Figure 1 – Franklyn Johnson AuroraTrophy

World SF has an annual “People’s Choice” award called “The Hugos,” after Hugo Gernsback, the founder of Amazing Stories (okay, it was originally called Electrical Experimenter), and the so-called “Father of SF.” You’re reading Amazing, so you already knew that.

And you knew about all the other SF awards, usually one to a country (like the Japanese Seiun award); and even though many of you don’t live in Canada, you probably knew about the Aurora Awards, which are also given out annually. But did you know that you have to be either a Canadian citizen or a Canadian resident to vote?

Figure 1 shows the Aurora designed and made by Franklyn Johnson, which from the front represents the Aurora Borealis, and has a maple leaf cutout. Because it’s very labour-intensive to make (polished sheet aluminum), and partially because Franklyn has retired, the design has been supplanted.

I have no idea what design has replaced it; I was able to find two designs that might be in the running—Figures 2 & 3 were found online. It’s possible Figure 2 was a makeshift, and Figure 3 is the design for the new “Best of the Decade” award, which will probably be given out once a decade (well, sounds logical to me). Figure 3 might be the “Best of the Decade” trophy.

I liked the Franklyn design for a couple of reasons, not the least is that he cleverly hid MY initials in the design: if you look down from the top, it says “SF”—clearly a tribute to yours truly! (Well, if it was SF/F, wouldn’t it say so?)

Figure 2 – Another Aurora Award design

Anyway, if you’re a Canadian, you can read (for your registration fee, currently $10 CDN) pretty much all the nominated works. Here’s the catch—voting ends on September 2, which means you’d have to read everything in one week and one day! But if you’re not a Canadian, you can still go to Amazon or other outlets, and buy most of the novel-length works, and so on. There is some amazingly good SF/F being produced in Canada!

Because I’m a nominee this year, I feel it would not be a Good Thing (as Martha says) to provide an opinion of the nominated works (except to say that my columns are the bee’s knees! 23 skidoo!), for fear of a) unduly influencing your vote; and b) losing friends amongst the writers. Favouritism is a terrible thing, but only human.

What I can tell you is that I have been a big fan of Guy Kay and Rob Sawyer for many years, and am fortunate enough to call them both friend. They don’t write anything alike, but I’m always impressed when I read a book by either one. And by extension, the other nominees in the novel category have to be good! (And don’t get me started on the “Best of the Decade,” as I know almost all the nominees!)

Figure 3 – Possible Best-of-the-Decade award

I know a number of the nominees in the other categories and, again, am proud to say they are good writers—the ones I’ve read—not a dud in the bunch! I’m surprised that no poetry has been nominated, as Canada boasts some terrific SF/F poets. The cons I’ve attended have shown the dedication and hard work of the organizers.

The graphic novels born in Canada have impressed me, and I’m extremely proud to be among the nominees for Best Fan Writing and Publication. And the art! Boy, howdy, are there some terrific artists nominated this year! I know three of the art nominees—well, two and the work of one other—well, so I’m sure that when I come to vote this week, I will have an embarrassment of riches, as they say.

Thank goodness for the Australian balloting system, where you can vote for more than one of your favourites… although you still have to rank them, you can feel more comfortable knowing you’ve not stiffed anyone for your vote.

Here are the nominees, from an official listing:

Best Novel

Children of Earth and Sky by Guy Gavriel Kay, Viking Canada
Company Town by Madeline Ashby, Tor Books
The Courier by Gerald Brandt, DAW Books
The Nature of a Pirate by A.M. Dellamonica, Tor Books
Quantum Night by Robert J. Sawyer, Penguin Canada
Stars like Cold Fire by Brent Nichols, Bundoran Press

Best Young Adult Novel

Day of the Demon by Randy McCharles, CreateSpace
Door into Faerie by Edward Willett, Coteau Books
Heir to the Sky by Amanda Sun, Harlequin Teen
Icarus Down by James Bow, Scholastic Canada
Mik Murdoch: Crisis of Conscience by Michell Plested, Evil Alter Ego Press
The Wizard Killer – Season One by Adam Dreece, ADZO Publishing

Best Short Fiction

“Age of Miracles” by Robert Runté, Strangers Among Us: Tales of the Underdogs and Outcasts, Laksa Media
Frog Song” by Erika Holt, Strangers Among Us: Tales of the Underdogs and Outcasts, Laksa Media
Living in Oz” by Bev Geddes, Strangers Among Us: Tales of the Underdogs and Outcasts, Laksa Media
Marion’s War” by Hayden Trenholm, Strangers Among Us: Tales of the Underdogs and Outcasts, Laksa Media
Seasons of Glass and Iron” by Amal el-Mohtar, The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales, Saga Press
When Phakack Came to Steal Papa, A Ti-Jean Story” by Ace Jordyn, On Spec Magazine

Best Poem/Song

No award will be given out in this category in 2017 due to insufficient eligible nominees

Best Graphic Novel

Angel Catbird, Volume One by Margaret Atwood, Johnnie Christmas and Tamra Bonvillian, Dark Horse Books
Crash and Burn by Kate Larking and Finn Lucullan, Astres Press
Earthsong by Crystal Yates, Webcomic
It Never Rains by Kari Maaren, Webcomic
Weregeek by Alina Pete, Webcomic

Best Related Work

Clockwork Canada: Steampunk Fiction edited by Dominik Parisien, Exile Editions
Enigma Front: Burnt, managing editor Celeste A. Peters, Analemma Books
Lazarus Risen edited by Hayden Trenholm and Mike Rimar, Bundoran Press
Strangers Among Us: Tales of the Underdogs and Outcasts edited by Susan Forest and Lucas K. Law, Laksa Media
Superhero Universe (Tesseracts Nineteen) edited by Claude Lalumiére and Mark Shainblum, EDGE Publishing

Best Visual Presentation

Arrival, director, Denis Villeneuve, Paramount Pictures
Orphan Black, Season 4, John Fawcett and Graeme Manson, Temple Street Productions
Killjoys, Season 2, Michelle Lovretta, Temple Street Productions
Dark Matter, Season 2, Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie, Prodigy Pictures
Murdoch Mysteries, Season 9, Peter Mitchell and Christina Jennings, Shaftesbury Films

Best Artist

Samantha M. Beiko, cover to Strangers Among Us: Tales of the Underdogs and Outcasts
James Beveridge, covers and poster art
Melissa Mary Duncan, body of work
Erik Mohr, covers for ChiZine Publications and Company Town for Tor Books
Dan O’Driscoll, covers for Bundoran Press

Best Fan Writing and Publications

Amazing Stories Magazine, weekly column, Steve Fahnestalk
BCSFAzine #512 to #519, edited by Felicity Walker
The Nerd is the Word, articles by Dylan McEvoy
OBIR Magazine #4, edited by R. Graeme Cameron
Silver Stag Entertainment, edited by S.M. Carriére
Speculating Canada edited by Derek Newman-Stille

Best Fan Organizational

Samantha Beiko and Chadwick Ginther, co-chairs, Chiaroscuro Reading Series: Winnipeg
R. Graeme Cameron, chair, VCON 41, Surrey, BC
Sandra Kasturi and Angela Keeley, co-chairs, 2016 Toronto SpecFic Colloquium
Derek Künsken and Marie Bilodeau, executive, Can*Con 2016, Ottawa
Randy McCharles, chair, When Words Collide, Calgary
Matt Moore, Marie Bilodeau, and Nicole Lavigne, co-chairs, Chiaroscuro Reading Series: Ottawa
Sandra Wickham, chair, Creative Ink Festival, Burnaby, BC

Best Fan Related Work

Ron S. Friedman, Villains and Conflicts presentation, When Words Collide, Calgary Comic Expo, and File 770
Kari Maaren, Concert, SFContario
Derek Newman-Stille, Speculating, Canada on Trent Radio 92.7 FM

Best of the Decade—This is a special category for this year’s awards for works published between January 2001 and December 2010. Note: Items in italics are for multi-volume works. Multi-volume stories were considered if they began prior to 2001 but ended before or close to 2011. We defined a multi-volume story as one with a continuous narrative. Finalists were chosen by an eight-person jury from across Canada. The winner will be chosen by our membership’s votes.

Blind Lake by Robert Charles Wilson, Tor Books
The Blue Ant Trilogy by William Gibson, Berkley
Malazan Book of the Fallen, Steven Erikson, Tor Books
The Neanderthal Parallax, Robert J. Sawyer, Tor Books
The Onion Girl, Charles de Lint, Tor Books
Under Heaven, Guy Gavriel Kay, Viking Canada

Isn’t that an amazing (no pun intended) list? I’m fortunate to belong to an active, vital—and still developing—SF/F community! So if you’re eligible and haven’t signed up and voted, get on it today! It’s, in case you’ve forgotten.

*Last Words/Short Takes:

When I was younger, there was so little SF/F available on TV and in movies, that I wound up going to, and watching, some pretty pathetic examples of SF/F. These days, there is so much really good, really watchable stuff both on the silver screen and the smaller screen (hey, remember when 21” 4:3 was a very respectable TV size?), that my wife complains I’m wasting so much of my life in front of a screen. (Including the computer.)

Well, I don’t consider it wasted. I’m “living the dream, baby!” How about Twin Peaks; Preacher; Midnight, Texas; Lucifer, Game of Thrones and so on—I could go on and on, on TV? What about the movies? Have you seen the various Planet of the Apes shows (Andy Serkis versions)? How about some of the Marvel offerings? DC’s Wonder Woman? How about the recent movie Morgan, and its AI counterpart Ex Machina?

Despite some controversies about casting and some stars’ and writer-directors’ issues, I think we’re in some kind of SF/F Golden Age!

Don’t forget to comment, either here or on Facebook. (I try to respond to all comments, good or bad.) My opinion is my own; I won’t try to pretend it’s anything but an opinion. It’s not necessarily shared by anyone else connected with Amazing Stories. See you next week!

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