British Fiction Focus

A Smörgåsbord of Awards

Welcome back to the British Genre Fiction Focus, Tor.com’s regular round-up of book news from the United Kingdom’s thriving speculative fiction industry.

After four fun-filled days, World Fantasy Con came to a close for another year on Sunday evening—much to the misery of its many attendees, who I gather had a terrific time. But some good news came out of the conclusion of the con too, not least the announcement of the winners of several significant genre awards. So to begin with today, we’ll work our way through the many and various victors.

Later on, in Cover Art Corner, Hodder have launched the cover of Sarah Lotz’s first fully-fledged work of unassisted fiction, whilst Eric Brown revealed the artwork which will adorn his next new book, namely Jani and the Greater Game.

Last but not least, I’ve gathered together recent reports on a small army of acquisitions, beginning with news of a surprise prequel to Garth Nix’s Old Kingdom trilogy.

 

A Smörgåsbord of Awards

Not one, not two, but three bodies gave out their annual awards at WFC 2013 last week.

Let’s begin with the World Fantasy Awards. I was particularly pleased, personally, to see the wonderful G. Willow Wilson take home the Best Novel award for Alif the Unseen, and K. J. Parker’s ‘Let Maps to Others’ recognised as the year’s Best Novella.

PS Publishing took home a whole horde of trophies, winning Best Anthology for a pair of Postscripts, Best Collection for Joel Lane’s Where Furnaces Burn, and the Non-professional Special Award for the two volumes of S. T. Joshi’s Unutterable Horror.

Other awards went to the artist Vincent Chong, short story author Gregory Norman Bossert, and Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s translator Lucia Graves.

You can see these and all the other nominees here.

Some Kind of Fairy Tale Graham Joyce

Interestingly, there wasn’t a single common denominator between the winners of the World Fantasy Awards and the winners of the British Fantasy Awards, despite the odd overlapping nomination—like Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce, which Alif the Unseen beat out in one ceremony, but which won Best Fantasy Novel in the other.

Last Daysby Adam Nevill was declared the year’s Best Horror Novel, John Llewellyn Probert won Best Novella, Ray Cluley got Best Short Story, Robert Shearman authored the Best Collection, meanwhile Magic was declared the Best Anthology of the bunch, and Helen Marshall was named Best Newcomer. ChiZine Publications, Interzone and Pornokitsch were also honoured; as was Sean Phillips, The Cabin in the Woods, and Brian K. Vaughan’s comic book Saga.

Again, here’s a complete list of nominees.

Finally, the winners of the David Gemmell Legend Awards. John Gwynne’s Maline was named the year’s Best Debut, Didier Graffet and Dave Senior won the Ravenheart Award for the cover of Red Country, and Brent Weeks was declared the author of the Best Fantasy Novel overall, for The Blinding Knife.

But of course, I disagree with these completely, as I have with the winners of the David Gemmell Legend Awards for as long as I can recall. Clearly, they continue to be not for me.

A penny for your thoughts on all these awards?

 

Cover Art Corner: Janisha Chaterjee and The Three

Sarah Lotz The Three

Though you might not know her name, Sarah Lotz is a perfectly well-established author at this point. In the past, she’s collaborated with Louis Greenberg on the unspeakably creepy Downside series as S. L. Grey, and she’s currently working with her daughter Savannah on the Deadlands novels. That said, The Three is her first major solo novel—and I’m told it’s standalone, too.

I may just be getting forgetful in my old age, but I honestly can’t recall the last time that happened…

In any event, here’s the blurb for The Three, which begins with the last words of the late Pamela May Donald:

They’re here… the boy. The boy watch the boy watch the dead people oh Lordy there’s so many… they’re coming for me now. We’re all going soon. All of us. Pastor Len warn them that the boy he’s not to­­ —

Black Thursday. The day that will never be forgotten. The day that four passenger planes crash, at almost exactly the same moment, at four different points around the globe.

There are only four survivors. Three are children, who emerge from the wreckage seemingly unhurt.

But they are not unchanged.

I’ve been dying to read The Three since I first heard it was in the works some months ago, though there’s still a ways to wait for it, I’m afraid: Hodder don’t plan to publish The Three in UK till late May.

Eric Brown Jani and the Greater Game

Another of the covers revealed in the past week was this sweet little piece by Dominic Harman, which gives us our first glimpse at the next novel by the prolific British author Eric Brown, namely Jani and the Greater Game: “the first volume of a steampunk series set in India in 1910.”

We don’t have a blurb for the book yet, but that’s to be expected. Seeing the cover art so soon was something of a surprise, in fact, because the manuscript won’t even be delivered to Solaris till the Spring, for publication sometime in Autumn 2014.

Here, however, is what the author had to say about the announcement of Jani and the Greater Game in May:

“I’m delighted and excited to be doing an ideatively different novel set at the end of the nineteenth century. It’ll be my first novel-length venture into the exotic territory of steampunk, and I’m already pulling on my plus-fours and brass-studded thinking cap. I love writing about India, and in Janisha Chaterjee I have a strong female lead who subverts all the norms—this will be steampunk done with spice!”

I’ve had my ups and downs with Eric Brown, and more of the latter than the former of late, I’m afraid, but I can’t resist a little interest in something so different from his standard science fiction fare.

 

Continuing the Old Kingdom

Gareth Nix

In a nugget of news that took yours truly entirely by surprise, The Bookseller reports that Garth Nix has moved from HarperCollins to Hot Key Books in a multi-book deal that will see two the release of two new novels in the celebrated Old Kingdom chronicles in addition to a collection of Nix’s short fiction.

The first of the new novels, a prequel called Clariel, “will take place 600 years before the events of Sabriel, and will explore the story of a goldsmith’s daughter drawn to forbidden magic.” It’s to be published pretty much worldwide in September 2014. Editor-at-large Emma Matheson, who bought the books for Hot Key, has said that Clariel is “a tour de force [which] will be devoured by Old Kingdom fans who have been waiting for more tales of Charter Magic.”

Me? I didn’t know I was waiting, but consider me in in any event. It’s been years since I read Sabriel, but back in the day I did adore it, so…

Other recent acquisitions include a five book fantasy series by recovering crime writer James Oswald: “The Ballad of Sir Befro will be an epic fantasy series, following a young boy called Errol and and young dragon called Benfro, who together will shape the future of the Twin Kingdoms.” Michael Joseph will publish volume one, Dreamwalker, next autumn.

Strange Chemistry have bought the rights to release two novels by debut author Kat Ross. Some Fine Day will be published in July 2014 with its as-yet-untitled sequel to follow a year later. There are loads more details on the deal here.

Over at Tor UK, Senior Commissioning Editor Bella Pagan has acquired the world rights to another two books by a new author—Waterstones employee Lucy Hounsom. There’s a lot of in-house excitement for Starborn, which “with its pace, adventurous themes and compelling characters” is said to be “perfect for fans of Trudi Canavan, David Eddings and Karen Miller.”

We do have some story details for this one, though we won’t see it till at least 2015:

When Kyndra accidentally breaks a sacred artifact at her village’s coming-of-age ceremony, she finds all hands turned against her. Then, following too swiftly for coincidence, a madness sweeps her home, along with unnatural storms. An angry mob blame her and she fears for her life—until two strangers, wielding a power not seen for centuries, take her to safety. They flee to the sunken citadel of Naris, but worse dangers will lie ahead, amongst the underground city’s politicians, fanatics and rebels. But in its subterranean chambers, she will find her true path—facing betrayal and madness to find it.

Kyndra, like every reluctant hero, has a choice: seize her destiny with both hands or walk away, perhaps dooming a whole world to fall. Starborn is about a girl coming of age, but it’s also about heroism. It’s strengths, burdens, responsibilities and—not least—its consequences.

A timetable for the release of Starborn’s sequel was not announced, but you can count on it coming.

 

And with that, the curtain closes on the British Genre Fiction Focus for another week, but I’ll see you all again next Wednesday for another round-up of book news from cold, wet and windy Britain.


Niall Alexander is an extra-curricular English teacher who reads and writes about all things weird and wonderful for The Speculative Scotsman, Strange Horizons, and Tor.com. He’s been known to tweet, twoo.

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