The 2015 SF/F Fans Award Recommendation Thread
Posted on February 12, 2015 Posted by John Scalzi 64 Comments
The Nebula Award nomination period ends on February 15, and the Hugo/Campbell Award nomination period is well underway, and several other awards are in their consideration periods as well. Which makes right now an excellent time for fans of the science fiction and fantasy genre to make their recommendations for books, stories, art, movies and TV shows, fanzines and podcasts to nominate for this year’s slate of awards.
And so, here’s have a thread to make those recommendations. I’ve done this for a few years now, and every year it offers up recommendations worth considering when the time comes to make one’s own award nominations.
What and how should you recommend? Here are the thread rules:
1. Please make sure that what you’re suggesting, work or person, is actually eligible for awards consideration this year. Generally speaking that means the work was published (or otherwise produced) in the last calendar year (i.e., 2014); for the Campbell, it means someone who has been professionally published in the SF/F field in the last two years (2013, 2014). If you’re not sure what you’re suggesting is eligible, please check. Otherwise you’re wasting your time and the time of everyone reading the thread for recommendations.
Also, it’s helpful if, when making a suggestion, you identify the category the work would be eligible for; so if you were going to suggest a novel, writing “Best Novel: [name of work, author of work]” up front would be awesome. This is especially useful in short fiction categories, where there are short stories, novelettes and novellas.
With regard to the Hugos, here’s a list of current categories (The Campbell Award for Best New Writer is not noted there but is present on the Hugo nomination form). However, this thread is not just for Nebulas and Hugos. Feel free to recommend for other awards as well. I would particularly note that SFWA also has a YA award called the Norton. So YA/MG recommendations would be useful here as well.
2. If the work you’re suggesting is (legally) readable online, feel free to provide a link, but note that too many links in one post (usually three or more) might send your post into the moderation queue, from whence I will have to free it in order for it to show up. If this happens, don’t panic, I’ll be going through the moderation queue frequently today to let posts out.
3. Only suggest the work of others. Self-suggestions will be deleted from the thread. This should not dissuade writers and creators from recommend other people’s work, of course. Please do!
4. Don’t suggest my work, please. I’ve already posted here about what of mine is eligible; this thread is for everything else.
5. The comment thread is only for making recommendations, not for commentary on the suggestions others are making or anything else. Extraneous, not-on-topic posts will be snipped out of the thread.
6. Likewise, please don’t cut and paste lists and slates from elsewhere. This is about your recommendations, from the things you have read/viewed and enjoyed and wish to recommend to others.
There you have it.
And now: What do you recommend for science fiction and fantasy awards this year? Please share. The more people know what’s out there, the better the overall field of nominees has the potential to be. Thank you!
Once again, please follow the comment thread rules as noted in the entry. I will snip out pretty much anything that’s not a direct and on-point personal recommendation. Thanks.
Also, this year, let me start the ball rolling by offering five novels I am recommending people take a look at:
The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison;
The Girl in the Road, Monica Byrne;
A Darkling Sea, James L. Cambias;
The Mirror Empire, Kameron Hurley;
California Bones, Greg van Eekhout.
Disclosures: I know all these authors personally, and I blurbed The Girl in the Road and California Bones. Adjust accordingly (and seriously, these are all really excellent novels).
A few nominations submitted for your consideration:
Sarah “Bookworm Blues” Chorn for Best Fan writer. Besides her own blog, her work for “Special Needs in Strange Worlds” is relevant, important and often powerful.
For Best Related Work: The Reader: War for the Oaks by Tim Cooper. This is a magnificent photographic project involving people reading the Emma Bull classic novel in locations from the book itself. http://www.readerwfto.com/WFTO/
For Best Related work: Chicks Dig Gaming, edited by Jennifer Brozek. The latest in the “Chicks Dig” series, and unexpectedly relevant in the age of Brianna Wu and Gamergate (although the anthology and its essays were written before their impact)
For best podcast, the work of Jeff Patterson, John Stevens and Fred Kiesche, the Three Hoarsemen should be recognized for bringing three long standing, interesting perspectives to genre podcasting.
Best Novella: We Are All Completely Fine by Daryl Gregory. What starts out as a support group for survivors of trauma turns into something bigger and weirder and more touching than I expected. Disclosure: Daryl’s a friend, and he has bought me many beers. No beers were bought to influence this recommendation.
Reposting my list of recommendations here, in order to signal boost for these terrific works: http://strangeink.blogspot.com/2015/01/some-of-my-favorite-2014-reads.html
I really enjoyed Pat Rothfuss’ novella, The Slow Regard of Silent Things. I’d be tickled if it won something. It was a lovely read. Ann Leckie’s second installment of her Ancillary trilogy, Ancillary Sword, was also very good, possibly better than the first.
BEST NOVEL: I read a bit under my usual 100 books last year, and emerge from that with probably too many recommendations for one post, but:
* Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer — from the opening, twisting line through the closing, it’s intense, claustrophobic, surreal; a biologist’s first-person account of an expedition into the unknown “Area X” anomoly on an unnamed coast.
* The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison — political intrigue, badass (and rare) magic, elves and goblins, an airship, really an unexpected delight of 2014.
* The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber — a Christian missionary from near-future England accompanies a private megacorp expedition to an alien planet; meanwhile his wife lives through increasing upheaval on Earth.
* On Such a Full Sea by Chang-rae Lee — a near-future tale of slow apocalypse and rebuilding, as Chinese immigrants re-colonize a rusted-out Baltimore. Loved the narrative folktale, communal voice, and the heroine is fantastic.
* Tigerman by Nick Harkaway — Some may say it’s not overtly speculative “enough” but to me it reads at *least* as a near-future story, and: this book was both the most fun I had reading this year, as well as being moving. A British veteran of the war in Afghanistan is semi-retired to the consulate on a forgotten, unimportant Pacific island. When an industrial accident’s aftermath, along with rising ocean water, threatens to make the island uninhabitable, the people may just need: Tigerman.
* The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley — holy WTFery, sentient trees that want to eat you, acid magic, a quasi-jedi-samurai order, pacifists waking up to genocide at their door, a huge (huge) body count, multiple worlds, some real OMG moments of magic and mayhem.
* Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie — even better than the first one, IMHO. Tighter, punchier, spaceship-station-planet story, bridging the ideagasm of Ancillary Justice with whatever Leckie can pull out of a hat to close this thing up.
William Schafer of Subterranean Press for short form editor. As many have pointed out, over the years Bill has kept the novella alive, as well as publishing a multitude of the award-nominated and -winning stories, and I expect that a number of pieces from the final year of Subterranean Online will be nominated as well.
All of the contributors to Amazing Stories (www.amazingstoriesmag.com) are eligible for the Best Fan Writer award (Hugo, others); some of them are eligible for other categories of award as well.
Hugo Best Novel: The Iron Ring by Auston Habershaw
Norton Best Novel: Anomaly by Tonya Juper
Norton Best Novel: Collide by Melissa West
“Tower Lord” by Anthony Ryan was an outstanding follow up fantasy novel to “Blood Song”.
A few non-books for now:
Welcome To Night Vale – The Bowman – Dramatic Performance Short Form
Welcome To Night Vale – Old Oak Doors – Dramatic Performance Long Form
Dragon Age: Inquisition – Related Work, but leave an open spot on Dramatic Performance Long Form in case it needs to move because it’s ambiguous.
BEST RELATED WORK is a category that can take anything from essay collections to blog posts to who knows what else. Here’s some things I dug this year:
* Call and Response by Paul Kincaid — one of the best sf critics the field has, with a big, well-organized collection of essays and reviews.
* The Secret History of Wonder Woman — I am not even a big fan of comics, let alone superhero comics, and this book was just amazing. I had literally no idea. None.
* Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle — Yes, the Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle. The best non-speculative novel I read this year, and while one may somehow be able to configurate an argument that it’s genre, I … don’t know about that. But I do know that it does contain within its pages plenty of genre references (how many literary novels drop lines about Michael Whelan fantasy cover art?) and the description of a post-apocalyptic play-by-snail-mail roleplaying game, that I wish existed.
* What If? by Randall Munroe (of XKCD) performed by Wil Wheaton — why specifically the audiobook, I don’t know. Either way. If an at-length exploration of “what would a mole (unit of measure) of moles (burrowing animal) look like” isn’t sf-related, I’ll eat a mole of moles with mole sauce.
* Green Planets: Ecology and Science Fiction edited by Gerry Canavan and Kim Stanley Robinson — essays exploring, well, ecology and science fiction.
* Battle Royale Slam Book: Essays on the Cult Classic edited by Nick Mamatas
* What Makes This Book So Great by Jo Walton — a collection of Walton’s essays and reviews from Tor.com
* The Science of Interstellar by Kip Thorne — prooooobably a bit too much has been made of the new physics developed to create the film, but the book is actually pretty cool
This might be a bit to well known already, but I think that City of Stairs is a wonderful crossover into imaginative fantasy, considering that Robert Jackson Bennet’s previous acclaim is mostly considered in the horror genre. I read a lot of good books last year, but that one stood out.
I didn’t read nearly as many current-year short fiction stories as I have in years past, but my favorites are:
* “The Black Sun” by Lewis Shiner (Subterranean Magazine)
* “The Regular” by Ken Liu (Clarkesworld)
* “The Mothers of Voorhisville” by Mary Rickert (Tor.com)
* “The Devil in America” by Kai Ashante Wilson (Tor.com)
* “The End of the End of Everything” by Dale Bailey (Tor.com)
BEST SHORT STORY:
* “How to Get Back to the Forest” by Sofia Samatar (Lightspeed)
* “The Long Haul” by Ken Liu (Clarkesworld)
* “A Kiss with Teeth” by Max Gladstone (Tor.com)
* “Time Together” by Toh EnJoe (PEN America)
* “Jackalope Wives” by Ursula Vernon (Apex)
Toad Words by Ursula Vernon It’s a quick read; see what you think.
Daughter of Necessity by Marie Brennan
Cold Wind by Nicola Griffith
Hath No Fury by Kat Howard
The Litany Of Earth by Ruthanna Emrys
City of Stairs
Eternal Sky Trilogy (if WoT was eligible, so is this.)
Best Related Work
Post-Binary Gender in SF, An Introduction by Alex Dally McFarlane I think it’s an important piece not just of itself but because of the conversation it started.
One of the things I’ve seen mentioned on SFTumblr, along with some fancasts like the SF Squeecast is that LitSf, particularly the works that end up nominated for awards, need more, for lack of a better term, non-Western voices. Well, Japan has been doing SF through Anime and Manga pretty much since the origin of those mediums, though they’ve never really gotten any recognition – in part because the big movers and shakers in SF fandom either follow Anime or Manga, or are too busy to keep up on Anime or Manga. In the hopes that Japanese creators will finally be able to break through and start more consistently getting award nominations, if not wins, here are some of the works of Anime and Manga which are eligible for a Hugo Award, which I think are worthy of a nomination (if not a win)
For Best Graphic Novel:
Mobile Suit Gundam: The Origin, Volume 7 – The Battle of Loum. This year, Vertical Entertainment has gotten into Gundam: The Origin material that Viz hadn’t published when they had a go at it. All of the volumes Vertical has published in 2014 have been part of a flashback arc with material original to the manga – and this volume is the best of the lot, because this volume has the Colony Drop. The drop itself and everything leading up to it are incredibly well done. We get characters in the Zeon high command trying to prevent the Drop, and after it happens we get the reactions of characters on both sides to the act. All of this provides, in particular, a level of development to the antagonists of the series – Zeon forces and the ruling Zabi family in particular, which the show really lacked.
Gundam The Origin is, in my opinion, the best SF graphic novel series that SF fans (particularly literary SF fans) would like, but which aren’t reading because they don’t think they’d like manga.
For Best Dramatic Presentation, Long/Short Form
Log Horizon – Season 1/Episodes 18-20.
One of the slight minuses with nominating Anime series for Hugo Awards is that they tend to be serialized, so it’s hard to find 1-3 episodes out of the larger arc (with the cutoff being 90 minutes) where the story mostly stands alone and some really smart writing happens.
Episodes 16-18 is where the show starts getting really clever. The premise of the series is that, with an update to a VRMMO called Elder Tale, the players have become trapped in the game. However, unlike in Sword Art Online or other similar shows, if a player dies in the game, you do not die for real – you respawn at the Cathedral in the last town you went to, like you would otherwise. You can only craft things that your crafting skill is high enough to let you craft, but if your crafting skill is high enough, you can invent things – like, say, a steam engine.
Also, The People of the Land (NPCs), have become sentient, and are having to cope with these effectively immortal gods and demigods wandering around. Additionally, the flavor text of the quests from the original game are starting to have repercussions (particularly since the players have become a little more focused on adjusting to their new situation over doing quests).
All in all, Log Horizon is a show that is smarter than it has any right being, The premise is well thought out and well executed, and I haven’t even begun to get into the show’s characters – who are all very well realized.
Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel. My favorite book of any genre from the past year. It bounces around between characters, times, and places to tell the story of a plague. It’s beautifully written with a lot of well-developed characters.
Whoops, thought of another for best novel (Station Eleven is also a novel, which I forgot to note above):
My Real Children, Jo Walton. It tells the story of one woman’s entire life, from childhood to young adulthood, where she makes an important choice. From this decision point, the narrative splits and we get to see how her life plays out if she says yes and if she says no; the alternating narratives carry on for many years until she’s an elderly woman in a nursing home. I found this book very immersive and propulsive; it’s interesting to see how the world is evolving in the background (there’s some alternate history that isn’t the focus of the book but is an interesting touch). It felt like a very true portrait of what life is like as a woman and as a person.
Best Novel: “World of Trouble” by Ben H. Winters. It’s a murder mystery set during the week before a meteor destroys all of human civilization. It’s the kind of book that keeps you awake at night for weeks after you finish it.
Best Short Story: “Enginesong” by Nathaniel Lee (a weird western in which the trains get up and walk away)
Dramatic Presentation (short form): Too Many Cooks (mind-blowing), “Video Game Home School” (s3e4 of VGHS), and “The Grove” (The Walking Dead)
Even though I wrote a (long) list of novels above, I do want to second John’s recommendation of Monica Byrne’s “The Girl in the Road” — near future sf, Africa-meets-India, journey fiction — and Renleigh’s of Jo Walton’s “My Real Children” which was beautiful, and does something quite rare in sf novels — old age and hospice care — very, very well.
Two novelettes that I really loved, both available online:
“The Magician and Laplace’s Demon” by Tom Crosshill, Clarkesworld – a conflict between far-future technologies and magicians whose magic cannot be proved.
“Heaven Thunders The Truth” by K.J. Parker, Beneath Ceaseless Skies – a magician who is a VERY unreliable narrator tells a story of truth and lies and magic, in a fantasy milieu inspired by Africa rather than Europe.
For best novel: The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu (translated by Ken Liu)
This novel was originally published in Chinese in 2007, but the English translation was published in November 2014 so I believe it’s eligible for most of the awards.
I was really impressed by it. It’s a hard SF novel that ties together aliens, physics, and mid-20th century Chinese history. My wife and I both loved it. Definitely worth a read!
I just finished the novel Heaven’s Queen by Rachel Bach–the third in a series, so not an easy recommendation because it is based on my love of the work as a whole. I highly recommend it because I was so engrossed reading it, I nearly didn’t notice my son’s attempt to burn the house down around us!
A Darkling Sea, James L. Cambias; (2nd this, but Cambias for Campbell, not best Novel)
I liked this book. I think James Cambias is elligible for a Campbell award. I don’t think his first book is worthy of best novel. Its about a human mission to another planet where all life is underwater. The underwater aliens are fascinating. The humans and the 2nd alien species are not that interesting. Its a very good first novel. The irony about him is that he is John’s friend, but if you look at all his quotes on his book they are from people who can’t stand John. I like the irony.
[JS pops in to note: Cambias is not eligible for Campbell — he was nominated for it in 2001. This is why I suggest double-checking to see which things are eligible and which are not. Also, Guess, unlike you I actually know all the people whose blurbs are on the book. I suggest that you don’t assert as to who can “stand” me and who can’t. You literally have no idea what you’re talking about in this case. This why I suggest confining one’s comments in this thread to recommendations only.]
Word of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson. Its his best book so far. Look at the amazon reviews. I have never seen a book get that many reviews with so few negatives. Since Wheel of Time votes can nominate this year, this book is almost automatic as a nominee.
Elitest book reviews: My favorite fantasy review site. They don’t review alot of science fiction. They also don’t care about the silly twitter wars. You will see positive reviews for people who hate each other on there.
Best podcast:The Functional Nerds
Three best novels:
Echopraxia – Peter Watts. The usual Wattsian drinking from a firehose near future hard SF, complicated but satisfying plot, scary characters and alien intelligences – what’s not to love? It does not involve sunshine, rainbows and unicorns, however. Top of my list.
Ancillary Sword – Ann Leckie. moves the series from Space Opera to Space Chamber Music, and I think the narrowing of scale helps the book. Interesting take on character development of the former ship vs the “real” humans. Also involves antique teasets. Now all Ann has to do is stick the landing in volume 3…
Station Eleven Emily St. John Mandel – although it sails a little close to “cozy catastrophe” in parts, the characters are really well drawn and it’s beautifully written.
Read but not nominated – Mirror Empire, Rhesus Chart, plus others.
Don’t get to read enough shorts in the required timeframe to be able to suggest any, but will be following up on the links above, thanks.
Best related work: William H. Patterson Jr.’s second volume of the Heinlein biography: Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century: Vol. 2: The Man Who Learned Better. Aside from it having the title with the most subtitles and colons, it is an amazing work of scholarship on one of science fiction’s most important authors. It sets the standard for other sf biographies, and is essential for appreciating Heinlein’s role as both author and citizen. Love Heinlein or hate him, understanding Heinlein is essential to understanding 20th century SF, and 20th century America. This is his story. Link: http://www.amazon.com/Robert-Heinlein-Dialogue-Century-1948-1988/dp/0765319616/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1423776399&sr=8-1&keywords=HEinlein+biography
For Best Fan Writer: Steven Attwell of the blogRace for the Iron Throne
His commentary on GoT has really transformed the series for me, pointing out so much depth and issues of morality and power that I didn’t see on the first read. I’ve also learned a ton of amazing stuff about real world history.
I’d like to suggest for Best Graphic Novel Girl Genius: Beast of the Rails by Phil & Kaja Foglio. Beautiful art and a great story.
Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb
Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form): “The Legend of Korra” ‘Day of the Colossus’ and ‘The Last Stand’
For novels, I don’t think anyone’s mentioned Sandra Newman’s The Country of Ice Cream Star yet? Because it is vally and bell. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22350219-the-country-of-ice-cream-star
was that a lion
Of All Possible Worlds – Jay O’Connell – Asimov’s Ago14
Schools of Clay – Derek Künsken – Asimov’s Feb14
Cuts Both Ways – Heather Clitheroe – Lightspeed 49 (Jun14)
Belly – Haddayr Copley-Woods – F&SF JulAgo14
Bonfires in Anacostia – Joseph Tomaras – Clarkesworld 95 (Ago14)
Canth – K. C. Norton – Lightspeed 49 (Jun14)
Story of Our Lives – Sandra McDonald – Asimov’s Jul14
Agreeing with Goblin Emperor.
For the Campbell for New Author, the ebook version of The Invisible Library, written by Genevieve Cogman, and published by Tor UK. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Invisible-Library-Genevieve-Cogman-ebook/dp/B00M44051E/
For promotional reasons, the ebook was published in December 2014 (Amazon-only, I think, and non-US Amazon at that), while the paperback was published in January 2015. I don’t know what that does to the eligibility.
I do admit my bias; I was her editor for some RPG material she wrote, way back in the day, and she was essentially my Best Author, worth her weight in gold. I’m tearfully delighted for her.
I read three books last year that I thought deserved award recognition.
City of Stairs (Robert Jackson Bennett), which is my personal pick for Best Novel.
The Girl in the Road (Monica Byrne), which is not nearly as popular as it should be.
The Goblin Emperor (Katherine Addison), which is almost as good as City of Stairs.
Also, the novella “Scale-Bright”, by Benjanun Sriduangkaew, is my favorite thing of 2014, period.
Other less-heralded novels that were very good and might well be nom-worthy for other people: Monster Hunter Nemesis (Larry Correia), Valour and Vanity (Mary Robinette Kowal).
I 2nd the recommendation for _The Litany of Earth_, by Ruthanna Emrys.
Best Pro Artist: Stephan Martiniere, please check out the cover to Shield and Crocus as a great example.
Mike Glyer (http://file770.com/)
Mark Oshiro (Mark Reads and Mark Watches)
Laura J Mixon (http://laurajmixon.com/)
Kevin Standlee (comments all over the Web)
Dramatic presentation, short form:
Penny Dreadful: ‘Séance’
Penny Dreadful: ‘Closer Than Sisters’
Penny Dreadful: ‘Possession’
Dramatic presentation, long form:
Guardians of the Galaxy
Mark Reads (http://markreads.net/reviews/)
Mark Watches (http://markwatches.net/reviews/)
The Book Smugglers (http://thebooksmugglers.com/)
‘My Petition to an Organization I Don’t Actually Belong To’ by Jim C Hines (http://www.jimchines.com/2014/02/my-petition/)
‘A Modest Proposal: Corrective Hugos’ by Cheryl Morgan (http://www.cheryl-morgan.com/?p=18932)
The Skiffy and Fanty Show (http://skiffyandfanty.com/)
Julie Dillon (http://www.juliedillonart.com/)
Elizabeth Leggett (http://www.archwayportico.com/)
Reblogged this on alpagist.
For your consideration: Ursula Vernon’s brilliant ultrashort “Toad Words”. Every time I read it, it gives me incredible tingles in the spine all over again.
Best Novel Nominees:
Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel – an intriguing twist on the post-apocalypse genre, about a traveling band of actors and musicians
World of Trouble, last in the magnificent Last Policeman series by Ben H. Winters – a dedicated cop tries to keep going as a world-ending asteroid approaches Earth
Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix – is this science fiction? I don’t know if it really qualifies, but I just want to get in a plug for this way-cool ghost/horror story about a group of employees at an Ikea-like big box store who are investigating weird phenomena there after-hours.
I usually read a lot of short stories in the course of the year, but I honestly don’t remember any that stood out for me in 2014. Guess I read the wrong ones.
City of Stairs is my first choice, but I’d also like to see some love for The Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff Vandermeer.
For Best Novel: Carnival Charlatan by Skeeter Enright. It is a fantasy work.
If nothing else, these recommendations are great as a potential reading list for someone who has become more than a little jaded in recent years about both sci-fi and fantasy. For one thing, I had no idea someone had done a definitive biography of Robert Heinlein. I am all over that one. Thanks.
Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form):
UNDER THE SKIN–Scarlett Johansson played an alien impersonating an attractive woman who lured men to be harvested like meat. What lifted this film above its pulp premise was the elliptical nature of its story-telling (we never knew who the unnamed alien’s superiors were). Also, it suggested that Johansson’s character was like a slaughterhouse employee whose empathy for the animals she helped kill would be her ultimate undoing.
A FIELD IN ENGLAND–Ben Wheatley’s tale looked like a story of war deserters from the English Civil War. But you constantly sensed offscreen that there were magical forces that two of the characters were trying to harness. Both a wonderful head trip and a dark comedy.
Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form):
AGENTS OF SHIELD “Turn, Turn, Turn”–The episode that upended everything that the viewer knew about the series and sent it kicking into such unexpected directions as seeing the usually calm Agent Coulson losing it.
AGENTS OF SHIELD “Face My Enemy”—The episode with the classic May vs. May fight, a backstory fill-in for Coulson and May, and Fitz overcoming his self-doubt and saving the day.
AGENTS OF SHIELD “What They Become”—Answers are revealed about Skye’s origin and a new player enters the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
My favorite novels of the year would include:
Peter F. Hamilton’s The Abyss Beyond Dreams
Brent Weeks The Broken eye
James S.A. Corey’s Cibola Burn
Daniel Abraham’s The Widow’s House
For Dramatic Presentation, Long Form
Guardians of the Galaxy
For Dramatic Presentation, Short Form
The Walking Dead, “Four Walls And A Roof”
Game of Thrones, “The Mountain and The Viper”
Game of Thrones, “The Lion and The Rose”
Vacant by Alex Hughes
Heaven’s Queen by Rachel Bach (the pen name for Rachel Aaron)
Those were among the very best sci-fi novels I read this year, with the others having already been mentioned. I realize that Heaven’s Queen was also mentioned by another commenter, but I wanted to add that, while it is the third in a trilogy, I think it stands on its own pretty well. My daughter agrees as she read them out of order and liked Heaven’s Queen better than the other two novels of the trilogy.
Lockstep, by Karl Schroeder. I think it’s still eligible for Hugo, and definitely Campbell.
I’m actually kind of baffled that he hasn’t won more awards. Karl’s world-building and imagery are always stupendous and amazing (both in Lockstep and his works in general), and he truly comes up with new ideas, instead of parroting old ones. He never soapboxes or writes allegories about present political topics, everything is true SF, dealing with the future human condition in radically changed environments.
People really live differently in his worlds, it isn’t just the 21st century with a new coat of paint, that’s something so rare. I kind of breaks my heart that his works aren’t more popular and more well-recognized. I know he gets a lot of love from fellow Sci-Fi authors, but he doesn’t seem to get much attention from the SF reader community at large.
Storytelling for the Night Clerk, JY Yang.
How to Get Back to the Forest, Sofia Samatar.
Stone Hunger, N.K. Jemisin.
Passage of Earth, Michael Swanwick.
Jackalope Wives, Ursula Vernon.
Saltwater Economics, Jack Mierzwa.
Wine, Yoon Ha Lee.
The Dead Star, The Satirist, and the Soldier, Rachel Sobel.
Reborn, Ken Liu. Aliens in Boston; memory and accomodation.
The Colonel, Peter Watts.
Grand Jete (The Great Leap), Rachel Swirsky.
O Human Star Volume 1.
Strong Female Protagonist Book One.
Seconding the Korra finale “Day of the Colossus” and “The Last Stand” for best Dramatic-Short Form, and Lockstep and Goblin Emperor as Best Novel contenders.
For novel I am planning on nominating Full Fathom Five by Max Gladstone, Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie, and Artful by Peter David.
For short story: “A Kiss with Teeth” by Max Gladstone and “As Good As New” by Charlie Jane Anders (both found at tor.com)
For Dramatic Presentation short – I want to nominate some episodes of Person of Interest, but haven’t decided which episodes yet: I am considering “Deus Ex Machina” (the S3 finale), “The Cold War” (the fall finale for S4), “Nautilus” from S4.
For Fancast: The Coode Street Podcast and Verity!,
* The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison – Secondary world political fantasy. Charming and believably optimistic: characters often act out of self-interest or prejudice, but not out of Great Evil(TM).
* City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett – Secondary world urban fantasy/mystery with incredible worldbuilding and some really great characters.
* Maplecroft by Cherie Priest – An effective melding of Lovecraftian mythos and the Lizzie Borden story.
Best Graphic Story:
* Loki: Agent of Asgard vol. 1: Trust Me by Al Ewing – Clever, hilarious, and quite emotionally affecting at times.
* Avengers Assemble: The Forgeries of Jealousy by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Warren Ellis – Brilliant writing, albeit accompanied by disappointing art.
* Red Sonja vol. 1: Queen of Plagues by Gail Simone – So good that I didn’t even mind the chainmail bikini, and the art is just lovely.
* Lazarus vol. 2: Lift by Greg Rucka – A brutal yet fascinating dystopia.
* Ms. Marvel vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson – I didn’t love this comic as much as some people did (it can be a little too heavyhanded for me), but it’s still an interesting story with a very engaging main character.
Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form):
-Snowpiercer: A smart and surreal SF action film that takes up the well-known genres of post-apocalypse and dystopia and mixes them into something distinctive. Surreal and grimily real scenes combine effectively to underline both the horror of the world and its reality to those trapped inside as the film runs inexorably to its revolutionary conclusion.
-Patema Inverted: A charming and sometimes breathtaking animated feature that takes a beautifully simple SF concept and runs with it practically and allegorically. An overlooked minor classic.
Best Related Work:
Deep Forests and Manicured Gardens: A Look at Two New Short Fiction Magazines
Short Fiction and the Feels
(don’t take these two as indicating some crusade on my part, they just came to mind)
For related work:
I also recommend “William H. Patterson Jr.’s second volume of the Heinlein biography: Robert A. Heinlein: In Dialogue with His Century: Vol. 2: The Man Who Learned Better.”
The title should also be nominated as a work in its own right.
I also liked Terry Pratchett’s A Slip of the Keyboard: Collected Non-Fiction.
Didn’t realize this thread had gone up; sorry to be commenting five days late. I need to visit more regularly!
Some of the stuff I’m considering is already mentioned here, so I won’t repeat except to say I’m glad to see Snowpiercer getting notice from others, too :) A few worth considering that I haven’t seen mentioned, though:
Drama Long Form: seems obvious, but: Interstellar. (I may have missed it mentioned?) Also, Lucy. Yes, the 10% myth is the underlying premise, but even so, it was weird and intriguing, maybe the latter because of the former.
Drama Short: I’m trying to decide what episode(s) of Orphan Black to nominate. I’m leaning towards “Nature Under Contrain and Vexed” (S2E1), or “Knowledge of Causes” (S2E7).
Short Story: The Dust Queen (Aliette de Bodard); Ice in the Bedroom (Richard Shearman); West to East (Jay Lake). All were in anthologies – the Strahan edited Reach For Infinity; Strahan edited Fearsome Magics; Lake collection Last Plane To Heaven, respectively.
Novel: A Play Of Shadow (Julie Czerneda). Terrific worldbuilding; what she’s created out of Canadian frontier history is quite something. Add vivid prose, great characters, and an interesting, sometimes spooky magic setup based on astronomy and the overlap of worlds. Second book in a really good series.
Editor Short Form/ Related Work: M. David Blake. I could see the 2014 Campbellian Anthology fitting either category, depending on viewpoint. I know the 2013 and 2014 versions were a huge help for me, getting to see stuff from new writers I’ve not necessarily been familiar with, and those anthos have to be a huge undertaking. Deserves at least some consideration, I think.
Also, for those who don’t know (because I’ve seen uncertainty mentioned in the thread a couple times): who’s eligible for the Campbell is here: http://www.writertopia.com/awards/campbell
Crap. Forgot about “Snowpiercer.” That one is also worth nominating for Dramatic (Long Form). Yes, the nitpickers will say that the world of the train is not realistic but that’s not the point.
For Related Work:
JODOROWSKY’S “DUNE”–A documentary about cult filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky’s abortive attempt to adapt Frank Herbert’s “Dune” to a feature film. When you’re not gawping over the talent he pulled together (e.g. Giger, Welles, and Dali), you’re blown away by Jodorowsky’s mad confidence that he could make the whole project work.
For Graphic Novel:
MS. MARVEL VOL. 1 “NO NORMAL”–What sells the series is that lead character Kamala Khan is an interesting good-hearted superhero fan-fiction writing geek who has to deal with the problems of being a low-rent superhero. How Kamala gets her costume is a hilarious take on an annoying sexist trope in superhero comics.
SAGA VOL. 4–Alana and Marko’s marriage hits the rocks when one of them has to hide and the other earns a living acting in a crappy superhero broadcast show. This segment is darker than previous installments, but also has moments of odd whimsy such as the sight of Prince Robot’s father.
THE FUSE: THE RUSSIA SHIFT–Detective Klem Rystovich is an older grizzled cop whose beat is The Fuse, a space station which is part slum and part shining spectacle. Her new partner Ralph “Marlene” Dietrich (the Marlene is Klem’s nickname for her partner) joins the older detective to investigate the murder of a homeless woman whose death winds up getting linked to an ambitious mayor running for re-election.
For Novella, The Last Homely Housekeeper by Rolf Luchs. It’s already on the Sir Julius Vogel Awards (NZ speculative fiction) short list for Novella:
Despite being a self-published unauthorised Tolkien satire. It’s funny, free and illegal – what more could you ask?
Best Short Story: When It Ends, He Catches Her by Eugie Foster
I know I’m commenting late, but I had to add that I really think the Signal Podcast deserves a nomination in the Fancast category. This would be their last year of eligibility, and I would love to see them on the ballot.
Also, I would like to recommend Karen Hallion in the Fan Artist category. For reasons. :-)
Thank you for doing this!
My recs for this year are here: http://aliettedebodard.com/2015/01/12/awards-consideration-post/
I’ve tried to keep it to works that are easily available online, and to focus on people who aren’t necessarily getting much awards press. Even if you don’t end up voting for them, I would love it (and so would they) if you did have a look.
(there’s a bit at the start with my own fiction; feel quite free to skip!).
Novel: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August
Welcome To Night Vale – Parade Day – Dramatic Performance Short Form
Welcome To Night Vale – Year Two – Dramatic Performance Long Form
(obviously, these are mutually exclusive, but options are nice, and the former is more likely to be split among multiple people’s favorite episodes)
Milan Jaram did the cover art for Bastion Magazine (www.bastionmag.com), and is eligible for the Best Fan Artist Award. The covers can be found at http://www.bastionmag.com/previous, and his website is http://www.milanjaram.com.
I read a fantastic, hugely unexpected book this year, The Pendragon Protocol by Philip Purser Hallard. Tricky to describe without spoilers, but it does a form of urban fantasy i’ve never seen before, which in the current field is remarkable.
I’ll be nominating it, though I know it’s not well known, but if other people read it, that’d be great too.