Saturday, June 07, 2014

Sidewise award finalists

The Sidewise Award judges are pleased to announce this year's nominees for the Sidewise Award for Alternate History.  The winners will be announced at Loncon 3, this year's Worldcon, in London, UK during the weekend of August 14.  The Sidewise Awards have been presented annually since 1995 to recognize excellence in alternate historical fiction. This year's panel of judges was made up of Stephen Baxter, Evelyn Leeper, Jim Rittenhouse, Stu Shiffman, Kurt Sidaway, and Steven H Silver.

Short Form

* Vylar Kaftan, “The Weight of the Sunrise” (Asimov’s, 2/13)
* Ken Liu, “A Brief History of the Trans-Pacific Tunnel” (F&SF, 1/13)
* Adam Roberts, “Tollund” (The Book of the Dead, Jurassic London)
* Kristine Kathryn Rusch, “Uncertainty” (Asimov’s, 3/13)
* Harry Turtledove, “Cayos in the Stream” (Tor.com, 8/7/13)
* Ian Watson, “Blair’s War” (Asimov’s, 7/12)

Long Form

* Robert Conroy, 1920: America’s Great War (Baen)
* Mark Hodder, The Secret of Abdu el Yezdi (Pyr, Ebury)
* D. J. Taylor, The Windsor Faction (Pegasus, Chatto & Windus)
* Bryce Zabel, Surrounded by Enemies : What If Kennedy Survived Dallas? (Mill City Press)

The Sidewise Awards for Alternate History were conceived in late 1995 to honor the best allohistorical genre publications of the year. The first awards were announced in summer 1996 and honored works from 1995. The award takes its name from Murray Leinster's 1934 short story "Sidewise in Time," in which a strange storm causes portions of Earth to swap places with their analogs from other timelines.

I was honored to be a finalist last year for my story "Great White Ship" that was published in Daily Science Fiction in 2012.

I had predicted earlier in the year that Ken Liu's short story "“A Brief History of the Trans-Pacific Tunnel” would be a finalist, and I was right. Hope it wins, too.

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Latest reviews

"It’s possible that you haven’t run into the stories of Lou Antonelli. Since 2003, he’s been publishing delightful short tales of alternate history all over the nooks and crannies of the SF world. Thanks to Fantastic Books, we now have 28 of these little gems in one place. "Many of Antonelli’s stories have an unexpected twist ending. And many of them are what he calls “secret history” stories, which aren’t exactly alternate history—they’re set in our familiar history, but there’s always some element that contemporary observers missed. " -

- Don Sakers, The Reference Library, Analog July-Aug. 2014

A better path develops for a distraught man in “Double Exposure” by Lou Antonelli (debut 6/11 and reviewed by Frank D). Jake is about to end it all. He has been trying to keep his high maintenance wife happy for decades and has needed to embezzle to satisfy her spending habits. Now, on the verge of indictment and abandoned by his spouse, he buys a gun. Before he pulls the trigger, he spies a Kodak one-day photo hut. Curious, he pulls up to the window. They are holding pictures of him and his last girlfriend from 30 years before. The package is a lot thicker than it should be. Double Exposure” is listed as an Alternative History story but I would classify it as a Magical Realism tale. It is set as a second chance tale, a look into a life that should have been. The author is inspired by his memories of the old photo huts (I remember them) and of their disappearance. A cool idea (photos of another life), one that I could imagine would make for a great anthology.

- Frank Dutkiewicz, Diabolical Plots

“Great White Ship”: A traveler stuck waiting for a flight strikes up a conversation with an old airline employee. The Old Timer tells him a story of a Great White Airship that arrives from a most unusual destination. The story of a craft from an alternate reality and how it got there is only the precursor to the final act. This is one of my favorite stories from this site. I have a great passion for lighter-than-air craft and their potential as a future means of transport, which opens the story. The author uses this speculation to launch into an engaging tale. As fascinating as the main story line is, the alternate history premise that accompanies it is just as worthwhile. This story was well written and very well thought out. It is well worth the read. Recommended.

- James Hanzelka, Diabolical Plots

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