The finalists for the Locus Awards, given for excellence in science fiction, fantasy, and horror, have just been announced, and one name is very prominent among the
nominees: Elizabeth Bear. That's because she's a finalist in not one, not two, but four categories: novella, novelette,
short story, and collection (for Shoggoths in Bloom).
That's an impressive showing, and we thought we'd check in with Bear to get her reaction. We reached her just an hour after she found out, and she told Omni "I'm kind of stunned by the whole thing, really. I sort of imagine that I now understand
what Seanan McGuire is feeling about her five simultaneous Hugo nominations. My
head is still spinning. I'm thrilled."
As for the nominations for other writers, Bear said "there are a lot of works and
authors I love on [the list], but I'm absolutely delighted to see Caitlin R.
Kiernan's The Drowning Girl on there. I think it was last year's best SFF novel, and I was sad it didn't get a Hugo nod. I'm also excited to see Saladin Ahmed's Throne of the Crescent Moon because I'm hoping the nomination will
encourage Saladin to finish the sequel so I can read the damned thing! Also, I
may just wind up voting for Aliette de Bodard's 'Immersion' over my own nominee
in the short story category. I loved that story. And Donato Giancola for Best Artist. He's doing the covers for my current series at Tor, and he's amazing. Breathtaking. Some of the best dragons in the business. But this is like picking the prettiest flower in the meadow. I can have sentimental favorites, but there is so much good stuff here."
Bear last went to the Locus Awards in 2009, "when I lost resoundingly. It was very informal, and kind of a blast." Her advice for attendees is to "Wear a Hawaiian shirt. Really. Really wear a Hawaiian shirt. Or dress. Or something."
Hawaiian shirts aside, "Awards are important to me," Bear said, explaining that it's not why she writes"”"I do it because telling stories [provides] some comfort or closure or understanding or source of strength for people""”but "awards are visible proof that it's working; that I'm doing something right, and that this thing that drives my life is reaching somebody. That I am making the world a little better for
somebody, and giving ol' entropy and despair one more kick in the teeth. We all
need fuel; we can't work in a vacuum."
What would a Bear-designed award process be like? "That's a hard one to answer. I'm on two juries this year (Philip K. Dick and Theodore Sturgeon); I think awards are
valuable to the field in a lot of different ways. Juried awards involve some
horse trading, and aren't necessarily any more indicative of the absolute best
than popular vote awards. Popular vote awards happen because people love a
thing enough to vote for it. We need the general awards for overview, and the
special-interest awards are vital because sometimes really good, brilliant work
is in some way marginalized"”because of subject matter; because of who the
author is; because it's itchy and makes somebody uncomfortable."
"But," she added, "I like the idea of awards that come with chocolate. And tiaras. So if I were designing an award, it would probably be the Tiptree Award."
With any luck, Bear will be taking one or more awards
home after the Locus Awards Weekend, held in Seattle June 28-30.
The nominees in the main novel categories are as
follows. For a complete list of nominees, visit Locus Online.
SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL
- The Hydrogen Sonata, Iain M. Banks (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
- Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, Lois McMaster Bujold (Baen)
- Caliban's War, James S.A. Corey (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
- 2312, Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
- Redshirts, John Scalzi (Tor; Gollancz)
- The Killing Moon, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
- The Drowning Girl, CaitlÃn R. Kiernan (Roc)
- Glamour in Glass, Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor)
- Hide Me Among the Graves, Tim Powers (Morrow; Corvus)
- The Apocalypse Codex, Charles Stross (Ace; Orbit UK)
YOUNG ADULT BOOK
- The Drowned Cities, Paolo Bacigalupi (Little, Brown; Atom)
- Pirate Cinema, Cory Doctorow (Tor Teen)
- Railsea, China MiÃ©ville (Del Rey; Macmillan)
- Dodger, Terry Pratchett (Harper; Doubleday UK)
- The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There, Catherynne M. Valente (Feiwel and Friends; Much-in-Little '13)
- Throne of the Crescent Moon, Saladin Ahmed (DAW; Gollancz '13)
- vN, Madeline Ashby (Angry Robot US; Angry Robot UK)
- Seraphina, Rachel Hartman (Random House; Doubleday UK)
- The Games, Ted Kosmatka (Del Rey; Titan)
- Alif the Unseen, G. Willow Wilson (Grove; Corvus)