A Thor-iffic Ride
Old Flames by Jack Ketchum

Circumnavigating Fairyland

In the previous life of this blog, we ran the CultureGeek Awards for the Aughts, rewarding the best work of the 2000s. That was before we got cancelled, went independent and started using four-letter words.

They were readers' choice awards, because y'all have read and watched a lot more than I can manage unless I want to live on my couch. At the time, all the sites were running these utterly lame lists of the "best of the century so far" and I knew we could do better. I mean, this was a decade that created Bratz: The Movie.

So on Jan. 15, 2010, I declared the winners. And with more than 40 percent of the vote, Catherynne M. Valente's The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making beat both Dr. Horrible and xkcd for best web fiction. At the time, Fairyland was only available online.

I understand this week Fairyland has been released to the world in a beautiful hardcover edition, lauded by Neil Gaiman and Cory Doctorow, among others. And we are extra tickled that the CultureGeek Award made the cover.

For those who wonder, the original CultureGeek posts are gone, having been deleted from the interwebs by the newspaper upon our cancellation. Here's an excerpt from the original post:

This was a tough category, with Joss Whedon’s writers-strike summer project up against indie webcomics and Valente’s brilliant experiment: a novel published chapter by chapter directly online, funded by donations. I was frankly astonished at the ferocity of her readers, drowning out the acknowledged frontrunner of Doctor Horrible (who even made a guest appearance at the Emmys)...

The tough choices just show that even in the morass of swill that Hollywood sends us, there are bright spots of smart, funny, touching and even grotesque fiction that still qualify as art.

Why should we care? Because what we term as "pop culture" matters. A hundred years from now, what will they remember of the turn of the century? What legacy do we leave in the stories for our descendants? These are not small, stupid things sandwiched between commercials. Regardless of their form, electronic or on the printed page, the stories we tell are one of the key measures of our civilization. It is the study of that measure, of the reflections of our civilization in the camera's eye, that spurs me to keep writing this blog and seeking out new and different things to feature here.

Congratulations to our winners, and here’s to many more strange, beautiful and fantastic worlds to conquer in the next decade.

 

Congratulations to Catherynne Valente on her beautiful new book, which you can purchase here. You can bet I'll be picking one up.

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