Nomination period opens for 2024 Aurora Awards

The Crystal Key coverThe nomination period is now open for the 2024 Aurora Awards, recognizing the best of Canadian SF & Fantasy published in 2023.

This year, I have three works that are eligible to be nominated:


  • The Crystal Key: The Dream Rider Saga, Book 2


  • "If I Should Fall Behind" (The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction)
  • "Oregon Shooters" (On Spec Magazine)

Any Canadian citizen or permanent resident may nominate for the Auroras. If that's you, I'd truly appreciate any consideration you'd give to nominating me.

I explain how to nominate below, but first, let me talk up my works, because all have received a lot of critical notice.


The Crystal Key: The Dream Rider Saga, Book 2

The sequel to The Hollow Boys, which won the Aurora Award last year. This second book in my new trilogy has received universal praise, sitting at between 4.8 and 5.0 stars on all the major retailers plus garnering great reviews from top book review sites:

"Editor's Pick: The richly inventive Dream Rider adventure continues... always enlivened by the Smith hallmarks of crack dialogue, fun sleuthing and puzzle-solving, a strong through-line of emotion, a swift pace…and a principled refusal to settle for the familiar. Be ready for memorable beasts, weird magic, and fantasy worlds that are truly fantastic… For all the wonders, though, the series is also compellingly engaged in Toronto street life and its characters’ very human hearts. Takeaway: This thrilling superpowered urban fantasy series continues to grip." —BookLife (Editor's Pick)

"The engrossing second installment ... Smith continues to demonstrate an ability to expertly weave multiple complex fantasy elements into a cohesive whole. … This fast-paced story delivers in a big way." —Blueink Review (★ Starred review)

"The author’s sequel to the excellent The Hollow Boys (2022) ups the ante for adventure and suspense and continues to deftly fuse superhero and fantasy tropes. ... Smith excels at strong action sequences, worldbuilding, and humorous dialogue. …There is plenty here to entice readers to return for the grand finale. A fun and engrossing superhero sequel." —Kirkus Reviews

"An ethnically diverse cast and strong female characters. Smith's take on superheroes and serials is both modern and original ... High adventure leavened with romance and mystery. … [Smith] keeps things moving at a fast clip. No spoilers, so all I can say about the plot is that it involves the multiverse, astral travel, ancient cults, hypnotic powers, criminal gangs, private mercenaries, romance, and betrayal. … Overall, great fun. ... The Crystal Key has everything that made The Hollow Boys work and turns it up a few notches." —Ottawa Review of Books

If you haven't read The Crystal Key but would like to, here are some options.

  • You can read the first three chapters for free here.
  • I am also offering a discount from my website store. Use the coupon code "AURORAS24" at checkout to get the ebook for $0.99 (Regular $4.99 US / $6.99 CAD). Note: this coupon expires when the nomination period ends April 22.


"If I Should Fall Behind"

(first appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Sept/Oct 2023 issue)

The story that finally let me break into my dream market, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction. Some reviews:

“The story has great emotional appeal and the plight of the two lovers is sure to touch the reader’s heart. … [A] powerful tale.” —TangentOnline

“One of my very favorites of the year. ... with an idiosyncratic but compelling prose style that puts the reader right in the lead’s head... [The ending’s] an emotionally satisfying cap on a tremendous tale, a tale which itself is a tremendous cap on the September/October issue of F&SF...  but the voice is what makes this one exceptional.” —Tar Vol’s 2023 Recommended Reading List

During the nomination period, you can read a PDF of "If I Should Fall Behind" online here.


"Oregon Shooters"

(first appeared in On Spec Magazine, #124, July 2023)

My private eye / SF mash-up, told with tongue somewhat in cheek:

"Quite entertaining. … Can this be the real reason H.P. Lovecraft was so terrified of sea food? I like to think so. Have the feeling he would wholeheartedly approve.” —R. Graeme Cameron, Amazing Stories

During the nomination period, you can read a PDF of "Oregon Shooters" online here.



To nominate, you need to be a member of the Canadian SF & Fantasy Association (CSFFA), the organization that administers the awards. If you've nominated or voted in 2021-2023, you're already a member and can just jump down to "Already a Member?" below. Else...

How to Register:

  • Go here and click on "Not a Member Yet?"
  • Fill out your name, email, and home province
  • Select a username and password for the site. One weirdness with this form: the password box will be filled with black dots. Just click in the box, hold down the "DELETE" key until they disappear, then enter your new password there and in the box below to verify it.
  • Registration is CA$10, which lets you nominate (this step) and vote on the final ballot. Not much to pay to support Canadian SF & fantasy, right?
  • Once you're logged in, click on "Pay Membership Fee with PayPal." Don't use PayPal? You can also pay by debit or credit.

You're registered! You'll then be taken back to the Aurora Awards site so you can nominate (see below)!

Already a Member?

  • Go here, click on "Log in" under "You Are A Member?" then enter your username (or email) and password to access the Awards main page.
  • If you haven't paid for 2024, click on "Pay Renewal Fee with PayPal." Don't use PayPal? You can also pay by debit or credit.

How to Nominate

  • Select "Nomination" from the middle of the screen to access the online nomination form.
  • To nominate a work, just click on one of the boxes under the category and select the appropriate title of the work you wish to nominate from the drop down list of eligible works.
  • You can nominate up to five works in each category, but you don't need to nominate in every category or that many in any category.
  • When you've finished nominating in a category, make sure you click on the "Update nominations" button for the category, then move to your next category.

Again, my eligible works this year are:

  • The Crystal Key is eligible under "Best YA Novel"
  • "If I Should Fall Behind" is eligible under "Best Short Story"
  • "Oregon Shooters" is eligible under "Best Short Story"

The nomination period closes at 11:59 pm on Saturday, April 6, 2024.

Thanks again for any consideration you give to nominating my writing!