2008 Hugo Awards Countdown: Best New Science Fiction Writer

This is known as the John W. Campbell Award, and recognizes the accomplishments of new authors in the field of science fiction and fantasy. As any writer who aims for the glory of publication knows, they’ve overcome the biggest obstacle to a writing career—and the readers of SFF look forwards to the output from these young stars in the years to come.

Clarification: As Cheryl Morgan points out at io9, the John W. Campbell Award, while administered by WSFS and voted on in the Hugo ballot, is actually presented on the behalf of Dell Magazines (they publish Asimov’s and Analog).

Note: The schedule slipped by a week or so, thus the nominees for novels are not part of this year’s countdown on Sd. However they will be part of a more in-depth Hugo review series.

Nominees for Best New Science Fiction Writer

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Joe Abercrombie [2nd year of eligibility]
Sample Works from 2006, 2007
the-blade-itself-abercrombie The Blade Itself (The First Law: Book One)
before-they-are-hanged-abercrombie Before They Are Hanged (The First Law: Book Two)
Excerpt from entry A History of Gaming 1 – Childhood:

My name is Joe, and I’m a video games addict.

Been playing them all my life. A lot. Quite a bit less over the last couple of years, what with the writing and the child and all the rest of it, so there hasn’t really seemed an apt moment to begin to discuss them. But, as some of you may be aware, Grand Theft Auto IV came out recently, as a result of which I treated myself to a Playstation 3. So over the last few days, rather than waste all my writing time pissing about on the internet, I’ve been wasting it revving a stolen motorbike through the mean streets of Liberty City, and gunning down gangsters. More of this later, for the time being let me only say that I’ve found it not quite as magnetic as the previous installment, San Andreas, but still completely brilliant, and – very rare and very welcome in video gaming – the thing that really makes it is the humour, the personality, the writing.


More links
Jon Armstrong interviews Joe Abercrombie
Jon Armstrong [1st year of eligibility]
Sample Works from 2007
grey Grey
Excerpt from entry Japanese Influences:

My interest in Japanese culture had several significant influences on Grey.

I spent one year of college as a foreign exchange student at Kobe’s Konan Daigaku studying Japanese and Japanese culture. One of the most significant moments occurred when the weather changed and the thin jacket I had packed wasn’t warm enough. I headed to the Sannomiya Mall in central Kobe and searched for something heavier. After spending several hours not finding anything I liked, I happened to turn a corner and found a small men’s store packed with nothing but black, white, and charcoal clothes. I loved the minimalism and was delighted to find that one of the long, dark, and warm coats fit perfectly. I returned to the store many times, purchased more clothes and befriended the storeowner, Mr. Sugimoto.


More links
Jon Armstrong’s podcast, If You’re Just Joining Us”
David Anthony Durham [1st year of eligibility]
Sample Works from 2007
acacia Acacia Book One: The War with the Mein
Excerpt from entry My Groove, and BEA (Day Two):

I’d also mention how nice it is to feel a sense of camaraderie with fellow writers. It’s not quite the same vibe in the Big L “literary” world. Things are pricklier. But I’ve just had a great time recently connecting with writers like John, and like Tobias Buckell, Mary Robinette Kowal, Patrick Rothfuss and plenty more. I may be wrong, but so far it feels like this is a group of young writers that wants to encourage, support and just hang out with other writers. That may seem like nothing other than what you’d expect, but believe me writers in general can be a strange bunch. Who would’ve thought the world of fantasy and sci-fi would introduce me to so many people that actually seem… like pretty decent and (ironically) down to earth human beings (with quirks, admittedly).


More links
Jon Armstrong interviews David Anthony Durham
David Louis Edelman [2nd year of eligibility]
Sample Works from 2006, 2007
infoquake Infoquake
Excerpt from entry Will the Novel Die?:

I can’t find any current piece of journalism to use as a springboard for asking whether the novel will die. But considering that the question gets asked every 14 seconds somewhere on the blogosphere, I’m not going to worry. Just follow the trail of rent garments and gnashed teeth and you’ll find someone blathering about it. The question’s on my mind this morning, so that’s good enough for me.

Will the novel die? I won’t keep you in suspense: Yes, the novel will die. It might not happen in your lifetime. But yes, I can say unequivocally that the novel will eventually breathe its last and lay down contentedly in the grave of dead art forms. I’ll be very conservative and estimate 50 years.

And you know what? It’s not that big a deal.


More links
Jon Armstrong interviews David Louis Edelman
Mary Robinette Kowal [2nd year of eligibility]
Sample Works from 2006, 2007
emrah_cello For Solo Cello, op.12
And more from Mary’s official free fiction sampler
Excerpt from entry My Take on Elevator Pitches:

I’ll start by saying that I learned about elevator pitches from booking theater shows, so an agent or editor might tell you that I’m totally wrong. This is not a “how-to.” This is just my theory on elevator pitches.

As I understand it, the term “elevator pitch” comes from the idea that you should be able to sum up your novel in the ride between floors at a convention. You might only share the elevator for one floor, so the shorter the better.

Think of the elevator pitch as verbal cover art. In an ideal world, it should be attention grabbing, give them a sense of the type of the book, and — most importantly — make them want to know more.


More links
Jon Armstrong interviews Mary Robinette Kowal
Scott Lynch [2nd year of eligibility]
Sample Works from 2006, 2007
red-seas-under-red-skies Red Seas Under Red Skies
lies-of-locke-lamara The Lies of Locke Lamora
Excerpt from entry Hey Folks–:

I have been away for a month, for two major reasons:

A) The need to work feverishly for several weeks, complicated, as is only dramatically appropriate, by various real-world things, and:

B) A sudden bout of intense, flabbergasted loathing for all forms of internet argument, which may seem very odd considering who’s typing this, but it seems to happen to me about once every two years. As I was kvetching to matociquala a few weeks ago, the catalyst seemed to be the stuff I found in certain Amazon reviews of Peter Watts’ Blindsight, an awesomely brain-bending masterwork of hard SF wth only one or two little bitty flaws, at least says me.


3 thoughts on “2008 Hugo Awards Countdown: Best New Science Fiction Writer

  1. I’ve only read Joe Abercrombie’s The Blade Itself out of all of those (gave it 8/10) though Scott Lynch is on my must-read list as well. I really need to start looking for more new writers.

  2. I’m Jon Armstrong, one of the nominees, and I’m in the process of interviewing the other nominees on my podcast, If You’re Just Joining Us. I’ve already posted talks with Mary Robinette Kowal and Joe Abercrombie. I’m finishing the editing and will soon post David Louis Edelman, I’m recording David Anthony Durham today, and will hopefully speak with Scott soon.

    It’s been a lot of fun! Come by and take a listen.

  3. Hi Catherine! The writing folks across the 2008 Hugo Awards are all worth reading. It’s been an awesome ride.

    Jon, thanks for heads up! I’ll see about adding links to your interviews in the next couple of days—I’ve been tired all out from oncall and other joyful things (a very long dentist’s appointment among them…).

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