Numbercaste: Winning the VFC Award for Hard Scifi

Last Saturday the Virtual Fantasy Con bestowed on me the gold award for Hard Scifi.

This is a huge thing. It’s the first award I’ve ever won, and while it’s no Hugo or Nebula, it’s a global indie award and thus an incredible capstone for Numbercaste’s little journey. My debut into the world of hard, speculative fiction now has 25 reviews on Amazon with a 4.9* average; rave reviews on print and digital media from science fiction readers, thinkers, researchers I greatly respect; and even the occasional bit of fan mail.

The VFCA topped it all up wonderfully. This award is from my peers – it’s an online convention put together in 2015 by indie fantasy authors looking to recognize work in their genre, and over the years it’s evolved into something that’s quite respected among the indie author community. The social proof is a very powerful thing.

It’s also a test of readership: once the shortlists are generated, people vote on social media for their favourite authors and books, making it an online people’s choice awards of sorts. And since it’s online, this is also a test of the author’s fanbase and digital reach  – ironic, since Numbercaste is all about your popularity on social media and such affecting the real life that you live. Numbercaste has been awarded in a uniquely Numbercaste way.

Julius Common would have been proud.

Here’s a list of the other gold award winners, in no particular order. I couldn’t type out the silver and bronze winners, worthy as they were:

  • Guy Donovan
  • Terra James
  • Mary Woldering
  • Bryan Tann
  • Kindra Sowder
  • Tom Falwell
  • Mara Reitsma
  • J.E. Muller
  • P. Mattern
  • Mark McQuillen
  • Bella Amy
  • Andy Peloquin
  • Mirren Hogan
  • Richard Crofton
  • Leia Stone
  • T.S. Bende
  • R.L. Weeks
  • Aaron-Michael Hall
  • Lyra Shanti
  • E.M. Swift-Hook
  • Angelique Anderson
  • A.M. Rycroft
  • Sedrie Danielle.
  • Mackenzie Flohr

Here’s some interesting observations:

  • At least 13 of these 24 authors are women (around the 50% mark). Trad pub might have its biases, but as far as representation in the indie scene goes, this bodes quite well.
  • None of these are authors I’d read before. Awards confer achievements and marks of quality, but they also serve as discovery engines. The VFCA is doing that pretty well for indies.

I’ve written before about indies winning awards. The truth is that many of the big awards require either a) substantial fanbases or b) a huge marketing push behind books (such as the ones big genre publishers can give). Niche awards like the VFCA do a great deal of good.



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