Category Archives: David Gemmell Awards

Half a King is a Whole Lot of Fun

half a kingHalf a King
Joe Abercrombie
Del Rey
Trade Paper, $15, 346 p.

Half a King is on the shortlist for this year’s Gemmell Awards.  It has been a few years since I read Abercrombie.  (I’m still holding out for a British edition of Red Country.)  I’d forgotten just how good a writer he is.  It’s easy to see why this book is on the shortlist.

Half a King isn’t as dark as some of Abercrombie’s other books.  Still, it’s not all sunshine at light.  The book was written by the man whose Twitter handle is LordGrimDark, after all. Continue reading

It’s Time to Vote on the Awards Shortlist

The awards I’m talking about, of course, are the David Gemmell Awards.  As I’m sure you know, there are three.  The Legend Award for the best novel of the year.  The Morningstar Award for best fantasy debut novel.  And the Ravenheart Award for best fantasy book cover.

abercrombie-half-a-king-203x300I’ll post the short lists below after a few comments.  I’m going to read as many of these as I can, especially among the Morningstar candidates (with one exception, which I’m not going to touch).

The Legend Award is another matter.  The reason is that most of the Legend nominees are parts of series, and they’re not the first installment.  The exception is Joe Abercrombie’s Half a King, which I started reading last night.  I intend to read some of the others, but I may not make it by the deadline as I haven’t read the books that precede them.

And regarding the other award that’s generating some attention, I’ll try to read as many of the nominees for that one as possible.  I’ll read all of the short fiction nominees (that I haven’t already read) and will blog about some of them.  The same is true for Best Related Work.  Again, with one exception, I’ll try to get to as many of the novel nominees as I can, although as soon as my attention starts to drift, I’ll move on.

Here are the Gemmell nominees.  Voting closes on July 17. Continue reading

2014 David Gemmell Award Winners Announced

emperor of thornsThe winners of the 2014 David Gemmell Awards have been announced.

The top prize, the Legend Award for best fantasy novel, went to Mark Lawrence for Emperor of Thorns.  The Morningstar Award for best debut novel was for Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan (reviewed here).  And the Ravenheart Award for best cover art went to Jason Chan for Emperor of Thorns.

Adventures Fantastic would like to congratulate all the nominees and especially the winners.  More detail can be found at the David Gemmell Awards page.

In Grim Company

GrimCoversThe Grim Company
Luke Scull
Roc, mmp, $7.99
ebook Kindle $5.99 Nook $7.99

I had hoped to have this one finished and reviewed before the voting on the Gemmell Awards closed since it’s on the short list for the Morningstar, which is the award for best first novel.

Alas, my parents’ had their 50th wedding anniversary celebration last weekend, and so I wasn’t able to finish it on time.

The title might imply that the novel is similar to Glen Cook’s Black Company. Put that idea out of your mind. This isn’t the Black Company or anything like it. But it’s still a darn good book. Continue reading

Gemmell vs. Gernsback

_41941602_gemmellrex_203300 I was indulging one of my vices (reading other people’s blogs, Sarah Hoyt’s in this case) and noticed in the comments a quote from a different blog.  That particular quote had some disparaging thing to say about the Gemmell Awards.  I’m not going to bother linking to the quoted blog because I’m not directly responding to the argument there, which concerned the number of white male authors nominated for awards, specifically the Hugos.  I will quote the relevant passage, because it’s representative of a pretty common attitude.  It also kicked off a train of thought that should be addressed.  Namely, the how relevant the Hugos are compared to the Gemmells.

The Gemmell Awards are named after David Gemmell and focus on heroic fantasy.  The Hugo Awards are named in honor of Hugo Gernsback, who published the first magazine devoted entirely to science fiction, Amazing Stories.  The Gemmell Awards specialize in heroic fantasy, while the Hugos encompass the entire sff field.

Hugo Gernsback (1884–1967) magazine publisher

Huog Gernsback

Here’s the quote:

“Why not just let the works speak for themselves?”

The issue is that when we let the works speak for themselves, we wind up with the Gemmell Awards: 70,000 votes (several orders of magnitudes greater than the Hugos), and every single nominee for Best Novel is a White Dude.  Every best debut novel is a dude, most of them white.

Of course these comments are totally bogus.  I’ll explain why in a second.  But it got me to thinking, always a dangerous thing.

In case you haven’t been paying attention, in addition to the shortlist for the Gemmell Awards, the shortlist for  the Hugo Awards, was announced recently.  And the internet has been having a major hissy fit ever since.

Continue reading

And Now the Award Shortlist You’ve All Been Waiting For

I’m referring, of course, to the David Gemmell Awards.

david gemmell

David Gemmell

What, you were expecting a different award?  Everyone around here knows that the only awards worth paying attention to are the Gemmell, the Shamus, and in a good year, the World Fantasy Awards.

The shortlists are as follows (I’ll comment at the end): Continue reading

Walk the Path of Anger

The Path of AngerThe Path of Anger
Antoine Rouaud
Tom Clegg, trans.
paperback L14.99 UK
$11.38 US (pre-order, pub. date Aug 14, 2014)

The Path of Anger is an impressive debut. Antoine Rouaud has created an enthralling novel in which the things you think you know aren’t necessarily so.

The Empire has fallen. In its place the Republic has risen. This doesn’t sit well with everyone. For instance, the Fangolin monks don’t like it since people are choosing not to follow their teachings anymore. One of those beliefs is that the destiny of mankind has been recorded in a book, a book that has been lost for centuries. The very concept of free will is frowned upon.

Dun-Cadal Daermon was a general in the Imperial army, some would say the greatest of his generation, who devoted his life to defending the Empire and his Fangolin faith.. Now he spends his time in taverns getting drunk in the southern city of Masalia where he mourns the fall of the Empire and the death of his apprentice, waiting to die. He was rumored to have stolen the Emperor’s sword when the Empire fell. From time to time he sends treasure hunters to the eastern parts of the kingdom, telling him that’s where he’s hidden it.

The book opens with an attractive young historian from the capital finding him. She’s also interested in the sword. But her interest goes far beyond treasure hunting. At first Dun-Cadal tries to brush her off.

There’s a major holiday coming up, though, and this year all the representatives are meeting in Masalia. Dun-Cadal realizes he knows many of them. They were once the generals and nobles who fought alongside him trying to preserve the Empire. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Mostly.

No sooner do the representatives begin arriving than they start dying. Someone dressed as the late Emperor’s personal assassin is targeting them. The post of assassin was one Dun-Cadal held before being promoted to general.

Now Dun-Cadal finds himself being drawn back into battle. He may get his death wish sooner than he thought. Continue reading

Gemmell Award Nominees

I’ve been reading for some reviews that won’t go up for a couple of weeks plus trying to finish George MacDonald’s Lilith, which is my next Ballantine Adult Fantasy post for Black Gate, I’ve not put much up.

Part of the problem is I’ve gotten into the habit of reading more than one book at a time, something I’ve only been doing over the last 6 months.  I’m not sure how I got into the habit, but it’s got to stop.  It feels like it takes forever to finish anything.

thepathofangerWhat’s this got to do with the Gemmell Awards?  Well the nominated I title I requested for review arrived today.  That would be The Path of Anger by Antoine Rouaud.  I’m really looking forward to reading it.

I’ve just started Talus and the Frozen King by Graham Edwards.  It’s a bronze age murder mystery.  I may put it aside for a day or so to focus on the Gemmell Awards.

I’ve got several titles that are on this year’s ballot sitting on the shelf.  These include The Grim Company (Luke Scull), Herald of the Storm (Richard Ford), Black Sun Light My Way (Jo Spurrier, whose debut novel Winter Be my Shield was one of my favorite reads last year), and The Republic of Thieves (Scott Lynch).  Plus another of my favorites, Promise of Blood (Brian McClellan) was reviewed here recently.

The ballot closes on April 13, so I’m not sure how many of these I’ll be able to finish.  I should be able to finish The Path of Anger at the very least and will try to finish Black Sun Light My Way.  I’ll put a post a brief review at the Gemmell Awards and a more in depth review here.  And while I won’t finish all of them in time to post a review on the Gemmell Awards site, I’ll review all the ones listed above sometime in the next few months.

Legends: Stories in Honour of David Gemmell is a Top-Notch Anthology

GEMMELL_COVER_FIN2c1Legends:  Stories in Honour of David Gemmell
Ian Whates, ed.
Newcon Press
trade paper $20.99 US L11.99 UK
ebook $3.99 Kindle

Last year at the David Gemmell Awards, held in conjunction with the World Fantasy Convention in Brighton, a tribute anthology was premiered. Obviously, that anthology was Legends.

One of the wonderful things about ereader apps for phones is that you can read when you have a spare minute and do so without the hassle of carrying around one (or more) books. I’ve spent the last few weeks reading and thoroughly enjoying Legends.

One of the nice things about it was that so many of the contributors were unfamiliar to me. I recognized a number of the names but hadn’t read their work before. My TBR list just got a lot longer. The authors represented here are James Barclay, Gaie Sebold, Ian Whates, Storm Constantine, Tanith Lee, Johnathon Green, Joe Abercrombie, Juliet E. McKenna, Anne Nicholls, Adrian Tchaikovsky, Jan Siegel, Sandra Unerman, and Stan Nicholls.

While most of the stories in the volume were heroic fantasy or sword and sorcery, there were a few that were more fairy tale in nature. This lent the volume a nice variation to the contents.Rather than give a summary of each tale, I’ll highlight some of my favorites. Continue reading

Congratulations to the Winners of the David Gemmell Awards

The winners of the 2013 David Gemmell Awards have been announced at a ceremony at the World Fantasy Convention in Brighton, England.  They are

2013 RAVENHEART AWARD FOR BEST FANTASY COVER ART
Didier Graffet and Dave Senior for the cover of Red Country by Joe Abercrombie (Gollancz)

2013 MORNINGSTAR AWARD FOR BEST FANTASY DEBUT
John Gwynne for Malice (Pan MacMillan)

2013 LEGEND AWARD FOR BEST FANTASY NOVEL
Brent Weeks for The Blinding Knife (Orbit)

Adventures Fantastic would like to congratulate all the nominees and especially the winners.  A complete list of the nominees can be found at the David Gemmell Awards site.  There’s a separate menu for each award.

I decided not to include this announcement in the previous post, since the British Fantasy and World Fantasy Awards are more general genre awards, while the Gemmell Awards are focused on heroic fantasy.  I certainly cover other types of fantasy here, but heroic fantasy and sword and sorcery are the main focus of this site.

I think the Gemmell Awards are an important award, and one that is necessary to the field.  I’m more interested in the winners of this award than I am of any other award with the possible exception of the Shamus Awards, which I look at on my detective and noir blog, Gumshoes, Gats, and Gams.  I’ve seen some snide comments about the Gemmell Awards online from some of the more literary minded members of the field.  I’ll have more to say about awards in general in another post, including that attitude.  After I’ve finished sharpening my knives.

For now, let me again offer my congratulations to the winners and nominees and say Thank You to the DGLA Steering Group for making these awards possible.