Robert J. Sawyer

Hugo and Nebula Award-Winning Science Fiction Writer

On the Best-of-the-Decade Aurora Award

by Rob - November 3rd, 2015.
Filed under: Auroras, Awards.

Post TWO OF TWO on this topic, this one about the BEST-OF-DECADE Aurora Award: Members of the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association may vote now (online) or in-person at SFContario later this month on two new Aurora Awards. I just voted online, and, since the ballot solicited comments to go with votes, here’s what I had to say about the SECOND new Aurora Award (for a discussion of the first new proposed Aurora, a dramatic-presentation award, see here):

Motion to establish a new Aurora Award: The Best in a Decade Aurora Award

This Aurora Award will be given out once per decade to honour novels and multi-volume works (Adult or YA) that have stood the test of time. The award would span a full decade. We also propose that the award for 2001 through 2010 will be given out in 2017. The date that this award will be given out in future years will be chosen by the CSFFA board but will happen in the latter part of each decade..

[X] I do not approve the creation of new Aurora Award: The Best in a Decade Aurora Award.


Insufficient information to support this proposal. What of a trilogy that starts in one decade and ends in another (such as Sawyer’s WWW trilogy, each volume of which separately won a best-novel Aurora, and were published in 2009, 2010, and 2011)?

Do we allow books that didn’t make the Aurora ballot in their given year to compete? If so, surely this devalues the Aurora-winning distinction for the novel that DID win the best-novel Aurora in the same year as the best-of-the-decade novel was published, if it’s a standalone.

What if the award goes to a YA novel that was published in a year in which we gave both an adult and a YA Aurora? Doesn’t that devalue the adult-Aurora winner from that year (and conversely devalues the YA winner, should an adult novel win)? Yes, we didn’t give YA awards in the previous decade, but the lack of thought in this proposal (not covering factors that will be relevant the very next time the award is presented) is distressing.

Finally, is seven years’ worth of looking back sufficient? Yeah, we might say that a novel from 2001 that is still well-regarded in 2017 — sixteen years later — has stood the test of time, but has one from 2010 really done that by 2017? Or are we pushing to give this in 2017 because it’s something Hal-Con, the presumptive host of the Auroras that year, wants, rather than because the time is right? Surely the best-of-a-decade needs to have stood the test of AT LEAST a decade’s time, no?

(Pictured: My Aurora Award trophy from 2000, for the novel FlashForward, published in 1999; this work is too old to be considered for the best-of-the-decade Aurora.)

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