It’s that time of year and I haven’t updated my blog since it was that time last year. So bad!! Anyway, these are my faves from 2014, which will probably show up on my Hugo nomination ballot.
Since I have a very long to-read list, I often have trouble getting to current novels in the calendar year. But this year I did read some really great ones.
Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie, the sequel to last year’s Hugo winner Ancillary Justice, was a bit of a different book (though still gender-bending space opera) from its predecessor but still blew me away just as much. No sophomore slump. It’s my top choice. I hope Leckie can repeat winning ALL THE AWARDS!
John Scalzi’s Lock In continued his tradition of awesomeness, this time with a near-future thriller that delves into how society treats the disabled and also plays with the gender and race assumptions of the reader.
I plowed through Rachel Bach’s Paradox trilogy, reading all three books (the second and third came out in 2014) in quick succession. Been a long time since I binged on a series. More women in space opera, yes, please! I suppose the whole trilogy would be eligible same as Wheel of Time, but I will probably just nominate the last book, Heaven’s Queen.
Jack McDevitt also put out another Alex Benedict novel, Coming Home, which I greatly enjoyed. I love this series to death, despite the well-deserved criticism that he’s taken white bread 21st century American culture and transplanted it ~8000 years in the future. Ah, well.
Of the books on my to-read list that I hope get on the ballot, so that I have an excuse to move them to the top of the pile, I’m going with The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison and City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett. Please, please, come on! (I’m also reading The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey right now and wouldn’t mind that either.)
NovellasMy fave novella of 2014 was The End of the Sentence by Maria Dahvana Headley and Kat Howard. Someone is getting out of prison soon. Delightfully creepy.
Second place: We Are All Completely Fine by Daryl Gregory. A support group for survivors of supernatural horror. More please!
I also really enjoyed Sixth of the Dusk by Brandon Sanderson, The Mothers of Voorhisville by Mary Rickert, Scale-Bright by Benjanun Sriduangkaew, and Yesterday’s Kin by Nancy Kress.
This is more than will fit on my ballot; there will be some paring…sniff.
I have to note that Tor.com didn’t have quite as many original novellas this year as they have had in the past but that should change in the future with their new publishing imprint that is specifically FOR novellas.
This list is also too long for the ballot. Damn you, paring knife!From Tor.com:
- Midway Relics and Dying Breeds by Seanan McGuire – a carnival forges on, even after society has pretty much collapsed.
- In the Sight of Akresa by Ray Wood – a crushing debut fantasy.
- The Litany of Earth by Ruthanna Emrys – the inhabitants of Lovecraft’s Innsmouth persecuted? Exactly my take away from the original story. Emrys’s take is brilliant.
- Among the Thorns by Veronica Schanoes – retelling of a terrible Grimm fairy tale.
- “The Magician and Laplace’s Demon” by Tom Crosshill – great mix of SF and fantasy, with an AI hunting down magicians.
- “The Day the World Turned Upside Down” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt – the world literally and inexplicably turns upside down. I don’t know who works the translation magic on Heuvelt’s work but he comes through so beautifully.
- “None Owns the Air” by Ken Liu – a preview, I think, of his upcoming novels. Liu rules.
- “We Are the Cloud” by Sam J. Miller – scary and hard-hitting. Boys in the foster care system being exploited, their brains used for cloud storage.
From Beneath Ceaseless Skies:
- The Bonedrake’s Penance by Yoon Ha Lee – a beautiful mix of fantasy and SF. This bonedrake is the keeper of the fortress at the center of the universe.
Short StoriesMy list is too long to put on here, so I will massacre it ahead of time and pick 5. Plenty of others could have been among these 5! So tragic…
- “Morrigan in the Sunglare” by Seth Dickinson – pilots on a damaged ship, about to fall into the Sun. Dickinson always kills it.
- “The Lonely Sea in the Sky” by Amal El-Mohtar – one of the highlights of Lightspeed’s Women Destroy Science Fiction special issue.
- “Ten Rules for Being an Intergalactic Smuggler (the Successful Kind)” by Holly Black – this one is just super space fun. Ok, there’re some deaths, but still.
- “The Long Haul From the ANNALS OF TRANSPORTATION, The Pacific Monthly, May 2009” by Ken Liu – to reiterate: Liu = awesome.
- “What Glistens Back” by Sunny Moiraine – the story of a doomed astronaut.