Thursday 24 September 2015

Slow Bullets and the Canopus Award.

A week or two ago I was very pleased to learn that Slow Bullets had been shortlisted for the inaugural Canopus Award:

I was asked not to release the news until the 100 Year Starship organisation had put out its own press release about the shortlisting.

Unfortunately, I missed an important detail. Slow Bullets had been nominated in the long-form category, and I failed to notice that the cutoff was for works longer than 40,000 words. Slow Bullets is actually a bit under 40,000 words, bringing it into the novella category as defined by such things as the Hugo award. We (my editors and I) actually worked pretty hard to make sure that was the case, as the original version of the story was quite a bit longer than 40,000. I was also keen not to concern my mainstream publishers by bringing out what would technically have been a novel from another press. Yes, I know these categories are somewhat arbitrary, but they do matter.

The 100YSS people were extremely good about this, and were happy to let the shortlist stand as it was, but I felt that in this instance it was necessary to draw a clear distinction between novella and novel, and allowing it to remain on the shortlist would have blurred that distinction. To that end, I've asked for the piece to be withdrawn. To reiterate, the fault was mine for not spotting the category glitch in the first place, and I'm sorry for any embarrassment it may have caused to either Tachyon Press or the 100 Year Starship organisation. In any case, it was very pleasant to have the nomination, and I wish the best of luck to the finalists in all the categories.


  1. You're a class act, Alastair. And whether or not it is classified as a novel or a novella, it is a fine piece of writing I thoroughly enjoyed reading.

  2. Really loved the book - as usual I went back for the audiobook version as well and that was top notch (you've been very lucky to get such fantastic narrators!)

  3. Sounds like the right thing to do. Good read too!

  4. If you get a chance, could you comment (or point to where someone already has) on why US distribution (in particular amazon) of Poseidon's Wake is so...weird? They are now claiming it isn't available until February 2016. Did the first edition sell out that fast?


  5. Hi Inthga - it hasn't actually been published in the States, so that 16th Feb is still the "official" pub date. Amazon (and other retailers, I imagine) confuse things by occasionally listing and shipping foreign editions as if they were the domestic one.