Aug 30 2010 1:41pm

The Sir Julius Vogel Awards 2010

The Sir Julius Vogel Awards are New Zealand’s National Science Fiction Awards. Presented by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand, the award is open to works written by citizens or permanent residents of New Zealand. Anyone in New Zealand can nominate but only members of the national convention can vote—much like the Hugos, the Auroras, and the BSFA Award. The winners were announced at Au Contraire on Sunday, August 29th.

The award for best novel went to Russell Kirkpatrick’s Beyond the Wall of Time. The award for best YA novel went to Brian Falkner’s Brain Jack. For the full list, scroll to the end of the post or visit the excellent Science Fiction Awards Watch.

One of the purposes of awards is to draw attention to what’s out there in particular categories. If you’re looking to widen your horizons, they can be a very good way of finding new things to read. New Zealand is an English speaking country, so there’s no translation issue, and these are fan-voted awards. The winners are widely available. I hadn’t heard of either author, so I thought I’d take a look at the shortlist for best novel.

Beyond the Wall of Time is book three in the Broken Man fantasy series. (It seems the Vogels, like the Hugos, define science fiction broadly to include fantasy.) The first of the series is Path of Revenge. I have no idea whether Beyond the Wall of Time stands alone. The descriptions sound exactly like generic fantasy of the kind I have a problem with. But all fantasy gets described that way, that’s part of the problem. The fans of New Zealand have given this their nod, so I shall put Kirkpatrick on my list.

The shortlist (excluding the winner) was:

I have read none of these authors, and have heard only of Marillier, who is fairly widely published and pretty well known. Heart’s Blood is fantasy.

Singh appears to write paranormal romance of the kind you’d normally find shelved with romance rather than with SF. I think it’s an interesting sign of the difference between New Zealand and the fandom I am more familiar with that two of her books made the shortlist.

Whitaker is the most interesting to me—Returning is published by a New Zealand small press, it’s available very cheaply as an ebook, and it appears to be science fiction. If I liked ebooks I’d buy it right now, as it is, I shall keep an eye out for it, and for other books by Whitaker.

The Vogels award in lots of categories—as well as YA, short work, and various fan awards, they also honour collections. I was interested to see that this year’s winner was Voyagers: Science Fiction Poetry From New Zealand. One of the editors, Mark Petrie, was also honoured as best new talent. It’s great to see a poetry anthology winning. I find that refreshing and exciting.

I’m not recommending any of these things specifically—they’re as new to me as they are to you. But I’m heartily recommending the concept of checking them out if they sound appealing. Thank you fans of New Zealand for letting us know you think these are good!

The full list of winners:

  • Best Novel: Beyond The Wall Of Time, Russell Kirkpatrick
  • Best YA Novel: Brainjack, Brian Falkner
  • Best Novella / Novellete: Wives, Paul Haines
  • Best Short Story (tie): “Corrigan’s Exchange,” Ripley Patton; “The Living Dead Boy,” Grant Stone
  • Best Collected Work: Voyagers: Science Fiction Poetry from New Zealand, Mark Pirie and Tim Jones
  • Best Artwork: The Test, Serena Kearns
  • Best Dramatic Presentation: Under The Mountain
  • Best Professional Publication: Semaphore Magazine, edited by Marie Hodgkinson
  • Best New Talent: Simon Petrie
  • Best Fan Writing: Simon Litten for SJV Watch and SFFANZ Reviews
  • Best Fan Production: Coals to Newcastle (Short Film), Yvonne Harrison
  • Fan Publication (tie): Phoenixine, John & Lynelle Howell; Time Space Visualiser, Adam McGechan
  • Services to Fandom: David Lee Smith, the founder of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club
  • Services to Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror: Philip Mann

Jo Walton is a science fiction and fantasy writer. She’s published eight novels, most recently Half a Crown and Lifelode, and two poetry collections. She reads a lot, and blogs about it here regularly. She comes from Wales but lives in Montreal where the food and books are more varied.

Christopher Johnstone
1. Christopher Johnstone
It's nice to see NZ SFF getting a bit of attention--I don't currently live in NZ (though I grew up there) and the nation punches above its weight in terms of publishing, writers and readers. If you haven't read The Bone People by Keri Hulme (literary fantasy, I suppose) you should definitely keep an eye out for it. It may or may not be your cup of tea, but its certainly worth checking out.
Jo Walton
2. bluejo
Christopher: The Bone People is one of my favourite books, I talked about it here last year.
Christopher Johnstone
4. Rush-That-Speaks
Interesting list! I didn't know Nalini Singh was from New Zealand.

You probably wouldn't like her stuff, Jo. It is paranormal romance, and has some gender... issues, and does not generally strike me as your sort of thing. It does, however, have more brain than that genre sometimes does, and excels at a kind of id-tasticness I haven't seen around very often: the conceit of one of her major series is that angels make vampires, if that tells you.
Tim Jones
5. timjonesbooks
Thanks for posting this, Jo, and for the mention of Voyagers, which I co-edited. It's great to see NZ SF getting international recognition.

One small correction: my co-editor on Voyagers is Mark Pirie, whereas the Best New Talent winner was Simon Petrie.

Voyagers also made it onto a couple of "Best Books of the Year" lists in New Zealand in 2009, from publications not known for their advocacy of SF, so in its own modest way it's been a crossover success.
Wesley Parish
6. Aladdin_Sane
First time I've ever heard of either the Sir Julius Vogel Awards or Au Contraire, and I live in New Zealand.

Even worse, I do write, and so far it appears nobody in New Zealand's heard of me!
Wesley Parish
7. Aladdin_Sane
First time I've ever heard of either the Sir Julius Vogel Awards or Au Contraire, and I live in New Zealand.

Even worse, I do write, and so far it appears nobody in New Zealand's heard of me!
Wesley Parish
8. Aladdin_Sane
Somebody fix, please. I only entered the previous entry once, and it's double-posted for me. GRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!
Tim Jones
9. timjonesbooks
Aladdin_Sane (and other NZ SF/fantasy authors), you might want to make yourself known to SpecFicNZ, the newly-launched organisation for NZ SF and fantasy authors.
Jo Walton
10. bluejo
Apologies to Mark Pirie and Simon Petrie -- I'm really sorry for getting confused -- that's exactly the sort of thing my brain does all the time. Congratulations to both of you.
Christopher Johnstone
11. Pat Whitaker
Thanks for the posting, Jo, and for expressing interest in my work. If you'd like a copy of Returning (a real copy) I'd be more than happy to send you one.

Email me an address (you can get the details from my personal website) and I'll stick one in the post.
Christopher Johnstone
12. Ripley Patton
Jo, great post. Thanks for giving New Zealand Spec Fic and the SJV's an international shout out.

Aladdin_Sane, I'm not surprised you haven't heard of the SJV's or Au Contraire. New Zealand has "classical isolation syndrome'" when it comes to its writers, especially Spec Fic writers. Which is exaclty why I founded SpecFicNZ. One, to create a connected community of writers, and two, to have a central website of info for that community. Hope to see you over there.

Christopher Johnstone
13. Lyn McConchie
Hi Jo,
I was sorry I couldn't be at the Natcon or Worldcon this year and meet you (we have the same agent too as you know) but that's life. However on the SJV Awards, I won Best Book in 2002, 2003, and 2005, for books published by TOR. It's great to see the awards more widely recognized each year and even better to see that often now it's publishers entering the books for the awards. The actual awards were created by WETA Workshop, and are gorgeous. I treasure mine.
Lyn McConchie

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