On Monday, July 16, 2018, the North Carolina Speculative Fiction Foundation was proud to announce the winner of the 2018 Manly Wade Wellman Award for North Carolina Science Fiction and Fantasy, after the result of voter selection from the nominees, in turn the result of voter selection from an eligibility list of over 100 novels. The award was presented on July 15, 2018, at ConGregate 5 at the Red Lion Hotel High Point to Charlotte author Gail Z. Martin for Scourge, published by Solaris Books:
Like the best kinds of fantasy, the novel’s themes invite the reader to reflect and refract upon their own ideas and interests: weaponized gang warfare, arms and militia freedoms, police violence, and media manipulation; or as an incredibly well-realized secondary fantasy world of city-states and guilds ripe for adaptation as a homebrew roleplaying game setting; or simply a story of three brothers trying to hold their family together.
The novel is Martin’s 7th nomination for and first win of the Manly Wade Wellman Award, having had at least one novel named as a finalist in each of the award’s first five years.
Accepting the award, presented as part of ConGregate’s opening ceremonies, Martin said: “It’s one thing to be on a slate with strangers. It’s another when everyone is a friend and a fantastic writer—and the books are all winners. So I am humbled, honored and kinda gobsmacked. This reminds me that a couple of years ago, Bud Sparhawk—a terrific author with a slew of great stories—asked me, ‘So, when are you gonna write something serious?’ Well Bud, this one’s for you!”
The Manly Wade Wellman Award was founded to recognize outstanding achievement in science fiction and fantasy novels written by North Carolina authors. The 2018 award, voted on by the combined membership of North Carolina science fiction and fantasy conventions (illogiCon, ConCarolinas, and ConGregate), covers novels published in 2017. Nominations opened at illogiCon in January ahead of a final voting round after ConCarolinas, with the award presented at ConGregate in July.
The award is named for long-time North Carolina author Manly Wade Wellman with the permission of his estate.