Sci-Fi….again? (Or, how do you get an award named after you?)

So, it’s time for some more geek love (wishing I were at home watching Big Bang, but no I’m at work (shhh…don’t tell), but I would bet Sheldon & Co. have read this guy). 

Tonight’s award is the A. Bertram Chandler Award. Mr. Chandler was a British national who moved to Australia and wrote over 40 Science Fiction titles under various names. He is probably best known for the John Grimes & Rim World series (Serii? Serieses?). In the rest of his life (I won’t say day job, or real job) he was a commander in the Australian Navy and his nautical interests/knowledge show up frequently in his works. He won the Ditmar award for Australian Science Fiction.

Upon his death, the Australian Science Fiction Foundation created an award in his honour, which is a juried prize and may  or may not be awarded every year. Here’s the quote from their website:

In 1991 the Foundation set about establishing a new award for “Outstanding Achievement in Australian Science Fiction”. In recognition of the contribution that science fiction writer A. Bertram Chandler made to Australian Science Fiction, and because of his patronage of the Foundation, the new award (after gaining the approval of Bert’s widow Susan) is called the Chandler. Unlike the Ditmars, this award is decided upon by a jury and, although nominally an annual award presented in conjunction with the National Science Fiction Convention, is not necessarily presented every year.

If you read my most recent post, I totally respect that if there isn’t a clear winner, they just don’t hand out an award for the sake of awarding. 🙂 (No, I’m not a fan of participation trophies).  I also really loved that all you have to do to nominate a book is drop the secretary an email. awesome.

Here is a list of winners.

 And now to my next thought of the day: Lots of the awards I have left to blog about are named after individuals. Some of them, like Mr. Chandler, are authors in their own right. Some have been librarians or publishers. Some are just individuals who loved a certain type of book. Either way, what an amazing legacy to have your name forever tied to an award for something you loved. 

The last category leaves me bemused though: the really rich guy/gal whose family sets the whole thing up, but never really bothers to say WHY. I’m left to wonder if grandpa is rolling in his grave muttering “rubbish” or if he likes the idea. Fortunately though, there aren’t many of those.

 (Enough asides after this, but I love parenthesis. My HS English teachers tried desperately to make me loathe them, but oh the joy! A good appositive phrase is great too with its little matching commas…) 

(Any thoughts out there about why there seem to be a plethora of Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Mystery awards? )

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5 Comments on “Sci-Fi….again? (Or, how do you get an award named after you?)”

  1. Geoff W says:

    Could the number of awards have to do with the sheer size of the industry and how many of the authors write under multiple pseudonyms and release multiple books in a year?

    • That’s very true. For a group of genres often dismissed by the literati, it accounts for a huge portion if yearly publishing and sales. AND the loyal fan base helps. On the other hand, romance has the same attributes and only has a couple of awards.

      • Geoff W says:

        That is very true about romance. Perhaps it’s a remainder of the innate sexism in literature, where romance is predominantly written for and by women (or men writing under women’s pseudonyms) and SciFi/Fantasy is written by/for men (predominantly) – take JK Rowling as one example who didn’t want Harry Potter published under her name because she was afraid little boys wouldn’t read it… Who knows though? I’m sure there is a thesis out there in some university library.

      • I think that may well be a large part of it, and the other part is the perception that all romance must by definition be porn. Never mind that I’ve read some sci-fi/mystery books that are WAY more x-rated…
        I think people are just embarrassed by the category. I haven’t read it, but I don’t think 50 Shades would exist as a phenomenon without the ebook industry where you can read a book “anonymously” without anyone seeing the cover.

      • Geoff W says:

        Very true – although I get a kick out of reading books especially with covers that make people uncomfortable – but that’s just me 😀


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