As is customary at San Diego Comic-Con, the International Association of Media Tie-in Writers have announced the winners of the Scribe Awards for the best work in licensed and derivative fiction in the previous calendar year. This year I was nominated for the ninth and tenth time — for Best Short Story (“Ganbatte” in Joe Ledger: Unstoppable) and Best YA Novel (Marvel’s Warriors Three: Godhood’s End) — having never won one.
That streak is over. “Ganbatte” was the co-winner of Best Short Story, alongside Jonathan Maberry’s “Banana Republic” in Planet of the Apes: Tales from the Forbidden Zone. (I think Jonathan deserved an award just for the chutzpah of titling a POTA story “Banana Republic.”)
Here’s the full list of winners:
Adapted Speculative and General
Doctor Who: The Pirate Planet by James Goss
Warhammer 40,000: Agent of the Throne: Blood and Lies by John French
Don Pendleton’s The Executioner: Fatal Prescription by Michael A. Black
Original Short Story (tie)
“Ganbatte” by Keith R.A. DeCandido in Joe Ledger: Unstoppable
“Banana Republic” by Jonathan Maberry in Planet of the Apes: Tales from the Forbidden Zone
The Librarians and the Mother Goose Chase by Greg Cox
Original Young Adult and Middle Grade
X-Files Origins: Devil’s Advocate by Jonathan Maberry
I have to say that I’m particularly pleased that my first major award for something I’ve written is for “Ganbatte,” for several reasons. Two are fairly superficial: the story brings together two things I love, to wit, the Florida Keys and martial arts.
But more importantly is that it’s a story about sexual harassment, about how depressingly easy it is for someone strong to be put in a position of weakness, especially when that someone is a woman in a male-dominated area. I wrote this story in the summer of 2016, before we elected an avowed sexual predator to the highest office in the land, before the #MeToo movement, before Harvey Weinstein and Al Franken. In the two years since I wrote it, in the nine months since it’s been published, it’s become even more important and more relevant, which, frankly, depresses the shit out of me.
I hope that this award helps raise awareness. I hope that this award helps give people who are harassed, who are beaten down, who are broken by people who have power over them, real or imagined, to speak up, to fight back.
It’s a great honor to win this award. It’s an even bigger honor to win for this story. Thanks go the short story jury, thanks to editors Bryan Thomas Schmidt and Jonathan Maberry, and thanks to all the readers and fans.