The Subjective Chaos Kind of Awards 2021 has its winners! After 6 weeks of re-reads and voting, the judges–including myself–have voted on the winners from our finalists. If you need a refresher about what the awards are and what they are about, then you can read my previous post about it here.
First, let me say I enjoyed this experience A LOT. It was fun working and conversing with other bloggers–many of whom I knew beforehand–about our nominees and our votes for these awards. Second, I believe it’s safe to say whoever has to vote for any other literary awards (i.e. SFPBO, Hugo, Nebula, etc.), I have a better understanding on how there are times when you have to make a decision between 2 finalists so there is a winner. Third, NONE of my nominees won! But, that’s okay because there were cases where some of the other nominees were the better choices. Last, there were an even number of judges, so expect a surprise within one of the categories.
Here are the winners as voted by all of the judges. Each of the judges wrote a blurb as to why the finalist was selected as the winner.
BEST SHORT STORY: “You Perfect, Broken Thing” by C.L. Clark
“This is a story about an athlete competing in a race which forces her to push her sick body to its limits to win a cure. There’s a perfect blend of camaraderie between the main character and their training partners, and the desperate, unfair competition they are pushed into to survive; these are characters still fighting in the face of constant, overwhelming struggle and that’s a powerful, challenging, necessary thing.” -Adri Joy.
BEST NOVELLA: The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo
“The Empress of Salt and Fortune is an epic tale in miniature: a mosaic of moments and manipulations that resolve into a bigger picture of rebellion.” -imyril.
BEST DEBUT: Legendborn by Tracy Deonn
“Legendborn is not only one of the most creative reworking of Arthurian myth–making the corpus truly the author’s own–but also is is a tender exploration of grief and Black Girl Magic in a richly crafted world touching on slavery, privilege and secret societies.” -Fab.
BEST SERIES: The Poppy War Trilogy by R.F. Kuang
“Based on the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-45), R.F. Kuang’s trilogy starts off as an academic fantasy, transforms into a military historical fantasy, and ends as a grimdark narrative. This Asian-inspired series delves into the layers and the consequences of power and warfare.” -Misty306.
BEST BLURRED: Mexican Gothic by Silvia Morena-Garcia
“This stylish thriller blends Gothic tropes with 50s noir and body horror. Expect modern themes of prejudice and complicity in an unapologetically creepy tale of controlling families and psychedelic fungus.” -imyril.
BEST SCIENCE FICTION: The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson
“A beautiful intelligent story exploring the parallel worlds concept but also combining it with issues of racism, classism and yet also has a core of hope running throughout.” -Runalongwomble.
BEST FANTASY (TIE): The Midnight Bargain by C.L. Polk
“The Midnight Bargain is not only a wonderful story about witches in a richly imagined Regency-style setting, but also a clever exploration of reproductive rights and bodily autonomy. It is a thoroughly modern and political book while masquerading as a gorgeous escapist fantasy, and that makes it a fantastic read.” -Fab.
The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow
“Alix E. Harrow has crafted something truly special with this story. Her prose is by turns powerful and deft of touch, and blends together fantasy, fairy tales and history into a thoroughly modern classic.” -FLSchwizer.
I had an excellent time with this process and I am looking forward to participating again next year. That being said, yes I’m already processing what some of my nominees will be. Not to mention, the Best Series Category will be a very challenging one (you know why)!
Congratulations to all of the winners! I can’t wait to read your next written narrative! Excellent job judges! We’ll meet again for SCKA 2022!