A note from SFF organizer Sheila Ruth:
Since the Cybils was founded four years ago, the number of nominations has increased dramatically each year. Back in that first year, Fantasy/Science Fiction was one unified category, with only 88 nominations in the entire category. By the second year, Fantasy/Science Fiction selected two groups of finalists, one for the elementary/middle age group and one for the teen age group, an idea which we "borrowed" from the Graphic Novels category. The wide age range of the books in these two categories made it difficult to compare books for younger readers with books for older readers, so it seemed to work better to group them by age. One group of panelists did double duty and selected finalists for both age subcategories, and another panel selected the winner for both age groups.
This year, because of the increasing interest, and the corresponding increase in the number of nominations, we had decided to create two Fantasy/Science Fiction panels for Round 1. One is selecting the finalists for the elementary/middle age range, and one for the teen age range. We had originally thought that one panel would suffice for round 2, however. Since each age subcategory would only be allowed to choose five finalists, each Round 2 panelist would only need to read ten books.
Then the nominations started pouring in, and kept on pouring. We ended up with 98 nominations in the elementary/middle subcategory of Fantasy/Science Fiction, and 134 nominations in the teen subcategory, an increase of 58% and 35% over last year, respectively. With so many nominations, it will be very difficult to limit each age subcategory to five finalists. Each subcategory of SFF has as many nominations as most of the full categories, and a full (unsplit) category is allowed up to seven nominations. But, increasing the number of finalists allowed for the split category would put an extra burden on the Round 2 panelists, and make it more difficult to give every finalist fair consideration.
Therefore, we've decided to add a second Round 2 panel to the Fantasy and Science Fiction category. One panel will judge the finalists for the elementary/middle age range and choose a winner from that group, and a second panel will do the same thing with the SFF teen finalists.
The two Round 2 panels for Fantasy/Science Fiction will now be:
Fantasy/Science Fiction Category Organizer