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After last year's controversial success - success since it definitely attracted attention and exposed quite a few interesting books to a large audience, controversial because, well if you followed it, you know why - Guardian's "Not the Booker" is running again; it is open to the public for a first round of nomination ending September 5 and then a round of voting to select a shortlist of five. The "Not the Booker" shortlist will be debated for a while, with the public voting for the winner to follow.
I will post update reminders at each stage and this year there is a twist; to be eligible for the winner voting phase, you *must* have participated in at least one of the earlier stages - nomination or shortlist selection - again one is enough, so by nominating as below I am eligible to vote for the winner. A wise choice imho to avoid the several instances of bloc voting that marred a bit the last stage in 2009.
All public nominating and voting is done via comments on the Guardian Blog Post in cause and requires free login and I suggest everyone heads there for great ideas about books as well as to nominate/vote if they have a favorite that satisfies the eligbility rules.
The eligibility rules are the same as for the Booker, so they are encapsulated below plus some extra fine print which can be found in the full rules linked above:
* Any full length novel (or at least, a long novella) written by a citizen of the Commonwealth, the Republic of Ireland or Zimbabwe.
* No English translation of a book written originally in any other language.
* No self-published books where the author is the publisher or where a company has been specifically setup to publish that book.
* The books have to have a scheduled publication date between 1 October 2009 and 30 September 2010.
I nominated The Folding Knife by KJ Parker and my second preference is The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell, already nominated there and a Booker nominee to boot, with of course any other interesting sff titles if they get shortlisted.
Some other eligible nominated sff or related titles that I saw in a quick perusing of the comments and I either read or started to read are Kraken/Mieville, The Evolutionary Void/Hamilton, The Dervish House/McDonald, Our Tragic Universe/Thomas, Wonders of the Godless World/McGahan, while The Gates/Connolly reviewed by Mihir for FBC is also there.
After reviewing Rjurik Davidson's collection The Library of Forgotten Books, I expressed my strong desire for a Caeli-Amur novel. Well, it will happen as I have recently found out in the following announcement from well known agent John Jarrold.
TWO-BOOK WORLD RIGHTS DEAL WITH TOR FOR DEBUT SCIENCE FICTION NOVELIST
"James Frenkel, Senior Editor at Tor Books in New York, has concluded a two-book world rights deal for Australian SF author Rjurik Davidson, for a good five-figure sum in US dollars. The agent was John Jarrold.
The first of these books will be Davidson's debut novel. It is presently titled CAELI-AMUR after the city in which it and its sequel take place.
James Frenkel said of Rjurik Davidson, "He's a unique talent, with a fabulously imagined world that is both enticing and strange, the sort of place that makes one at the same time afraid and excited, thrilling to discover as its many secrets are revealed. Peopled with engaging characters who seem entirely real, it's a world with a rich, deep history and a strange, compelling destiny."
"Rjurik's writing is wonderful," said John Jarrold. "I'm very happy that this marks my first direct deal with a major US publisher. I know that Jim has admired his short fiction for several years."
Rjurik Davidson is a freelance writer and Associate Editor of Overland magazine. He has written short stories, essays, screenplays and reviews. His short collection, The Library of Forgotten Books, was recently released by PS Publishing. His work has been published in Postscripts, Years Best Australian Science Fiction and Fantasy, Volumes One, Two and Four, Australian Dark Fantasy and Horror 2006, SciFiction, Aurealis, Borderlands and elsewhere. He has been short-listed for the Ditmar Award for Best Short Story three times, the Aurealis Award once and won the Ditmar award for Best New Talent in 2005.
Contact John Jarrold for further information:
John Jarrold: e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org phone 01522 510544.
2nd September 2010"
Great news and congratulations to Mr. Davidson, while his debut novel is a big time asap for me!!
Edit Later: While you can get a flavor of Caeli Amur from The Passing of Minotaurs, a free available online story I linked in my review of The Library of Forgotten Books, the author has provided a short blurb too:
Caeli-Amur: an ancient city perched on white cliffs overlooking the sea; a city ruled by three Houses, fighting internecine wars; a city which harbours ancient technology and hidden mysteries. But things are changing in Caeli-Amur. Ancient minotaurs arrive for the traditional Festival of the Sun. The slightly built New-Men bring their technology from their homeland. Wastelanders stream into the city hideously changed by the chemical streams to the north. In a hideout beneath the city, a small group of seditionists debate ways to overthrow the Houses. How can they rouse the citizens of the city? Should they begin a campaign of terror? Is there a way to uncover the thaumaturgical knowledge that the Houses guard so jealously? As the Houses scramble to maintain their rule, it becomes clear that things will change forever in Caeli-Amur.