The nominations are now officially out (somewhat earlier than planned due to someone posting them on the net before they were supposed to). Of greatest interest to me, as usual, are the nominations for best novel. Once again, there are no women represented in this category, although there are several in the other categories. There will probably be some more flack about this, which I believe is really irrelevant (see my post on the 2007 nominations The Place of Women in SF ). Of far more importance is just what the quality level is of those that are nominated. I’m happy to say that of those I’ve read so far (Scalzi’s Last Colony, Chabon’s The Yiddish Policeman’s Union, and Stross’s Halting State), the quality level is quite high. So far, Chabon’s work has my vote, as a truly original alternative history work with some good characterization and a cultural outlook not often seen in sf, closely followed by Scalzi’s work. Stross’s work is not quite to my taste, though still original and well written, with perhaps a little too much emphasis on heavy-duty computing possibilities. So far, anyway, of what I’ve read, all deserve to be on this nomination list (unlike some years where I’ve really wondered just how the heck that particular work made the list). I’ll report later when I’ve had a chance to read the other two nominees.
Also of interest is the fact that Mr. Scalzi, for the second year in row, has been nominated as Best Fan Writer. I expect more flack about this, seeing that some people don’t think professional writers should be eligible for this category, but given the tremendous amount of writing he does over on his blog about all kinds of subjects relating to the sf field and his constant promotion of newer writers and new good works within the field, to my mind at least he certainly is filling the function good ‘fan’ writers are supposed to.
Also of interest is the nomination in the Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form) category of Battlestar Galactica’s “Razor” episode. As this is one of the better episodes in a series that has had consistently high quality, it certainly has my vote. In the Long Form category, Niel Gaiman’s Stardust is the best as far as I’m concerned. I was disappointed in the Golden Compass, and the obligatory Harry Potter entry was just plain poor.
Overall, though, it looks like it was a good year for quality sf.