One of the great disappointments of my trip to Aussiecon 4 (Worldcon) in September was the fact that I had to leave before the Hugo Awards Ceremony. I find awards pretty exciting, especially when I am invested in some way in the candidates, so I was eager to find out who would win the 2010 World Fantasy Award at the recent World Fantasy Convention.
Miéville continued on his winning way with The City and The City (full review) taking out Best Novel. China
For those unfamiliar with the major awards in the speculative fiction field, here is a brief explanation of the biggest ones:
The Hugo Awards (which cover many more categories than simply Best Novel) are nominated and voted by for fans who are attending or supporting members of Worldcon. The breadth of voters means that the Hugo favours ‘popular’ works, though that doesn’t prevent the Hugos from claiming to be the most prestigious awards in the field.
The Nebula Awards are considered professional awards as they are determined by the members of the SFWA (Science Fiction Writers of America). In spite of the name, membership, voting and eligibility to win are not restricted to Americans.
The World Fantasy Awards are given for fewer categories than the Hugo especially, and are decided by a panel of judges (notable professionals in the field). For this reason the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel, somewhat like the Nebula, will often be awarded to books that are critically acclaimed but not necessarily widely read or known.
Interestingly, both the Hugo and Nebula Awards can be presented to Science Fiction or Fantasy stories. As the name implies, the World Fantasy Award is restricted to Fantasy. There is some controversy about this fact in fan circles, since the fandom of Science Fiction and Fantasy tend to intersect.
It stands to reason that the two best (at least most awarded) Speculative Fiction releases of the past year are Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl (Nebula Winner - which is still on my ‘to read’ list) and China Miéville’s The City and The City), which most fans seem to agree deserved to share the Hugo Award for Best Novel.