- The City & The City by China Miéville
- The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
- In Great Waters by Kit Whitfield
- Palimpsest by Catherynne M. Valente
- Yellow Blue Tibia by Adam Roberts
- "To Kiss the Granite Choir" by Michael Anthony Ashley (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Oct 8-22, 2009)
- "Earth II" by Stephen Baxter (Asimov's, July 2009)
- "A Journal of Certain Events of Scientific Interest from the First Survey Voyage of the Southern Waters by HMS Ocelot, As Observed by Professor Thaddeus Boswell, DPhil, MSc; or, A Lullaby" by Helen Keeble (Strange Horizons, June 1-8, 2009)
- "It Takes Two" by Nicola Griffith (Eclipse 3)
- "The Island" by Peter Watts (The New Space Opera 2)
- "Sinner, Baker, Fabulist, Priest; Red Mask, Black Mask, Gentleman, Beast" by Eugie Foster (Interzone 220)
- "Blood Dauber" by Ted Kosmatka & Michael Poore (Asimov's, October/November 2009)
Novelette is the category in which one usually makes painful concessions, but startlingly I found myself falling short of five beloved nominees this year. I've written already about the Keeble, Griffith and Watts stories, but I'd be open to replace Eugie Foster's Nebula-nominated novelette, or the Kosmatka/Poore. Both are impressive but not quite on the level of the other three. One prospective replacement is "The Armies of Elfland" by Eileen Gunn and Michael Swanwick, from the April/May 2009 Asimov's (Gunn and Swanwick seem to have hit on a winning formula--their collaboration in Tor.com, "Zeppelin City," was also quite successful). Another is "Kreisler's Automata" by Matthew David Surridge, from Beneath Ceaseless Skies.
Best short story:
- "Non-Zero Probabilities" by N.K. Jemisin (Clarkesworld, September 2009)
- "The Moon Over Tokyo Through Leaves in the Fall" by Jerome Stueart (Fantasy Magazine, September 7, 2009)
- "Hangman" by Erin Cashier (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, February 12, 2009)
- "Bridesicle" by Will McIntosh (Asimov's, January 2009)
- "Blue" by Derek Zumsteg (Asimov's, August 2009)
Some thoughts on short fiction venues: Strange Horizons isn't as well-represented here as I would have liked, but for overall quality and breadth of genres and topics it remains the best magazine in the field, on- or offline. Beneath Ceaseless Skies is nipping at its heels, though it's aided by its narrower focus on epic and secondary world fantasy. I found Fantasy Magazine extremely variable--some of its stories were excellent, some barely publishable--and Clarkesworld, though a great deal more professional, not usually to my taste. Tor.com is the big disappointment of the year. I don't know whether the site reads slush or accepts unsolicited submissions, but there must be good money in publishing there, and yet the stories one offer are depressingly samey--literally so, as the site published its second Charles Stross Laundry story in two years in 2009, and two stories in a single year by Harry Turtledove, both about has-been baseball players in the first half of the 20th century. So far its only real excuse for existing is having also published two Rachel Swirsky stories. In print, Fantasy & Science Fiction did not have a good year. The magazine switched to a bi-monthly format this year, and also, in celebration of its 60th anniversary, set aside a portion of each issue in order to reprint some of its editors' favorite stories. A nice idea in theory, but in practice these stories tended to overshadow the already reduced original offerings. Asimov's, meanwhile, improved on me quite a bit in 2009, with quite a few stories on my ballot and even more importantly, much higher overall quality.
Best dramatic presentation, long form:
Best dramatic presentation, short form:
- The Sarah Connor Chronicles, "Born to Run"
- The Middleman, San Diego Comic Con table read
- Being Human, episode 1.3 (Annie learns the truth about her murder)
- Ashes to Ashes, episode 2.1
- Futurama, Into the Wild Green Yonder
Lots of people I know are nominating Dollhouse's "Epitaph One," but even before my crushing disappointment with the show's second season, and particularly with "Epitaph Two: The Return," I wasn't planning to do this--taken on its own it simply wasn't a very good hour of television. Not that most of these are much better. The Sarah Connor finale was magnificent and I loved the Middleman table read, but the other three are compromise choices. It simply wasn't a very good year for individual TV episodes.
- J.M. McDermott
- Felix Gilman
- Erin Cashier
- Alice Sola Kim
- Patrick Ness