London — The Kitschies, the prize for “novels containing elements of the speculative and fantastic” have announced for the most “progressive, intelligent and entertaining” books of 2015.
The Heart Goes Last, by Margaret Atwood (Bloomsbury) won the Red Tentacle (Novel) category, receiving £1,000 and a hand-crafted tentacle trophy. The prize was introduced by judges James Smythe and Nazia Khatun.
The entire shortlist:
- Winner: The Heart Goes Last by Margaret Atwood (Bloomsbury)
- Europe at Midnight by Dave Hutchinson (Solaris)
- The Reflection by Hugo Wilcken (Melville House)
- The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin (Orbit)
- The Thing Itself by Adam Roberts (Gollancz)
James Smythe said “Even as part of an incredibly strong shortlist, The Heart Goes Last felt like an astonishing achievement. It´s an unsettling view of a future that – like so many of Atwood’s novels – feels all too prescient. Funny and devastating and wonderful, we all loved it.“
The judges referred to all of the books as “batshit brilliant” and Atwood commented that she was glad to know “you can never be too old to be batshit”.
Making Wolf, by Tade Thompson (Rosarium Publishing) won the Golden Tentacle for Debut, receiving £500 and a hand-crafted tentacle trophy. The prize was introduced by judges Sarah Lotz and Nikesh Shukla.
The entire list:
- Winner: Making Wolf by Tade Thompson (Rosarium)
- The Shore by Sara Taylor (William Heinemann)
- Blackass by A. Igoni Barrett (Chatto and Windus)
- The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan (Harvill Secker)
- The Night Clock by Paul Meloy (Solaris)
Judge Nikesh Shukla said “With such a strong shortlist that gave us mermaids, fallen cities, people waking up a different race and more, Making Wolf manages to excite and entertain in equal measure. A strong strange political thriller that oozes with one-liners and thrills galore.”
Jet Purdie received the Inky Tentacle for cover art for Sally Gardner’s The Door That Led to Where.
The entire list:
- Winner: The Door That Led to Where by Sally Gardner, art direction and design by Jet Purdie, illustration by Dover Publications Inc & Shutterstock (Hot Key Books)
- The Vorrh by Brian Catling, design by Pablo Declan (Coronet)
- Monsters by Emerald Fennell, art direction by Jet Purdie, illustration by Patrick Leger (Hot Key Books)
- The Honours by Tim Clare, design and illustration by Peter Adlington (Canongate)
- Get in Trouble by Kelly Link, design by Alex Merto (Canongate)
Judge and previous Black Tentacle winner Sarah McIntyre said “As judges, we loved exploring these books, opening covers that led like doors to lush endpapers, or admiring the more handmade-looking elements of illustration and typography. In the end, the book with the actual door on the cover charmed us the most, we loved the partially obscured London map and the way the design invited us to enter its story. Kudos to designer Jet Purdie who had not one but two books on the shortlist! “
The Invisible Tentacle for “natively digital fiction” went to Life is Strange, by Square Enix Studios.
The entire list:
- Winner: Life Is Strange (Square Enix)
- Arcadia by Iain Pears (Faber/Touchpress)
- Daniel Barker’s Birthday by @FrogCroakley
- The Last Hours of Laura K (BBC Writers Room)
- Bloodborne (Hidetaka Miyazaki/FromSoftware)
Judge James Wallis said, ‘The Invisible Tentacle shortlist runs the gamut of what is possible in digital storytelling, from AAA console games with eight-figure budgets, to spontaneous narrative happenings on Twitter. It was an amazingly strong list, from a really good year. We finally chose Life Is Strange for its updating of what a point-and-click adventure can be, with a great cast of characters, excellent writing, an intriguing rewind-time mechanic that drives a plot which refuses to go where you expect, and a level of immersion that challenges the player without putting off newcomers to interactive stories.’
The Black Tentacle, a discretionary award given to an outstanding achievement in encouraging and elevating the conversation around genre literature, went to the genre community, personified by Patrick Ness, for the response to the humanitarian refugee crisis. The fund Ness began raised £689,793.56 for Save the Children, from over 6,000 donors, including a marathon series of £10,000+ matching prizes from over 20 authors. Virgin Giving even waived their fees.
This year’s winners were selected from 176 submissions, received from over 60 imprints.
The prize, sponsored by Fallen London, is now in its seventh year, with previous winners including Andrew Smith, Ruth Ozeki, Lauren Beukes, Kameron Hurley, China Miéville, Ann Leckie, Nick Harkaway and Patrick Ness. This year’s literary judges were authors Sarah Lotz, Nikesh Shukla, and James Smythe, superfan Nazia Khatun, and entrepreneur Glen Mehn.