The Shirley Jackson Award nominees have just been announced.  Below are the six finalists for Best Novel (links to my reviews):

As an impartial critic I probably shouldn’t be saying this but… the Shirley Jackson Award is my favourite genre prize.  While the award examines the darker side of genre fiction this doesn’t stop the judges from choosing books that aren’t easily categorized.  Last years nominees were emblematic of this, ranging from American Gothic (Joyce Carol Oates) to Chinese mysticism (Yangsze Choo) to a father’s attempt to rescue his daughter from the underworld (Andrew Pyper).  Even the one book I didn’t like on the ballot – Night Film by Marisha Pessl – was markedly different from everything around it dealing with a conspiracy involving a film critic and cult film-maker.

I’ve already read two of the novels on this years ballot – the decent enough Bird Box and the fantastic Annihilation – and while it’s far too early to comment, the diversity of voices (three woman, one translated work) suggests a diverse range of subjects.  It might take me three months to start reading the rest of the ballot, but I can’t help but still feel excited that the nominees for my favourite award have been announced.

And congratulations to all the other finalists in the other categories – especially my best buddy Rob Shearman.