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Book news: New fiction, fiction in competition and a fat cat wins

May 21, 2009 |  2:09 pm


The new issue of Bookforum is out today with excerpts from six upcoming novels, including "Blame" by L.A. author Michelle Huneven.

Those six aren't in competition, but the 10 finalists in the running for the storySouth Million Writers Award are. The stories, which appeared in the literary journals Agni, ChiZine, Drunken Boat, Eyeshot, LitNImage, Menda City Review, Narrative Magazine, OSC's Intergalactic Medicine Show, Per Contra Fiction and Strange Horizons, are all available online. The idea is that anyone who reads the stories can vote on which should win. Voting has been underway since May 17 and continues until June 17.

Voting is also open for the 2009 Hugo Awards. To be eligible to vote, you must register to attend Anticipation, the 67th World Science Fiction Convention (WorldCon) in August. In the "best novel" category, adult fiction, young adult fiction and children's fiction compete against one another: The contenders include Neil Gaiman's "The Graveyard Book," Cory Doctorow's "Little Brother," "Anathem" by Neal Stephenson, Charles Stross' "Saturn's Children" and "Zoe's Tale" by John Scalzi. Online voting closes July 3; by then you should have made your plans to get to the convention, which will be in Montreal.

In other news from Canada, a fat cat has won the 2009 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Award. In "Chester's Back," by Mélanie Watt, Chester, a cartoon cat, uses a red pen to mark up the author's version of the book. The winners were chosen not by a flock of French deconstructionists but by Canadian third- and fourth-graders.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

UPDATE: This post originally included Alma Fullerton as the co-author of "Chester's Back." Fullerton is the author of "Libertad," which won in the Young Adult category. Watt is the sole author of "Chester's Back."

Photo: A sculpture of a young reader outside the Pleasanton, Calif., public library. Credit: John "K" via Flickr