Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Quill Awards: Wildcat's Rant, Part II

This past August, I indulged myself in a rant about the Quill Awards. Guess what? I’m doing it again… and for about the same reason I had the first rant.

For those who’ve slept since then, I will recap my previous rant. The Quill Awards offer a venue in which more commercially successful books receive the praise they deserve. Unfortunately, some of the categories are ridiculously broad. Case in point: my beloved fantasy/sci-fi has gotten saddled with horror for the same category. To add insult to injury, one of the “fantasy” nominees is more romance than fantasy: A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon. The lone horror nominee is the so-called retired writer Stephen King with his novel Cell.

Now that we’re all caught up, the reason for this sequel to my previous rant. Bad enough that I’d feared the “retired” King would win, but the winner has actually turned out to be the one book that never had any business in the category in the first place. That’s right. Gabaldon’s romance beat out the real fantasy writers. Am I the only one baffled by this? Do the people voting for this category realize her book doesn’t even belong as a nominee?

Bad enough this category got goofed, but let’s take a look at another genre-driven category that’s been botched: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller. Our winner here is Janet Evanovich’s Twelve Sharp. Okay, I’ll grant you that Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum books get put in the mystery section at the bookstores, but to call these books mysteries is a real stretch. Evanovich delivers a plot, at least, but these books are more comedies than anything else. The mystery is a very secondary thing. I love Evanovich’s writing. You’ll be hard pressed to find anyone out there with a funnier writing voice. I’m glad to see her receiving due praise, but it’s a shame that it has to come at the expense of books that more truly embody this category (insanely broad as it is).

The Quill Awards are all about popularity, and that is what won out this year, as it’s supposed to. Both of these books earned their victories. As far as I’m concerned, they just got put in the wrong categories.

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