The 2010 WISB Awards!


The WISB Awards are going to be a bit different this year. I’m adding about a half dozen categories. Some of these are logical inclusions, such as categories for film and television, but others move away from genre into categories that are obviously not typical of this blog. I’ve included these because I feel that a number of truly fantastic things have appeared in the last year that may be vaguely related to genre or may not be related at all, but are still wonderful enough to deserve recognition (such as this year’s Best Non-Genre Television Show winner). I don’t expect this to be a problem, but we’ll see.

Note:  Technically, all of the awards are open to things produced before 2010.  The WISB Awards are for things I read/experienced in the last year.  This year is rather 2010 heavy, though.  I should also note that I have not seen or read everything, so there may be some gaps in what I’ve selected due to that.  If you think I’ve left something off, don’t hesitate to let me know.  It’s possible that I just didn’t read/see it, and I’m not opposed to considering things I should have experienced anyway.

You can view previous years at the following links: 2009, 2008, and 2007.

And without further adieu, here are the winners for 2010 (after the fold):
Best Novel of 2010
I didn’t read as many novels last year as I would have liked, with the exception of things I read for school.  I did have the pleasure of reading a fair share of truly excellent novels, such as Jeff VanderMeer’s City of Saints and Madmen and Blake Charton’s Spellwright (my review is here).

But of the books I read, my favorite had to be The Reapers Are the Angels by Alden Bell.

You can check out my review here.  There’s also a lovely podcast interview here.

Runners up:  This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer (review) and City of Saints and Madmen by Jeff VanderMeer.

Best Non-fiction Genre-related Work of 2010 (new category)
I read an extraordinary amount of non-fiction these days (hell, most days, since I’ve been in school for what seems like forever).  Being in graduate school does that to you.  Only a few books really stood out to me last year, but only one can win.  And that winner is:

For readers of science fiction criticism, this is perhaps one of the most important books on the genre written in the last twenty years.  It draws the connection between the elements in its title in fascinating ways (i.e. not in the ways you might think).  Give it a read.

Best Film of 2010 – (new category)
A lot of truly fantastic films came out last year.  Some were even close to being revolutionary.  Picking for this category, as a result, is really difficult.  Do you go with the film that was a lot of fun or the film with a well-executed thematic?  But then again, you probably already know what I’m going to pick, right?

It was one of the best films I have ever seen, and one of the most talked about films in 2010.  You can see my review here, and my various other posts here, here, and here.

Runners up:  The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (review), 2081 (review), Iron Man 2 (review), Kick-Ass, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part One)(review), How to Train Your Dragon (review), and Tron: Legacy (review is forthcoming, though my truncated version is here).

Best Television Show of 2010 — (new category)
I haven’t been watching as much genre television as I probably should, but that’s largely because there were only a few shows interesting enough for me to watch last year (a handful of which I thought were good) and a lot of shows that lacked the flare of awesome I needed.

One show really stood out, though:

The latest season might not be the best in DW history, but it sure ended with a bang (the season finale and the Christmas special were quite awesome).

Runners up: V and Stargate: Universe.

Best Non-Genre Film of 2010 — (new category)
I have been meaning to see more films outside of SF/F, though the more I do so, the more I end up discovering films that loosely fit into my preferred viewing spectrum.  Last year was a comedy-heavy year for me.  I saw Due Date and Get Him to the Greek and thought they were both hilarious.  My favorite comedy, however, has to be the following:

I won’t say I’m a Cera nut, though I have seen almost all of his films, but I do think Youth in Revolt is his best film to date.  This is because we finally get to seem him play something other than himself.  And (surprise, surprise) he’s actually pretty good at doing other things.  Typecasting is stupid!  Youth in Revolt might be a semi-standard romantic comedy, but it’s a lot of fun and quite cute.  Sometimes I wish life worked like a romantic comedy, where everybody is happy at the end (except the mean people)…

Runners up:  Get Him to the Greek, The Hurt Locker, and Due Date.

Best Non-Genre Television Show of 2010 — (new category)
There was one standout non-genre show last year, and I didn’t discover it until it was almost too late.  I fell in love with it the second it hit my computer screen.  It’s well-written, well-cast, and absolutely beautiful.  That show is:

It’s almost as good as its predecessor, Band of Brothers, and absolutely one of the best war-related dramatic presentations ever made.  See it or forever miss out on greatness (or something like that)…

Runners up:  Castle, Law and Order:  Los Angeles, and The Big Bang Theory.

Best Publisher of 2010
I have to pick Angry Robot Books for two reasons:

  1. They publish great fiction across multiple genres (in mass market, by the way, so all us poor people can afford to buy all of their books).
  2. They are great to the community (readers and critics).  If you don’t believe me, then poke your head into their Robot Army.
They are what all traditional publishers should strive to be.  Right now, publishing is going through an insane transition period.  E-books are changing the way the business works, and old models are crumbling.  Angry Robot Books, I’d like to think, is the answer.

Best Magazine of 2010 — (new category)
Anyone who follows me on Twitter probably already knows which magazine I cannot get enough of these days.  It’s the only magazine that consistently publishes amazing content, pays careful attention to the production quality of each issue (the thing is beautiful), and has great fiction and great non-fiction.  Which magazine am I talking about?

It’s simply the best magazine, print or otherwise, right now.  If you’re not subscribed, then you need to get on top of that right away.

Best Cover of 2010
A lot of wonderful covers came out last year, but I have to go with the work (and artist) that I simply cannot get enough of:  Stephan Martiniere for the cover for Pirate Sun by Karl Schroeder.

I haven’t read the book, but the cover art sure as hell makes me want to.

The 2010 Kudos Award
There were a number of people last year who really did great things for the genre, from bloggers to authors to everyday readers.  The great thing about the Internet is that it is making it easier every year to participate in the community and add something to it.  It used to be that most people were fans, and only a few fans did something to make the community better (other than read the genre or attend conventions).  Now people are improving the community on a daily basis.  We’re having more conversations, thinking about serious issues for the genre, and so on.

For 2010, the award goes to this beautiful fellow:

I’m Lavie Tidhar, and I’m awesome.

Why?  Because of the World SF Blog.  True, the blog has been around since 2009, but in 2010 it really came into its own, covering a wide range of important regions, topics, and so forth.  And that’s one of the things we really need in the genre community these days:  more discussion of genre outside of traditional spheres.

Runners up:  Jonathan Dotse for AfroCyberpunk, Mark Charan Newton, and Jason Sanford.

Best Writer of 2010
Jason Sanford.  Hands down.  In the last year, I’ve read a half dozen or so of his stories and have never been disappointed (including his older works, like “Sublimation Angels” and “The Ships Like Clouds, Risen By Their Rain”).  Notable stories from 2010 include “Into the Depths of Illuminated Seas” and “Plague Birds.”

Plus, he’s got this spiffy mug-shot from when he was suspected of smuggling tribbles by the Galactic Bureau of Investigation (a.k.a. GBI, or Gibby as we like to call it).

Okay, so I made that up, but he’s still a damn fine writer.  He is also a writer who has contributed in significant ways to discussions of literature, genre, and so on.  His blog is fantastic in that regard, which is why he is also a runner up for the Kudos Award.

Worst Writer of 2010 The 2010 Wappa Wappa Wa Award (i.e. Worst Person Who Happens to be a Published Writer Award)
It seems like every year that I can pick the winner of this award without really thinking about it.  A year hasn’t gone by that someone hasn’t shoved their foot so far down their throats that they can still walk on it.  The Internet does crazy things to writers, don’t you agree?

That’s why Elizabeth Moon deserves the award so clearly.  It’s not that she said something controversial about Muslims and citizenry; it’s that she did it, found out she was wrong about a lot of things, and then never backtracked like anyone with integrity would do.  You can get the gist of the shitstorm here (and in the link within that post), along with a few related bits that cropped up here and here.

That doesn’t mean I agree with everything that happened to her (like the WisCon dis-invitation), but she did shove that foot pretty deep.  Whether she’s walking on it is anyone’s guess.

(Note:  Because there seems to be some confusion for this award, I’d like to clarify that the Worst Writer Award is given to writers who negatively contribute to the community.  That has always been the case.  For me, the argument about keeping an author’s politics separate from their writing ends when that writer begins using their popularity to funnel disturbing ideologies into the SF/F community.)

(Note #2:  I’ve changed the name of the award, since Adam has kindly pointed out that there is some understandable confusion here because I also give out a Best Writer Award which does focus on the writing–the Worst Writer Award did/does not.  So, from now on, this award will be known as the Wappa Wappa Wa Award, which will focus on people who are writers of some form or another who have done something negative in the SF/F community.  Hopefully that will clear up the confusion.)


And there you go.  The WISB Awards for 2010 are done!  What would you have added or changed and why?  Let me know in the comments.

About the Author:

Shaun Duke is an aspiring writer, a reviewer, and an academic. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Digital Rhetoric and Writing at Bemidji State University. He received his PhD in English from the University of Florida and studies science fiction, postcolonialism, digital fan cultures, and digital rhetoric.

4 thoughts on “The 2010 WISB Awards!

  1. That's not what the award is given for. Never has been. It's always been for worst writer in terms of their engagement in the community. If I were to choose worst writer, I'd pretty much have to pick self-publishers every time, and that's not interesting.

  2. Frankly, no matter what the situation, a worst writer award shows seems cruel on your part. Worst book, fine, but worst writer? C'mon.

  3. I suppose. I've had it for years, and the selections are usually fairly obvious. But so be it. It's the only negative aware on the list. Figures that's the one that everyone is latching onto :P.

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