Book Beat: 2018 Splatterpunk Awards, Tor E-Book Embargo, and Review Bingo

Hello lovely readers! It’s your editor Paige here to explore the exciting world of publishing in this week’s Book Beat. The air feels just a little bit cooler, and the nights are slowly starting to get a little bit shorter, which means only one thing: summer is almost over, and fall is coming. Thank God. As the seasons inch their way forward, it feels like the book world is perpetually on the move. Blink once, and you’ve missed an entire Twitter thread of news, which is why we’re here for you, thankfully. So what are you waiting for? Check out all the latest news you might have missed below!

Announcing the 2018 Splatterpunk Award Winners!

For the last several weeks, us bookish people here at WWAC have been gleefully devouring the nominated novels, novellas, short stories, collections, and anthologies of the inaugural Splatterpunk Awards at Killercon Austin. These new awards are to celebrate “superior achievement in the sub-genres of SplatterPunk / Extreme Horror fiction,” similar to how Worldcon annually honors the best science fiction and fantasy works with its Hugo Awards. And just like the Hugo Awards, we were all on the edge of our seats anxiously waiting for the final results.

Well, the wait is finally over. Killercon went down this past weekend, and 2018 Splatterpunk Award winners are as follows:

Best Novel — Winner: White Trash Gothic by Edward Lee

Best Novella — Winner: Header 3 by Edward Lee and Ryan Harding

Best Short Story — Winner: “The Tipping Point” by Jeff Strand

Best Collection — Winner: Gorilla in My Room by Jack Ketchum

Best Anthology — Winner: Splatterpunk Fighting Back, edited by Jack Bantry & Kit Power, eds.

The Splatterpunk awards also gave out the J.F. Gonzalez Lifetime Achievement Award to horror author David J. Schow. Schow coined the term “splatterpunk” in the 1980s, and since then he has been a seminal influence in the genre. His body of work includes novels and anthologies such as The Kill Riff and Black Leather Required,  movies like The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, and editing work on the Silver Scream anthology.

We can’t imagine a more impressive bunch of nominees and winners, and we look forward to the amazing group we’ll see next year!

The Hugo Awards’ Triple Threat

As we reported last week, N.K. Jemisin’s The Stone Sky won this year’s Hugo Award for Best Novel. This means that Jemisin’s entire Broken Earth trilogy has been bestowed the honor for the past three years in a row, leading the way for the science fiction and fantasy genres in several aspects of marginalized representation. Plus, Jemisin more than deserves her awards, given how creative and well-written her series is.

Of course, with progress comes unwarranted push-back from those unwilling to move with the times. In this case, one of those people is science fiction writer and previous Hugo winner Robert Silverberg. In a private mailing list, he called into question the merit of Jemisin’s work by criticizing her post-win Hugo speech and her firm stance against racism and gate-keeping in the science fiction and fantasy publishing community.

The bold inaccuracy of Silverberg’s statements, especially considering he admitted to not reading Jemisin’s books, has led to numerous authors and other members of this community to stand up in Jemisin’s defense, such as author Greg Andree and The Guardian in a recent editorial. It’s always nice to see this kind of solidarity, and we definitely need more of it as these and other literary genres make room for the marginalized voices who rightfully deserve a seat at the table.

Tor Publishing Issues E-Book Embargo on Libraries

Now, you know that many book lovers—including us here at Bookmarked and WWAC—love our local libraries as a communal and highly accessible resource for education and leisure in our communities. Along with their print catalogs, in recent years libraries have begun to adapt to the technological advances of our times to offer its visitors access to e-books. This decision has greatly helped expand the convenience of renting a book from an even wider selection of options.

Unfortunately, it looks like one key publisher will no longer be immediately available to library e-readers: Tor Publishing, an imprint of parent company Macmillan. Tor will now issue a four-month embargo on all its e-books going to libraries, a new mandate it already began with its July 2018 new releases. The purpose of this apparently temporary embargo is to test the impact library e-books have on retail sales, as there is some in-house speculation that they hurt the publisher’s bottom line. However, library patrons will still be able to check out new releases in print form.

Numerous library organizations and advocacy groups have criticized Tor and Macmillan’s embargo testing, such as the American Library Association (ALA) and ReadersFirst. Critics have expressed concern that this embargo will be adopted by other publishers, which will further strain the relationship between libraries and the publishing industry. This strain will thus make it even more difficult for libraries to provide e-book options within its communities. ALA president Loida Garcia Febo also expressed concern that this embargo is specifically targeting Macmillan’s science fiction and fantasy readers, whom she has found to be especially “dedicated and passionate” in their consumption of literature through a variety of avenues available to them. These turn of events are a bit discouraging, so hopefully this embargo test doesn’t last too long.

Dylan Farrow Joins the World of YA Fiction

In cooler news, there’s about to be a hot new YA fantasy series that you should add to your TBR list. Actress Dylan Farrow recently won a two-book deal with St. Martin’s Press, after an intense auction period for the first book in this series, her debut novel Hush. According to the publisher’s early description of the series, it will be “set in a world where those in control of society have the magic to control and silence the truth.”

Farrow’s series will be printed under Wednesday Books, a crossover imprint at St. Martin’s Press that deals with YA and adult fiction. Plus, the series’ concept was allegedly developed in collaboration with Glasstown Entertainment, a company which produces a healthy mix of books, TV shows, and movies. Do I see a live-action adaptation in Farrow’s future? I certainly hope so!

Book Review Bingo

Look, writing a review is hard sometimes, especially when the thing you’re reviewing is so amazingly good that you can barely string two words together. So, since as a book reviewer you may also read reviews from other book reviewers, there are some common phrases that you adopt in your writing to express your feelings. It’s a totally normal thing to do. Everyone does it!

No seriously, everyone does it. So much so that writer Paraic O’Donnell recently made a bingo card with all these commonly used reviewer phrases.

And, uh, I have nothing else to really say about it. I am feeling a bit called out, especially about my frequent usage of “haunting,” “lyrical,” and “accomplished” descriptors in my own writing. At least this encourages us to expand our vocabulary a bit for next time, right?

Out This Week

City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

The Second Life of Ava Rivers by Faith Gardner

Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram

Everyday People: The Color of Life — A Short Story Anthology edited by Jennifer Baker

Mirage by Somaiya Daud

Twitter Cover for Mirage by Somaiya Daud

Happy Thursday!

Paige Allen

Paige Allen

Adult-in-training by day, queer geek of color by night.