The nominees for this year’s German Science Fiction Prize have been announced. While the titles may not (yet) interest you as I can only assume they have not yet been translated into English, it might interest you to know that German science fiction prizes appear to be as much of a weisswurst fest as many of the American science fiction prizes. Of 11 nominees, two are women. Every single one of them, as far as I could confirm, is white.
The German Science Fiction Prize is awarded by the Science Fiction Club Deutschland e.V. and started life as a popular vote. Winners were selected by the member publication of the German Science Fiction Club (Science Fiction Club Deutschland, e.V. or SFCD), ANDROMEDA NACHRICHTEN. That apparently didn’t work out, and decision-making for the award was moved to a committee that is charged with the task of reading as much science fiction as possible throughout the year. Once the committee’s nominations have been made and finalized, the committee members go back, read all the works that have made it through the first gauntlet, and assign each work points. The work with the most points wins and two somebodies end up with 1000 euros.
This year’s committee consists of 13 readers, though I wasn’t able to find a list of who these committee members are or how they are chosen on the prize website. These are the books they chose from the 2013 pickings:
Nominees for best German-language short story
1. Spuren im Sand by Bettina Ferbus, appeared in “Enter Sandman – Inspiration Metallica”
2. Seitwärts in die Zeit by Axel Kruse, appeared in “Seitwärts in die Zeit”
3. Coen Sloterdykes diametral levitierendes Chronoversum by Michael Marrak, appeared in »Nova 21«
4. Agnes by Tedine Sanss, appeared in “Die große Streifenlüge – Inspiration Kate Bush”
5. Operation Heal by Merlin Thomas, appeared in “Blackburn”
Nominees for best German-language novel
1. Dschiheads by Wolfgang Jeschke (Heyne Verlag)
2. Drake by H.D. Klein (Atlantis Verlag)
3. Das Dickicht (Vilm Band 3) by Karsten Kruschel (Wurdack Verlag)
4. ScrottT by Uwe Post (Atlantis Verlag)
5. Traumzeitmonde by Sven Edmund Reiter (Adebor Verlag)
6. Nebenweit (Nebenan unendlich weit) by Heinz Zwack
I was planning on using the year’s nominees to begin my headlong dive into German science fiction, but if the nominees are this un-hetereogeneous, then maybe I need to search out another starting point. But, hey, maybe it’s just a bad year for gender equality at the German Science Fiction Prize headquarters. *Looks at list of winners from the last 27 years.* Nope. In 27 years, three women have received the honor for best novel and two women have received the honor for a short story. And oh dear pod please don’t let somebody show up in the comments and try to tell me that there aren’t any German women writing science fiction (or PoC). I have barely begun to delve into the country’s genre, and I already know that isn’t true.
The prize will be awarded on July 12 at SchlossCon. (Dude, Castle Con! That is probably being held in or near an actual castle. As an American transplant, this aspect of Germany will never grow old.) I wish I was going. I’m sure there will be someone there who could tell me who Germany’s Ursula LeGuins and Octavia Butlers and Nicola Griffiths are. Until then, I’ll be scouring the internets in search of them myself.