Award Post – You Know How This Works!

Children of Artifice is about falling in love with someone you shouldn’t.

It’s about identity, and finding out who you are, and knowing who you want to be.

It’s about harsh parents, and their expectations. It’s about facing your family’s judgements, and winning.

It’s about being man, and facing an abusive relationship. It’s about being devoid of emotion, yet falling in love anyway.

It’s raw, and molten, and sensual. It’s an urban fantasy, a fairy tale, a metallurgical, magical love story.

It’s also between two young men – but that kind of wasn’t the point.

And it’s eligible for a Hugo.

Go on, you know you want to… — 

Joining David Gemmell

Since I’ve (rather belatedly – sorry Stan!) today joined up over at the DGLA website, I’ve just had a proper old nose through the nominations, not only for the DGLA itself, but for the two new categories introduced for 2009.

The David Gemmell Morningstar Award for Best Newcomer

‘The Morningstar Award will give recognition to emerging talent in the field of fantasy fiction. As David Gemmell always took a keen interest in new writers, and helped many onto the path to publication, we regard this as an appropriate category to add, and one we feel sure David would have approved.’

The David Gemmell Ravenheart Award for Best Fantasy Cover Art.

‘The Ravenheart Award will honour the best fantasy book cover art. The importance of fantasy cover art deserves admiration, as do the artists who produce it, yet there is no major UK award acknowledging this. The Ravenheart Award will fulfill that role.’

There a list of current nominations on the site here.

I was a huge fan of David’s work (I think I was 19 when I read ‘Legend’ and it’s left a mark to this day) and therefore very privileged to be at last year’s awards (rumours about my axe-wielding may have been exaggerated).

I’m also looking forward to casting my votes in this one – a celebration of the best in the genre is always a good thing.

The 2010 David Gemmell Awards ceremony will again be held at The Magic Circle headquarters in London, on Friday 18th June.

And I can’t help but wonder… just what Raven Armoury have in store for us this time…

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The David Gemmell Legend Award

It’s been a long time since I had the opportunity to dig out long frock and war-paint and head out to sparkle – and where better to exhibit such bravery than the David Gemmell Legend Award, hosted at the headquarters of The Magic Circle last Friday evening.

It was a beautifully structured event, slotted neatly together on every level of pre-preparation – and flawlessly timed on the evening itself. Fronted by the tirelessness of Debbie Miller, the experience of Stan Nicholls and the shameless in-your-face wit of James Barclay, the presentation still retained a slightly self-conscious sincerity that a larger, more established event would have lost. It was both touching and memorable; its humour completely honest.

Surrounded by the magic – and I mean the word – of the venue, the Award offered everything to touch our memories of David. Baby Snagas were offered to all five nominees – but they paled (oh did they!) beside the Raven Armouries interpretation of the Real Thing. I’ve waited twenty years to get my hands on Druss’ hardware – and apparently not in vain. It would have been against the idealistic tone of the Award to have tucked it under my frock and raced out the door with it… and, besides, I think they might have noticed…

The event was smaller than I’d guessed – but it showed a flawless ability to visualise and a genuine flair for bringing separate elements together to make it a huge success. From the gorgeous invites to the perfect canapés, from the sparkling eveningwear to the shining weapons, from the auction to the Award – it was all about the true heart of Heroic Fantasy. More than anything, it reminds us why we love the genre, why we read and/or write it, and why it holds a special place in our hearts.

Edmund Burke said, ‘All that is necessary for evil to triumph is that good men do nothing’ – a quote used by David Gemmell in ‘Legend’ and recited by James Barclay at the opening of the Award presentation. Courage and triumph are ultimately intensely personal – however, the chance to stand and thank someone else is just as important as achieving your own.

More so.

Congratulations to Andrzej Sapkowski for ‘Blood of the Elves’, winner of the first David Gemmell Legend Award. May there be many more novels from his pen, and many more Award ceremonies as heartfelt and sincere as that one.

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The Clarke’s Awards and Other Stories

When it comes to pushing boundaries, it wasn’t really all that radical.

For the sake of a podcast, kindly done for Forbidden Planet and hosted on the site… for the sake of copies of ‘The City & The City’ a couple of weeks before pub date… for the sake of China Miéville being kind enough to do a short reading and a Q&A…
…our quintessential ‘author with Sharpie’ signing became something – omygod! – new.

Last week saw The Royal Observatory’s Marek Kukula give his keynote at the Clarke’s Awards, talking about how he owed his wonder at the expanding boundaries of science fact to his love of science fiction. His sincerity was very touching – as was witnessing the overwhelmed expression of Ian MacLeod, Clarke’s winner. It was an enjoyable – and very warm – evening and a wonderful opportunity to be at the centre of a huge, human Venn diagram. Events like these provide inspiration; they’re a great platform from which to springboard new ideas. I hope that Mister Clarke would be proud of his legacy.

Also last week, we had the opportunity to welcome both Charlie Stross and Tony Ballantyne into the London store. Charlie had us all in constant laughter with the zombification of E. E. Doc Smith and an unrepeatable joke about wetsuits; Tony’s event was quieter – but I can’t recommend Twisted Metal enough, the book is astonishing and (insert squeeee here) he’s almost finished the sequel.

As work weeks go, it was something out of the ordinary. Three authors, each of them ground-breaking in his own way, each of them bringing his own insight and humour to the industry… and not just by the text between the covers of his books. Equally revolutionary – and providing illustrations – was Watchmen’s Dave Gibbons, signing at Titan Towers on Friday afternoon. Having already been teased for my Twitter-presence by China, Dave rubbed my nose in it by affectionately cussing the site… even as I was tweeting the link to the signed books…

One day, the industry will get it.

In the meantime, though, things do catch on. When something as easy as a podcast generates so much interest and energy around an event, it’s a lesson so obvious we’re kicking ourselves. It’s high time we did more of this, had more fun, thought outside the till and more about the people. This is ‘new PR creativity’ – and it really isn’t rocket science. When Marek Kukula can talk about the correlation of science fact with science fiction… can we not, in our own arena, employ a little of the same concept?

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