Here’s the thing about awards, awards shows, and awards organizations.  The best nominee doesn’t always win.  Hell, the “best” nominee rarely ever wins because, in spite of what people tell you or what camp you happen to fall into, the vast majority of people base their votes on friendships, familiarity, popularity,  ideas, or messages.  Those who do vote for “the best” tend to select from a fairly narrow range of possibilities – based on friendships, familiarity, popularity, ideas, or messages.  It’s somewhat bewildering, occasionally downright frustrating, to see awards go to certain works while other equally great (occasionally better) works go ignored, often not even making a preliminary list of nominees.

As a fairly voracious reader, I read a lot of books in 2015, many of them award nominees, just as many lesser-known works from lesser-known (to me) authors.  And, as I began to check out the 2016 releases, I looked back at the titles I enjoyed in 2015 and thought: “That deserved some sort of recognition.”.  And then: “Hell, I should just give out my own awards.”

I read a lot across a wide variety of genres.  I can make a well-informed decision.  I know what I like.  And, most importantly, I AM opinionated.  So, why the hell not?

At first, I thought I’d call my awards The Jovians (Get it?) but discovered the Jovian Awards (for Fantasy & Science Fiction) already exists.  My second choice would be the Saturn Awards but, alas, that too has been taken.  A quick google search turned up –

Mercury Awards – for music
Venus Awards – for local working women in business
Mars Awards – for designers (named after the chocolate bar, not the planet)
Neptune Awards – for marketing
Pluto Awards – for SciFi, fantasy and alternate history books
Kepler Awards – for European young scientists
Uranus Awards – surprisingly available!

In the end, I settled on something a little more in keeping with the wayward, independent spirit of these awards: Rogue Star (“a star that has escaped the gravitational pull of its home galaxy and is moving independently in or towards the intergalactic void” [wikipedia]).

Presenting awards in three categories (only because I didn’t read enough potential entries in any of the alternate categories.  Also, I need to get out there and watch more movies.).  Great reads all.  Check them out!




Bitch Planet, vol. 1 – Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro, Image
Divinity – Matt Kindt and Trevor Hairsine, Valiant
Jupiter’s Circle, vol. 1 – Mark Millar and Frank Quitely, Image
Saga, vol. 5 – Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, Image
The Walking Dead,vol. 23 Robert Kirkman and Stefano Guadiano, Image


Saga, vol. 5 – Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, Image




“A Murmuration” – Alastair Reynolds, Interzone
“Calved” – Sam J. Miller, Asimov’s
“Re: re: Microwave in the break room doing weird things to fabric of spacetime” – Charles Yu, Terraform
“So Much Cooking” – Naomi Kritzer, Clarkesworld
“Today I Am Paul” – Martin L. Shoemaker, Clarkesworld


“Today I Am Paul” – Martin L. Shoemaker, Clarkesworld




Beyond Redemption – Michael R. Fletcher, Harper Voyager
The Flicker Men – Ted Kosmatka, Henry Holt and Co.
Half A War – Joe Abercrombie, Harper Voyager
Touch – Claire North, Orbit Books
The Traitor Baru Cormorant – Seth Dickinson, Tor


Beyond Redemption – Michael R. Fletcher, Harper Voyager


Congratulations to the winners.  You can pick up your prize – in the form of a beer – should we ever cross paths!

22 thoughts on “May 23, 2016: Presenting the 2015 Rogue Star Award Winners!

  1. So pleased you chose ‘Today I am Paul’ to win the first Rogue Star’s Best Short Story award.

    It was the story, out of all the short stories you recommended, that one made a deep impression on me and one I’ve suggested people read if they want to have any idea of how illogical Alzheimer’s is.

    A brilliant choice! Nice one Joe.

  2. Thanks Joe. Now I have some time on my hands I’ll check them out. I’ve been having lovely chats with Michael Fletcher & Martin Shoemaker on Twitter. I let them know about the awards and promoted Dark Matter while I was at it.

    Cheers, Chev

  3. Thank you! Even though the only prize is a beer — and I don’t drink beer! — this matters to me. A lot. Metaphorically this story was my mother-in-law’s final year of life. Every reader who tells me what this story meant to them matters to me. They tell me that they get it. They understand. This story means a lot to me, and so do the readers who care about it.

    So should we get a chance to meet… Does a root beer count?


  4. I just got to meet Martin Shoemaker a week ago at the Nebula Awards — a great guy and a talented writer. I also had the honor of publishing one of his latest stories, “In Its Shadow,” in the new anthology TRAJECTORIES:

    He’s not just a rogue star, he’s a rising star!

  5. Lots of reading material suggestions, greatly appreciated! How do find the time between imagining, writing, producing, editing, blogging, eating & sleeping?

  6. Kalimera All! <3

    @Mike Fletcher Congrats!
    That Joe chose your work
    over that of Abercrombie's
    (one of his all time fav writers)
    is a very big deal and a HUGE compliment indeed!

    By the way: In regards to finding an artist for the BR sequel
    Have you inquired ‏@PangeaWizard, Jon Hrubesch, yet?

    He's highly inventive and proved of great assistance
    to Joe via ship designs for Dark Matter's Season 2.

    If you throw in some bacon & mozzarella poppers
    with that grilled cheese and lint
    you are offering as payment
    he might?, maybe?, perhaps?, possibly?,
    be inclined to help ya out. 😉

  7. Congratulation to the winners, I have awarded the winners their own meteors, they can retrieve them at the Ikea pick up window on Vega. Alastair Reynolds is the boss, even his short stories have cool titles.

  8. Ditto – Congratulations to the selectees. Raising a virtual glass of beer or root beer (which I happen to love) to you all.
    I love to read…but often need to be led by the nose to a good read.
    So….THANKS JOE! Kindle purchases made and reading will commence.
    Sorry I did pass on the graphic novel. with the exception of Dark Matter, I have not been able to get “back into these.” For me…I think that is a sign of old age.

  9. I like Kathy C‘s suggestion of “Rogue Star”. Sounds cool!

    I’ll check out some of the book winners on kindle and I hope you run into some of the winners.

  10. Looks like we have very similar taste in short stories. I published two, including your winner, and reprinted four of the five in my year’s best anthology. Congrats to Martin and the other winners.

    BTW, really enjoyed the first season of Dark Matter. Looking forward to season two!

  11. Congratulations to all Rogue Star Winners. And welcome Martin Shoemaker. Maybe with the ending of Dark Matter season 2 there may be a return of the Book Club and Mr. Shoemaker can be a guest in the Q&A?

  12. Thank you! But this may be a good time for my standard disclaimer: Getting me to talk is easy, it’s getting me to shut up that’s the problem.

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