The Broken Eye has made it to the shortlist of the David Gemmell Legend Award! A huge thanks to all who voted–and I mean that. All of you, not just all of you who voted for me. (Ok, a small place in my heart is significantly warmer toward the latter.)
The DGLA is a new award, and it’s a different kind of award. Every kind of award comes with certain limitations, but those limitations can either be ameliorated or exaggerated. In certain Hugo categories, there have been people who win the award 12 or more times, or categories where it seems groups simply trade the award back and forth. That kind of result shows the weaknesses not of the field of SFF, but of an award’s rubric for selecting its ‘best of’.
The Gemmell Awards have their own weakness–and no one has ever denied this. It’s an award decided by several consecutive popular votes. If Brandon Sanderson campaigned hard, he could likely win this award every year not featuring a Martin book. Brandon has chosen to not campaign–which I think is both honorable and wise.
With a new award especially, if too few writers win it, the award itself is weakened. As Mark Lawrence points out in his post, this year’s short list includes Sanderson, Lawrence, and me–each of whom has won before. Joe Abercrombie hasn’t won the Legend Award but has been on the short list four times now. On one hand, this isn’t surprising, nor is it a weakness: OF COURSE writers who have moved readers previously will continue to do work that inspires readers to make a few clicks on a webpage.
But the goal of the David Gemmell Awards is “to recognise and promote writers and artists in the fantasy field. … Gemmell supported and encouraged new authors and artists as well as being part of the pantheon of great fantasy writers worldwide.” Certainly, the Gemmells honor the kinds of works that readers have long loved but that awards committees have either looked down on or decided didn’t need honoring because they thought selling a lot of books was reward enough.
But if readers only vote every year for their favorite author–rather than their favorite book–and they never even read the others, then the Gemmell Awards will have failed. The long list and short list should be a place to discover books that other fantasy fans are passionate about. The winner should represent the best of those as decided by fans. “Should.” But how close what the award is trying to achieve and what it will actually achieve is up to you.
All that to say, I absolutely believe you should vote for what you believe to be the best book on the ballot, regardless of whether its author has won before. BUT, if you think two books are equally good and one of them hasn’t won the award yet, I would urge you vote for that one.
That is, unless you’re stuck between my book and Abercrombie’s. I think ultimately, it’s in the interests not just of SFF fandom, but also in the best interests of Joe “Little Axe” Abercrombie himself to remain the Losingest Gemmell Nominee of All Time.
Click HERE to vote. Voting ends Friday, July 17th at midnight.