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Pearl Awards

The Pearl Award nominations are out and, as usual, I've only made good inroads on the Science Fiction category. What struck me about them, however, is how the category (and many of the other Pearl categories) are dominated by books deep down in the middle of series. Hope's Folly is volume 3 of a series. The Warlord's Daughter is theoretically the beginning of a new series, but follows on from an earlier trilogy. Diamond Star is part of a long-term, ongoing series. Beyond the Rain is the only exception here - it's the first book by a new author.

All of this means that this list is no great way to dabble in SFR, at least for those of us with a strong preference for beginning at the beginning of a series of related books. Going back to start at the beginning of a series just to be able to read whatever's currently nominated requires a great deal of commitment. At least it's not a bad list for recognizing some of the best authors out there working in the subgenre.

Yet, there are good reasons for this situation: a limited number of relevant authors publishing decent works, combined with advantages for both author and publisher of multi-book contracts and series set in worlds which have already sold well. In addition, given the nature of the award, they are more likely to do well if they are books known to paranormal romance fans more generally, rather than SFR fans more specifically. SFR, as a conscious subgenre, is still very young.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 26th, 2010 06:24 pm (UTC)
Agh. I'm so behind on my reading!

It does seem that there are a lot of nominations lately that are in the middle of series. I hate starting in the middle, but I do feel that sfr does a good job of making each book stand alone. At least, the ones that I've read have.
Feb. 27th, 2010 09:10 am (UTC)
I wish you many happy years of being behind on your reading. It's better than having caught up and finding there are no more books you need to read until someone can be bothered writing and/or publishing something, right?
Feb. 26th, 2010 09:28 pm (UTC)
Part of this may be that the PEARL is a reader award--generated and voted on solely by READERS. Authors can't "enter" the PEARL as they can the RITA and others. The readers nominate and vote their favorites. Since the PNR group is fairly long-lived, readers have been with many authors since book one. They've read the series and are showing their continual approval.

Note that SHADES OF DARK took the PEARL last year but not the RITA, and wasn't even nommied for the RITAs, even though I entered. The same core group of PNR readers nommie and vote the PEARL. The RITA judges vary year to year and may not be familiar with an author's previous works.

I think the way to dabble in SFR is to glean the authors from the nomination and finalist lists, go to the author's site, and check out the booklist. An author may get nommied for book one in a series yet have three previous series out there, as Susan Grant does. I didn't find Julie Czerneda's TRADE PACT series until a few years after it came out, but once I realized it was there, I made the effort to find book one and go from there.

SFR and RSF as genres are still difficult to find labeled as such. It takes a bit of work. The PEARLs help by bringing at least some attention to the field. The PRISM is another award that break us out of the overall paranormal pack.

The RITA is perhaps the most difficult because SFR is lumped in with vampires and werewolves, and often our storylines have little in common with them, and the vampire/werewolf/ fallen angel themes are so much more prevalent.

We're small but we're mighty. ;-) ~Linnea

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )