Jan. 18th, 2012

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(Next month I will post about something unrelated to the BSFA awards, I swear. Maybe even later this month.)

So for reasons that aren't entirely clear to me, the BSFA awards have extended their nomination period until tomorrow (Thursday) at 22.00 GMT. And they have added an online nomination form, so BSFA members can go here to submit nominations (or continue to send them to awards@bsfa.co.uk).

Neil Williamson writes here about why, if you are a member, you should nominate:

As an Eastercon attendee for nearly 18 years, and BSFA member for most of that, I’ve voted on the shortlist many times, but I have to admit to being less consistent in nominating works I thought were worthy. Like many people I suppose that’s because I never considered my reading wide enough to make reasonable comparative judgements. And like many more I assumed that the great reading membership of the BSFA were nominating in their droves anyway, so my contribution could hardly be noticed, could it?

Well, yes, it could. I don’t know how many nominations are received for the BSFA awards, but I’ve got a very strong feeling that many more people wait until the shortlist is announced before troubling to get involved in the process than have a sit down and think about nominating the books and stories they read and like during the previous year. And that’s important because (and I didn’t actually know this until a year or so ago) the shortlist is comprised purely of the five works in each category that garner the most nominations. That’s important because the nominations are usually spread across a large number of works, which means that every single nomination is statistically significant…which means that an individual nomination for any given piece of work could make the difference between it appearing on the shortlist or not.

This is true for an award like the Hugos more often than you'd think; it's absolutely true for the BSFA awards, which has a smaller pool of nominators. And you don't have to have read everything. If you've read something and you think it's excellent, you should nominate it. The ballots are meant to be the wisdom of the crowd.

The current list of nominations received is here. If you fancy some last minute reading, lots of the non fiction and short fiction [1] is available online; or you could browse the nominated artwork and see if you think anything stands out. But if you're a member, please consider nominating, and making the awards as strong and representative as possible.

[1] If you're in the mood for a short story, may I recommend "After Birth" by Kameron Hurley? It's set in the same world as God's War, but is different enough in tone and focus that it stands well alone, I think; and it's rather nicely done.

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