The 2008 WISB Awards!


It’s that time again (technically I’m about a month late, as last time I did these in December, but so be it). The WISB Awards are here again. What does this mean? Absolutely nothing, because it’s not a legitimate award. There are no trophies, no certificates, no checks. The only thing you get is “immortilization” on my blog, which is worth about $0.87.

But, it’s the thought that counts, right? If you don’t know much about the WISB Awards, particularly what any of the categories mean, you should check out the 2007 awards for kicks. Maybe you’ll find something interesting there. Or maybe not.

In any case, here go the awards:

The 2008 Kudos Award
Paul Genesse snatches this one up hands down. Not only is Paul a fantastic person (he’s nice, open, talkative, and, well, downright awesome–he gave me a free, signed, hardcover copy of his first book when I met him in San Francisco not too long ago, and that’s pretty damn cool in my book; I got a hug too, in case anyone is wondering), but he’s also a great up-and-coming writer with a lot of talent and a person dedicated to his craft. Oh, and he’s a registered nurse, so he has two jobs, if you can believe it. He went on tour last year and I swear he never stopped. He was doing readings at schools, bookstores, fairs, etc. The result? Selling a lot of books. But I imagine his winning personality and the fact that he’s a good guy helped quite a bit.

Worst Writer (Personally) of 2008
William Sanders. I won’t reiterate what needs to be said. I’ll just point to posts that you should read: here, here, here, here, and here.

Best Novel of 2008
I have thought long and hard on this one. There were a lot of fantastic books I read this year, many of which do actually deserve this award: Innocent/Awakened Mage by Karen Miller, The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer, The 13th Reality by James Dashner, Ten Sigmas by Paul Melko, and The Golden Cord by Paul Genesse. But they all can’t win (mentioning them helps, I’m sure) and I have to choose a winner. And the winner isn’t one of the books named:
Sly Mongoose by Tobias S. Buckell.
Perhaps one of the most exciting science fiction novels I have read in a long time (exciting in the sense of being a real page-turner, lots of action, fascinating characters, and thrilling adventure).

Best Publisher of 2008
Fairwood Press.
Publisher of Talebones magazine, novels, and short story collections, this small press has been churning out some fantastic books (Ten Sigmas by Paul Melko is a personal favorite). I hope they continue on through 2009 and eagerly anticipate anything they have cooking in the oven.

Best Cover of 2008
It should be obvious what this is, but if not, it’s the cover art for The Golden Cord by Paul Genesse. The beautiful artwork above was created by Ciruelo Cabral.

Best Writer of 2008
This, unlike the worst writer category, deals exclusively with issues of talent, which is a problem, because just like choosing the best novel of the year, I have read far too many talented writers in the last year. So, I have to take into account several different criteria, including writing ability, style, storytelling ability, and others. Some of the authors I have read were new in 2008, and while they were fantastic writers, I think they deserve some time to grow and develop before I crown them. Other authors technically aren’t eligible for the WISB Awards because they published in 2007 rather than 2008, which is, I suppose, easier on me because that makes the list much smaller to choose from.
So who am I going to choose?
Tobias S. Buckell. While I have had a lot of respect for him over the last year or so, I think he really hit the nail on the head with Sly Mongoose. He has matured in a lot of ways, not least of which in his ability to tell a damn good story. That’s what this is all about, isn’t it? Telling a good story? Okay, so you might disagree and think that writing is about art and yadda-yadda literary-mumbo-jumbo-academia-nonsense, but the cavemen didn’t write for art, they wrote to portray a story, and that’s what this is all about! Tobias Buckell is up at the top amongst the top science fiction storytellers for me, taking up a mantle of classic space opera and “new age” socio-political thought and melting it together into an action-packed thrill ride. Read the first chapter of Sly Mongoose and you’ll know what I mean.

Best Movie of 2008
This should be really obvious, right? There were quite a few decent flicks this past year, including some decent science fiction and fantasy ones (Tale of Despereaux, Dark Knight, WALL-E, Iron Man, Babylon A.D., Hellboy II, etc.). But there is only one movie that I watch over and over again for the purpose of seeing a beautiful visual masterpiece (I’ve seen Iron Man several times, but not for this reason; Iron Man is just badass). That movie was The Dark Knight. If you haven’t seen it, you should. It’s by far one of the most disturbing comic book films ever made and Heath Ledger is absolutely terrifying. Hopefully it will snatch up some major film awards (Oscar and Academy, preferably).

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is all. Congrats to the winners and here’s to another fantastic year!

About the Author:

Shaun Duke is an aspiring writer, a reviewer, and an academic. He is currently a graduate student at the University of Florida studying science fiction, postcolonialism, posthumanism, and fantasy.

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