It’s here! It’s time!
I know, I know, seems like it was just yesterday we went over this, eh? But ’tis the new season, and so: the new post.
The second book in the Worldbreaker Saga, EMPIRE ASCENDANT came out in October of 2015, and is eligible in all the best novel categories.
That said, this was another insanely great year for books, and I don’t have my fingers crossed for this one. It’s a middle book, and it’s up against some books I’ll be happily nominating for best novel, including THE TRAITOR BARU CORMORANT and PLANETFALL. Ann Leckie made another powerful showing with ANCILLARY MERCY. UPROOTED was also a huge treat, and if I was nominating work on pure entertainment value, it would be up there.
Yet as much as I loved those, I think this is going to be THE FIFTH SEASON’S year. It’s an incredible book, not just a great read, but thematically and technically brilliant, and I expect to see it on a lot of lists, mine among them. So. Good.
As ever, a category I don’t read or write a lot of, but there was a huge number of novellas out from Tor this year, and Tachyon, Subterranean, and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction continue to put out great stuff. I’m just under-read.
I did really enjoy Catherynne Valente’s “Speak Easy “. So check that one out, too.
My Patreon novelette, “The Judgement of Gods and Monsters” came out in 2015 via Patreon and is being reprinted this year in Beyond Ceaseless Skies, which will actually mean it’s eligible for 2015’s awards (I know, the rules are weird). I’ll update this post when the story is live for those who haven’t read it yet.
I really love this one, but I’m biased, naturally.
BEST SHORT STORY
I had some short fiction come out that’s eligible, my favorite of which is “The Light Brigade.” This one was selected for a Year’s Best, but I had to turn it down because it was coming out from Night Shade Books, and I’d like to keep as much of my work away from them as possible; the editor of that anthology is great and totally understood my reasons. It was also chosen for inclusion in PWNING Tomorrow, the EFF benefit anthology.
Elephants and Corpses, a Tor.com short story about body-hopping mercenaries and endearing elephants, came out in May, making it eligible for 2015 awards.
“Body Politic” was out in the anthology Meeting Infinity, and is also eligible, as it’s an original story.
“The Improbable War” which debuted in Popular Science Magazine also counts, as many “short story” categories have an upper but not a lower word count limit.
As for what I’ve read this year, folks know that I’m a fan of Seth Dickinson’s short fiction, like this eligible story.
Nino Cipri wrote a lovely time-travel story I thought was fabulous, “The Shape of My Name.” Read it (I’ve discovered I’m kind of a sucker for time travel stories almost as much as war stories). Another I liked, also chosen by editor Ann VanderMeer, is Haralambi Markov’s “The Language of Knives.” You’ll see why pretty quickly.
BEST RELATED WORK/BEST ANTHOLOGY/BEST COLLECTION
Meeting Infinity fits into any of these categories on various ballots. I think something like half of the stories in it have already been pulled for Year’s Best collections, so you may want to check this one out.
BEST FAN WRITER
Abigail Nussbaum is repeatedly robbed of this title every year. Read her stuff to see why you should vote for her this year.
BEST NEW WRITER/CAMPBELL
As ever, the toughest category of all, as one doesn’t know if an author is eligible unless they tell you. I’ll update this one as the lists start to come out. Cassandra Khaw has let me know that this is her first year of eligibility, so there’s one!
As for the other categories across various awards ballots, I’m going to be reading other recommendations posts looking for new work and artists to check out, and I hope you will too.
The great part about awards season that we don’t talk about enough is how great it is to find little gems of work that we missed in the last year, and great new-to-us authors that we can follow into the new year.