2015 Gemmell Legend Award Voting Now Open
The 2015 Gemmell Legend Award, an internet vote for the Best Fantasy Novel of the year, is now open for voting! The finalist are:
Half a King by Joe Abercrombie (HarperCollins)
Valour by John Gwynne (Pan Macmillan/Tor UK)
Prince of Fools by Mark Lawrence (HarperCollins)
Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson (Gollancz)
The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks (Orbit)
I find the Gemmell a fascinating award for several reasons. First, this is true “open internet vote” award: anyone can vote, and it pulls in a very different voting audience than the “pay to vote” Hugo. As such, you get a very different feel in this award: very populist, very mainstream, very best-sellery. Second, the Gemmell moves perpendicular to the other SFF awards: this and the World Fantasy Award couldn’t be more different in terms of the books they honor. The Gemmell is all about big epic series fantasy, whereas the other awards avoid such novels like the plague.
In my meta-awards tracking, I track 15 different SFF awards. Not a single of these 5 authors was nominated for any of the other 14 awards. To be fair, the major fantasy nominees (the World Fantasy and British Fantasy) haven’t been announced yet. I could see Abercrombie grabbing a nomination in one of those, but not the other Gemmell finalists.
This Gemmell will be a fascinating contest. We have three former winners going head-to-head in a fantasy deathmatch: Mark Lawrence (2014 winner for Emperor of Thorns), Brent Weeks (2013 winner for The Blinding Knife), and Brandon Sanderson (2011 winner for The Way of Kings). Add in Joe Abercrombie, and you probably have the most competitive Gemmell ever.
I think the Gemmell boils down to pretty much a popularity contest. In that case, Sanderson should win, as he’s the most popular of these big “epic” fantasy writers. In this case, the broad sweep of Goodreads can help. Check how popular these books are in terms of ratings on that site:
Words of Radiance: 52,766 ratings, 4.76 average
The Blinding Knife: 26,911 ratings, 4.46 average
Half a King: 12,067 ratings, 4.01 aveage
Prince of Fools: 5,933 ratings, 4.10 average
Valour: 1,566 ratings 4.42 average
A clear Sanderson advantage, no?