Shortlists have been unveiled for this year’s Kitschies awards, celebrating the best in “speculative or fantastic” fiction.
Judges have whittled down the 178 submissions to shortlists of five each in three different categories. Total prize money of £2,000 is up for grabs for the best novel, debut and cover art – known as the Red, Golden and Inky Tentacle awards. Winners will be announced at a ceremony, sponsored by Blackwell’s, on 15th April at London’s Star of Kings.
The shortlist for best novel (Red Tentacle) sees Circe by Madeline Miller (Bloomsbury), Record Of A Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers (Hodder & Stoughton), Rosewater by Tade Thompson (Orbit), The Smoke by Simon Ings (Gollancz) and Unholy Land by Lavie Tidhar (Tachyon Publications) fight it out.
Judge Adam Roberts said: “There were so many great progressive SF novels published last year, and so many near-misses for this list. But we're happy with the final five, not least because of sheer diversity of kinds of novels that made the final cut - a powerful reimagining of Greek myth, a brilliant space opera, a capacious and page-turning Afropunk thriller, a dream-haunting alt-history that's unlike anything any of us had ever read before, and a genre-crossing adventure story set in a Jewish homeland that never was. It all adds up to thrilling testimony that speculative fiction is the widest-ranging and most exciting mode for engaging the concerns of the 21st century.”
In the debut category (Golden Tentacle) the shortlist features Children Of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (Pan MacMillan), Frankenstein In Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi (Oneworld), Semiosis by Sue Burke (Harper Voyager), Sweet Fruit, Sour Land by Rebecca Ley (Sandstone Press) and The Poppy Way by R.F. Kuang (Harper Voyager).
The Inky Tentacle cover art prize has The Book Of Joan by Lidia Yuknavitch, designed by Rafaela Romaya (Canongate), Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami, designed by Suzanne Dean (Harville Secker), The Smoke by Simon Ings, designed by James Nunn (Gollancz), Square Eyes by Anna Mill and Luke Jones, designed by Anna Mill and Luke Jones (Jonathan Cape) and Slender Man by Anonymous, designed by Mike Topping (Harper Voyager).
Blackwell’s will also be supporting the prize in the SFF sections of its shops and blogs about the shortlists. Last year’s winners were The Rift by Nina Allan (Titan) in the Red Tentacle, Hunger Makes the Wolf by Alex Wells in the Golden Tentacle category and Inky winner The History of Bees by Maja Lunde, designed by Jack Smyth and the S&S Art Department (Scribner).