Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Awards Season

It seems like awards season this past few months with the release of the news of the winners of the following awards: Bram Stokers, the British Science Fiction Association (BSFA), Philip K. Dick and James Tiptree, Jr.

The nominees for the Nebula, the Hugo and the Campbell, as well as the Arthur C. Clarke have also been announced, with the winners set to be declared within the next couple of month.

Among the nominees/winners, there are a number of titles and authors concurrently mentioned among these awards, including Paolo Bacigalupi's bio-futuristic novel The Windup Girl, China Mieville's Kafkaesque noir The City and the City, Cherie Priest's take on steampunk Boneshaker and Catherynne Valente's very surreal Palimpsest.

Personally, my choices of reading material has never factored in these awards. It's always been the story, the concept and whatever catches my attention about the book, i.e. the cover, the characters, etc. However, I must admit that the awards adds a certain flavor of want to books I do want to read at the very least (like Priest's Boneshaker or Sarah Langan's Audrey's Door).

It should also be noted that that most of the awards are for SF (though not limited to it). Since I prefer fantasy and horror, unfortunately the draw isn't as strong unless the premise is unique enough.

It helps if I've already read some of the author's previous works such that I already know what to expect from these writers. For those who're relatively new, the awards raise some publicity for the book. But enough to for me to purchase the book? I'm not sure.

I do think it still depends on the story. I'm on the fence about Bacigalupi's stuff but the awards has drawn some interest from me. A prior example of this was Robert Charles Wilson's Spin, which were nominated for Hugo and Campbell a few years ago. Did I buy the book? No, but I'm still considering it, unlike other books that didn't interest me and haven't won awards.

On the other hand, Filipino writer Miguel Syjuco's Ilustrado winning of the Man Booker Asia Prize has certainly piqued my interest that I'm willing to pick up a copy come launch time. So I guess for certain books, sometimes these awards come in handy and sometimes they don't.

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