Tuesday, January 12, 2016

My 2016 Hugo Awards Longlist Recommendations

After somewhat of an exhausting year of awards, especially with everything that went down with the Hugo Awards in 2015, it's time to restart that entire cycle this year. But, here at Adventures in Reading, we're going to do things just a little bit differently. In past years I would piece together my ballot over a series of posts beginning in late January.

That's not going to happen this year.  Even though I have never viewed how I worked out my nomination ballot as anything other than doing my thinking in public with little expectation of having an audience or influencing anyone beyond maybe a potential "hey, this is awesome, you should read this and think about it" - because that's all that a recommendation list really is - I'm not going to do it this time.  Not like I have in the past where I would end up with my final ballot posted before the nomination period closed.

With all of the shenanigans regarding groups putting together slates to directly influence what gets on the final ballot, what I'm going to do instead is post a growing long list of stuff I thought was awesome in 2015. This list will likely grow and change as I continue to discover stuff published in 2015 that I likewise think is awesome.

I'm listing everything alphabetically either by title or author, so don't view anything listed at the top of a category as being my ranked order. It's not.

It is also worth nothing that several individuals are already recusing themselves from this year's Hugo Awards. I will still list them as part of my long list recommendations (and may even nominate them anyway), but these individuals have publicly stated they will not accept a Hugo Award nomination. I will note this as they appear on my list.

Karen Memory, by Elizabeth Bear (Tor) 
Sorcerer to the Crown, by Zen Cho (Ace)
The House of Shattered Wings, by Aliette de Bodard (Roc)
The Traitor Baru Cormorant, by Seth Dickinson (Tor) 
Black Wolves, by Kate Elliott (Orbit)
Court of Fives, by Kate Elliott (Little, Brown)
Fool’s Quest, by Robin Hobb (Del Rey)
Empire Ascendant, by Kameron Hurley (Angry Robot)
The Fifth Season, by N.K. Jemisin (Orbit)
Ancillary Mercy, by Ann Leckie (Orbit) 
Signal to Noise, by Sylvia Moreno-Garcia (Solaris)
Planetfall, by Emma Newman (Roc)
Uprooted, by Naomi Novik (Del Rey)
The End of All Things, by John Scalzi (Tor)  (will not accept a nomination)
Seveneves, by Neal Stephenson (William Morrow)

The Witches of Lychford, by Paul Cornell (Tor.com Publishing)
“Ur”, by Stephen King (Bazaar of Bad Dreams)*
Slow Bullets, by Alastair Reynolds (Tachyon)
Binti, by Nnedi Okorafor (Tor.com Publishing) 
The Builders, by Daniel Polansky (Tor.com Publishing)
Sunset Mantle, by Alter S. Reiss (Tor.com Publishing)
The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps, by Kai Ashante Wilson (Tor.com Publishing)
*King notes that "Ur" is "considerably revised" from its original 2009 publication on Amazon.com

And the Balance in Blood”, by Elizabeth Bear (Uncanny Magazine, Issue 7, November 2015) 
“The Heart’s Filthy Lesson”, by Elizabeth Bear (Old Venus) 
“The Tumbledowns of Cleopatra Abyss”, by David Brin (Old Venus) 
“Obits”, by Stephen King (The Bazaar of Bad Dreams)
"Another Word for World", by Ann Leckie (Future Visions)
Our Lady of the Open Road”, by Sarah Pinsker (Asimov’s, June 2015)

Short Story
In Libres”, by Elizabeth Bear (Uncanny Magazine, Issue 4, May 2015)
"Elephants and Corpses”, by Kameron Hurley (Tor.com, May 13, 2015)
The Light Brigade”, by Kameron Hurley (Lightspeed, November 2015) – published on Patreon 2015 “Cat Pictures Please”, by Naomi Kritzer (Clarkesworld, January 2015)
Points of Origin”, by Marissa Lingen (Tor.com, November 4, 2015)
"Hello, Hello", by Seanan McGuire (Future Visions)
Eyes I Dare Not Meet in Dreams”, by Sunny Moraine (Cyborgology, June 2, 2015)
Tear Tracks”, by Malka Older (Tor.com, October 21, 2015)
The Merger”, by Sunil Patel (The Book Smugglers, June 23, 2015)
Oral Argument”, by Kim Stanley Robinson (Tor.com, December 7, 2015)

Graphic Story
Bitch Planet: Extraordinary Machine (Vol 1), by Kelly Sue DeConnick
Lazarus: Conclave (Vol 3), by Greg Rucka
Lumberjanes: Beware the Kitten Holy (Vol 1), by Noelle Stevenson*
Lumberjanes: Friendship to the Max (Vol 2), by Noelle Stevenson
Nimona, by Noelle Stevenson*
Rat Queens: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N’Rygoth (Vol 2), by Kurtis S. Wiebe
Saga, Volume 5, by Brian K. Vaughan.
The Sculptor, by Scott McCloud
Stand Still. Stay Silent: Book One, by Minna Sundberg
*The first collection of Lumberjanes was published in 2015, but the issues were all from 2014. I am unsure of its eligibility. The collected edition of Nimona was also published in 2015, but the webcomic is from 2012. Is it eligible?

Related Work
A History of Epic Fantasy, by Adam Whitehead
Back to the Future: The Ultimate Visual History, by Michael Klastorin
Prune – iOS game from Joel McDonald
Rocket Talk Podcast
Speculative Fiction 2014, by Renay Williams and Shaun Duke (editors)*
The Wheel of Time Companion
You’re Never Weird on the Internet, by Felicia Day
*I have an essay in the Speculative Fiction 2014 anthology

Dramatic Presentation, Long Form 
Ex Machina
Mad Max: Fury Road
The Martian
Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Dramatic Presentation, Short Form 
Game of Thrones: “Hardhome”

Editor, Short Form
John Joseph Adams (Lightspeed, Nightmare, everything)
Neil Clarke (Clarkesworld)*
Lee Harris (Tor.com Publishing)
Jonathan Strahan (Meeting Infinity)
Lynne M. Thomas (Uncanny)
Michael Damien Thomas (Uncanny)
Sean Wallace (Clarkesworld)
*Sean Wallace suggests recognizing Neil Clarke rather than himself

Editor, Long Form 
Anne Lesley Groell (Uprooted, Fool's Quest - US)
Jane Johnson (Fool's Quest - UK, Liar's Key, Half a World)
Beth Meacham (Karen Memory)
Bella Pagan (Sorcerer to the Crown)
Marco Palmieri (Traitor Baru Cormorant)
Jessica Wade (House of Shattered Wings)

Professional Artist 
Richard Anderson (Empire Ascendant)
Daniel Dociu (Nemesis Games)
Shan Jiang (Illustrated Man in the High Castle)
Stephan Martiniere (The Dark Forest, Dragondrums)
Victor Mosquera (Luna: New Moon)
David Palumbo (Binti)
Cynthia Sheppard (Karen Memory)
Sam Weber (Illustrated Dune)
Stephen Youll (Navigators of Dune)

Fan Artist 
Ariel / Orisoni
Megan Lara
Gabriel Picolo
Sarah Webb

Uncanny Magazine

Chaos Horizon (will not accept a nomination)
File 770
Lady Business
Nerds of a feather, flock together*
SF Mistressworks
*I am a contributor to Nerds of a Feather

Fan Writer 
Rob Bedford
Brandon Kempner (will not accept a nomination)
Abigail Nussbaum
Paul Weimer
Adam Whitehead
Renay Williams*
*Renay is the co-editor of Speculative Fiction 2014, which contains one of my essays

Cabbages and Kings
Fan Girl Happy Hour*
*One half of FGHH is Renay, co-editor of Speculative Fiction 2014

John W. Campbell Award
Lou Anders
Becky Chambers 
Malka Older
Kelly Robson 
Andy Weir
Alyssa Wong 
Isabel Yap

Monday, January 04, 2016

NoaF: Uprooted

Hey all! I have a couple of new articles up on Nerds of a Feather. The most recent is my review of Naomi Novik's Uprooted, which you can check out here.

Second, we've got a series going over there called Nerd Music. Guess what it is about. My contribution is on Tori Amos.

Books Read: December 2015

The beginning of a new month brings with it the opportunity to look back at the month gone by and to give one last glance at what I most recently read. The below listed books are what I read during the month of December. Let's see how I closed out the year, shall we?

1. Ancillary Mercy, by Ann Leckie
2. Dear Mr. You, by Mary Louise Parker
3. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, by Becky Chambers
4. Fool's Quest, by Robin Hobb
5. Uprooted, by Naomi Novik
6. Gemini Cell, by Myke Cole
7. Slow Bullets, by Alastair Reynolds
8. Extremes, by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
9. The Wheel of Time Companion, by Robert Jordan, Harriet McDougal, Alan Romanczuk, Maria Simons

Best Book of the Month: I am so happy all of the hype over Uprooted was justified, because after 7+ months of folks talking about it, I was nervous. Uprooted is so good, people. It plays with fairy tale tropes, while feeling both like a fairy tale and a novel for adults.

Disappointment of the Month: The Wheel of Time Companion had such an opportunity to be something truly special for fans of The Wheel of Time, and after The World of Ice and Fire last year showing how to make a high quality fantasy "guide / compendium", I think our expectations were high. Turns out that this is a very comprehensive encyclopedia, but it contains very little that was not already included in the books themselves. I would have preferred and expected some glimpses into the future (what happened with Mat in Seanchan, what about Elayne and Aviendha and their children?). This was dry and frequently dull.

Discovery of the Month: If I hadn't read Uprooted this month, The Fifth Season would have easily been my #1 book and even here, it's so damn close. The Fifth Season was a revelation and I was surprised each time one of the three storylines finally merged with others.

Worth Noting: Slow Bullets. Reynolds has written an excellent novella. One worth remembering at awards time.

Gender Breakdown: I'm not sure how to quantify The Wheel of Time Companion but I am categorizing it as male authored since Robert Jordan's name is first on the cover (though there is an even split of credited authors).So, with that, 6 of the 9 books I read in December were written by women. This brings my final total to 75 out of 128, or 58.59% of the books I read in 2015 were female authored. I'll have a lot more to say about this in a future article,  but suffice it to say for now that my goal was achieved. Hurrah.

Previous Months:

Friday, January 01, 2016

29 Books I'm Looking Forward to in 2016

Let's start the year off right, shall we?  I gave a quick look through the LocusForthcoming List as well as a nice list from Barnes and Nobles, did a quick search on stuff I have saved on Goodreads, and voila! We have list!   

As such, this isn’t exhaustive or authoritative.  While this list is far larger than any I've put out in the past, this is still just a list of 29 books, in presumed publication followed by alphabetical order, that I’d like to read this year.  I’m sure I missed something awesome.  Maybe many somethings awesome. I probably did.

January (4): This is an exciting month. City of Stairs was my top read of 2015, a new China Mieville demands to be read, of course I'm going to read new Sanderson, and I've been excited to read Charlie Jane Anders' debut since discovering her short fiction.

All the Birds in the Sky, by Charlie Jane Anders
City of Blades, by Robert Jackson Bennett
The Census Taker, by China Mieville
Bands of Mourning, by Brandon Sanderson

February (2): I am so behind on Bujold, but this is a Cordelia story and the two Bujold's I've read have focused on Cordelia. A Criminal Magic imagines a Roaring Twenties where Prohibition passed, but the Prohibition was on magic. Bootlegging sorcerers! Count me in!

Gentleman Jolie and the Red Queen, by Lois McMaster Bujold
A Criminal Magic, by Lee Kelly

March (1): Quiet month, I think, but we've got an MRK novella from Tor.com Publishing.

Forest of Memory, by Mary Robinette Kowal

April (2): A Joe Abercombie First Law short story collection AND Valentine's sequel to Persona. Have I mentioned that I'm a big fan of Valentine's fiction?

Sharp Ends, by Joe Abercrombie
Icon, by Genevieve Valentine

May (2): A new Joe Hill novel should be considered an event. He's one hell of a writer. While the last two books from Terry Brooks have taken a step back (after the improved Dark Legacy trilogy), I don't think I can step away from Brooks at this point. I've been reading him for far too long.

The Sorcerer's Daughter, by Terry Brooks
The Fireman, by Joe Hill

June (5): The biggest month of the year. New King, new Expanse. Exciting debuts from Yoon Ha Lee and Malka Older, and a new Strahan anthology. Can't miss this month!

Babylon's Ashes, by James S. A. Corey
End of Watch, by Stephen King
Ninefox Gambit, by Yoon Ha Lee
Infomacracy, by Malka Older
Drowned Worlds, by Jonathan Strahan

July (3): I have a copy of Chu's Time Salvager sitting at home. I loved his Tao novels, so I really should pick read Time Salvager so I'm ready for Time Siege. Likewise, I've had Republic of Thieves sitting on my shelf for at least a year. At this point, do I re-read the first two books or just jump right in with The Thorn of Emberlain dropping this year? Ghost Talkers is the first in a new series from MRK.

Time Siege, by Wesley Chu
Ghost Talkers, by Mary Robinette Kowal
The Thorn of Emberlain, by Scott Lynch

August (3): It's like this: I assume I'm going to love the first books in the respective series from Elliott and Jemisin. If so, I will jump right in to the next.

Poisoned Blade, by Kate Elliott
The Obelisk Gate, by N. K. Jemisin
The Last Days of New Paris, by China Mieville

September (1): KKR brings us an anthology of classic science fiction stories written by women. Here's a chance to dip into some of the fiction that helped shape the genre.

Women of Futures Past, by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

October (2): By now, you all know how much I love the White Trash Zombie series, so the announced publication of a new volume is a cause for joy and celebration. As is the second novel from Sylvia Moreno-Garcia (Signal to Noise was her excellent debut).

Certain Dark Things, by Sylvia Moreno-Garcia
White Trash Zombie Unchained, by Diana Rowland

Unknown (4): The trouble with doing this list at the beginning of the year is that except for the hugely major releases, we don't have many announced publication dates for late in the year and the farther away we are from publication, the greater the chance that dates will shift. So, I know that the Hurley, Bear, and Hobb are tentatively scheduled for 2016. I hope to see them. George R. R. Martin will always be on this list, even without announcing that the book is finished. The publisher will probably be insanely happy to rush the production schedule if he finishes early enough in the year. I could probably put another half dozen books in this section of the list, but I think there is enough uncertainty on those books being finished.

The Winds of Winter, by George R. R. Martin
The Stars are Legion, by Kameron Hurley
Ancestral Night, by Elizabeth Bear
Assassin's Fate, by Robin Hobb