Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

« Time for Irwin, Part III | Lunchtime Quickie »

Friday, April 4, 2008

The Worst Book Awards Ever

posted by on April 4 at 11:54 AM

I thought the Quills were the worst book awards ever, but I have been suitably chastened. Ladies and gentlemen, the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers will present the second annual Scribe Awards this summer. These awards will go to the best novelization of a movie, tv show or video game of the past year. Shouldn’t these be called the “Hackies?” Here’s an abridged list of nominees:

Best General Fiction Original

* CSI NY: Deluge by Stuart M. Kaminsky
* Mr. Monk and the Two Assistants by Lee Goldberg
* Murder She Wrote: Panning for Murder by Jessica Fletcher and Donald Bain
* Criminal Minds: Jump Cut by Max Allan Collins

Best Speculative Original

* Last Days of Krypton by Kevin J. Anderson
* Stargate Atlantis Casualties of War by Elizabeth Christiansen
* Star Trek: Q&A by Keith R.A. DeCandido

Best Game-Related Original (Special Scribe Award)

* Hitman by William Dietz
* Forge of the Mindslayers by Tim Waggoner
* Night of the Long Shadows by Paul Crilley

Best Speculative Adapted

* Resident Evil: Extinction by Keith R.A. DeCandido
* 52: The Novel by Greg Cox
* 30 Days of Night by Tim Lebbon

The association’s Grandmaster Award, which honors “a writer for his extensive and exceptional work in the tie-in field,” goes to Alan Dean Foster, author of novelizations for Star Wars, the animated Star Trek series, Alien, Black Hole, Starman, Outland, Pale Rider and Alien Nation.

The Scribe Awards will be given at the Comic Con show in San Diego, Calif., in July, and the special gaming scribes will be awarded at Gen Con Indy in August.

I really hope Jessica Fletcher finally wins her award. She’s been through so much, the poor dear.

(Thanks to Slog tipper Steve.)

RSS icon Comments


The only tie-in books worth a crap have the Brady Bunch or the Partridge Family on the front. Since then, the only good tie-in book is one that is on fire, and flying through the air towards a huge pile of other tie-in books that have been drenched in gasoline.

Posted by Fnarf | April 4, 2008 12:00 PM

i ONLY read books based on video games.

Posted by Paulus | April 4, 2008 12:04 PM

As a review of books, right, that is what you do? You should know how hard it is to get your first novel published, to get that novel to be recognized anywhere, to gain a fan base. Making a living as a writer is difficult and sometimes people write novelizations.

Some authors make deals to get their original work published after doing the novelization. Maybe getting an award will help them get a better deal with their publisher or make the publisher look twice at their previously rejected work.

Shame on you! Don't be an asshole.

I do think that Jessica Fletcher being credited is hilarious though.

Posted by Clearlyhere | April 4, 2008 12:09 PM

As a reviewer of books I meant.

By the way, you have some knowledge of the publishing industry, right?

Sorry about being snarky, I just know these people are trying to make a living doing what they love to do, writing.

Posted by Clearlyhere | April 4, 2008 12:13 PM

Maybe the reason real artists have such a hard time getting noticed is that the hacks spew out so much crap.

Posted by elenchos | April 4, 2008 12:18 PM

Clearlyhere, sorry. No. I do not accept your premise. Writers have written shitty books for well over a century, under names both assumed and real. It's called hacking, or being a hack writer. And it's a legitimate way to make money, and do some writing. Many of those hacks are probably, in fact, better writers than many writers who have been published.

But an award for a media tie-in is gross, and completely misses the point of an award, which is to signify work that is well above the average. Tie-ins are by definition mediocre at BEST...and giving an award for them is an insult to the idea of awards. If you have a shitty job, you shouldn't expect people to praise you in public for it. You should work hard and get out of the shitty line of work that you're in. Praising a tie-in is giving a food award to McDonald's.

Posted by Paul Constant | April 4, 2008 12:21 PM

Yeah, I'm sure that's it. People take books too seriously. Not everything has to last a lifetime. I've read the Stephanie Plum novels 1-8 because they were light and funny. I've read Dan Savage's The Kid and The Commitment, Good Earth, Great Expectations. They were entertaining. I know I'm not going to read The Good Earth again anytime soon, but I will read "A Really Nice Prom Mess" because it was fun. Not everybody want to watch only Lost or the British Miniseries of Pride and Prejudice. More often you casually turn on The Daily Show or America's Next Top Model.

Posted by Clearlyhere | April 4, 2008 12:26 PM

This isn't a case of people taking books too seriously. I love pulp novels and I read series mysteries, too. Anyone who looks at the books I review can tell you that I read a whole range of books. But tie-ins aren't like America's Next Top Model. They're more like an infomercial, or like those bad 1980's cartoons that were really a half-hour ad for toys. And an award for them is stupid.

Posted by Paul Constant | April 4, 2008 12:36 PM

@1: Those Partridge Family books are utter garbage! They're not the least bit funny! However, the Brady Bunch books rule! Written by William Johnston, who also did novelizations of The Flying Nun, Get Smart, Welcome Back Kotter, Bewitched (starring Uncle Arthur, of course), Nanny and the Professor, Room 222, Captain Nice, Happy Days, F Troop, The Monkees, The Munsters, Then Came Bronson, Ben Casey, Dr. Kildare, The Mod Squad, Ironside, Banyon, and, his greatest work, the only Gilligan's Island tie-in novel! And he wrote smutty paperbacks on the side! If he doesn't have a lifetime achievement award, I'll kick somebody's ass!

Posted by ratzkywatzky | April 4, 2008 12:39 PM

It's the novelization of comics and movies that kill me!

Posted by Soupytwist | April 4, 2008 12:40 PM

I agree with Constant for once.

Posted by Rotten666 | April 4, 2008 12:41 PM

Although I do find ratzkywatzky's enthusiasm to be infectious and now I really want to read a book or two by William Johnston.

Posted by Paul Constant | April 4, 2008 12:45 PM

I'm still waiting for the novelization of The Passion of the Christ.

C'mon, Mel!

And I'm with Paul. I've enjoyed my fair share of novelizations (I'm a Doctor Who fan, sometimes that's all there is) but an award for this stuff is ridiculous.

Posted by Chris B | April 4, 2008 12:46 PM

I found myself agreeing with you . . .

Until I remembered how many Star Wars books I've read. Those were pretty sweet.

Posted by Ashley | April 4, 2008 12:49 PM

1. People are praised all the time in shitty jobs by doing better than average or exemplary examples in them. Nothing wrong with that. In fact, it can make having one of the shitty jobs better.
2. The award means nothing like most awards except to those in the industry. Most people don't care who got the LA Critics' award for best short film.
3. They aren't giving out an award for best book of the year and only including tie-ins, they are saying these are the best the tie-in genre.
4. I think that most book awards are crap anyway. I wouldn't touch their incomprehensible prose.

There has to be a varying degree of quality in these novelizations and why not recognize someone who raised the bar. Of course, that is total optimism. They could all be crap.

I do get your vitriol though.

Posted by Clearlyhere | April 4, 2008 12:51 PM

Perhaps there's still hope for my post-apocalypse zombie transvestite tie-in novel, Resident Evil: Queen of the Desert.

Posted by Ramdu | April 4, 2008 1:17 PM

Back in the day I remember seeing the cover (but unfortunately not sampling) the novelization of the movie 'E.T.', which was by William Kotzwinkle, an excellent writer whose stories I would later enjoy in college.

Any other 'crossover' novelizations?

Posted by Grant Cogswell | April 4, 2008 1:18 PM

Terry Brooks did the novelization of Hook. It took me a while to get over that craptacular.

Posted by Ryan | April 4, 2008 1:42 PM

Alan Dean Foster is the John Grisham of sci-fi tie-ins.

Timothy Zhan was always the best Star Wars-related author.

Posted by laterite | April 4, 2008 1:51 PM


Posted by laterite | April 4, 2008 1:53 PM

Grant (If I may call you Grant), I heard that Kotzwinkle made a metric shit-ton of money off that E.T. novelization and its sequel, and that funded many of his later books, which are, in fact, excellent. For the most part, though, tie-ins make me think of Peter David, who had a fun run on the Hulk comic book for a long time, but is mostly a hackety-hack-hack-hack. I can't think of any other good crossovers, no.

Posted by Paul Constant | April 4, 2008 2:05 PM

Err... Doesn't every field have awards like these? Why can't these people have their own thing without it being subjected to the condescension of the literary Illuminati?

I just thank goodness that all my literary canon lovers have had to point out that so many of the books they love were actually hated and criticized when they first came out and later became canonical only when the current generation of gate keepers finally died. Says something about the subjectivity of tastes. Especially funny when people represent their own tastes and prejudices as objective truth.

Posted by Mark in France | April 4, 2008 2:31 PM

Big fucking deal. The names that I do recognize here are working writers, not artistes who have faculty jobs with summers off and the occaisional sabbatical that allow them to leisurely spend five years on their "serious" novel about a professor who is boning one of his students.

Posted by mint chocolate chip | April 4, 2008 3:14 PM

These awards seem silly. Yet...the novelization "The Death and Life of Superman" is, even as an English lit major, one of my favorites ever, for sheer fun value. For those of us who like superhero stuff but can't spare the money or effort to buy 19 comics titles every month to follow one character, dipping into this sort of thing once in a while is quite fun.

And I'll bet the conversations at this ceremony would be quite hilarious.

Posted by mmm, superman | April 4, 2008 3:34 PM

Who gives a shit? How is this any more an abomination than any office's "employee of the month?"

Posted by frederick r | April 4, 2008 5:22 PM

Mark in France, calling shit shit is not condescension. There is a slow creep of stupidity going on in this culture, and sometimes it has to be called. Especially when something THIS stupid pops up. We're not exactly talking about neglected great works here. I know you are in France and all the cultural richness and sophistication are making you want to reach for a TV remote, but please. Please.

Posted by Grant Cogswell | April 6, 2008 12:37 AM

Comments Closed

In order to combat spam, we are no longer accepting comments on this post (or any post more than 14 days old).