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BSFA novels

So, my votes for the BSFA award for Best Novel this year:

5) Lightborn, by Tricia Sullivan, a story of cyber-warfare and devastation in a near-future California. Really failed to grab me. I note also that it has much the fewest owners on Librarything (10, to 35 for MacLeod, 65 for Beukes, 189 for McDonald and 1205 for Bacigalupi).

I very much like all the other four, and while I have special reasons for my first choice, would be delighted if any of the below wins.

4) The Windup Girl, by Paolo Bacigalupi. Another near-future story about catastrophes, this time set in Thailand, the girl of the title being an artificial woman who must trade her body for her life. Won the Nebula and joint winner of the Hugo.

3) Zoo City, by Lauren Beukes. An urban fantasy set in South Africa, with necromancy, organised crime and animal familiars. Brilliant stuff.

2) The Dervish House, by Ian McDonald. Set in Istanbul in the year 2027, involves nanotechnology, arcane secrets, and terrorism on the Nabucco pipeline, in McDonald's trademark lush descriptive prose.

1) The Restoration Game by Ken MacLeod. I have a personal stake here in that I gave some advice on the parts of the story set in the fictional South Caucasus territory of Krassnia (the rest is in Scotland and New Zealand, in the years leading up to 2007). That aside, it's an excellent novel taking recent history, 70's radicalism and computer games and merging to a brilliant twist at the end.

Previous write-ups of this year's BSFA shortlist: short fiction.



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 13th, 2011 10:22 am (UTC)
I note also that it has much the fewest owners on Librarything

Probably because it was only published a couple of months ago (November?).
Feb. 13th, 2011 02:16 pm (UTC)
Interesting thought.

My point was to say that the fact that Lightborn is owned by fewer than a third as many LT users as the next book up probably means that it doesn't have enough of a critical mass of fans to actually win the award.

I was spurred by your comment, however, to try and do some original research on how many LT owners a book published in November might have (slightly hampered by the fact Locus doesn't actually list Lightborn's publication month, so I can't be sure if November is correct). Of the 42 books I found, only three have fewer than 10 owners (Seed Seeker by Pamela Sargent and Skinners: Vampire Uprising by Marcus Pelegrimas, both on 9, and Sleeping Helena by Erzebet YellowBoy on 6). The median is 27.5 (between Yvonne Navarro's Highborn, on 29, and Glen Cook's Surrender to the Will of the Night, on 26) and allowing for the difference in size of the US and UK markets I guess that Lightborn's 10 is indeed about respectable.

So in other words, I concede your point that 10 LT owners is not remarkably low for a book published in the UK only in November. But I also don't think it's enough to outpoll the likes of The Windup Girl and The Dervish House come April.
Feb. 13th, 2011 09:19 pm (UTC)
No, I'd be amazed if Dervish House doesn't win.
Feb. 13th, 2011 08:59 pm (UTC)
I love Ken Macleod, so The Restoration Game is high on my priority list at preset.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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