The British Fantasy Society has announced the shortlist for this year’s British Fantasy Awards. I’m not running it this year, which on one hand has made me terribly sad, because I utterly adored the job, but on the other has left me blessedly free of spreadsheets.
Another benefit is that I no longer have to be neutral, not that I was ever very good at that. So here are this year's nominees, with a few of my inclinations and predictions.
Shadows and Tall Trees
My vote: probably Black Static. It's an exquisite magazine. Fiction, columns, reviews: all are superb. It's so good that whenever I hear the post my first thought is whether it's a new issue.
Will win: I’m guessing Murky Depths, but Interzone missed out on a nomination this year, which means Black Static gets the TTA Press vote all to itself. This category tends to attract very high voting levels, I think because people feel they can vote for a magazine they like without having read every word of every issue. (We withdrew TQF from this category of the awards this year, but it will be eligible again next time. Not that we expect to get nominated again!)
Best Small Press
Gray Friar Press
My vote: not sure yet. No slight on those who were nominated, but I would have loved to have seen either Chômu or Eibonvale in this category. Both publish the kind of books I love to see published. So I'm leaning instead towards Atomic Fez, for books like Twisthorn Bellow and for their progressive approach to publishing.
Will win: probably Telos.
Best Comic/Graphic Novel
Grandville Mon Amour
The Mountains Of Madness
Unwritten Vols 1 and 2
My vote: Clint is quickly becoming my favourite comic, thanks to strips like Turf, Superior and Kick-Ass 2, but I’ll read as many of the others as I can. I loved the first volume of Grandville.
Will win: Grandville Mon Amour would be my guess.
Best Short Story
The Beautiful Room – R.B. Russell
Fool’s Gold – Sam Stone
The Lure – Nicholas Royle
Otterburn – Jan Edwards
Something For Nothing – Joe Essid
My vote: I’ve got hold of all five stories; I'll read them all before voting.
Will win: some of the nominations are a bit surprising (is this really one of the five best fantasy short stories written in English in 2010?), so the results could well be surprising too.
Altered Visions: The Art Of Vincent Chong
Cinema Futura – Mark Morris (ed.)
Fantastic TV: 50 Years Of Cult Fantasy And Science Fiction – Steven Savile
M P Shiel: The Middle Years 1897-1923 – Harold Billings
The Shrieking Sixties – Darrel Buxton
My vote: I’ve enjoyed what I’ve read of Cinema Futura.
Will win: my guess is a close race between Mark Morris and Vincent Chong.
Full Dark, No Stars – Stephen King
The Gravedigger’s Tale: Fables of Fear – Simon Clark
Last Exit For The Lost – Tim Lebbon
One Monster Is Not Enough – Paul Finch
Walkers In The Dark – Paul Finch
My vote: I'd really hoped Scott Edelman’s excellent What Will Come After might make the shortlist. I haven’t read any of these, but will try to at least read Kindle previews before voting.
Will win: no idea. All seem to be strong contenders.
Back From The Dead: The Legacy Of The Pan Book Of Horror Stories – Johnny Mains (ed.)
The End of the Line – Jonathan Oliver (ed.)
Mammoth Book of Best New Horror Volume 21, The – Stephen Jones (ed.)
Never Again – Allyson Bird and Joel Lane (eds)
Zombie Apocalypse! – Stephen Jones (ed.)
My vote: I own four of the five, but haven’t read them yet. Surprising to see that none of the Postscripts anthologies made it this year.
Will win: my guess is that Zombie Apocalypse will edge it, but perhaps the two Jones books will split his vote and let one of the others sneak through.
1922 – Stephen King
Humpty’s Bones – Simon Clark
Ponthe Oldenguine – Andrew Hook
Sparrowhawk – Paul Finch
The Thief Of Broken Toys – Tim Lebbon
My vote: haven't read any of these.
Will win: no idea!
My vote: I'll have to look at the particular covers each artist produced during 2010. All are very talented.
Will win: Vincent Chong’s on a run of BFA victories, but Daniele Serra has produced some terrific work of late, and, crucially, some of it has appeared on books by BFS members.
Apartment 16 – Adam Nevill
Demon Dance – Sam Stone
The Leaping – Tom Fletcher
Pretty Little Dead Things – Gary McMahon
The Silent Land – Graham Joyce
My vote: I haven't read any of these. I'll be leaning on Kindle previews to help me decide, but in 2009 I read them all before voting and I'd love to do that again.
Will win: my guess is that Graham Joyce will romp home in this category, but there’s been an ongoing hubbub of excitement about Adam Nevill’s book. And if the “literary” vote is split four ways, anything could happen.
A History Of Horror With Mark Gatiss – Mark Gatiss
Being Human – Toby Whithouse
Doctor Who – Steven Moffat
Sherlock – Steven Moffat/Mark Gatiss
True Blood – Alan Ball
My vote: Doctor Who.
Will win: Doctor Who, I reckon.
Alice In Wonderland
Scott Pilgrim vs The World
My vote: I’ll be voting for Scott Pilgrim vs The World. It's one of my favourite films of all time.
Will win: I’m guessing it’ll be Inception, but I was completely surprised by last year’s result, so you never know.