The 2015 World Fantasy Awards Ballot

The 2015 World Fantasy Awards Ballot

The Bone Clocks David Mitchell-smallThe 2015 World Fantasy Awards Ballot, compiled by the voting attendees of the World Fantasy Convention, has just been released. If you’re looking for a short list of the best fantasy published last year as you prepare for a length stay on a desert island, your wait is over (and remember: leave room for sunscreen).

For both of the last two years the coveted Life Achievement Award has been given to two recipients (Ellen Datlow and Chelsea Quinn Yarbro in 2014, and Susan Cooper and Tanith Lee in 2013). This year the judges continue that tradition, honoring both Ramsey Campbell and Sheri S. Tepper for their outstanding service to the fantasy field.

The winners in every other category will be selected by a panel of judges. Here’s the complete list of nominees, with links to the online stories (where available) and our previous coverage:

Life Achievement

  • Ramsey Campbell
  • Sheri S. Tepper


  • The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison (Tor)
  • City of Stairs, Robert Jackson Bennett (Broadway)
  • The Bone Clocks, David Mitchell (Random House)
  • Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy, Jeff VanderMeer (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
  • My Real Children, Jo Walton (Tor)

We Are All Completely Fine-smallLong Fiction

Short Fiction

  • “I Can See Right Through You,” Kelly Link (McSweeney’s 48)
  • Do You Like to Look at Monsters?, Scott Nicolay (chapbook, Fedogan & Bremer)
  • “Death’s Door Café,” Kaaron Warren (Shadows & Tall Trees 2014)
  • The Devil in America,” Kai Ashante Wilson (, 4/2/14)
  • “The Fisher Queen,” Alyssa Wong (F&SF, May/June 2014)


  • Fearful Symmetries, Ellen Datlow, ed. (ChiZine)
  • Long Hidden: Speculative Fiction from the Margins of History, Rose Fox & Daniel José Older, eds. (Crossed Genres)
  • Shadows & Tall Trees 2014, Michael Kelly, ed. (Undertow)
  • Monstrous Affections, Kelly Link & Gavin J. Grant, ed. (Candlewick)
  • Rogues, George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois, eds. (Bantam)

Monstrous Affections Kelly Link-smallCollection


  • Samuel Araya
  • Galen Dara
  • Jeffrey Alan Love
  • Erik Mohr
  • John Picacio

Special Award – Professional

  • John Joseph Adams, for editing anthologies and Nightmare and Lightspeed magazines
  • Jeanne Cavelos, for Odyssey writing workshops
  • Sandra Kasturi & Brett Alexander Savory, for ChiZine Publications
  • Gordon Van Gelder, for F&SF
  • Jerad Walters, for Centipede Press

Nightmare Magazine August 2014-smallSpecial Award – Nonprofessional

  • Scott H. Andrews, for Beneath Ceaseless Skies
  • Matt Cardin, for Born to Fear: Interviews with Thomas Ligotti (Subterranean)
  • Stefan Fergus, for Civilian Reader (
  • Ray B. Russell & Rosalie Parker, for Tartarus Press
  • Patrick Swenson, for Fairwood Press

Congratulations to all the nominees! We hope you all win.

The awards will be presented during the World Fantasy Convention, November 5-8, 2015 in Saratoga Springs NY.

See the 2014 winners here, and the complete list of last year’s nominees here. And read complete details on the nominations at the World Fantasy Convention website.

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Allen Snyder

I know it’s nowhere near true, but I often feel that I’m the only person who knows who Sheri S. Tepper is——though that’s really just an indication of why personal experience is not a reliable indicator of reality, in that nobody I know personally, not even the sci-fi/fantasy fans, knows her name when I mention her.

That said, I’m very glad to see this news. As I’ve mentioned before, I consider her novel “Grass” to be one of the best science fiction novels I’ve read, and her Marianne trilogy is up with His Dark Materials as my favorite fantasy work (with old standbys like LOTR nipping at their heels, along with newer works like A Song of Ice and Fire).

Some other great names on the list too, including Kelly Link who I always enjoy reading even though I may not always understand what’s happening. 😉

I wasn’t very well-read in 2014 materials, but not a single item/name I nominated made the list I see. Not even my artists. Ah well. At least I’m attending this one 🙂

Elizabeth Cady

I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels that way about Tepper! Her work has some rather serious problems, but you can’t deny her skill or creativity. Grass was, you’re right, absolutely amazing, and Beauty was *heartbreaking*. I think of them both often.

I think the reason she never hit widespread popularity is that the structure of her books was strange, and always opened with a kind of labyrinth all their own. Once you figured out one you knew to stick to them, but it was difficult for them to grab new readers.

Allen Snyder

Ms. Cady:

I find her earlier works, to include “Grass” and the Marianne trilogy, to have far fewer problems (none perhaps) than her later works. At some point she became far less subtle at inserting her politics into her novels, and I say that as someone who mostly agrees with her politics. I loved “The Family Tree”—it had two “twist” surprises in it for my money—but at some point midway through her primary character is apparently taken over by the ghost of John Galt—whose politics I definitely do not agree with—to deliver a multi-paragraph, groan-inducing speech (though thankfully not nearly as long as Galt’s).

And “Beauty”, which I also loved if not quite to the extent as the Marianne trilogy, was nearly flawless but at some point she did hamhandedly attack, among other things, horror novels. I had to roll my eyes at that, in particular since she herself wrote several in the 80s (under a pseudonym, I think). Perhaps she was jealous that they hadn’t been as successful of those from bigger-name horror writers.

As for “Grass”, which I would consider near perfect, it *does* open with a nearly three-page poetic description of the titular planet, and I suspect many less patient readers might toss it at that point. (As someone who doesn’t even particularly care for poetry, I actually found it engaging, and perhaps, like the Buffy episode “Once More With Feeling,” it could begin to turn me onto an art form I formerly didn’t particularly care for—musicals in the case of Buffy, poetry in the case of “Grass.”)

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