Have you heard of the Auroras? The Aurora Awards, sponsored by the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association, recognizes the best in Canadian SF&F literature, art, and fan works of the previous year. Kinda like the Hugo Awards (which you probably have heard of), but specializing in us folks up north.

If you’re like me, you don’t typically choose your novels based on the author’s nationality, so you may not be sure which, if any, SF&F authors you read may in fact be Canadian. Probably more than you think! Wikipedia has a list.

The categories include Best Novel, Best YA Novel, Best Short Fiction, Best Graphic Novel, Best Related Work, Best Artist, and several Fan-related categories. You can find a list of eligible works (not a complete list, but it’s a great place to start) for stuff published in 2012 maintained at the CanSpec Fic List. You may notice that Galaxion appears in the Graphic Novel category, which encompasses online comics. ;-)

What I think is most interesting is the hardest choice for me, this year, will be in the YA Novel category, rather than the straight-up Novel. Possible choices for nomination include Cory Doctorow’s Pirate Cinema, Leah Bobet’s Above, Adrienne Kress’s Friday Society, and– oooh– Rachel Hartman’s Seraphina. (Actually, I think the separation between adult novels and young adult novels may be new for 2012.) Isn’t it amazing how many great books are being published for the youth market now! I suspect this is a publisher thing—in decades past, many of these would have just been marketed as adult fiction, but with the success of such series as Harry Potter and Hunger Games, which draw as many grown-up readers as they do kids, publishers are ready to push this section of the bookstore. Well, I’ve never been ashamed to admit I read YA books.

For a yearly membership fee of $10 to join CSFFA, any Canadian citizen or permanent resident can nominate and vote on the Auroras. For an award representing such a large country (in square metres, anyway) the number of ballots cast is actually pretty small. So in this case, every vote really can make a big difference!

The nomination period lasts from January 1st through April 15th, and the voting begins in early May. The 2013 awards will be presented in October in Ottawa at Can-Con. So if you’re Canadian, please consider showing your support for the great science fiction and fantasy creators in our country!