Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award: List of Finalists Announced

I was very pleased to discover yesterday that my story ‘The Irish Astronaut’  is among this year’s finalists for the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for best short science fiction. The list was announced by Christopher McKitterick, Director of the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction, and the award will be presented this June as part of the Campbell Conference held annually at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. Congratulations to all my fellow finalists!

The full list of 2014 finalists (linked to the stories where possible):

Four things jump out at me from this list:

  1. There is a respectable (though not quite 50/50) gender balance here. Nice to see that.
  2. The shortlist is a fantastic endorsement of the Clarion Writers’ Workshop. While Ken Scheyer and I are both graduates of the 2009 Clarion class, the finalists also include: Gregory Bossert (Clarion 2010), Vylar Kaftan (Clarion West; 2004, I think),  and Will McIntosh (Clarion 2003). I hope I haven’t missed anyone anyone! Mind you, go take yourself on a Google tour of all the shortlist authors and, Clarion or not, you will find stunning talent, publications, experience, and imagination right across the board. This is a phenomenal group of writers.
  3. Asimov’s continues to hold its own as one of the leading science fiction publications out there. An impressive four of the ten stories on this list were originally published in its pages.
  4. Beyond Asimov’s, however, it is impossible to ignore the continuing influence of online journals such as Clarkesworld, Strange Horizons, and the recently closed Electric Velocipede.  The rise of the online magazine is an old hat story by now, yes, but what differentiates these publications in particular is the impact of their strong and discerning editorial direction on the short-fiction ecosystem; they’re not just publishing stories online, they’re publishing those stories which are rapidly coming to dominate awards lists, Best Of anthologies, and so on.

From yesterday’s press release: The Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award recognizes the best science fiction short story each year. It was established in 1987 by James Gunn, Founding Director of the Center for the Study of Science Fiction at KU; and the heirs of Theodore Sturgeon, including his partner Jayne Engelhart Tannehill and Sturgeon’s children; as an appropriate memorial to one of the great short-story writers in a field distinguished by its short fiction. The current jury consists of Elizabeth Bear, Andy Duncan, James Gunn, Kij Johnson, and Noël Sturgeon, Trustee of the Theodore Sturgeon Literary Estate.

The Campbell Conference has been held each year since 1978 at the University of Kansas. It includes a Friday-evening banquet where the annual Theodore A. Sturgeon and John W. Campbell Memorial Award are given; a Saturday round-table discussion with scholars, scientists, and writers of science fiction; and other events. This year’s topic is “Science Fiction in the Real World,” with a special focus on long-time friend of the Center, Frederik Pohl.

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