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Author Topic: WHO WILL WIN THE DAVID GEMMELL AWARDS IN 2013?  (Read 2342 times)

Offline Overlord

WHO WILL WIN THE DAVID GEMMELL AWARDS IN 2013?
« on: October 31, 2013, 07:09:33 PM »
I have to say that I though the Gemmell Awards’s shortlist was absolutely SPOT ON this year. If I was to do a list of my favourite novels over that same 12 month period, I’d probably come up with the exact same one. The nominees really were the best of the best. Incase you haven’t seen them, here they are:

THE GEMMELL LEGEND AWARD (BEST NOVEL) SHORTLIST

ABERCROMBIE, Joe – Red Country – Gollancz
KRISTOFF, Jay – Stormdancer – Pan Macmillan UK
LAWRENCE, Mark – King of Thorns – Harper Collins UK
LOWE, Helen – The Gathering of the Lost – Orbit
WEEKS, Brent – The Blinding Knife – Orbit

THE MORNING STAR AWARD (BEST DEBUT) SHORTLIST

AHMED, Saladin – Throne of the Crescent Moon – Gollancz & DAW
CAMERON, Miles – The Red Knight – Gollancz
GWYNNE, John – Malice – Pan Macmillan UK
HARTE, Aidan – Irenicon – Jo Fletcher Books
KRISTOFF, Jay – Stormdancer – Pan Macmillan UK

HOW DO THE GEMMELLS WORK?

The David Gemmell Legend Awards work on a very simple principle, that rather than have a panel decide who should win, they wanted the fans to have their say. So, the first stage is that published from award the World nominate titles (for best book, best debut and best cover) that they think matches their criteria (basically epic fantasy). Then, once they have got a sizeable list, polls open and genre fans all around the World get to vote on which they’d like to enter into the short list. A few months later the top 5 voted-for books are put into a short list and fans are once again invited to vote on their favourite. The winners are then announced at an annual award ceremony – this year’s is tonight!

WHO WILL WIN?

What the winners will receive!
It is probably easier to begin with ‘who will probably not win!’. So, if I had to rule a couple out, I’d say Irenicon by Aidan Harte is probably a little too slow-moving and complex for the Gemmell Morning Star readership and that, although it was brilliant, Jay Kristoff’s Stormdancer isn’t quite up to the standards of the heavy hitters in the Gemmell Legend Award (I do think he stands a good chance on the Morning Star though – keep reading for why).

Helen Lowe was last year’s surprise winner in The Morning Star Award and there have been a number of people suggesting she may win the biggie this year round too (especially as she gets kudos for being the only female up there – which is kind of sad). However, I think I’d rule her out in this award due to the huge following of the other three nominees (remember the vote is won by number of votes accumulated).

So, that leaves us with Lawrence, Abercrombie and Weeks. I should say that I’d be happy to see any of them win.

Joe’s book was his best yet and a real innovation in terms of what one can consider fantasy. That said, I think that perhaps Red Country doesn’t quite fit the ‘Gemmell Awards’s’ ideal winner. Also, Joe hasn’t been pushing his nomination place all that much (although I’m sure he wants to win, he has said publicly before he is unsure about awards that allow authors to fish for votes).

Mark Lawrence’s book was the perfect ending to a series that pushed boundaries and sparked mass debate amongst the fantasy genre. It is a dark, well-written epic fantasy and so certainly fits the bill. However, Mark himself often speaks about how authors such as Weeks, Brett and Abercrombie far outsell him and that could hurt him in an award that is based on the number of votes accumulated – Mark is the Social Media master though and has probably been the most vocal about his nomination… so you never know!

That brings us to Brent Weeks. I’m not sure who sells more books out of Brent and Joe, but I know Brent has a huge following. Back to his book, The Blinding Knife; it was probably the best book I read last year. I find that hard to say, because I truly enjoyed Red Country and Emperor of Thorns, but I think Brent’s latest really raised the bar in terms of characterisation, magic systems, atmosphere, setting, plot – it just had everything. If there is one thing that may hold Brent back though, it was that the first book in the series was a little slow and you have to wonder whether many people rushed out to pick up the second book (Note: If you’ve read book one and have held of reading book two because you felt it was slow – go get book 2 now! It picks up… trust me!).

In the Morning Star award I think it’ll be a close battle between Saladin Ahmed and Jay Kristoff. The Red Knight got mixed reactions from the community and I think it was probably a bit too long for your ‘casual fan’ to pick up – it was a real tome. Malice, I think, is the best written book in the list, but I also think that it flew under the radar a little. Similar to The Red Knight, it was HUGE – and complex too – in a way that David Gemmell’s work never was… Hopefully this award will mean more people pick the book up, but for now I think the huge presence of Kristoff and Ahmed within the community will mean one of them take it.

So, if I had to pick, I think I’d go with Jay Kristoff. Saladin’s book, Throne of The Crescent Moon, is a little weird and out-there in places and a little bit ‘normal’ in others. I also think that as good as it is, it is more of a ‘first book’ that is setting up future tales. That leaves us with Kristoff then… his book probably has the biggest appeal and Jay himself is a very likeable guy. I loved the merging of a Japanese-style World, Martial Arts and an almost pokemon-like creature blended together so well. I wouldn’t say it is a 10/10 book, but it was damned fun and one that had me rushing for the sequel (I won’t be so quick to pick up the sequels to Malice or Red Knight, although I will read them). Oh, and the cover fricken rocks too and I bet a lot of people picked it up just for that.

You know what though? Whoever wins, I won’t be all that surprised. Any book on that list has a fair and deserved chance to pick the award up. As I think about this, it makes me grin. Look guy, look at how strong fantasy is in 2013. Look at how much choice we have. Look at how many talented writers are writing for us.

Anyway, community, enough of me, who do you think will take it?
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Offline Arry

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Re: WHO WILL WIN THE DAVID GEMMELL AWARDS IN 2013?
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2013, 11:30:46 PM »
Well, I'll play it safe and go with these:
Quote

2013 RAVENHEART AWARD FOR BEST FANTASY COVER ART
Didier Graffet and Dave Senior for the cover of Red Country by Joe Abercrombie (Gollancz)

2013 MORNINGSTAR AWARD FOR BEST FANTASY DEBUT
John Gwynne for Malice (Pan MacMillan)

2013 LEGEND AWARD FOR BEST FANTASY NOVEL
Brent Weeks for The Blinding Knife (Orbit)

OK, maybe I cheated.  ::)
Winners were announced earlier tonight:

http://www.gemmellaward.com/profiles/blogs/gemmell-awards-for-fantasy-the-2013-winners
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Offline Overlord

Re: WHO WILL WIN THE DAVID GEMMELL AWARDS IN 2013?
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2013, 06:10:30 AM »
I was half right! :D

What I like is that both the 'best' books won (in my opinion). Although I thought Stormdancer would win, that was only because I thought perhaps Malice was a bit too long and complicated compared to a book like Jay Kristoff's that is more easily accessible. Well done, community!
Founder: http://fantasy-faction.com
Editor: Fantasy-Faction Anthology (Aug 2014)
Author: "Son of…" in 1853 (2013)
Host: Fantasy-Faction's Grim Gathering

Offline AzWingsFan

Re: WHO WILL WIN THE DAVID GEMMELL AWARDS IN 2013?
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2013, 12:30:39 PM »
Pretty dissapointing results. Nonetheless will have to check out that debut
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Offline Gabriel_North

Re: WHO WILL WIN THE DAVID GEMMELL AWARDS IN 2013?
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2013, 03:31:25 PM »
I've recently become a big fan of Joe Abercrombie, so I'll throw my imaginary money on him.

Offline animal74

Re: WHO WILL WIN THE DAVID GEMMELL AWARDS IN 2013?
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2013, 04:36:13 PM »
It was great following the lead up to the Gemmell Awards this year.  It also helped that I won Malice and Stormdancer in a Twitter giveaway by the Gemmell Awards.  ;D
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Offline Nighteyes

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Re: WHO WILL WIN THE DAVID GEMMELL AWARDS IN 2013?
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2013, 08:49:42 PM »
Well done community?

I doubt very much that a Brent Weeks' novel was the best the genre produced this year.  Just another case of people voting for writers not the book.

I can already safely say the Words of Radiance by Sanderson will win next year, regardless of quality.  People will vote for him simply as a big name writer.
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Offline Overlord

Re: WHO WILL WIN THE DAVID GEMMELL AWARDS IN 2013?
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2013, 11:30:34 AM »
Gariath, I spoke about this recently on a Goodreads related blog post and came to a similar conclusion:

Well, no real surprises in this years Goodreads Awards… annoyingly in some respects.

As I hinted at in my blog post a few weeks back – when I discussed the announcement of the finalists – the Award tends to be more of an 'author popularity contest' than a ‘good book contest’. Just to explain what I mean, the winner The Ocean At The End Of The Lane got a rating of 4.01 with 45,000 votes, but A Memory Of Light in second place had a rating of 4.51 and yet only 13,021 votes. In fact, of the 20 books that made the finals, 13 scored a higher average than the winner.

Sadly, I guess this is an inevitability when you have a poll based competition as opposed to a panel based judgement. One of the best insights I’ve read on this matter was by Joe Abercrombie (who, when you think about it, should be as in-favour as anyone of popularity contests!):

“Individual juries will always have their wrinkles, and I’m sure there will always be issues that can be taken with any result, but at least they’ve all read the books on the shortlist, considered them, compared them, argued over them, and made an informed group decision as to which one is the best, however they choose to define it.”

AND

“[With public vote  awards] there is no discussion or examination, necessarily.  It seems deeply unlikely most voters will have read much of th] e extended longlist, or even the whole shortlist.  It seems perfectly possible many voters will only have read the book they vote for.  There’s the risk it becomes a campaigning contest in which even committed readers of epic fantasy, let alone more general readers, aren’t particularly interested.”

At the end of the day though I shouldn’t be too critical of Goodreads and their process, because this year the books that placed highly in the awards were pretty damned good… It just seems a shame that without even looking at the books you can guess who will take the title and the rough order that the runner ups will place just by viewing the names of the authors.
Founder: http://fantasy-faction.com
Editor: Fantasy-Faction Anthology (Aug 2014)
Author: "Son of…" in 1853 (2013)
Host: Fantasy-Faction's Grim Gathering

Offline Mark Lawrence

Re: WHO WILL WIN THE DAVID GEMMELL AWARDS IN 2013?
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2013, 01:00:22 PM »
Whilst it's true that any publicly voted award with a sufficient number of voters will become a popularity contest, it doesn't seem to be true that the Gemmell Awards (certainly the Morningstar award) have a sufficient number of voters for this to be true. After all, for the past two years the Morningstar has been won by authors whose books have a small (almost tiny) fraction of the ratings on Goodreads that their competition have - and whilst Goodreads is also a poll/popularity thing it is one with far more participants and therefore much more likely (statistically speaking) to be closer to the truth.

I.e. - the Gemmell results are particular to the tastes of the demographic that get involved (quite possibly Gemmell readers and fans) and also (due to the relatively small size) subject to influence by author efforts (i.e. letting their readers know it's on). That said I did my best to get my readers to vote for me both years I've been up and didn't win, beaten by Helen Lowe's undoubtedly excellent but likely far less read book in the Morningstar.

So in short, don't be so quick to dismiss public votes as global popularity contests because the vast majority of them won't be large enough to overcome parochial issues and will retain an individual flavour. On the other hand the Goodreads award probably is just a popularity award ... but that's interesting to know, and things are popular because by _some_ measure they're good (even if it's only good at making people want them).
« Last Edit: December 06, 2013, 01:02:25 PM by Mark Lawrence »

Offline Idlewilder

Re: WHO WILL WIN THE DAVID GEMMELL AWARDS IN 2013?
« Reply #9 on: December 06, 2013, 01:31:47 PM »
I will say this for Brent Weeks: even though he wasn't there, the winning speech his publicist read out was hilarious.  :D
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