by Joseph Andre Thomas (@bunttriple)
They’re (finally) here—the HOWL Society Best of 2022 Awards. Yes, the new year has come and gone long ago (along, apparently, with any semblance of my commitments and responsibilities). But at long last the hammer has struck the anvil, and the winners have been chosen.
HOWLS members voted on their top five favorite reads of the year, which have been aggregated below into a full top ten (plus honorable mentions), as well as their favorites—or somewhat-less-than-favorites—in a variety of other categories.
2022 was another killer year for the HOWL Society. The membership grew massively, along with the size of the anthology; Howls from the Dark Ages landed to critical acclaim and strong sales. The Society hosted another slate of awesome Q&As. HOWL Society writers and artists have seen their works published across a wide variety of mediums. Things are looking bright in the early days of 2023, too, as the Society prepares to publish Howls from the Wreckage, its biggest anthology yet. Back the Kickstarter here!
For the first time this year we have a tie for favorite read! Ties have happened on these Best Ofs before. But never for top spot.
Did one of your favorites make the cut? Read on below…
Biggest WTF Moment in a HOWLS read
Runner-up: Nothing But Blackened Teeth (Cassandra Khaw) – Fondue ‘Don’t’
WINNER: Earthlings (Sayaka Murata) – The Ending
This category asked HOWLers to name the book they initially weren’t interested in, but ended up loving.
Runner-up: Sisyphean – Dempow Torishima
WINNER: At the Mountains of Madness (Graphic Novel) – Gou Tanabe
The Vegemite Award
This award is for the most polarizing read between HOWLS users—some loved it, others…not so much. Named in honor of the simultaneously delightful and disgusting Australian spread.
Runner-up: A Head Full of Ghosts – Paul Tremblay
WINNER: Friday Black – Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
Best Book Discussion
This category asked HOWLers to name their favorite book discussion, regardless if it was their favorite read.
Runner-up: Red X – David Demchuk
WINNER: My Heart is a Chainsaw – Stephen Graham Jones
Disclaimer: No exaggeration, for the third year in a row, the votes in this category were spread out remarkably evenly—more than in any other category. Nearly every Q&A guest received at least one vote. HOWLS Q&A guests are all deeply appreciated!
Runner-up [tie]: Cassandra Khaw (Nothing But Blackened Teeth) & Stephen Graham Jones (My Heart is a Chainsaw)
WINNER: Paul Tremblay (A Head Full of Ghosts)
Top 10 HOWLS Reads of 2021
Honorable Mention(s) [tie for 11th]: Things We Lost in the Fire – Mariana Enríquez & The Hacienda – Isabel Canas
10. Blindsight – Peter Watts
9. Friday Black – Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
8. A Cosmology of Monsters – Shaun Hamill
7. Rust Maidens – Gwendolyn Kiste
6. All’s Well – Mona Awad
5. Earthlings – Sayaka Murata
4. The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson
3. Red X – David Demchuk
1st & 2nd [tie for the crown]:
My Heart is a Chainsaw – Stephen Graham Jones
A Head Full of Ghosts – Paul Tremblay
A huge congrats to our co-winners, both awesome, well-deserving writers and friends of the community. Keep on scaring us for years to come!
– Joseph Andre Thomas (bunttriple—signing off with a promise to have this completed in a much more timely fashion next year)
How The Sausage is Made (Fun Facts):
Mona Awad—All’s Well, 6th place—won the top prize last year for Bunny. It’s safe to say she’s quickly become a community favorite.
Easily the biggest voting gap was in the WTF category, with Earthlings winning with a whopping 57.9% of the vote (to Nothing But Blackened Teeth’s 15.8%). Apparently it didn’t bother voters too badly, however, as Earthlings comfortably placed in the top 10.
The polarity was strong in 2020. This is the first time in HOWLS storied three-year history that the Vegemite winner (Friday Black) has cracked the top 10. In fact, both the winner and runner-up (A Head Full of Ghosts) made the top 10 (with the latter even tying for first). I guess Fallout Boy was right: “I don’t care what you think, as long as you think about me.”
Thank you for joining us for this year’s awards! Don’t forget to back the Howls From the Wreckage Kickstarter!