Redshirts Nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award

Excellent. Here’s the announcement page. I won this award a couple of years back with The Last Colony, so it’s nice to be nominated again. Other nominees in the Science Fiction category are Mira Grant (Blackout), Iain Banks (The Hydrogen Sonata), Charles Yu (Stories) and Justin Cronin (The Twelve). This is fine company to keep. Congrats to all.

There’s a Fantasy category as well, which feature nominations for Mary Robinette Kowal, N.K. Jemisin, Michelle Sagara, Tina Connelly and Lisa Sherin. And look! Elizabeth Bear nominated in the Epic Fantasy category! Congratulations to them as well!

31 thoughts on “Redshirts Nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award

  1. “Romantic Times”? Does this mean if it wins your publisher will put out a special edition of the book with Fabio on the cover wearing a Red Shirt?

  2. Congrats!!! I hope you get it, I have been a big Old man’s War fan and just finished Redshirts! I think it is the most enjoyable book I have read in a long time. My wife kept telling be to leave the room as I wouldn’t stop laughing through most of the book!

  3. Scorpius:

    You mock, but the Romantic Times reviewers do a very nice job covering SF/F, and as romance readers are a huge part of the general market for books, getting a nomination like this can be a very positive force for sales. I’m not gonna look askance at it.

  4. Romantic Times fills a void that doesn’t really exist (Locus), but nonetheless they fill that void pretty well. I blame Catherine Asaro and Lois McMaster Bujold for it, frankly; I think they were some of the first SF/F writers covered by RT, as their works were somewhat between Romance and SF/F (For L M-B, I’m talking about the Paladin series) and thus brought a decent following of cross-genre readers.

  5. Psssst, they’re RT Book Reviews now, not Romantic Times. Because they do cover so much more than just romance these days. And with these nominations, my last contribution to the section is complete (I was asked for input into nominations, they listened to most of what I had to say and if you know me, it’s blindingly obvious what I suggested, and I do not expect to be asked about winners which is 100% fine by me).

  6. Just cause she’s a super great friend of mine … Tina’s last name actually has two O’s in it (i.e., “Connolly”). Regardless, congratulations to you!

  7. Some great books nominated this year.

    John: Charles Yu’s book is called Sorry Please Thank You: Stories. And it’s an excellent collection.

  8. Are books published in the next couple of months eligible next year?

    I won’t knock Romance. Aren’t there any number of European languages where the word for novel is some variant on romance?

    I do like the idea of a book cover with the hero wearing a red shirt open to the navel, haplessly flailing with his rapier as his legs have already disappeared down the maw of an ice shark. Does Fabio still turn up on book covers?

  9. Congratulations! That’s [expletive deleted] awesome!

    Most of my female relatives read only romance and romance-blends, so I may now expect a flurry of emails, since they all know that I’m the SFF nerd of the herd. I doubt The Cast Iron Aunts and Country Cousins (TM) will be more than a miniscule blip in your sales figures, but these ladies read *everything* romance, so if you are nominated by RT, they will buy and read your book. Which, frankly, will give me giggles for days.

  10. Mike: I’m scraping the bottom of my education here, but I believe the word “romance” predates the current usage of “novel.” We now think of romance as a genre of novel, but once upon a time, a novel was an offshoot of the romance. Thus we have romantic movements in various arts, or something.

  11. Mike, I can speak to this: they’re already done with the December issue, so an entire calendar year is considered when putting together the nominations (they are working on February now). The process usually involves pulling all books that got a rating at or above a certain point and then asking the section coordinator to finalize it (I was the section coordinator for SF/F through the November issue–I’d done it for almost 8 years and it was time to move on; I still have much love for my RT peeps, though).

  12. As a librarian on a campus full of SF fans, I’m always looking for good review sources for science fiction and fantasy. I’d never have though of RT. Where else are they doing good reviews of science fiction?

  13. Man, I love me some Hydrogen Sonata, but calling it a romance is a very interesting interpretation.

    But then I wouldn’t think of Redshirts as primarily a romance, either, although one of the codas definitely fits that bill.

  14. Iain Banks (The Hydrogen Sonata)

    Iain M. Banks, technically. And congrats!

    @ scorpius

    Does this mean if it wins your publisher will put out a special edition of the book with Fabio on the cover wearing a Red Shirt?

    I’m afraid that ship has sailed. These days he does more marketing and protecting rollercoaster passengers from wild geese. I did try to read one of his romance novels. It wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t particularly good, IMHO.

    @ John Scalzi

    You mock, but the Romantic Times reviewers do a very nice job covering SF/F, and as romance readers are a huge part of the general market for books, getting a nomination like this can be a very positive force for sales.

    If you win, you’ll be the second sitting SFWA President to take home an RT Book Club Reviewer’s Choice Award.

    @ Joe

    I blame Catherine Asaro and Lois McMaster Bujold for it, frankly; I think they were some of the first SF/F writers covered by RT, as their works were somewhat between Romance and SF/F (For L M-B, I’m talking about the Paladin series) and thus brought a decent following of cross-genre readers.

    There was a fair amount of readership overlap before Asaro and Bujold began genre-bending the two fields together; they were just the first mainstream authors to leverage the natural synergy of two genres that, after all, both have their roots in romantic literature. I, for example, was turned onto SF literature by a fellow romance reader loaning me The Caves of Steel.

    @ Natalie L.

    Psssst, they’re RT Book Reviews now, not Romantic Times. Because they do cover so much more than just romance these days.

    Yeah, but how many non-romance readers would know what he was talking about?

    @ Mike

    I won’t knock Romance. Aren’t there any number of European languages where the word for novel is some variant on romance?

    The word roman means novel in most romance languages (most notably French), which in turn derives from their origins as essentially bastardized vulgar (literally meaning common) Latin (ancient Latin’s colloquial dialects, quite distinct from Church Latin and the written Latin of the Roman Empire). Because the various medieval Western European powers saw themselves as the cultural heirs to the Empire, they adopted the Latin alphabet, resulting in “Roman” books.

    Modern romance covers way more than erotic romance. Originally, romance literature referred to tales of heroic deeds, which were often done in a quest for pure love. This in turn derived from chivalric romance, tales about chivalric love popularized among Europe’s literate classes by the court of Eleanor of Aquitaine who was essentially the original Lady on a Pedestal. Knights errant would, following the strict moral code of chivalry, embark on heroic adventures to win the favor of fair maidens. This favor wasn’t originally erotic in nature, but a “pure” chaste love which was regarded as more spiritual by the sexually repressed mores of Christendom.

    @ Ron Hogan

    Man, I love me some Hydrogen Sonata, but calling it a romance is a very interesting interpretation.

    I haven’t gotten to that one yet. Just read The Algebraist and The Steep Approach to Garbadale last spring, so I’m behind in my Banks. I think I’m gonna skip Transitions.

  15. “Aren’t there any number of European languages where the word for novel is some variant on romance?”

    It’s indeed “roman” in most European languages, or some trivial variant thereof (e.g. romanzo in italian). A few use variations of “nouvella” for short stories (novel, novella, novelli, etc), but that’s less common.

  16. Thanks for the clarification, Scalzi — and, Gulliver, I HIGHLY recommend The Hydrogen Sonata. I’m not thoroughly versed in Banks, but of what I’ve read, this was the most dazzling.

  17. There was a fair amount of readership overlap before Asaro and Bujold began genre-bending the two fields together

    I always attributed that role to Anne McCaffrey. My wife isn’t big on Fantasy & SF but I had some luck with Pern. But now I wonder if she might like A Civil Campaign.

  18. @Mike–I have yet to meet anyone who hasn’t liked A Civil Campaign.

    I’ll also chip in and recommend The Hydrogen Sonata. Great stuff.

    And allow me to also second the recommendation of Sorry Please Thank You: Stories, by Charles Yu. Best collection of short stories I’ve read in a loooooong time. I loved it to bits.

  19. Congratulations, John. I just re-read Redshirts a couple weeks ago and it was even better the second time around. Good luck with the RT’s.

  20. I was surprised to find out that a group called the ‘Romantic Times’ would have a sci-fi/fantasy section? Isn’t that like the SFWA having a Romance Category?

    Anyway Congrats.

    BTW, Mira Grants Zonbie books are very good. I actually read Blackout this spring by candle light during a big thunderstorm. We lost power overnight and it was too hot to sleep. Rather appropriate setting.

  21. There’s a fair amount of romance in SF, heck, in any genre of fiction. Or at least the potential for it.

  22. It’s true, the magazine RT Booklovers is no longer specific for romance novels. They have sections for science fiction/fantasy, mystery, YA, and various other genres. They would be more analogous to NINC, I would think, rather than SFWA. In any case, with John’s excellent Redshirts and the other top notch books on the RT ballot, it’s a strong list of science fiction and fantasy. A review in RT Booklovers in any genre is considered prestigious.

    As far as I know, no requirement exists that books in the SF/Fantasy category of the RT Booklovers award include romance. My wins and nominations from RT have been mentioned here, but they have always been in science fiction categories. I think the same is true for Lois Bujold, whose work has received top awards from RT.

    It would be presumptuous of me to claim my work meets the definition of romance in the genre sense; romance readers and reviewers say they consider it science fiction. However, they have said they enjoy the romantically oriented subplots in some of the books, and I certainly appreciate having that cross-over audience. In fact, romance readers are among the most widely read fans, in all genres, that I’ve met, and they’ve always made me feel welcome to their community.

    As mentioned above, writers like Anne McCaffrey, also Marion Zimmer Bradley, Joan D. Vinge, and many other excellent SF writers predate my own work as romantic sf. Lois’s novel Shards of Honor is considered a classic in the science fiction romance genre, according to the academic types who study these things:

    http://www.romanticsf.com/features/

    In earlier times, publishers considered it the kiss of death for female sf writers to use the word “romantic” to describe their work because of the stereotypes associated with that word. My publisher feared it would turn away readers who would otherwise enjoy my books, especially those works they considered hard sf or military sf.

    When I started using the word romance, it wasn’t that I was trying to break boundaries, at least not initially. In truth, I had no idea about the controversy associated with the word. Once I did realize the misperceptions associated with describing stories as romantic science fiction, I chose talk about it deliberately, with the hope of changing some of those stereotypes, but at first I simply had no idea.

    As it turns out, although using the word romance did indeed turn off some sf readers who might have otherwise chosen to read the books, it also brought in readers who might never have picked up a hard sf novel like Primary Inversion or military sf like The Radiant Seas. So in the end, it worked out. Had I started publishing in an earlier era, though, I suspect using the word romance would have met with more resistance.

    Of course, nowadays the cross-over is huge, so it isn’t really a controversy any more, at least not to the extent it was 15-20 years ago — as evidenced by this discussion in John’s blog. :-)

  23. Catherine Asaro’s “The Last Hawk” is one of my favorite books, and the first I ever finished in one sitting.

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