Final 2015 SFF Awards Meta-List

Now that the World Fantasy Award has been given, I’ve updated my Awards Meta-List to reflect the Top 20 SFF novels of the year. My list uses 15 different SFF Awards to see who dominated the year, using this limited methodology of awards. Of course, awards don’t reflect quality; they give us a certain slant on the SFF market, one which provides an interesting but flawed measure. The rules are simple: you get nominated for any of these awards, you get a point. Most points wins. No bonus for winning the award, although I’ll note the winners.

Edit 11/25/15: My 15 awards are the Clarke, the British Fantasy, the British SF, the Campbell Memorial Award (not the Campbell for Best New Author), the Locus Fantasy and SF categories (not the Best First Novel), the Compton, the Crawford, the Gemmell, the Hugo, the Kitschies, the Nebula, the Philip K. Dick, the Prometheus, the Tiptree, and the World Fantasy. You’ll notice that I’m currently not tracking the “Best First Novel” award categories or YA categories. You’ve got to draw the line somewhere. The First Novel categories are valuable, but since such a wide range of novels aren’t eligible as first novels, I felt it distorted the results by over-counting those novels.

In my opinion, this provides a broad overview of the field. 15 different awards mean 15 different sets of rules and voters (some popular and huge, some small, and some by committee). If a book shows up time and time again through all that chaos, those are the consensus books of the year.

So how did 2015 turn out? There wasn’t a single dominant book, as was the case with Ancillary Justice in 2014 (7 nominations, 4 wins, with 2 additional nominations and wins in “First Novel” categories). This year, Cixin Liu did the best with 5 nominations, but he managed only 1 win. I suspect that if The Three-Body Problem came out earlier in the year (it was published in November), it would have done a little better. Leckie won twice for Ancillary Sword, and she was the only author to win two awards. Those wins, depending on how cynical you are, could be chalked up to last year’s success of Ancillary Justice.

Nothing else jumps out as a dominant book. If we can think all the way to 2017, Emmi Itaranta might be someone to keep an eye on. Memory of Water was the debut novel for this Finnish writer, and the 2017 WorldCon is in Helsinki, Finland . . .

Here’s the list. I’m listing everyone who got at least 2 nominations, which is conveniently exactly 20 novels. 64 different novels received at least one nomination. Obviously, there are lots of ties: 1 novel got 5 noms, 3 novels got 4 noms each, 7 novels got 3 noms each, and 9 novels got 2 nominations each.

If I had to describe the 2015 awards season, it would be with the term “divided.” There wasn’t much agreement as to what the major works were; we had lots of competitive novels rather than 2-3 consensus books. It’ll be interesting to see if the 2016 award play the same way. Between Uprooted, Seveneves, and Ancillary Mercy, we could wind up with a much more centralized year.

Here’s the final list, and the accompanying Excel file: 2015 Awards Meta-List.

1. The Three-Body Problem, Cixin Liu: 5 nominations, 1 wins (Noms: Hugo, Nebula, Campbell, Locus SF, Prometheus; Wins: Hugo)
2. Ancillary Sword, Ann Leckie: 4 nominations, 2 wins (Noms: Hugo, Nebula, BSFA, Locus SF, Wins: BSFA and Locus SF)
2. Annihilation/Area X, Jeff VanderMeer: 4 nominations, 1 win (Noms: Campbell, Nebula, Locus SF, World Fantasy; Win: Nebula)
2. The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison: 4 nominations, 1 win (Noms: Hugo, Nebula, Locus Fantasy, World Fantasy; Win: Locus Fantasy)
5. Memory of Water, Emmi Itaranta: 3 nominations, 0 wins (Noms: Clarke, Tiptree, Philip K. Dick)
5. Europe in Autumn, David Hutchinson: 3 nominations, 0 wins (Noms: Clarke, BSFA, Campbell)
5. The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, Claire North: 3 nominations, 1 win (Noms: Clarke, BSFA, Campbell, Win: Campbell)
5. Lagoon, Nnedi Okorafor: 3 nominations, 0 wins (Noms: BSFA, Tiptree, Kitschies)
5. The Peripheral, William Gibson: 3 nominations, 0 wins (Noms: Campbell, Locus SF, Kitschies)
5. The Race, Nina Allan: 3 nominations, 0 wins (Noms: British SF, Campbell, Kitschies)
5. City of Stairs, Robert Jackson Bennett: 3 nominations, 0 wins (Noms: British Fantasy, Locus Fantasy, World Fantasy)
12. Elysium, Jennifer Marie Brissett: 2 nominations, 0 wins (Noms: Dick, Tiptree)
12. Station Eleven, Elizabeth St. John Mandel: 2 nominations, 1 win (Noms: Clarke, Campbell, Win: Clarke)
12. Lock In, John Scalz: 2 nominations, 0 wins (Noms: Locus SF, Campbell)
12. The Bees, Laline Paul: 2 nominations, 0 wins (Noms: Campbell, Compton)
12. A Darkling Sea, James Cambias: 2 nominations, 0 wins (Noms: Campbell, Compton)
12. My Real Children, Jo Walton: 2 nominations, 1 win (Noms: Tiptree, World Fantasy, Win: Tiptree)
12. Cuckoo Song, Frances Hardinge: 2 nominations, 1 win (Noms: British Fantasy, British SF, Win: British Fantasy)
12. Wolves, Simon Ings: 2 nominations, 0 wins (Noms: British SF, Campbell)
12. The Moon King, Neil Williamson: 2 nominations, 0 wins (Noms: British Fantasy, British SF)

We can close the page on 2015, and get ready for 2016!

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4 responses to “Final 2015 SFF Awards Meta-List”

  1. jennbrissett says :

    Not to quibble, but ELYSIUM was also nominated for the Locus for Best New Novel. Thanks for this interesting post!

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