Friday, September 3, 2010

...And The Emme (not "Emmy") Goes to WHTTWOT

Very exciting news: Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow has won the American Astronautical Society's 2009 Eugene M. Emme Award for Astronautical Literature!

Since 1983, the AAS has bestowed the Emme Award (named after NASA's first historian) to "outstanding books that advance public understanding of astronautics." This year, for the first time, the society established separate Emme Awards called "Emme Juniors" for young adult books, which is what I won, and children's books. I don't yet see the announcement on the AAS website, but a press release was published on so I guess I'm free to talk about it.

The winner of the (adult) Emme Award is Ambassadors From Earth: Pioneering Explorations with Unmanned Spacecraft by Jay Gallentine, while the children's Emme Junior goes to If I Were An Astronaut by Eric Braun.

I've known about this honor for a couple of weeks but waited for the AAS to make it public. I can't tell you how tickled I am! First: I didn't know I'd been nominated, so it was a terrific surprise. When I was first notified by the AAS, I wondered if I was being punked.

Second: as I joked when Mom's Cancer earned some recognition as children's literature, I didn't realize I'd made a kids' book. I thought I'd written WHTTWOT for Space Age Baby Boomers. Basically, me. But, like Mom's Cancer, WHTTWOT was deliberately written and drawn for an all-ages audience, which certainly includes young adults. So that's fine by me.

Third: while I'm proud and appreciative of recognition like Eisner and Harvey award nominations from within the comics community, I didn't write WHTTWOT exclusively--or even primarily--for that audience. Achieving this kind of crossover, where people outside of comics see the value of graphic novels to tell stories and deliver information in ways that other books or media can't, is important to me.

Especially because it's SPACE people! AAS was formed in 1954 as an independent scientific and technical group dedicated to the advancement of space science and exploration. It holds serious scientific conferences, and its officers and members are leaders in aerospace industry, research, and academia. They're the real deal.

I'll have more to say about this, and why I find it especially moving (if you've read WHTTWOT or this long-ago blog post of mine, you may imagine what being recognized for writing a quality book about space exploration might mean to me). Just wanted to get the word out, and thank the AAS, at the earliest opportunity.


Mike Lynch said...

Congratulations, Brian. This is quite an honor!

Mike said...

Very cool. Yes, being recognized by "your peers" is different than being recognized by those you are writing about!

ronnie said...

Oh Brian! I'm so pleased for you. WHTTWOT completely deserves this.

sligo said...

you're beginning to get a reputation as a pioneer...awards are being created just for you! (what, it's only a slight exageration...)

congratulations. once again, you are the man, um, (cue echo FX) space ambassador!

Anonymous said...

I am SO tickled for you. It's just AMAZING!
Nurse Sis

Michael Ciancone said...

Congratulations on your receipt of the 2009 Emme Junior Award for Astronautical Literature! We are very pleased to have an opportunity to recognize you for your fine work. I look forward to meeting you in November at the AAS conference in Florida.

Mike Ciancone
Chair, AAS History Committee

Brian Fies said...

Michael, thanks so much! Winning the Emme Award means a lot to me, and I hope to be able to attend the conference in November (my wife and I are working ont it). Thanks again.