Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,

BSFA Award for Best Non-Fiction; my BSFA 2011 ballot

I feel a bit uneasy about the BSFA Award for Best Non-Fiction, which asks us to choose between two blogs as a whole, one blog entry, one dynamic and evolving website, a book of essays and an exhibition catalogue. This really is comparing apples to oranges to mangoes. I particularly regret that it's not explicit that only the 2011 entries for the two blogs and the website are in contention; it makes it feel as if an entire set of entries over the lifetime of the site are being weighed against Abigail's thoughts on Engh. In a sense, that makes it much easier for me; although I very much like and appreciate both the SF MistressWorks blog and the Pornokitsch blog, and they richly deserve the greater exposure they have got by being nominated, I really don't think that they are suitable for this award and so I will not vote for them at all.

The SF Encyclopedia is in a different situation, to my mind; although like the two blog sites it is still evolving, it has in a sense been published in something resembling a complete form, to the point that I do feel comfortable in making a judgement about the importance of the whole enterprise. Maybe this is inconsistent of me, but hey, it's my vote. I think the relative importance is relevant as well; the SF Encyclopedia website will still be consulted when last year's entries on SF MistressWorks and Pornokitsch are showing up on the third or fourth page of Google searches (or whatever is used instead in 2017). So it gets not only a vote, but my top vote.

I didn't get to the British Library while the Out of this World exhibition was on, unfortunately, nor did I get hold of a copy of the catalogue which is nominated in this category. So that leaves my final two preferences between The Unsilent Library and Abigail Nussbaum's review of Arslan. The latter makes many excellent points about a book which she got much more out of than I did. But I'm still putting The Unsilent Library second, because I got a great deal out of it and also it was one of my own nominations in this category. (My other nomination, Elisabeth Sladen's autobiography, presumably put me in a minority of one among nominators.)

So, in case anyone cares, I have now finalised my entire ballot for the BSFA awards for 2011:

Best Novel
1) The Islanders by Christopher Priest
2) Embassytown by China Miéville
3) by Light Alone by Adam Roberts
4) Osama by Lavie Tidhar
5) Cyber Circus by Kim Lakin-Smith

Best Short Fiction (vote explained here)
1) "Of Dawn" by Al Robertson
2) "Covehithe" by China Mieville
3) The Copenhagen Interpretation by Paul Cornell
4) The Silver Wind by Nina Allan
5) Afterbirth by Kameron Hurley

Best Non-Fiction
1) The SF Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition ed. John Clute, Peter Nicholls, David Langford and Graham Sleight
2) The Unsilent Library: Essays on the Russell T. Davies Era of the New Doctor Who, ed. Graham Sleight, Tony Keen and Simon Bradshaw
3) Review of Arslan by M J Engh, Abigail Nussbaum
(no preference for the other three nominees)

Best Art (vote explained here)
1) Cover of Ian Whates’s The Noise Revealed by Dominic Harman
2) Cover of Liz Williams’s A Glass of Shadow by Anne Sudworth
3) Cover and illustrations of Patrick Ness’s A Monster Calls by Jim Kay
4) Cover of Lavie Tidhar’s Osama by Pedro Marques
Tags: bsfa 2011

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