[I, Heather Massey, am cross-posting most of this piece from my blog, The Galaxy Express]
A little over a year ago, author Ursula K. LeGuin wrote Literary Bests, a post on the topic of literary awards. One passage in particular caught my eye:
I wish that, instead of picking one and dumping all the rest, we celebrated our writers continually and in droves.
I wish we gave literary prizes freely, the way they used to give prizes at the Pet Show at Codornices Park in Berkeley when I was a kid. Every kid in the neighborhood brought their pet, and every pet got a prize, an ad hoc, unique prize: for Soulfulness — for Loud Meowing — for Unusual Spot Placement — for Being the Only Skink…. There was no Best of Breed (in those days there were many mongrels and few breeds), and certainly no Best of Show.
I‘d have some trust and interest in literary prizes like that. For Soulfulness — for Sitting Up and Begging Nicely — for Passion Well Expressed – for Excellent Use of Semi-Colons — for Being the Only Novel About Elderly Female Entomologists in Love…."
After absorbing her insights, a big light bulb went off in my head. I began to reflect upon a) the role of science fiction romance sites as gateways to books and b) the current lack of a general SFR award (meaning, one that isn’t dependent on RWA membership or similar restriction).
As the two paths of reflection merged, I wrote Laurie A. Green, founder of Spacefreighters Lounge and the SFR Brigade to discuss the issue. We decided that the idea of giving “literary prizes” away “freely” would serve SFR very well as an award event.
Ms. LeGuin made an astute point when she observed that a book being "the best" doesn't always convey much information. Giving multiple books a unique award, on the other hand, truly says something about each book. Kind of like the ultimate form of tagging!
Thus, the SFR Galaxy Awards was born! What does this new event entail, exactly? Here’s a snippet from the official blog:
The SFR Galaxy Awards is an annual, multi-award event for science fiction romance books. Launched in 2012 by bloggers Laurie A. Green of Spacefreighters Lounge and Heather Massey of The Galaxy Express, the goal of this event is to honor a variety of standout stories.
How is this award event different?
The theme of the SFR Galaxy Awards is inclusiveness. Instead of giving an award to a single book, this event will recognize the worth of multiple books and/or the standout elements they contain. The basic philosophy behind this approach is to help connect readers with books.
You may have noticed that the SFR Galaxy Awards is gloriously, unabashedly subjective—that’s what makes it unique! Judges can speak from the heart regarding their experiences with various stories.
Laurie and I assembled a team of devoted science fiction romance readers and bloggers. Each of us picked up to five 2012 titles (largely from books, but also other mediums) and created an award for each one. It’s that simple.
Ursula K. LeGuin, thanks for your inspiration!
I’d also like to thank Charlee of Smart Girls Love SciFi &Paranormal Romance for designing the beautiful SFR Galaxy Awards blog.