Welcome to my initial 2013 Armchair Audies post. *cues celebratory dancing* As you know, myself and a bunch of rabid audiobook fans gather together every year to talk about The Audies under the guidance of our Audio Mistress Jen of Literate Housewife. Since, we are not rich, celebrity narrators who get to travel to New York City and are wined and dined in posh fashion by the Audio Publishers Association, we are forced to sit at home and talk audiobooks on our blogs and Twitter. Such a discussion led to The Armchair Audies, where us lowly bloggers listen to and review titles within our chosen categories, and make our picks for the winners. Last year, we had a pretty strong prediction rate, and I *humblebrag* correctly picked two of my three categories “damn you, Khristine Hvam and Laini Taylor.*
Now, with many narrators, audiobook industry execs, publicists and authors waiting for the gala announcement Monday of the nominees, probably with some celeb like James Marsters or Dion Graham giving a press conference to a packed room of eager entertainment reporters, I will be making my predictions today of what titles I think could, or should be nominated for the Speculative Fiction categories, Science Fiction, Fantasy and Paranormal. I will be assigning three levels to my picks, they are:
Fave: These are titles I think I think have a really good chance of being nominated by the APA.
Wildcards: These are titles I think could see a nomination, if they are submitted by their Publisher for consideration.
The Baubies: These are titles I would have nominated, and believe deserved, but probably will not receive a nomination due to politics, not being submitted, judges with poor taste and karmic retribution for past sins.
One last note, I already posted my favorite titles from 2012. Although you will see many titles on this list that are on that list, I am basing my picks on the Award worthiness of a title, and not on whether I personally really, really liked it.
So, here we go, Bob’s 2013 Pre-Audie Nominations Picks for Audie Nominations for Armchair Audies, or The Baubies, if you wish.
Redshirts by John Scalzi
Read by Wil Wheaton
Year Zero by Rob Reid
Read by John Hodgeman
Random House Audio
14 by Peter Clines
Read by Ray Porter
The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter
Read by Michael Fenton-Stevens
Zombie Fallout by Mark Tufo
Read by Sean Runnette
I think that Redshirts is almost a lock for a nomination, and probably the Favorite for the win this year. It’s hard to bet against Scalzi and Wheaton, and while it was my least favorite of the Scalzi/Wheaton Audiobooks, it is still a great listen. Year Zero should be nominated, it has the bonus of a celebrity narrator, and is a great listen. Yet, I put it in the same category as Ready Player One, it probably should be the Audie winner this year, but there’s a good chance it won’t even be nominated. 14 was the surprise hit of the year for Audible, and a great audiobook and probably the strongest Non-Redshirts lock for a nomination. My last two picks are really “go out on a limb” type picks. Zombie Fallout is hugely popular, and a big win for Tantor this year. I think that there is a big question of what category Zombies fit into, so if we don’t see a nomination here, perhaps it will be in one of the other categories. I think the more deserving zombie title, Blackout by Mira Grant, will be neglected, and Zombie Fallout is just quirky enough to get noticed by the judges. Finally, The Long Earth has two big named Science Fiction and Fantasy authors and while I doubt it will be nominated, I think it is, it could be a potential surprise upset over Redshirts.
Nine Princess of Amber by Roger Zelazny
Read by Alessandro Juliani
Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor
Read by Khristine Hvam
The Stand by Stephen King
Read by Grover Gardner
Random House Audio
Some Kind of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce
Read by John Lee
Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed
Read by Phil Gigante
Fantasy was a very hard category for me. There are two books that I believe should be Audie Nominees, yet both missed the cutoff dates by a few weeks, one too early and one too late. Those two are The Troupe by Robert Jackson Bennett and Among Others by Jo Walton. Right now, I think the Fantasy category is a two Audiobook Race between the follow up to last year’s winner Days of Blood & Starlight and the first entry in a classic Fantasy series, The Nine Princess of Amber. I strongly believe Steven King will pull off a nomination this year. I think that The Stand is more deserving of a nomination, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see The Wind Through the Keyhole pull it off instead. My final two picks I doubt will receive a nomination, but I think should. Throne of the Crescent Moon is a refreshing, Arabian Fantasy wonderfully narrated by Phil Gigante, and would be my pick to win, if I thought it would be nominated. Some Kind of Fairy Tale is more Magical Realism than Fantasy, but such a thought provoking novel that could appeal to a more diverse audience.
Spellbound by Larry Correia
Read by Bronson Pinchot
The Rook by Daniel O’Malley
Read by Susan Duerden
Tricked by Kevin Hearne
Read by Luke Daniels
Random House Audio
Wildcards: Volume 1 edited by George R. R. Martin with stories by Roger Zelazny, Walter Jon Williams, Melinda M. Snodgrass, Michael Cassutt, David D. Levine, George R. R. Martin, Victor Milan, Edward Bryant, Leanne C. Harper, Stephen Leigh, Carrie Vaughn, and John J. Miller
Read by Luke Daniels
Paranormal is probably the toughest to predict, because I believe two or three of the nominations will go to Paranormal Romance titles, and being that I don’t listen to them, I can’t really choose. Despite the groan worthy (pun intended) public response to the series, I wouldn’t be surprised to see 50 Shades of Gray get nominated. I hope it isn’t, but it is insanely popular, and it would be crazy not to at least consider the possibility. Spellbound by Larry Correia is a follow up to last year’s winner, and Bronson Pinchot gives one of the all time best performances by a narrator I have ever heard. It’s stunning, and if it doesn’t win, I will sulk and throw things. The Rook is an amazing audiobook, with a great performance, and one of the most unique stories I have listened to. I think there’s a good chance that, if it was submitted, that it will be nominated. I really went out on a limb and picked Tricked by Kevin Hearne. The risk is that I personally haven’t listened to it, but I have listened to the first two in the series, and they were brilliant and funny, and the series is so popular that I have trouble seeing Random House not submitting it. If there is a surprise upset win, I would have to say the V Wars has the best chance of pulling it out over Spellbound. It’s an awesome production with wonderful narration, and it should pull an award in some category if not this one. Finally, Wild Cards, edited by George R. R. Martin could possibly pull of a nomination due to a great performance by Luke Daniels and the popularity of Game of Thrones.