This year, however, we'd like to be more systematic in our approach, and include our readership in our deliberation process.
After much pondering, hand-waving and a fair bit of good-natured argument, we've settled on the criteria for the 2010 Kitschies.
The guiding principle of The Kitschies is to reward those books that elevate the tone of geek culture. This doesn't mean using big words or having dully philosophical plot lines - it means creating something that we're proud to have represent our socio-literary community of genre fandom. We want something that is progressive (but not wanky) in terms of perspective and craftsmanship, intelligent (but not arrogant) in terms of character, plot and composition, and, crucially, entertaining (but not trite).
Our long list is composed of every science fiction, fantasy, speculative fiction or horror book we've read that was first published in English in 2010. We take publication dates from Amazon.co.uk., because London is the center of the universe and Amazon (love it or leave it) is the world's biggest bookseller. For small press or dirty foreign books, we'll use the most accurate date we can find.
We'll share the long list soon, so everyone can see what we're up to. We'd really like you to bully us into reading any of your favorites we've missed. Then, a week or so into January, we'll pick five books for the short list and argue about them for a while.
Finally, at the end of January, two books will walk away with our awards: The Kitschie and The Golden Tentacle (limited to those authors that made their professional debut in 2010). There will be trophies and everything.
Due to personal or professional relationships, a few books will be excluded from the short list. We'll highlight those, so they still get their well-deserved love. Books we receive for free (<10% of the list) are still included, because we're just as likely to snark on review copies as we are the stuff we buy ourselves (possibly explaining why we get so few for free). Wish us luck!