Hugo nominations are open for the 2017 Worldcon in Helsinki. So I’m thinking that you all could, if you really wanted to, nominate me for Best Fan Writer. (I’d really like another shiny rocket nominee pin.)
But that’s not why I’m writing this post. (I wasn’t really on fire last year, and I know it.) I’m writing because there was a lot of excellent work published in 2016, and I want to share my thoughts about what I’m — probably — nominating. This post is for the prose fiction categories: I’ll probably make another later for the rest.
1. Yoon Ha Lee, NINEFOX GAMBIT. Solaris/Rebellion/Abaddon.
A glittering, compelling and brutal science fiction novel, with an ongoing thematic argument about free will, conformism, and the cost of empire. Everyone should read it. Brilliant in several respects.
2. Foz Meadows, AN ACCIDENT OF STARS. Angry Robot.
A portal fantasy of a different hue. With consequences, and found family. When Saffron Coulter stumbles through a hole between worlds, she’s not a chosen one, or a hero, or anything other than a girl who ends up in the middle of things she doesn’t understand, and tries to survive them. While making new friends and enemies along the way. It’s a fabulous novel, one of my favourite things.
3. Hillary Monahan, SNAKE EYES. Solaris/Rebellion/Abaddon.
The most extraordinary fun gruesome touching urban fantasy novel that I’ve read in years. A thriller, a story of family, and a novel about monsters: it’s utterly great.
4. Nisi Shawl, EVERFAIR. Tor.
A brilliant alternate history of the Congo, liberally dashed with myth and a touch of magic. Deeply invested in interrogating people and systems of power, small compromises and hypocrisies and larger ones, it is a sweeping novel of nation-building and relationships.
Possible contenders for the final slot: Gladstone and Smith et al, THE WITCH WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD (Serial Box); Palmer, TOO LIKE THE LIGHTNING (Tor) — but I’m not convinced the first half of a duology that closes no arcs should hit the awards — Isabel Yap’s HURRICANE HEELS (Booksmugglers Publishing) if it qualifies; No Award.
All my favourite novellas are out of Tor.com, and Laurie Penny’s Everything Belongs to the Future, Cassandra Khaw’s Hammers on Bone, and Marie Brennan’s Cold-Forged Flame are basically my top three. EDITED: I though Kai Ashante Wilson’s The Taste of Honey was novel-length but I was wrong, so IT IS NOW NUMBER ONE.
I should get Kij Johnson’s The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe read in time to consider it for addition to the list.
Fran Wilde’s The Jewel and Her Lapidary (Tor.com).
All the novelettes in Isabel Yap’s Hurricane Heels – dammit, don’t make me pick just one.
SL Huang’s The Little Homo Sapiens Scientist (Booksmugglers Publishing).
Meredith Debonnaire’s “The Life and Times of Angel Evans.” (Booksmugglers Publishing).
Alyssa Wong’s “A Fistful of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers” (Tor.com)
Aliette de Bodard’s “Lullaby for a Lost World” (Tor.com)
But mostly I don’t read short stories. Recommend me some?