Coming real soon now will be a review of Allen Steele’s Arkwright and an interview with the author himself. I’ve met and talked with Allen at least once a year for the past five years or so and finally got around to reading something by him.
Not only has it prompted me to play catch up in the Allen Steele category, it has also moved me to nominate Arkwright for Best Novel Hugo this year.
There are several reasons to push this particular work: it pays homage to our genre in a loving and unique way, it handles Hard science fiction in a very accessible manner (and near-term Hard SF at that), but I think Allen’s most important gift to us in this novel is his positive, optimistic view of the future.
We all need more of that. If Arkwright takes home a win, I think it will be a strong indicator that the genre is once again turning its gaze outward.
I’m also nominating Sisters of Tomorrow and largely for the same reason(s) I’m nominating Arkwright: while Sisters casts its gaze entirely towards the past, it illuminates the future by giving much needed attention to the women who contributed as much to our genre as any of the men whose names we invoke without a pause. In doing so, it gives female authors in the genre a solid background…a history…that amply demonstrates that they are not newly hatched interlopers, but are, in fact, reclaiming a heritage they have every right to be proud of.
CORRECTION: Hugo Nominations close on March 17th
Hugo nominations close at the end of this month, March 31st.