And I keep waking up, thinking I'm living in an episode of Black Mirror. Yeah, I know. There's been worst times, like 1861's Civil War, The '60s assassinations of JFK, RFK, MLK, Malcolm X, amidst huge social changes and ending with "four dead in Oh-hi-o" in 1970.
Then there's 9/11/2001 . . .
I have lived through 2 of these 3 noted, on-our-soil upheavals. Civilizations seem to share similar cycles, but it is impossible to judge current positions without putting on a tin hat. In prose, apocalyptic fiction has its own genre now. Zombies are still walking among the pages. Historical dramas like Westerns seem to be coming back. Media-wise, nobody appears to want to be in present time. I certainly don't. Personally, I'd rather hang with Jeriamah Johnsoninception date 1972but without the snow.
While the Mad King keeps singin' 'n' dancin',
drawing us into the abyss of plutocratic policies with his oligarchical wet dreams.
And while we're into the Reaper's work, I'd like to pay homage to five of my favorite artists who also passed this year:
Ursula Le Guin (1929-2018)
Jack Ketchum (1946-2018)
Again, I paged through about 50 books this year. And, probably near half of them I did not complete. For me, this was The Year of the Pony Up, You Ignoramus, You. Subtitled You Body Is Old and Needs Attention. If I want to see the next decade, that is. This year also marks the 10th anniversary of this rambling, book-orientated monologue. In a lot of ways it has fulfilled its purpose: to keep me sharp with mental exercise. It has also measured my decline in acuity and alsoyes, it is truemy reading variety. I am no longer the person who boasts Moby Dick or The Brothers Karamotsov in my top-five novel list*. Yeah, The Recognitions is still at the top and will always be, but works requiring a semblance of erudition I can no longer digest. Andyeah, okaybooks like Valis, Childhood's End, I Am Legend and Solaris have unquestionably a cerebral side, they are not quite called "literature", know what I mean? And that's whyI guessmy go-to genre is Horror. Not Gorror, no, I base off of what's known as the English Ghost Story. Its historical fenceposts are Machen, James, Blackwood. And especially the ones that leave room for celestial speculation dabbling in Philosophy, and Religion of the Myth, the Occult, the Godhood. McDowell, Ryan, Shepard, to name a few of the more obscured. Don't firebrand me: this is not a reference to the masters of Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction, or Fantasy. That's another time. * along with the pretentiousness, I hope.
I have slumped terribly in photographic quests, also. Maybe it is time to organize and archive my images into personalized book format. I want to be concise while thinking demising thoughts. Prints and folios are awkward. Books are best.
My summer trip yielded surprises but not an overabundance of images. In mid-May both Natural Bridges & Capitol Reef did not have available campsites; on the way back in mid-Augustwe ran from the forest fires surrounding Missoula 'cause of the smoke filling our smoker's lungsthey were close to empty. This is a great area for car camping off the dirt roads, so screw "reservations".
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)
Summarizing 2017 with regards to fantasist literature is probably best illustrated by the major award winners for best novel.
The Nebula was won by Charlie Jane Anders for All the Birds in the Sky.
The Hugo was won by N. K. Jemisin for The Obelisk Gate.
The World Fantasy Award was won by Claire North for The Sudden Appearance of Hope.
. The International Horror Guild Award was discontinued in 2008, but we still have the Stoker, which was staked out by John Langan for The Fisherman, and Tom Deady's for Haven for 1st Novel Award.
Across the pond, The British Fantasy award now splits in two for the novel category, with Disappearance at Devil's Rock by Paul Tremblay winning the August Derleth (horror) award and The Tiger and the Wolf by Adrian Tchaikovsky taking the Robert Holdstock (fantasy) award. Europe in Winter by Dave Hutchinson broke the summit stick over his knee for the British Science Fiction award while Jaine Fenn booted into Short Fiction with Liberty Bird. The Arthur C. Clarke award went to The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.
The John W. Campbell crown fell on Lavie Tidhar this year for Central Station. PBOs were distinguished with a win for The Mercy Journals by Claudia Casper for the Philip K. Dick Award, with special citation to Unpronounceable by Susan diRende. The James Tiptree Jr. award sat with Anna-Marie McLemore for When the Moon Was Ours. Okay, there's also the Shirley Jackson Award which went to Emma Cline for The Girls, this year's novel choice, with the half-novel (Novella) to The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle.
A new addition to the literary awards is the James Herbert Award, offered to Horror writers within the UK. It was launched in 2014 and laid top honors on Nick Cutter's The Troop from 2014. After that, who knows what happened, as there apparently was not a selection in either 2015 or 2016. I've heard nothing about it this year. "Hiatus" describes the answer from the web. So, look for it in the future, maybe.
And lastly, The Locus Awards passed out plaques for Best SciFi Novel to Cixin Liu's Death's End , Best Fantasy Novel to All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders , and Best 1st Novel to Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee. Best Horror Novel went to Joe Hill for The Fireman. The Novella was tossed to Seanan McGuire for Every Heary A Doorway.
© copyright 2010 by Larry Crawford