Originally due to be announced back in October, the announcement of the 2010 Gaylactic Spectrum Awards was delayed due to the cancellation of Gaylaxicon 2010 in Montreal. As a result, it's been a long wait, but this past weekend's Outlantacon in Atlanta, GA played host to an early Gaylaxicon 2011 . . . and saw the awards announced.
This year's best novel winner is The Steel Remains by Richard Morgan.
From the official press release:
Richard Morgan, the author of The Steel Remains, has made a name for himself with fast-paced and thought provoking science fiction novels with a post-cyberpunk flare. With this novel, Morgan makes the leap from science fiction to fantasy without missing a beat. The Steel Remains combines the gritty and aggressive style of his science fiction novels with a somewhat traditional fantasy setting, resulting in an action-packed heroic fantasy story, a fine example of “hard-edged” fantasy. (Other authors of this “anti-LOTR” type of fantasy are Steven Erickson, Ian Esslemont, Glen Cook, and Gene Wolfe for example.)
In The Steel Remains, human civilization is caught up between the contending influences of several non-human races, some of which are intruders from other worlds. Those influences impact a number of societies – from the mercantile to the imperialistic, from the nomadic to the feudal. The novel, the first of a series, deals with the resurgence of an ancient mystical (or perhaps other-dimensional) threat which has ripple effects throughout the various societies of the world.
Gritty, militaristic novels aren’t known for positive GLBT content, but Morgan has turned that on its ear. The main hero and one of the other primary characters are queer. The lead is Ringil, a former war hero and current high-ranking mercenary-for-hire who could be considered a sort of “gay pride poster boy” (“I’m here! I’m queer! Want to make something of it?”) - tough enough to make his point (swordspoint, that is). He’s made a place for himself in a world that (like our own) isn’t very supportive of queers. Granted, he’s not very polite and he doesn’t have a lot of finesse – but he’s intelligent and capable: a queer man beating the odds on his own merits, while not hiding his sexual preference. The fate of the world rests in the hands of a queer man with an axe to grind against his own family and culture, and Morgan never wavers from looking at how that might play out. Full of twists and turns and witty dialogue, The Steel Remains is an outstanding read.