I’ve been asked privately by a few people how I feel about the “results” of the Bram Stoker Awards–and indeed, two of those people put “results” in quotes when asking the question. This is not, I believe, evidence of “collusion” on “their” “parts.” They asked for my thoughts in private, but I thought I’d respond in public.
Not everything I voted for won, and not everything I voted for lost. But with one exception, I’m going to discuss only the categories in which I was a finalist. But first, the exception: Rena Mason’s THE EVOLUTIONIST is a twisted work of genius, and well-deserving. It surprised me in all the right ways, and is indeed a superior achievement in a first novel. That exceedingly kind, friendly woman has an admirably sick, twisted brain.
In the category of short fiction, SNAPSHOT came up, well, short against David Gerrold’s NIGHT TRAIN TO PARIS, an excellent and deserving example of superior achievement in a work of short fiction. I don’t know David personally, but his reaction upon winning was precious and priceless and touching and I was happy to see it.
In the category of young adult novel, SPECIAL DEAD ended up not as special as Joe McKinney’s sublime and excellent DOG DAYS. Joe is a true artist and craftsman who wrote an awesome (and semi-autobiographical) story–his zombie stuff is some of the best in the genre, but his non-zombie stuff is just fantastic; my Stoker-related thought upon finishing DOG DAYS was, “shit, I don’t stand a chance!”–and that was before the preliminary ballot had closed. I couldn’t be more proud to have been on the ballot with him, and to have SPECIAL DEAD even in the company of DOG DAYS is an honor.
Awards are just that; pats on the back (and cool little haunted house trophies), a validation that your peers think your work kicked horror butt. The reward, as opposed to the award, is writing a great story and having people read and enjoy what you wrote. The reward is a celebration of the genre, a recognition that there are horror works worth celebrating.
Would I have liked to have won? Of course. Am I upset that I didn’t? Not in the slightest. I had no expectation of winning against such incredible competition, and this isn’t false modesty on my part. Arrogant prick that I am, I *know* I wrote some great stories–but so did they, and I’m happy for them. And you should be, too.