Lily Valley

Hugo time! Awards Announced Aug. 11th

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Here's the 2016 Locus Recommended Reading List, which I always find useful for both remembering what was published in 2016 and for getting suggestions of other good books to check out. Short fiction is linked when available online.

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1 hour ago, Mr. X said:

Here's the 2016 Locus Recommended Reading List, which I always find useful for both remembering what was published in 2016 and for getting suggestions of other good books to check out. Short fiction is linked when available online.

I find any list without Too Like The Lightning to be suspect. And I'm only like 30 pages in.

Also gah, why is Jay Kristoff still around, I thought Frodo destroyed the ring.

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13 hours ago, Darth Richard II said:

Well, ok, maybe terrible is a bit of an overstatement, but the whole thing rubbed me the wrong way. It was one of those look at how clever and how much stuff I know books.

With ya there. It struck me as smug.

My GR review.

I find any list without Too Like The Lightning to be suspect. And I'm only like 30 pages in.

Seriously!

Edited by Contrarius+

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On 2/23/2017 at 2:04 PM, Darth Richard II said:

Right? I loooooove this book so far. Its absence on that list is a CRIME!

But is is SF or fanstasy??

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20 minutes ago, unJon said:

But is is SF or fanstasy??

Yes!

;)

It's SF with perhaps-miracles. Don't quibble. ;)

Edited by Contrarius+

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Yeah, everyone's going to have a thing or two that they feel should really have appeared on any awards list, since there are so many worthy stories and so few slots. That's totally reasonable. I am very puzzled by the absence of Palmer's Too Like the Lightning from the Locus recommended reading, though. It's outstanding. Not even in first novel? Have all the reviewers got collective amnesia? It's an unusual book, certainly, but are those of us who like it really that weird? That's bananas.

 

Apart from that I think the only thing I've read so far from last year that I'd really whine about is Frances Hardinge's The Lie Tree, which should absolutely appear in young adult and does strike me as an omission. It's very possible that was originally published in the UK in 2015 though and that's why it is not here. I'd probably include Paul Kearney's The Wolf in the Attic in fantasy, too, but that falls into my "different strokes / only so many slots on an award shortlist" box.

 

I like the Nebula list a lot. I'm not one-hundred percent on the All the Birds in the Sky train, but I like it much more than several people here. I'm part-way through Ninefox Gambit and I'm not sure it's my thing, but it's very intriguing and well done. Also Tor.com really has this novella thing locked down don't they?

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Looking back on some of those long-lists, it was a stupid-good year for fiction. I'm getting together my list over the next couple of days because the nominations are due "2017-03-18 06:59 UTC (at 11:59 pm Pacific Daylight Time on 17 March)" per the Worldcon75 website. 

I'm going to have a very hard time choosing novella this year -- so much excellent stuff published. BTW -- for inexplicable omissions, I'd add T. Kingfisher's The Raven and the Reindeer (pubbed Feb 2016). It is a really beautiful bit of writing. But it's also up against Vellitt Boe and Every Heart a Doorway -- I have no idea how I'd score those on a Hugo final ballot. 

Ninefox Gambit is a really weird one. I loved the concept and some of the writing was good, but it kept kind of going off the rails and I found it hard to keep momentum throughout the novel. 

Also going to point out that The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater is IMO missing from the Locus list of YA books, although it's got some stiff competition from Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo and The Lie Tree by Frances Harding (which I believe is eligible because although it came out in 2015 in the UK, it was pubbed in the US in April 2016).

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Here is more fodder for the short fiction categories in the form of Asimov's Readers Choice Award finalists, which are currently freely accessible on-line:

http://www.asimovs.com/about-asimovs/readers-awards-finalists/

I didn't read them yet, so no opinion on the voters' taste.

Off the top of my head, I second Seanan McGuire's "Every Heart a Doorway" and Bujold's "Penric's Mission" novella-wise. I have also read LaValle's "The Ballad of Black Tom", Bujold's "Penric and the Shaman", Walter Jon Williams's "Impersonations" and Sanderson's "Edgedancer" in that category, but they didn't do it for me as award prodpects (or at all) for one reason or another. 

Novelette-wise I loved these 2:

  “Touring with the Alien”, Carolyn Ives Gilman (Clarkesworld 4/16)

You’ll Surely Drown Here If You Stay”, Alyssa Wong (Uncanny 5-6/16)

and really liked this one:

http://www.tor.com/2016/01/13/finnegans-field-angela-slatter/

which doesn't seem to have a lot of buzz,sadly.

 

 

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7 hours ago, Maia said:

Off the top of my head, I second Seanan McGuire's "Every Heart a Doorway" and Bujold's "Penric's Mission" novella-wise. I have also read LaValle's "The Ballad of Black Tom", Bujold's "Penric and the Shaman", Walter Jon Williams's "Impersonations" and Sanderson's "Edgedancer" in that category, but they didn't do it for me as award prodpects (or at all) for one reason or another.

 

I'm really surprised by the buzz about both McGuire's story and Penric's Mission -- I've seen other opinions similar to yours. I didn't much care for the McGuire, and I much preferred the Penric shaman story to the mission story. Guess I'm just outta step!

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On 6.3.2017 at 8:17 PM, Contrarius+ said:

 I didn't much care for the McGuire, and I much preferred the Penric shaman story to the mission story. Guess I'm just outta step!

 

To be fair, I didn't think that either was mind-blowingly brilliant, but as far as I am concerned, they are both decent enough prospects. "Every Heart a Doorway" starts very strongly, IMHO, but doesn't stick the landing.

As to "Penric and the Shaman", I was annoyed by the constant repetition of Penric being underestimated because of his unpreposessing exterior, eventually succeeded by an admiration society. This happens every time he meets somebody new and it is just tiresome. And there just isn't enough of the titular shaman and generally stuff happening. In "Penric's Mission" the characters have more agency and plot to deal with and are also more fleshed-out and interesting. 

I really wanted to love La Valle's "Ballad of Black Tom", but it just didn't do it for me for some reason.

Williams's "Impersonations" was a huge disappointment - I loved the Praxis books and wanted more in that universe, but this novella is aggressively boring and mediocre.

And Sanderson's "Edgedancer" is neat for the fans of the Stormlight Archive series, but nothing more, as most of his fiction tends to be. For the record, I did think that his "Emperor's Soul" deserved to win in... 2014, was it? Or 2013? But the vast majority of his stuff isn't of the type to be in contention and this one is no exception.

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Unfortunately, I haven't managed to read many shorts this year. I'm hoping to get to a couple more before nominations close, but most of em will have to wait til after the nomination list comes out. I do hope to at least read A Taste of Honey before the deadline -- I really loved most of Sorcerer of the Wildeeps last year.

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Posted (edited)

I have just finished K.J. Parker's "The Devil You Know" novella. I loved his "Last Witness" novella last year and was rather disappointed by his "Savages" novel. This is more like the latter than the former. It is loosely in the same world and was mostly interesting to read, if over-long, but just fell apart in the end and generally felt empty and shallow when all was said and done. And it is one of those pieces where the resolution really has to work for the whole to be worthwhile. Neat premise wasted, IMHO. It also featured his usual all-round genius Renaissance man as a protagonist, which started to seriously annoy me in "Savages" (where _all_ of the PoVs fit this mold - speak of an overdose!) and continues to do so here. Oh, well.

My current intention novella-wise is to read The Cowards Option by  Adam-Troy Castro which was originally published in "Analog", but which he helpfully provides freely here:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/itwxuxs40g7sz74/THE COWARDS OPTION FOR DROPBOX.rtf

then go through the Asimov's readers finalists, link to which is in one of my posts above and call it a day.

As to novelettes and short stories, the Locus Reading list seems to provide a decent selection of things to try.

Speaking of which, I have run into an odd issue with "Beneath The Ceaseless Skies" audio podcasts - for some reason they - and no other podcasts that I have ever tried, have such a low sound volume when I try to listen on my phone (a humble Galaxy 3 mini, but wholly adequate for the task until now),  that I can't understand anything even on max settings. Did anybody else encounter this issue and is there any remedy?

Edited by Maia

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Well I just found the novel to go in the last slot of my nomination list: The Devourers by Indra Das. It was published in India in 2015 and in North America in June (?) 2016. It straddles the line between mythic fiction, fantasy, and horror. My only critique is that I felt Das held back in one of the POVs, either because he felt he didn't know enough about that character's life situation to comment (and thus didn't push himself as a writer), or he knows way too much about the character's life situation and he held back for personal reasons. (I don't want to say more because I think it'd be considered a spoiler, as that aspect of the character is revealed over the course of the book.)

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On 3/10/2017 at 5:28 AM, Maia said:

I have just finished K.J. Parker's "The Devil You Know" novella. I loved his "Last Wish" novella last year and was rather disappointed by his "Savages" novel. This is more like the latter than the former.

Do you mean "Last Witness"? Or is there a Parker Novella I haven't read? *goes to look*

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10 minutes ago, Xray the Enforcer said:

Well I just found the novel to go in the last slot of my nomination list: The Devourers by Indra Das.

I loved the prose in that.

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I also have nominated Finnegan's Field, buti it doesn' seem to have been very popular for some reason. Seanan McGuire's novella started very strong, but the ending was rather blah, IMHO. I still hesitate between this and K.J. Parker novella, but probably will go with the latter.

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3 hours ago, Contrarius+ said:

I loved the prose in that.

Me too. There were some passages where I just had to sit there and let the words flow over me again and again. 

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