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Why I love The Kitschies

I have to say that The Kitschies, presented by Kraken Rum, have become the awards list that I most look forward to. When it comes to the Gemmell Awards, Locus Awards, Hugo awards, etc – I can pretty much guess what is going to show up on it. What I love about The Kitschies is because of their mission statement – ‘to reward the year’s most progressive, intelligent and entertaining works’ – they consistently present a list of books that I’ve either not heard of or have not thought of picking up until seeing them selected.

I guess the reason for this is that as a reader I tend to pick up books I think I will  enjoy and usually this entails weighing up whether a book is similar to things I’ve enjoyed in the past. What the Kitschies does is highlight a number of books that are moving the genre forward in a way that is ensuring that it doesn’t stagnate and that – it believes – will shape the genre’s future. It has to be said that the wildly unique books that push the genre forwards in such a way as we’ve just discussed are often overlooked by readers in their masses, working instead as influencers of other authors who introduce elements that have inspired them more subtly into their own work (at first at least, until these authors begin pointing us in the direction of their influences).

A good example would be to look at an author like China Mieville who is certainly not to everyone’s taste and is often labelled as ‘too weird’ or ‘too complicated’. What the very same reader uttering these kinds of comment probably doesn’t realise is that a huge number of books that they’ve read and enjoyed have drawn upon Mieville’s content, style and techniques (and other authors too, of course), it’s just that they’ve been watered down by the authors’ other influences and become ‘less difficult’ as a result.

me being ‘Kitschied’ at a convention a few years back…

Perhaps an even more palpable example would be Joe Abercrombie (another Kitschies finalist). Joe’s work actually wasn’t overlooked, however his influence on the genre is undeniably evident in works by more recent authors such as Brian McClellan, Snorri Kristjansson, Anthony Ryan and so on… although they are certainly not ‘copies’ of Joe’s work, they have been directly influenced and it has to be said that the genre has moved in a certain direction due to Joe’s contribution to it.

Anyway, enough whittling from me, I’m sure you’re desperate to see this year’s finalists. Incredibly the following list comes only after the judging panel had read through 234 submissions, from over fifty publishers and imprints:

The Red Tentacle (Novel), selected by Kate Griffin, Nick Harkaway, Will Hill, Anab Jain and Annabel Wright:

Red Doc> by Anne Carson (Jonathan Cape)
A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki (Canongate)
Bleeding Edge by Thomas Pynchon (Jonathan Cape)
More Than This by Patrick Ness (Walker)
The Machine by James Smythe (HarperCollins / Blue Door)

The Golden Tentacle (Debut), selected by the above panel:

Stray by Monica Hesse (Hot Key)
A Calculated Life by Anne Charnock (49 North)
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie (Orbit)
Nexus by Ramez Naam (Angry Robot)
Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

The Inky Tentacle (Cover), selected by Craig Kennedy, Sarah Anne Langton, Hazel Thompson and Emma Vieceli:

Dreams and Shadows by C. Robert Cargill (Gollancz) / Design and illustration by Sinem Erkas
The Age Atomic by Adam Christopher (Angry Robot) / Art by Will Staehle
Homeland and Pirate Cinema by Cory Doctorow (Titan) / Design by Amazing15
Stray by Monica Hesse (Hot Key) / Art by Gianmarco Magnani
Apocalypse Now Now by Charlie Human (Century) / Art by Joey Hi-Fi

Don’t forget to keep up to date with The Kitschies HERE.

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4 Comments

  1. Tim ward says:

    This is the first year I’ve heard of this award. I like it a lot too. From what I’ve read and enjoyed on the list, The Machine by James Smythe and Nexus by Ramez Naam, their selections are worthy of investigation and prying into the to read pile. Each judge read 234 books? Even if they’re not reading the whole thing, that’s still a lot of work. I commend their efforts. As a fan of James and Ramez who wants to discover more newer authors like them, this is a great contribution to our genre.

  2. […] Last month I spoke about why, and how much, I love The Kitschies Award. Essentially, it is because of their missions statement,  ‘to reward the year’s most progressive, intelligent and entertaining works’, that results in them consistently present a list of books that I’ve either not heard of or have not thought of picking up until seeing them selected. […]

  3. […] More on why I love them here if you’re […]

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