Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Pleasant News, Terrifying News

Good news first. I've just learned that The Dragons of Babel has received an Alex Award. The Alex Awards are given by the American Library Association for the 10 best adult books that appeal to teen audiences.

The list of recipients is:

City of Thieves (Viking) by David Benioff
The Dragons of Babel (Tor) by Michael Swanwick
Finding Nouf (Houghton) by Zoƫ Ferraris
The Good Thief (Dial) by Hannah Tinti
Just After Sunset: Stories (Scribner) by Stephen King
Mudbound (Algonquin Bks.) by Hillary Jordan
Over and Under (Thomas Dunne Bks.) by Todd Tucker
The Oxford Project (Welcome Bks.) by Stephen G. Bloom, photographed by Peter Feldstein,
Sharp Teeth (Harper) by Toby Barlow
Three Girls and Their Brother (Crown) by Theresa Rebeck

Never heard of the award? Neither had I. But it's one of the many, many ALA Youth Media Awards, and librarians are on the side of the angels. Not the wimpy little angels that Newagers hang around their necks and corporations use to sell you stuff you don't need, but the real angels. The ones with swords of fire that defend us from the likes of John Ashcroft and safeguard not only our liberties but our literature. So I'm particularly pleased to have their approval.

At the very top of the list of awards, incidentally, is the coveted Newbery Medal. This year's winner is is The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman who is, I cannot resist mentioning, a friend. Congratulations, Neil!

So there are many reasons to be happy today. But also, alas ...

Another reason to despair

It's just been reported that Realms of Fantasy is folding. This is terrible news. It was the largest and glossiest fantasy magazine in existence and the only magazine solely devoted to fantasy in the US (I exclude here semiprozines and webzines) and I enjoyed it immensely.

Even worse, all the genre magazines are in trouble. Serious trouble. RoF could very well be only the first to topple.

Ironically enough, there's a healthy audience for all the genre magazines. Their difficulties have been created by a distribution system that simply doesn't put them out in front of people who'd like to buy an occasional copy, and thus they're being supported by a dwindling number of subscribers.

The magazines are the center of the genres of fantasy and science fiction, and the crucible in which literary innovation is forged. So ... as sincerely and gently as I can, let me urge you to do your part to keep them alive. If you already subscribe to one or more, please keep renewing. If you don't, please consider the possibility.

The Big Three surviving magazines in the States are:

The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction -- which recently went bi-monthly, a move traditionally held to be a cry for help.

Asimov's Science Fiction


End of editorial. Thanks for listening.



kyle cassidy said...

That's fantastic! The great thing about winning awards that you didn't know existed is that you're not sitting there sweating when they tear the envelop open. or cursing when you don't win.

It's a very happy week!

Congrats -- to you and Neil

Unknown said...

I know all about the Alex awards and I send a big Congratulations! Librarians use it to expand their YA collection and provide reading for teens that tend to read on a higher level than their peers. And Thanks for the props for librarians. With this economy, we need all the support we can get!