/ / Articles

Reviving The Clive Staples Award

Voters will be eligible only if they have read two or more of the books nominated. We want this to be a selection by readers of Christian speculative fiction, not just the fans of particular authors.
| Feb 25, 2013 | No comments |

CSA1Six years ago a group of Christian speculative writers started talking about creating an award for Christian speculative fiction, and the Clive Staples Award was born. For two years we operated as a readers’ choice award and had modest success. However, for various reasons, the award went dark after 2010. We at Spec Faith would like to see it continue, and even to see it grow.

The “growing” part is still largely in the dream stage–with the goal to acquire corporate sponsors willing to offer a significant monetary prize. We’d also like to add a second round of judging, bringing in professionals to make the final selection of the winner while still retaining the readers choice format to select the finalists. But all that’s down the road.

What’s in front of us today is a second start, this time hosted here at Spec Faith. Starting next week we’ll open up nominations, then readers will have a chance to read books they haven’t read yet, and in a month or so, vote for the winner.

There are some requirements, both for the books that are eligible and for the voters who can vote. Here’s what you need to know.

Clive Staples Award for Christian Speculative Fiction

Recognizing the best in Christian Speculative Fiction

The books that are eligible must be all of the following:

  • Christian—either overtly or because of a Christian worldview
  •  published in English
  • published by a publisher which has no direct affiliation with the author and which pays a royalty (i.e. not self-published, even through any of the services offered by publishing companies)
  • published between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2012
  •  in the science fiction/fantasy/allegory/futuristic/supernatural/supernatural suspense/horror category

Readers will nominate and will vote on the books they believe to be the best in the category.

Nomination guidelines

  • Authors, agents, and publishers may not nominate books with which they are affiliated.
  • Those wishing to nominate a book must leave a comment including the title, author, and publisher.

Readers’ Choice Voting

Voters will be eligible only if they have read two or more of the books nominated. We want this to be a selection by readers of Christian speculative fiction, not just the fans of particular authors.

Below are standards to consider.

Standards for Clive Staples Award books:

I. Writing Style/Mechanics

    Does the quality of the author’s prose (syntax, tone, voice, pacing etc.) enhance the story?
    Is there a both showing and telling?
    Are there errors in word use, spelling, grammar, paragraphing, and punctuation?

II. Setting

    Is the setting well established and realistic?
    Are the speculative elements believable and necessary to the story?

III. Characterization

    Does the main character have clear internal and external goals?
    Are the characters complex, with both strengths and weaknesses?
    Are the characters believably and realistically motivated?
    Is dialogue natural?
    Does dialogue make each person seem unique?
    Is there logical and appropriate character development?

IV. Plot

    Is the story structured with a clearly recognizable arc of conflict, crisis, and resolution?
    Does the narrative flow, or does it tend toward the disjointed?
    Are the obstacles to be overcome sufficiently challenging to the main character?
    Are the events in the plot unpredictable?
    Is the resolution something new or unexpected?
    Was it credible?
    Did it seem believable?

V. Theme

    Does the story contain a central or dominating idea?
    Does the theme arise from the characters and events of the story?
    Is the theme consistent with a Christian worldview?
    Does the theme overwhelm the story, or is it well integrated into the story?

Watch for the announcement about the special Clive Staples Award page where you will leave your nominations.

Best known for her aspirations as an epic fantasy author, Becky is the sole remaining founding member of Speculative Faith. Besides contributing weekly articles here, she blogs Monday through Friday at A Christian Worldview of Fiction. She works as a freelance writer and editor and posts writing tips as well as information about her editing services at Rewrite, Reword, Rework.

Leave a Reply

avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of
Ben Avery
Guest

Out of curiosity, why no self-publishing? If it’s good, it’s good, no matter where it comes from, right?

Lauren
Guest
Lauren

I’m excited!!!!
I have a couple of ideas for nomination already . . .
Looking forward to more info, especially seeing what others nominate. I’m always looking for more good books to read. 🙂

Maryann Spikes
Guest

I highly object to this rule:  “The books that are eligible must be all of the following: …published by a publisher which has no direct affiliation with the author and which pays a royalty (i.e. not self-published, even through any of the services offered by publishing companies)”.
I believe this rule is enough to ensure quality:  “Authors, agents, and publishers may not nominate books with which they are affiliated.”

Yvonne Anderson
Member

I understand the objections, and you make a valid point, Maryann, in saying that prohibiting the author from nominating his/her own book would help ensure quality.

Are there good self-pubbed books out there? Absolutely – in all the genres. However, when a person makes the choice to self-pub, the author should realize that self-publishing is not on the same plane with traditional publication. Some contests allow self-pubbed books and others don’t; moreover, there are contests specifically for self-pubbed.
Incidentally, one popular site (Novel Rocket) that runs an annual contest for unpublished authors accepts submissions from self-pubbed authors, considering them to be unpublished in the usual sense.

Michelle R. Wood
Member

Glad to see work being done to bring this award back. Here’s a suggestion I’ve thought about before: could there be more than one winner, as in winners of different genres? “Specualtive” covers a wide range, and I think part of the problem with other awards right now is we all get lumped together: space ships, dragons, demons, and all. You’re really comparing apples to oranges (or, even, tomatoes).

Lex Keating
Guest

Touching on the self-publishing question, I have a small thought. There are some marvelous offerings out there for 2012 (or earlier) that were self-published but were later picked up by a recognized imprint. Does the publication time-frame refer to books published for the first time this year, or could something that was self-published in 2010 (as an example) and then printed by a larger company in 2012 be eligible?
 
No opinion on the matter, just curious.

Emma Engel
Guest

How exciting to see this award come back! Back when I first starting discovering Christian speculative fiction, I found the nominations an indispensable reading list. I wonder if you would allow me to post information regarding the award on my site? I’d love to help promote it in any way I can. For now I’ll try to start narrowing down nomination ideas…so many amazing books to choose from!

D. M. Dutcher
Member

I wish you good luck at this. I can understand the need to exclude self-pubs, but if you ever decide to expand the awards into award by genre, you may need to open it to them, if just because Christian horror and SF tend to be very rare from traditional publishers. I think it will be cool just to see what people like; discovery of new novels for me has always been one of the hardest things.