Something Special

The Subjective Kind of Chaos Awards – Winners!

Libri Draconis has had the great honour of being part of the judging team of this year’s Subjective Kind of Chaos Awards – along with a host of other wonderful bloggers. This year’s judging team consisted of Anna (@Imyril/There is always room for one more), Adri (@adrijjy/Nerds of a Feather), Arina (@voyagerarina/The Bookwyrm’s Guide to the Galaxy), Jonny (@SFFjonbob/Parsecs & Parchment), Kris (@hammard_1987/Cloaked Creators), L.A. (Aquavenatus), Lisa (@deargeekplace/Dear Geek Place), Womble (@runalongwomble/Runalongtheshelves), Noria (@noriathereader/Chronicles of Noria), Sean (@DowieSean/Nerds of a Feather) and our very own Sun (@suncani1). Check out our launch post for the full list of nominees in all the categories here, and without further ado, here are our wonderful winners. Massive congratulations to all of the authors, we had a huge blast reading and a very difficult time choosing – and a few thoughts from the jury on all of the winning books.


Now, I’ve been reliably informed that we introduced a new sort of chaos into these awards by choosing joint winners for the category of BEST FANTASY NOVEL: The Midnight Bargain by C.L. Polk and The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow. The jury loved both of these books and this is what we said about them:

The Midnight Bargain is not only a wonderful story about witches in a richly imagined Regency-style setting, but it’s a clever exploration of reproductive rights and bodily autonomy. It is a thoroughly modern and political book while masquerading as a gorgeous escapist fantasy, and that makes it a fantastic read.”

“Alix E. Harrow has crafted something truly special with The Once and Future Witches. Her prose is by turns powerful and deft of touch, and blends together fantasy, fairytale and history into a thoroughly modern classic.”


The award for BEST SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL goes to The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson, which the jury called “A beautiful intelligent story exploring the parallel worlds concept but also combining it with issues of racism, classism and yet also has a core of hope running throughout.”


I am thrilled to be on a second jury this year to award Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. She already won the British Fantasy Award for Best Horror Novel, and now she’s also won the SKOC award for BEST BLURRED BOUNDARIES. Some thoughts from the jury: “This stylish thriller blends Gothic tropes with 50s noir and body horror. Expect modern themes of prejudice and complicity in an unapologetically creepy tale of controlling families and psychedelic fungus.”


I am especially thrilled that the award for BEST DEBUT NOVEL goes to Tracy Deonn’s Legendborn – one of my all-time favourite books. In the words ouf our jury:

Legendborn is not only one of the most creative reworkings of Arthurian myth – making the corpus truly the author’s own – but it is a tender exploration of grief and Black girl magic in a richly crafted world touching on slavery, privilege and secret societies.”


The award for BEST NOVELLA goes to Nghi Vo and The Empress of Salt and Fortune. I loved this little novella which really packed a lot into a slim volume. Our jury said: “The Empress of Salt and Fortune is an epic tale in miniature: a mosaic of moments and manipulations that resolve into a bigger picture of rebellion.”


Our winning piece of SHORT FICTION is C.L. Clark’s “You Perfect, Broken Thing”. While this doesn’t have a shiny cover, as it’s a short story, it has a shiny link! You can read it for free over at Uncanny Magazine here and see it’s brilliance for yourself. And this is what we had to say about it:

“This is a story about an athlete competing in a Race which forces her to push her sick body to its limits to win a cure. There’s a perfect blend of camaraderie between the main character and their training partners, and the desperate, unfair competition they are pushed into to survive; these are characters still fighting in the face of constant, overwhelming struggle and that’s a powerful, challenging, necessary thing.”


BEST SERIES is awarded to R.F. Kuang for her series The Poppy War. Mindblowing, epic and brilliant, in the words of our jury:

“Based on the Sino-Japanese War (1937-45), R.F. Kuang’s trilogy starts off as an academic fantasy, transforms into a military historical fantasy, and ends as a grimdark narrative. This Asian-inspired series delves into the layers and the consequences of power and warfare.”

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