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Monday, April 13, 2009

David Gemmell short list announced; Liviu comments for FBC

The first and hopefully one of many to come edition of the David Gemmell award for Fantasy is heading to its scheduled Award Presentation on June 19th in London.

After a very long list of Nominees, the five book Short List has just been announced.

The five finalists are:

The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks

The Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie

Blood of Elves by Andrzej Sapkowski

The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson

Heir to Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier

Fantasy Book Critic congratulates all the nominees and wishes them good luck.

Fantasy Book Critic reviewed The Way of Shadows HERE

The following are Liviu's personal comments on the David Gemmell award and the nominees and reflect his opinions as a co-editor of Fantasy Book Critic.

When it was announced, I welcomed the David Gemmell award as a necessary counterpoint to the better known sff awards like the Hugo Award which claims to reflect the tastes of the speculative audience while in reality being voted by a very narrow slice of the audience with specific tastes formed decades ago and failing to embrace the continuing evolution of the genre as well as cordoning the award from the tastes of the sff-loving public with high fees.
Fantasy fans are generally outraged and with good reason by the Hugo shortlists and the Gemmell award should give us a place to showcase our love of the genre.

As shown in my reviews which actually skew toward sf to some extent, I love sf a lot too, but considering how the speculative fiction genre has evolved in recent years toward a genre fantasy dominance in number of titles, sales and publicity, the well known awards are too skewed to "out of date" images of what the speculative fiction field looks like and the David Gemmell award is a necessary breath of fresh air in a stale field.

The David Gemmell award is open to the public, being free with a suggested registration to vote, though it is not necessary to do it, while the award coordinators are taking all precautions necessary to avoid repeat voting, vote stacking and such, to insure the fairness of the vote.

The shortlist has been chosen by *us*, the fantasy lovers, and I proudly voted for The Engine Child's by Holly Phillips, though after agonizing between that, The Ten Thousand by Paul Kearney and The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks.

When the voting opens for the Award itself, I will vote immediately for The Way of Shadows by Brent Weeks since I loved the Night Angel trilogy immensely, I reviewed the first book as linked above and named the trilogy as my second genre fantasy "novel" of 2008 HERE

I loved the First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie and its first two books were in my top 5 sff novels for 2006 and 2007 respectively, with Before They Are Hanged, my top sff novel of 2007. However I felt that the ending of the trilogy, while good enough, failed to live up to the high bar of the first two books.

Of the rest of the Gemmell shortlist the only one of interest to me is Blood of Elves and I may read/review it here at some point, though I have been less than impressed by T
he Last Wish. However that was a collection, this is a novel, so I will give it a try.

So as soon as the voting opens, go and vote for the award!!!


raul said...

hard choices to make all so good...ive read almost all that field but for me its going to be sanderson, who i think has the very best 'fantasy' aspect of the five authors above. the world and magic systems beat the rest of the field alone and the writing(while i think juliet is the best lit. writer) is fast paced and well-crafted.

im excited to see the results...and im glad a different award from the hugo is bing promoted for fantasy.

Liviu said...

I think the shortlist gives a good overview of today's fantasy and after all it's *our* voice as fans that created it from that huge list of nominees - and the voting was in the thousands at the least from what I heard, more likely even more, so dwarfing the Hugo voting for example

Alexander Field said...

Going to go vote as soon as I can. Just signed in over at the site - thanks for the head's up! : )

Alexander Field said...

I just went and signed up to vote for the award, thanks for the heads up! I think I'll be voting for Sanderson or Abercrombie at this point... : )

Liviu said...

Excellent! Everyone loving fantasy should vote since this is how the award will get known and appreciated

Fabio Fernandes said...

I´ll be soon reviewing Sanderson´s and Abercrombie´s books here (a little bit late at that, working it out. :-)

Liviu said...

If we could have those reviews before the June 19 award it would be great - I will look into Blood of Elves when it comes out at the end of the month, see if I like it for a review

The Reader said...

Hi Liv
I have to kind of disagree with you, I feel that of these 5 books nominated none of them even come close to the feel of a DG book.
This is what the award is for, of these books I liked the The Way of Kings by Joe Abercrombie, however to say the least his book is quite a different feel from a regular DG book & while I happen to love his trilogy, I dont think it deserves the DGL award for the simple reason that its least like a DG book[The basis of this award]

Brandon Sanderson's book has some sembalance of heroic fantasy. However it is kind of long-winded & has a nice sentimental ending. Infact it was his First book in the Mistborn Trilogy or even Elantris which were more like the DG books and hence more likely to win this award

I haven't read the Witcher book However the Juliet Mariller & Brent Weeks aren't that great to be nominated over books like The Painted man by Peter V Brett or The Ten Thousand by Paul Kearney or Ravensoul by James Barclay or Naomi Novik's book or even Empire in Black & Gold by Adrian Tchaikovsky.

I feel in themes which Gemmell used to write about Paul Kearney's Ten Thousand comes the closest as pointed out by James[Speculative Horizons] however my vote would go The Painted Man by Peter Brett as the best Heroic fantasy amongst all the 78 contenders.

Its a pity neither of these books made the final 5 and the eventual winner will be the author who's currently the most popular online and not the Best book in the terms of being closest to the themes found in a David Gemmell book.

PS: Sorry for the long winded post, I'm a big DG fan and this award now seems to have become a dissapointment. Lets hope next year the organisers will be able to come up with stricter rules and better book choices.

Liviu said...

No problem about disagreeing :)

I actually loved both Ten Thousand and Painted Man and were they on the shortlist I would have had to think about it - I actually almost voted Ten Thousand in the Nominees - though I do not remember if I had read Mr. Brett's debut when I voted.

It all depends on the purpose of the award though.

I think that whatever the original stated intentions, it evolved into a more generic epic fantasy one, rather than a specific "heroic fantasy" one and from my part I am truly happy to see this since most awards ignore the whole genre, and usually whatever fantasy appears is of the mainstream/weird category.

SF has "hardcore" awards eg PKD, even the Hugo by and large, the BSFA, the Clarke, while fantasy does not really have such since the WFA usually is geared toward the literary area, so if this one evolves into a "hardcore" fantasy award, it would be great in my book...

One neglected reason for the lack of awards in "hardcore" fantasy is in my opinion the fact that a lot of the sff awards focus a lot on short fiction with novels just a part and it is truly very hard to write good "traditional" fantasy at short length since such depends so much on characterization and world building, rather than on atmosphere, clever points, sense of wonder...

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