The Dervish House by Ian McDonald (Gollancz/Pyr) won this year’s John W. Campbell Memorial Award for best science fiction novel published in 2010, and novella "The Sultan of the Clouds" by Geoffrey A. Landis (Asimov’s Sept. 2010) won the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award for best short fiction of 2010. The awards were presented by the Center for the Study of Science Fiction, during the annual Campbell Conference, held July 7-10, 2011 at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas.
This is a jury award rather than a popular vote award, which usually means I am likely to have a high regard for the results. This year is no exception. McDonald's The Dervish House is, I think, the strongest science fiction novel from 2010. I am a less enthusiastic about "The Sultan of the Clouds." It's a solid story, with an interesting braided marriage concept. Still, it was a strong year for short fiction and "Sultan" is nowhere near my top pick, even among the Sturgeon nominees. A couple of my favorites were "The Maiden Flight of McAuley’s Bellerophon" by Elizabeth Hand and "Ghosts Doing the Orange Dance" by Paul Park. The remaining stories on the Sturgeon shortlist are worth tracking down, too.