The 2011 MEFAs have been closed for nearly three hours now. I'm more or less the public face of this fannish awards program, though others do the lions' share of the work most days. (aranel_took
jumps to mind, though there are certainly others.) I have sort of gone on politics safari this year, which combined with grad school and teaching meant that I haven't made time for the MEFAs both as a volunteer and as a reviewer like I wanted to. Since this is the time for New Years' resolutions, I can only promise to try to do better next year.
I did manage to write twenty-six reviews. Every year with the MEFAs there are stories that don't compete, either because the author chooses not to or because they aren't nominated for some reason, or simply because they've already run in the past. And this year in particular, there were many great stories that I just didn't get around to reading. Even so, I wanted to share the stories I did review - not because they're the best but because every one of them is well worth the read. Listed more or less in the order I reviewed them, which is no particular order at all.( Read more...Collapse )
Every year I try to recognize one new author whose work really caught me off-guard and who I'll now be following more closely. This year I want to do something different, mainly because I made so little time for the awards that I didn't really read much outside my comfort zone. Instead, I want to spotlight an author I've been following for years (with or without reviewing regularly), but that I don't think I've given half the credit she deserves.
That person is Oshun. She is a long-term member of the Silm corner of the fandom, and consistently writes work that seems true to Tolkien's 'verse and at the same time not confined by it. But what really made my jaw drop this time around was the quality of her non-fiction. She writes a column for the Silmarillion Writers Guild most months where she spotlights a character and looks at a controversy or issue surrounding them. She always has her facts as far as I can tell and also has her thumb on the beat of canon. But even more than that, she shows why the characters are interesting. It's a shame that she writes so many in a way, and that non-fiction stories have to always compete together, because I think this may put her at a disadvantage. But I walked away from reading her Gildor column imagining a conversation between Pippi and Gildor on shall we just say Gildor's ambiguous family tree and have drafted the first half of that vignette. I can think of no higher comment for an author than to say her work has inspired me to take up the story's thread. So if you are not reading her fiction and in particular her SWG columns, I highly encourage you to start.
One last thing before I plough back into MEFA-related tasks. I wanted to offer a sincere thanks to my own reviewers. You know who you are, and I will try to reply privately over the next few days, but I also wanted to thank you publicly. On more than one occasion, the site of a motorcycle or a little boy with ears that stick out have quite literally reduced me to tears this last year, and a review on one of my stories has, well not made it all better but definitely earned a smile in spite of that. You guys have lessened the load, and you've also gratified me that some small bauble still affects someone. I appreciate that, too.