The Sidewise Awards for Alternate History

About the Awards

The Sidewise Awards for Alternate History were conceived in late 1995 to honor the best allohistorical genre publications of the year. The first awards were announced in summer 1996 and honored works from 1995. The award takes its name from Murray Leinster's 1934 short story "Sidewise in Time", in which a strange storm causes portions of Earth to swap places with their analogs from other timelines.

To be considered, a work must have either first English-language publication or first American publication* in the calendar year prior to the year in which the award is to be presented. Thus, the awards announced in 2009 honored works published in 2008 and were called the "2008 Sidewise Awards". Two awards are usually given each year, and their presentation is usually made at the World Science Fiction Convention.

The Short-Form Award is presented for the best work of less than 60,000 words. This includes short stories, novelettes and novellas, and poems. One winner was a three-issue comic book series.

The Long-Form Award is presented for the best work longer than 60,000 words. This category includes individual novels and longer works. If a book is part of a series, it must be able to stand on its own to be considered. If it is part of a serial novel — a series in which the storyline is continuous and no volume can stand on its own — the complete serial novel will be considered when the final volume is published.

In addition, at the discretion of the judges, a Special Achievement Award may be presented to honor a specific work or for a significant body of work which was published prior to the inception of the award; i.e., before 1995. Only three Special Achievement Awards have been announced, and none since 1999.

Tearsheets and/or review copies of works submitted for consideration for the Sidewise Awards may be sent to any or all of the judges, listed below. Electronic copies are also accepted. Please address all inquiries and correspondence to the awards secretary, Steven Silver.

The present Sidewise Awards judges are:

Stephen Baxter
Great Britain
(publishers may contact Steven Silver
for Mr. Baxter's address)
Evelyn Leeper
80 Lakeridge Drive
Matawan, NJ 07747-3738
United States
Jim Rittenhouse
577 Hitchcock Ave
Lisle, IL 60532-2282
United States
Kurt Sidaway
107 Lea Street
Kidderminster, Worcestershire, DY10 1SN
Great Britain
Steven Silver
707 Sapling Lane
Deerfield, IL 60015-3969
United States

* In practice, the qualifying year for works first published outside the United States varies between the year of first publication and the year of first publication in the U.S., and depends on whether the Sidewise judges are able to obtain copies of the earlier edition. Thus, some alternate history works first published in the U.K., Canada, and Australia are not considered until they later receive publication in the United States. This was especially true in the early years of the Sidewise Awards and explains why, for example, Stephen Fry's Making History was considered for the 1998 awards (on the basis of its first U.S. edition) rather than the 1996 (its first U.K. and world edition).

Exemptions to the first-year-of-publication rule may also be granted when a work's first publication was extremely limited and/or obscure. For example, Howard Waldrop's "You Could Go Home Again" was considered for the 1995 awards when it appeared on a popular science fiction website because its original publication in 1993 in chapbook form had a very limited distribution.