Today's World Fantasy Awards ceremony was full of great surprises and well-deserved accolades. It was a really good day for Caitlín R. Kiernan, Subterranean Press, Tor.com and dangerous women. And the best novel goes to Sofia Samatar for A Stranger in Olondria! We were there, and here's the skinny.
Toastmaster Mary Robinette Kowal told hilarious stories of the disasters she'd dealt with as a professional puppeteer, as a way of illustrating how lucky writers are that most of their worst mistakes are never seen by anybody else — and that rejection is temporary and doesn't mean a story can't get published elsewhere.
Also, award presenters David G. Hartwell and Gordon Van Gelder mentioned at the start that there had been a poll about changing the award, which is currently a controversial bust of the racist author H.P. Lovecraft. Van Gelder said there's been no decision about that yet, but they've been considering everybody's views.
Lifetime Achievement Award: Ellen Datlow. She talked about her childhood, when her parents let her read whatever she wanted. "Even as a child I had eclectic tastes in reading. So looking back it's only natural that I ended up in a profession that is so much about reading," she said.
Lifetime Achievement Award: Chelsea Quinn Yarbro. She said, "On behalf of the characters who really earned this award, I thank you all for being so kind to them."
Special Award - Non-Professional: Kate Baker, Neil Clarke & Sean Wallace, for Clarkesworld
Special Award - Professional: William K. Schaefer, for Subterranean Press, and Irene Gallo, for art direction of Tor.com.
Story Collection: Caitlín R. Kiernan, The Ape's Wife and Other Stories. "I never thought I would have one of these," she said.
Best Artist: Charles Vess. He said, "This is also my 40th year of making a living at art. I guess the best thing is getting an award in a field [where] I love all the artists and writers, and it makes me really happy."
Best Anthology: Dangerous Women, edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois. Martin couldn't be here, but Dozois said the award really belonged to Martin, who had wanted to do this anthology for years, but had to wait until he got famous enough to get someone to buy it.
Best Short Fiction: "The Prayer of Ninety Cats" by Caitlín R. Kiernan. (Subterranean Magazine). "For most of my career, I'd wanted to write a screenplay about Elizabeth Bathory. Last year I said, that's never going to happen. So I'm going to write a movie as a short story. A movie that never existed, about Elizabeth Bathory. It took months, and when I was done I thought this is such a strange story, nobody's ever going to read it."
Best Novella: Andy Duncan & Ellen Klages, "Wakulla Springs" (Tor.com). Klages said Duncan was "the best playdate for making up imaginary worlds." Duncan said Klages came to her with "this mass of stuff" that she needed help finding a story in, and he helped her and then told her that when the story won an award, she should thank him. "You're not getting out of it that easy," he said Klages responded.
Best Novel: A Stranger in Olondria by Sofia Samatar. She thanked Gary K. Wolfe for the upbeat review he gave the book in Locus, which started people paying attention to it. And then she added: "I don't want to step down without addressing the elephant in the room," which is the Lovecraft bust. "I appreciate the attention the community is paying to the issue and the statement that was made earlier." And she thanked Small Beer Press, which also had a nominee on the list for the short story collection North American Lake Monsters by Nathan Ballingrud.