Thursday, February 14, 2008

And the CYBILS Fantasy/SciFi winners are...

After reading ten great books, the Fantasy/SciFi judging panel for this year's CYBILS awards, (including yours truly,) has come up with two winners -- one for Middle Grade and one for YA.

We read 10 amazing books:

Book of a Thousand Days (by Shannon Hale)
Incarceron (By Catherine Fisher)
Northlander - Tales of the Borderlands (by Meg Burden)
Skin Hunger (by Kathleen Duey)
Repossessed (by A.M. Jenkins)

The Choas King (by Laura Ruby)
Into the Wild (by Sarah Beth Durst)
The Land of the Silver Apples (by Nancy Farmer)
Skulduggery Pleasant (by Derek Landy)
The True Meaning of Smekday (by Adam Rex)

And WOW - each book had it's own strengths and it's own bits of brilliance. It was a TOUGH choice for the judges, and we went round and round on a couple of books before coming to the conclusion that the best of the best for Fantasy/Science Fiction for 2007 are...(drumroll please)...

YA: Book of a Thousand days (by Shannon Hale)
Elem/MG: The True Meaning of Smekday (by Adam Rex)


Here's what the judges had to say about Book of a Thousand Days:

On her first day as a Lady’s Maid, Dashti finds herself locked in a tower for seven years with her Lady, who is being punished for refusing to marry the Lord of a neighboring land. Thus begins a life-and-death battle against evil and time. Lyrically written and set in ancient central Asia, this novel retells a little-known Brother’s Grimm fairy tale with desperate, heart-wrenching emotion. Readers will be drawn in by the beautiful language and fighting spirit of Dashti, whose faith, spunk and ingenuity affect not only the darkness of her tower, but also the hearts and futures of kings.

What the Judges said about Smekday:

"Nothing has been the same since the Boov invaded Earth and re- named it Smekland. But things get even weirder when twelve-year- old Gratuity Tucci embarks on a journey to find her missing mother--accompanied by her cat (named Pig), a fugitive Boov (named J.Lo) and a slightly illegal hovercar--and realizes that there's more at stake than just her mother's whereabouts. A terrific satire with a touching ending and spot-on illustrations by the author, the novel is heartwarming and hilarious at the same time. Gratuity's narrative voice as she struggles to define "the true meaning of Smekday" will draw readers in."

So, both of these books should certainly go on everyone's reading list, and we'll be discussing them and the other 8 SciFi/Fantasy finalists here in coming weeks.

We'll be looking at the writing techniques and styles that their authors used which brought them to the top of this year's CYBILS stack. Great books are made to be loved -- and for those writers among us, they're made to be learned from. Even those of us who aren't writing Fantasy/SciFi can learn from these books.

So, pick up these two, and also the other eight finalists, at your local bookstore or library and peruse them. Then come on by and add your insight to the February and March writer's technique discussions and reviews of these books here on writermorphosis.

Also, to find out who won CYBILS awards in the categories of fiction and nonfiction picture books, graphic, middle grade (mainstream) and YA (mainstream) novels, and poetry, click to the CYBILS website winners' page( And check out the blogs of the other CYBILS Fantasy/SciFi judges (noted on the left of this page) to see what they are saying about the winners, the contest, and this year's judging process.

BIG Congratulations to all of the 2007 CYBILS winners!


Bkbuds said...

I heard a lot about the SFF judges--all good! I know you all went through a lot trying to get the books.

Thanks so much for your hard work. And that picture of the books looks gorgeous!


C.R. Evers said...

Awesome! Book of a Thousand Days is on my list of books to read! I'm glad to see that it fared well in the judging!

I'm looking forward to reading the others too, just not as fast as you did! :0)

Thanks to all the judges for your hard work!

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, Janelle, your blog looks great, I am putting Book of a Thousand Days on hold at the library. I like your poetry as well, yes, God Bless the Editors! Give them the strength and curiosity to keep reading!

- Linda

Ian Sands said...

Even though i wasn't a CYBILS consideration, and lets not forget it is all about me, I would like to say thank you on behalf of all the little people for what must have been a lot of work and a lot of dedication and i just think you should get an award for doing this.

Janelle said...

LOL. Thanks Ian. I'm sure that if your book had been published THIS year it would have been on the list. : ). Perhaps in 2008?

And, I did get 9 free books out of the deal. Hooray for my happy bookshelf! So it was definitely worth the work!