Taking another break from award winners, here’s a look at novels published in 1979 that did not win any awards.
C.J. Cherryh published Hestia, a stand-alone about an engineer, Sam Merrit, who travels to the title planet to build a damn to help the human colonists. Upon arrival, Merrit realizes that the dam will not only prove to be the panacea that is sought, but would also destroy the local indigenous species. Cherryh uses the novel to explore personal and ecological responsibility and the sense of entitlement the colonists have.
Jerry Pournelle’s novel Janissearies is the first of the similarly titled trilogy, although it is also set in the wider world of his Co-Dominium universe that began with his novel King David’s Starship. The novel follows a group of American soldiers who have been rescued from an ambush in Africa and given the chance to put their talents to use in a medieval level society among the stars. Although Pournelle’s main character faced mutiny, he wins through in the end, establishing himself as the undisputed leader of the force.
Kindred, Octavia E. Butler’s time travel novel that shuffles Dana, a twentieth century African-American author, between her own time and the antebellum South was published in 1979. The novel offers a look at the sort of compromises Dana must make to survive as a slave as be able to continue to exist in her own time. Butler offers a complex view of slavery and race relations in the novel, partly because of the way she has caused Dana’s own existence and fate to be entwined with that of Rufus, the plantation owner. …
Ursula K. Le Guin was born on October 21, 1929 and died on January 22, 2018.
Le Guin’s The Dispossessed is in the Prometheus Hall of Fame and has won the Jupiter Award as wells as the Nebula Award and Hugo Award. The Left Hand of Darkness has also won both the Hugo and Nebula Award, as well as the James Tiptree Jr Award and the Gaylactic Spectrum Award. She has also won the Nebula Award for Tehanu: The Last Book of Earthsea, Powers, the novella “Solitude,” and the short story “The Day Before the Revolution,” which also won the Jupiter Award. Le Guin has also won the Hugo Award for the short story “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas,” the novelette “Buffalo Gals, Won’t You Come Out Tonight,” the novella “The World for World is Forest,” and back-to-back best related works for Words Are My Matter: Writing About Life and Books, 2000-2016 and No Time to Spare: Thinking About What Matters, the last of which earned her the award posthumously. “Buffalo Gals, Won’t You Come Out Tonight” won Le Guin her first World Fantasy Award and she received another for her novel The Other Wind. She won a Jupiter Award for “The Diary of the Rose,” a Rhysling Award for “The Well of Bain,” and a Ditmar Award for The Compass Rose. Both Tales from Earthsea and The Telling won the Endeavour Award and “The Matter of Seggri” and “Mountain Ways” both won the James Tiptree, Jr. Award. She won the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for “Forgiveness Day” and the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire for Four Ways to Forgiveness. Her book Paradises Lost won both the Kurd Lasswitz Preis and Italia Award.
Le Guin has received many lifetime achievement awards, being recognized by the Forry Award in 1988, the Pilgrim Award in 2001, and the Eaton Award in 2013. She received a Gandalf Award in 1979 and was named a Grand Master by SFWA in 2003 and the World Fantasy Convention in 1995. In 2001, Le Guin was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. She was the Worldcon Guest of Honor at Aussiecon 1 in 1975 and the World Fantasy Guest of Honor in Seattle in 1989.