria by Sofia Samatar taking the Robert Holdstock (fantasy) award. Ann Leckie with Ancillary Justice and Gareth L. Powell with Ack-Ack Macaque broke the summit stick in half to share the British Science Fiction award while Nina Allan booted into Short Fiction with Spin. The Arthur C. Clarke award went to Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie. The John W. Campbell crown fell on Marcel Theroux this year for Strange Bodies. PBOs were distinguished with a win for Countdown City by Ben H. Winters for the Philip K. Dick Award, with special citation to Self-Reference Engine by Toh EnJoe. The James Tiptree Jr. award sat down with N. A. Sulway for Rupetta. Okay, there's also the Shirley Jackson Award which went to Robert Jackson Bennett for American Elsewhere, this year's novel choice.
And lastly, The Locus Awards passed out plaques for Best SciFi Novel to James S. A. Corey's Abaddon's Gate, Best Fantasy Novel to The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, and Best 1st Novel to, yep, you guessed it: Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie.
Massive kudos to Ann Leckie for finding the key to the Writer's Nirvana Lounge on first outing. Five of the top awards and she's already serializing! An amazing career start I'll hafta check in on.
HELLO TO 2015 !!