You may have heard that the Pulp Factory's Second Annual Awards for excellence in the new pulps are coming up early in 2011. That means we members of the Factory have to be figuring out what we think the best pulp novel, short story, cover illustration, and set of interior illustrations from 2010 have been, so we can nominate them.
Now that I have a pretty good idea of what I think were the best of each of the four categories for the year thus far, and barring any further discoveries which could of course change my mind, I thought I might share with the rest of you the four I intend to nominate.
My hope is that readers and pulp fans in general will check these out, and that my fellow Factory workers in particular will give them proper consideration. I also hope that folks might point out other possible contenders that I have missed.
Here, then, are the current leaders for my nominations:
BEST COVER ART: Mike Manley for ROBIN HOOD: KING OF SHERWOOD. I've seen a lot of very good cover art this year, but something about Manley's iconic image of Robin crouching with his bow really catches the eye-- it's vivid and rich and singularly striking. And the character aside, the sheer quality of the painting itself is fabulous.
BEST SHORT STORY: I. A. Watson for "The Girl in the Glass Coffin" from GIDEON CAIN - DEMON HUNTER. Cain is a Puritan swordsman engaged in sword-and-sorcery action, and every story in this book features a different sort of setting and a different situation--there's nothing repetitive about it at all. Full disclosure-- I co-created and co-edited this book, and one of the other stories is mine. I'm certainly proud of my entry, and I think the world of all of them, but this award is solely for the best pulp short story and I think Ian's is probably the best of a great lot.
BEST INTERIOR ART: Rob Davis for I. A. Watson's ROBIN HOOD: KING OF SHERWOOD. Rob loves Robin Hood and it shows here; he did a lot of interior art this year but none of it carries quite the same charm and style as his illustrations for this one.
BEST NOVEL: Wayne Reinagel for PULP HEROES: KHAN DYNASTY. What can I say here? If any Pulp Factory members are planning to nominate anything other than this book for Pulp Novel of the Year, I honestly have to conclude that they have not read it. So everyone had better grab a copy and get to it. If you claim to be a pulp fan by any means, you will be blown away by this. From Wayne's Doc Savage and Spider analogues to the actual Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes to Dr Sun to Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde to the actual Ian Fleming-- all in perfect character-- this book is mind-boggling in its pulpish all-encompassing-ness-- and it's a cracking great read, too! And that's only after the first hundred pages. I think anyone who nominates something else should be required to include a full dissertation on why they wouldn't and didn't choose this instead.
That's where I stand right now. I look forward to hearing your reactions.