Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Amateur Night in Canada

As some folks here may recall, my collection Wasps at the Speed of Sound was released in 2005. A little later down the road, I was asked by someone on the Sunburst Award committee to sit as a judge for 2006. Owing to not having anything explained to me at the time, I accepted, and afterward discovered that "2006" meant I would be judging books released in 2005. Alternatives were presented:

  1. I would drop out of the judging
  2. I would allow my book to remain in contention, but recuse myself from discussions about it
  3. I would pull my book from contention and it would be held back for the year and allowed to be considered for 2007 as a 2006 title
Option #2 was never a consideration for me. I thought seriously about #1, primarily because I was more than a little pissed off that things weren't clearly presented to me. But I was subjected to some begging and pleading, mainly involving me being irreplaceable (and by this I mean that the committee felt they wouldn't be able to find another judge, not that Derryl Murphy was the only guy for the job).

And so #3 was it. I didn't come up with that one, but was told it would happen. And what the hell, I figured, it meant I wouldn't have to compete against Holly (last year's winner), although I knew it meant I would be up against Peter Watts. And sure enough, it's great to see that Blindsight is a finalist this year. Indeed, if I were a judge this year I would have wanted his book on the shortlist.

Well, I didn't make the shortlist this year. No harm, no foul, I say. Each year there are plenty of terrific books released, and I didn't write the damned stories with an idea to winning prizes. Curious, though, I clicked over to see the list of books that had been considered for this year's prize.

Oh look. My book isn't on the list.

I'm not sure why this should take me by surprise, considering the gong show scenario I was presented with when I was first asked to be a judge. And I shouldn't let it bother me, since it's an award I was pretty sure I didn't stand a chance of winning, to say nothing of the fact that awards are really not that big a deal to me (I'll be the first to admit to the mercenary belief that $1000 would mean something, though). However, I am somewhat of the mind that a promise made should be a promise kept. My editor sent five copies of the book to the committee, and if I'm in a generous frame of mind, those books are languishing in a box somewhere.

When (if) my next book comes out, I'll be curious to see what my mindset is at that time, if I'm willing to trust to the process again. Certainly any future goodwill regarding being a judge again has been burned beyond all recognition (perhaps for other awards as well), as has any inclination to contribute to fundraising for the Sunburst.

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What a stupid situation!

First off, the ONLY solution should have been #1 -- that the Sunburst people find another judge. There was no other way to be fair to you and to others in the running.

Second, the fact that your book wasn't even on the list? I'd like to know what chucklehead was in charge of that screw-up so I could give them a good smack upside the head.

Holy crap. Tornado touchdown a minute ago around Wabamun-Stony Plain area!vi
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