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Eligible Works for Hugo Worldcon 2016 - Deadline 31st March!

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Seems like a good time to make a concerted effort to narrow a Topic discussion, specifically on what individuals would recommend as their most admired novels/novellas/novelettes of the 2015-16 eligible Hugo candidates.

 

 

 

 

Lets make this an appreciation of literature, not mock anyone for their taste, and please lets stay away from politics and rhetoric.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My recommendations so far:



Novels:



Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear - the book is filled with exciting action scenes, but also has quite interesting characters and some deeply moving scenes. The main characer has a pretty unique voice which totally worked for me.



Cherry Bomb by Caitlin Kiernan - the last volume in a trilogy which started as an over the top satire of urban fantasy's worst cliches, but by this volume the non-stop snarking and "take that" references for Twilight and the likes is mostly replaced by genuine pathos and tragedy. It's about a doomed infatuation done the Kiernan way, which makes it way better written than pretty much everything in the genre. It feels like a Raymond Chandler story in a Lovecraftian setting, which is awesome in my book.



Novellettes:



Hot Rods by Kat Sparks - a very nice post-ecocatastrophe story.


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Novel:


Dark Intelligence, by Neal Asher: plenty of action and interesting speculative content, in a setting that reminds me of a darker version of Iain Bank's Culture.


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I'm looking forward to Neal Stephenson's new book Seveneves coming out next month. I hope it is as good as Anathem which was eminantly Hugo worthy.

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Novel:

Dark Intelligence, by Neal Asher: plenty of action and interesting speculative content, in a setting that reminds me of a darker version of Iain Bank's Culture.

Good to hear, I just picked this up and it is next for me.

I'm looking forward to Neal Stephenson's new book Seveneves coming out next month. I hope it is as good as Anathem which was eminantly Hugo worthy.

This, can't wait.

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I'm looking forward to Neal Stephenson's new book Seveneves coming out next month. I hope it is as good as Anathem which was eminantly Hugo worthy.

Anathem was my vote that year. I completely forgot it hadn't won the Hugo until recently. Looking forward to summer reading!

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Kat,

It had the misfortune of being up against Neil Gaiman's YA novel, The Graveyard Book. Another reason to support the YA Hugo (or YA award from WSFS). They could both have been recognized.

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Like many, I didn't pay the Hugos too much mind until recently, though when I aimlessly browse in a physical  bookstore (which I seldom do nowadays), being an award winner or nominee can be one of the several things that would cause me to pick a book up and give it a closer look. Ditto in a library.

Otherwise, I just follow the buzz and recommendations here and in other places, if it looks like something that could interest me, or pick up the latest output of authors whose work I have already enjoyed in the past.  It is by the former process that I came across Ann Leckie's "Ancillary Justice" late last year and loved it. A genuinely exciting space opera with some interesting, fresh SFnal ideas and engaging characters, I thought. Exactly what I wanted,but didn't get to see from the new "Battlestar Galactica" as regards thought processes and motivations of the Cylons.

 

Imagine my surprise and indignation, when I read that some group had been using it as an example of everything that is supposedly wrong with modern SF and it's awards! I  started reading on the nets about the matter and the more I learned, the more irritated I became. I  have checked the complete  list of past Hugo nominees and winners and found that I had read and liked or loved the majority of those nominated  in the last 20 years, while there were also some  deplorable omissions of IMHO brilliant stuff. But then, no award is 100%.

I have also looked at the SF sales thread here on Westeros and found out that contrary to the Puppy propaganda, a significant amount of nominated authors actually sell decently to very well, even the strongly "literary" ones. Not that I think that it is a valid argument in matter of quality per se, just another data point re: Puppy  allegiations.

Then I have read whatever Puppy nominations were available for free on-line,  listened to Correia's "Hard Magic" on  Baen Free Radio Hour and decided that enough is enough and that as a fan of SF I must do something about the kerfuffle.

 

To make the long story short, I have decided that I read enough SF and have a discriminating enough taste ;) that I should prioritize reading stuff published in 2015 and nominate for the 2016 Hugo!

I hope that there are some like-minded individuals around here, because we are half a year into 2015 and it turns out  that there is a reason for why so few people nominate. It is really hard to find something worthy and sufficiently standalone in the moment, so to speak, rather than in hindsight after the stuff has managed to gather multi-year buzz, balanced reviews, etc.

 

So far I have read the following novels published in 2015:

 

Uprooted by Naomi Novik, Of Noble Family by Mary Robinette Kowal, Nemesis Games by James S.A. Corey, Touch by Claire North, Linesman by S.K. Dunstall, Dark Orbit by Carolyn Ives Gilman, A Darker Shade of  Magic by V.E. Schwab, Seveneves by Neal Stephenson.

 

Of these the only one that I feel is a real candidate at this point is Uprooted. With a distant possibility for Touch if nothing better comes along. I thought that Seveneves would be a shoo-in, but unfortunately not. The others are variously too much series books with all it entails and/or not exciting enough/good enough.  IMHO,YMMV.

 

I am reading Joe Abercombie's Half a World and Kim Stanley Robinson's Aurora next and, of course, Leckie's Ancillary Mercy once it comes out.  I have an eye out for Jim Butcher's new book - I am a fan of  his Dresden Files, I just don't think that Skin Game deserved to be nominated for the Hugo, being very much a series book  and not among the best of this series to boot.

 

But I am in need of further opinions/suggestions. What brilliant stuff am I unaware of? Or is it just a slow year?

 

It is even worse for short fiction, which I don't normally read much of, maybe an anthology or so a year  :

 

For novellas I have so far read Lois McMaster Bujold's Pendric's Demon and it is a viable candidate, IMHO, but what else?

 

As to the short story and novelette, my current plan is to go through the on-line offerings of tor.com, Lightspeed, Uncanny, Apex, etc., - thank heavens for the story podcasts! - and to read the Old Venus anthology. There is so much though! So easy to miss something great.

 

Need a lot of help with the other categories, though.

 

Anyway, it turned out to be quite a project and I hope that some fellow board-members would be interested enough to offer suggestions/opinions and/or pitch in too. TIA.

 

 

 

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There was a very similar thread from earlier this year, which didn't get much attention here sadly - http://asoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/topic/128074-hugo-worldcon-2016-share-your-mind-rock-the-vote/

 

So far I haven't come across something which has really made me think "a masterpiece", apart from the novella mentioned in the link - Dale Bailey's The Ministry of The Eye. Quite a few almost "masterpieces" in the novel category.

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How does eligibility work? Sorry if this is a stupid question, I did try and search google before I asked, and if I understand correctly it's simply any SF/F novel released in 2015 that is eligible? Doesn't need to be a standalone or anything? Is this correct?

If so, then as well as Uprooted as you mentioned (which I agree with, thought it was a brilliant book), I would also suggest The Mechanical by Ian Tregillis. It was a very well written novel with some rather fascinating exploration of the concept of free will. The characters were well realised and I thought the character of Berenice was particularly interesting and also demonstrated the challenges faced by a woman in a position of power.

Of course, if this isn't eligible then just disregard what I said.

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How does eligibility work? Sorry if this is a stupid question, I did try and search google before I asked, and if I understand correctly it's simply any SF/F novel released in 2015 that is eligible?

Yes.

 

Also books initially published in other languages are eligible the year they are published in English.

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At this point I think I am going to nominate  Seveneves - it may not be the best Stephenson novel, but it still is a Stephenson novel, dammit - Nemesis Games which does look like a high point of the series and probably The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi, because topical. But it is stil quite long time to the end of the year and many things may happen. I agree Penric's Demon looks like the leader of novella category, but Tor starts their  novella imprint and hopefully some of them will qualify. I didn't read many short fiction this year, but some stories in Old Venus were quite good, IMHO.

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I seem to have been reading a lot of 2014 novels in 2015, so don't have many suggestions yet.

 

I think I've only read three 2015-published novels so far, Adrian Tchaikovsky's Guns of the Dawn, Joe Abercrombie's Half The World and Eloisa's Sailor To A Siren, all of which I enjoyed a lot. Also close to the end of Nemesis Game which has been good, although not the best in the series.

 

I don't know whether Tchaikovsky is well-enough known to be in with a chance of a nomination? I imagine he'd have more chance with this stand-alone novel than anything in his previous 10-book series.

 

How does eligibility work? Sorry if this is a stupid question, I did try and search google before I asked, and if I understand correctly it's simply any SF/F novel released in 2015 that is eligible? Doesn't need to be a standalone or anything? Is this correct?

 

That's basically it. There is a rule that allows for a multi-part story (such as a series) to be nominated as a whole when the final part is published if none of the previous parts have been nominated. This was a bit controversial when it lead to the entirely of The Wheel of Time being nominated last year which some people thought was against the spirit of the rules even if was allowed. I suppose the rule could be used to nominate Abercombie's Shattered Seas trilogy, which would make more sense than WoT since 2/3 of it was published this year.

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My favorites so far this year:

Half the World, Half a War, Joe Abercrombie

The Water Knife, Paolo Bacigalupi

Nemesis Games, James S.A. Corey

The Grace of Kings, Ken LIu

Savages, K.J. Parker

Aurora, Kim Stanley Robinson

 

Honorable mentions:

The Mechanical, Ian Tregillis

The Just City/The Philosopher Kings, Jo Walton

 

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

 

As to the short story and novelette, my current plan is to go through the on-line offerings of tor.com, Lightspeed, Uncanny, Apex, etc., - thank heavens for the story podcasts! - and to read the Old Venus anthology. There is so much though! So easy to miss something great.

I'm one of the few who thought Uprooted was only okay instead of fantastic.  I'm clearly in the minority though so I'm sure it's going to be on a lot of people's lists.

 

For short stories, Tor.com and Lightspeed are good.  I also really like ClarkesworldBeneath Ceaseless Skies has some good stuff too.

 

"The Bees" by Laline Paull, just to spite Those We Don't Speak Of.

The Bees was published in 2014 so it won't be eligible for next year. 

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