I submitted my final votes for the Prix Aurora Award this morning. I have some mixed feelings about it.
First, I feel happy that I looked over as much of the work as I could within the time I had. I feel like I’m coming to know Canadian SFF fandom a bit better, and I am glad I had the opportunity to read and view some excellent and/or interesting work.
I also feel a little sad that I couldn’t (didn’t?) devote more time to the process. I wish I had known about the award earlier, so could have started reading earlier. I am still halfway through reading William Gibson’s The Peripheral (review will come when I’m done), and didn’t get around to reading Julie E. Czerneda’s Play of Shadows at all.
I’m not going to go into a breakdown of my voting, because much of it was intuitive. I’m not really a part of any “scene” in Canadian SFF. I’m acquainted with one of the best novel nominees, and that’s it. I have no dogs in this particular fight, so I really couldn’t vote by clique. I did have some metrics, though, which helped me make some choices.
Some of the categories felt “easy” to me. I’ve been involved in music and art since I was knee-high to a grasshopper, so listening to music and viewing art critically are skills I’ve spent time developing. Formal music lessons, working in an art gallery, and attending art college lend me a little credibility. I can tell when a singer is nervous. I can compare sculpture to drawing & painting. I feel a tiny bit of regret when my personal biases won’t let me enjoy a song because it was accompanied on the ukulele (I have opinions about the ukulele and its adoption, mostly by hipsters, as a guitar-replacement. Particularly when the justification I often hear is that it’s too difficult to work with a whole six strings. I learned to deal with 88 keys. Cope.)
I enjoyed the chance to look into fan publications and other related content. I liked learning that we have a couple of SFF quarterlies in Canada. I read the items for the poem and short fiction categories, as they didn’t take long. I didn’t get a chance to read through all the anthologies, but I skimmed a bit to get an idea of the contents and themes.
I didn’t get around to the Young Adult novels. I had to get crafty with the descriptions and the likelihood that I would enjoy books with the themes presented. I was, frankly, a bit overwhelmed with choice. There were a few extra entries in this category.
I will definitely participate again next year. Now that the awards are on my radar, I’ll be renewing my membership in the new year. The Husbeast and I are also discussing the probability that we’ll read for the Hugos — which means even more books to read!