Thursday, November 23, 2017

Award Goes To

As I've mentioned before, I belong to the HWA.  One of the things the HWA does is give out the Stoker awards.  These are a writing award for various categories of horror writing.  I was even on one of the juries which reviews the submissions in the anthology category a while back.  Now, unfortunately, people send me pitches telling me about their book, or screenplay or whatever--mostly books.  There are zillions of them.  Frankly, these people are delusional for the most part. Their works have no chance of winning.  My own theory is the work has to have done fairly well commercially so people are aware of it, not from sending me an announcement but because it's in bookstores and has been reviewed and such. Obscure works never cut through all the clutter.

Another thing it needs is to be pretty good. I was talking to a writer friend a few weeks ago when I was in Denver. He's the editor of a pretty good anthology. He really wants it to win a Stoker award. It's done fairly well, even briefly making it to the best seller lists.  Problem is, it's not a true horror anthology. It's a weird western anthology. I would not consider a lot of it to be in the horror fiction category. Ergo, when I vote it's going to be difficult for me to vote for it and I like the book (should it make the ballot)..  I just question if it's the right book for a Stoker. This is a horror award. There are similar awards put out by Mystery writers and the Science Fiction Writers. Most genres have some type of writing organization concerned with the craft of writing in that particular genre. 

And that leads back to the problem of it being a weird western. They are by definition cross genre.  The weird westerns have grown a lot in popularity in recent years. I still call them the unwanted bastard stepchild of literature.  I've always thought about creating a weird western award of some kind. But, that would require a lot of work and you have to have some sort of prize to back it and a big awards ceremony and I don't think so. Maybe someone with more ambition will try that some day. So, I will be surprised if the weird western anthology picks up a major literary award like a Stoker. But, maybe it will. If it does, I'll mention it here next year when the awards come out.  

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