I’ve been promising for a while I’d put together an update on how the Subjective Chaos Kind of Judges are getting on with our self-inflicted and oh-so-delightful task of reading our take on the best of 2017. With the shortlists announced in January, we’ve had nearly two months now – and I’m unsurprised to say we’re nowhere near anything that looks like a decision on any front.

Our process is pretty straightforward. Now we have a reading list, we’ve all gone off to our reading nooks to catch up on the titles we hadn’t read previously. For me, this meant playing catch up on something like 30 books and novellas, which I would expect to take 4-5 months – but will actually take a little longer, as these are not the only books I’m committed to reading (I have no regrets. My 2018 ARCs have been TREMENDOUS). I’ve barely scratched the surface so far (25 to go), but the nominees will be my main focus for the coming months (ahem, other than fantasy novels for Wyrd and Wonder, of course).

You might think a bit of organisation would be the thing at this point, but you’d be forgetting our allegiance to chaos (ahem, there may be a spreadsheet of sorts. I can’t do anything without a spreadsheet, ok? But that’s just me).

So yes, I’m sure it would help if we all read the same book at the same time (but: different reading speeds, and we haven’t all got the same books to read) or at least all focused on the same category to finish and discuss (but what if we ran out of time? At least this way those who HAVE read the category can come to an agreement) – but we’re doing no such thing. We’re all reading freely, and we will get as far as we can in the time we have. Our only rule is that you only get a vote on a category if you read every book in it. No Oscars-style ‘voting because I can’ nonsense for us!

And our deadline is set: we want to award at Nine Worlds in August, so it’s time to get my boots on (wait, maybe my glasses would be more helpful?) and get to it! After all, we need time to debate and decide before we can celebrate in the bar…