Saturday, July 02, 2005

Aurora Awards (2005)

Robert Sawyer
My initial reactions walking into the auditorium was a concern that the awards ceremony was slipping a bit: the room was not crowded and everyone there was just sitting around in their day clothes - in contrast to the gala setting of some other years.

I needn't have worried. MC was Robert J. Sawyer, a consummate showman if there ever was one. Sawyer quickly established just the right balance of fannish informality and award night energy, delivering an upbeat line of patter that kept everyone interested and involved throughout. I particularly appreciated the way he broke up the necessary discussion of the history of the awards, balloting procedures, category descriptions, eligibilities, and so on into brief segments smoothly delivered between the introduction of presenters. Most impressive of all was the way Sawyer smoothly filled the gaps when there was no one present to accept an award, as happened several times: in such cases he just stepped forward and ad libbed a brief biography of the winner which felt like an acceptance speech.
Edo acceptance speech

Highlights of the Awards were: Edo van Belkom's acceptance speech (for Wolf Pack, Tundra Books, 2004), which began by thanking Sawyer for not having an entry in the Long Form category this year, and Sawyer looking genuinely surprised to win in the English Other category for Relativity: Essays and Stories (I subsequently found and purchased a copy in the dealer's room at the convention. I've seen most of this stuff before, but Sawyer's is a significant voice in Canadian SF criticism, so it was convenient to have all this bundled in one package.)

2005 Award Winners (Abridged):

Long-form English: Wolf Pack, Edo van Belkom

Short-form English: When the Morning Stars Sang Together, Isaac Szpindel

English other: Relativity: Essays and Stories, Robert J. Sawyer

Artistic achievement: Martin Springett

Fan publication: Opuntia, Dale Speirs

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