It’s the time again! As we near the end of the year, social media is buzzing and blogs are being dusted off as writers everywhere start shouting about their award eligible work. And, you know me, I can’t resist an opportunity to pump my own tires, so here we go.
I’ve got a lotta stuff I’m proud of this year (I think Astrolabe’s pretty swell, tbh), but if you’re gonna nominate one thing off this list, I hope it’s:
Best Related Work: “Fight, Magic, Items”
My biggest contribution this year was my debut book: Fight, Magic, Items: The History of Final Fantasy, Dragon Quest, and the Rise of Japanese RPGs in the West. It’s eligible for “Best Related Work” (or equivalent), and with the recent introduction of a “Best Video Game” category at last year’s Hugo Awards, I think it fills an great niche in SFF culture by exploring a huge, popular medium traditionally underrepresented by the SFF awards scene. As I wrote for Kotaku in 2019, many young science fiction and fantasy writers—from Tamsyn Muir to Scott Lynch—have been as inspired by Hironobu Sakaguchi and Yuji Horii as they have been by Tolkien and Le Guin, and I want to continue to highlight the connection between these two fandoms.
Here’s the back cover blurb:
Press start and discover the fascinating history of JRPGs.
The Japanese roleplaying game is a special genre that includes some of the most creative, influential, and beloved video games and series of all time. In Fight, Magic, Items, Aidan Moher guides you through the origin and evolution of the genre, beginning with the two games that started it all: Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest. Moher weaves in firsthand interviews and behind-the-scenes tales into a unique and entertaining tribute to a genre and games that inspired an industry and continues to capture the imagination of generations of fans.
Other eligible works worth considering include Mary Kenney’s Gamer Girls, Daniel Dockery’s Monster Kids, Andrew Liptak’s Cosplay, Levar Burton Reads, and “Too Dystopian For Whom? A Continental Nigerian Writer's Perspective” by Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki.
Best Fanzine: Astrolabe
As always, Astrolabe is eligible for “Best Fanzine.” I was quite tickled (and surprised) to see it on the statistical “longlist” released after the 2021 awards were presented. My prior fanzine, A Dribble of Ink, won this award in 2014, and it’d be pretty neat to see Astrolabe—a very different style of fanzine—similarly recognized. Over the year, I wrote about the pressures of debuting with your first book, why I’m not gonna write about The Rings of Power, what Nintendo can learn from Elden Ring, and the history of cosplay—along with all the LTTP columns, book reviews, and more. A panoply of geeky goodness.
Here’s a few highlights from 2022:
I highly recommend you also check out Matthew Claxton’s , Gailey's Stone Soup, Omar Holmon and William Evans’s Black Nerd Problems, Andrew Liptak’s Transfer Orbit, Marc Normandin’s , Jason Sanford's Genre Grapevine, Alasdair Stuart and Margarite Kenner’s The Full Lid, and Wendy Browne and Nola Pfau’s Women Write About Comics.
Best Fan Writer: Me! Aidan Moher
In-between my professional work (like these pieces for WIRED about the rise of video game book clubs and the ethos of pixel art, or this piece for Lifehacker about the best ways to play vintage games on your modern TV), I produce a ton of free content—whether that’s Astrolabe issues, in-depth Twitter threads, or pieces about how the Sega Saturn is one of the best JRPG consoles of all time… just not in the west. While I can’t count the professional pieces toward this award, if you’ve enjoyed the aggregate of the rest of the work I’ve done in fannish spaces, you can pop me into the “Best Fan Writer” spot on your ballot.
Others worth consideration include Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki, Alasdair Stuart, Jason Sanford, Adri Joy, Gailey, Paul Wiemer, Jordan Shiveley, and all the remaining creators of the fanzines mentioned above.
And, that’s it! 2022 was a huge year for me, and I’m extremely proud that Fight, Magic, Items represents the first true professional work I’ve released that’s award eligible. I hope you’ll consider it when the time comes to fill out your ballots!
Otherwise, thank you all for the generous support and attention to this year. I look forward to making 2023 even more exciting for y’all.