AS: As awards season kicks into high gear, it’s hard not to get swept up by hoping readers and voters will see the work of our contributors in the same light that we do. Realistically, so much about awards comes down to individual taste. Besides which, there are so many wonderful things to read, so many great options. It’s a truly fantastic time to be a reader!
CY: So true! It can be a challenging time for the writers out there, and hard to maintain perspective. I’ve had stories that were high on reading lists that didn’t make it to a ballot. The thing to remember is that any one piece is up against roughly 5000 other stories published that year, and only a handful are going to land one of those coveted spots. Not getting a nomination does not mean that your work isn’t excellent. There are so many variables at play, from how much your story was boosted to how long it is, to where the zeitgeist is at any given moment.
AS: I’ll never forget when The Color Purple (based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Alice Walker) was nominated for eleven Academy Awards – and didn’t win any of them! That day, my faith in awards was completely destroyed. At the same time, I’ve seen awards go to creative projects that I felt deserved them. N.K. Jemisin’s sequential Hugo wins come to mind. There are no perfect awards systems, in my opinion, and whoever wins, there will always be people who don’t agree. The other side of this? Awards aren’t the only kind of recognition. Many of the pieces we’ve published have garnered a lot of recognition, including awards nominations and landing on various lists.
CY: Terry Pratchett famously didn’t win a World Fantasy Award until he was given the Life Achievement award in 2010. It’s always interesting to see which stories cross over between recommended reading lists, award ballots, and year’s best volumes. Often, my favorite stories won’t reach any of them; they are still my favorite stories.
AS: Honestly? Recognition matters. It feels good. It’s validating. Awards can sometimes help stories and their authors find new readers. But awards are not the endgame for us; awards aren’t the goal. The endgame is finding wonderful works, putting out a great magazine, and helping authors to reach readers. The endgame is a kind of community, in which we share ideas and emotions through various types of narratives and other creative forms. We publish the work that we love. In the act of publishing it, we are shouting to the world, “This is AWESOME! Come check it out!” If you find something you like, if it entertains you or moves you, support the authors in the ways which are right for you: share it with friends, let people know you liked it, spread the word. Voting in awards can help, so please do keep our authors in mind if that’s a thing you do. And, subscribe if you can, because subscriptions mean we can keep bringing you more of the Fantastic! Keep reading, and enjoy, y’all!
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In this issue’s short fiction, Isabel J. Kim gives us a necromancer out for justice for her murdered brother in “Christopher Mills, Return to Sender,” and Gabrielle Harbowy takes us inside “The Dybbuk Ward”; in flash fiction, Marie H. Lewis re-examines Persephone’s fate in “I Have Reached Into The Quantum Basket,” and Lisa M. Bradley’s “Collecting Ynes” is a mythologized account of Ynes Mexia, a Mexican-American woman who experienced mental illness, and who eventually became a world-renowned botanist – without a degree; for poetry, we have “Negative Detection” by Alex Jennings and “stilling” by Cislyn Smith. Plus an interview with award-winning author of the Sixth World series, Race to the Sun, Black Sun and Fevered Star, and much more, Rebecca Roanhorse. Enjoy!
Spread the word!