Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Nominate a Story

Use the comments section below to nominate stories for The Ham-Sized Fist Award.

!! Now you can use Twitter to nominate stories !! Hoodyhoo!

Please provide the name of the story, author, the book, magazine or e-zine where it was published, the date it was published, and a link to the story if you have one. Please make sure you read the rules first and don't send us chasing down untamed waterfowl.

For example:

"The Dripping Bones of Gal-Magora"
J.H.C. Publicus
The Magazine of Totally Awesome Awesomeness
March 2009

The Rules*

Disclaimer - these rules are merely guidelines and could be changed. In fact, they probably will be changed. I am playing with ideas for how to work the contest in the future.


Only heroic fantasy or sword-and-sorcery stories published in magazines, e-zines, literary journals, anthologies or chapbooks that have an editorial process are eligible for nomination. This means that an editor must have selected the story for publication. Only English language stories, or stories translated into English for publication, will be considered. Self-published stories are not eligible, and unpublished stories will not be considered.

The ultimate decision as to whether a story qualifies as heroic fantasy or sword-and-sorcery rests with the final judge or judges. Alas, any work written by the host of the award and author of this website is automatically removed from consideration.

Anyone may nominate a story for the award, but a story cannot be considered for the award unless it can be read by the judge or judges. Thus a copy of the story, or a link to the story, is conducive to obtaining eligibility. Books and magazines sent to the judge or judges without sufficient return postage will be donated to our local library at the end of the award process.

To be eligible for nomination, a story must be longer than 500 words, and it must have been published between January 1 2009 and December 31 2010.

The nomination period will open January 1, 2011. At that time, readers and editors will be allowed to nominate stories for consideration. The nomination period will close on February 1, 2011. At that time, the preliminary judges will select 10 stories each, to be recognized as semifinalists. The list of semifinalists will be announced no later than March 1, 2011. The award administrator or the celebrity judge will then select ten finalists from the list of semifinalists, to be announced no later than March 15, 2011. At that time, a poll will be posted on the website, allowing readers to vote for the winner. The poll will close April 1, 2011 and the winning story and magazine will be announced.

Prize money will be sent to the author of the winning story either by check or Paypal. Prize money for the winning e-zine, magazine, or book publisher will be directed to the publisher for distribution at their discretion. The sponsor of the contest may, at their own discretion, cancel the contest or refuse to grant an award if an insufficient number of stories are nominated or if no nominated story is deemed worthy of recognition. In such event, all donations will be returned or held over for the next award period, according to the wishes of the donator.

The nomination period is now open. You may use the nomination page to nominate a story, nominate a story via Twitter, or send nominations to editor (dot) fromhell (at) gmail (dot) com. Good luck.

*portions of these rules have been cribbed directly from the rules for the Million Writers Award, for which your host served as a preliminary judge for the 2006 and 2007 awards

Cry Havoc

It begins today with an idea for an award to be given for the best heroic fantasy or sword-and-sorcery published during the year.

There are actually two awards - one for the author of the best story, and one for the magazine who publishes the best story.

It's a monetary award. And it's recognition - something for the winners to put on the cover page and their web site.

But why an award?

Because in our humble opinion, heroic fantasy and sword-and-sorcery have become the red-headed stepchildren of fantasy publishing, forever ruined by the piles of garbage the industry churned out many years ago, virtually destroying the genre's respectability.

Because not enough of it is published today, and what little is published isn't recognized as worthy of praise, no matter how good it is. Because, as a slush reader once put it to me, "I think the time's past when we could get away with publishing simple good vs evil sword and sorcery stuff."

Dear reader, that's why.

Because that's just wrong. A good story should always be published, no matter what the editorial trend of the moment seems to dictate, because the times are always, always, always wrong. The next big thing in arts or letters is never discovered by the timid or conservative. It is always the result of someone willing to take a chance. The Ham-Sized Fist Award is meant to encourage editors and publishers and writers to take a chance, so that perhaps the genre can be reinvented, but more importantly rediscovered.

The first award will be granted for a story published in 2009. The total for the award will be periodically updated in the sidebar. It is my hope to bring the award up to at least $500 for the author and publisher, but more would be better. The award is bestowed through WordArts, Inc., a 501(c)(3) literary non-profit with tax-deductible contribution status. If you would like to help sponsor the award, please click here or use the donate button to the right.

The Rules appear in the next post.