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Archive for the ‘Awards’ Category

What Came Out In 2017 (AKA: Here’s What’s Eligible This Awards Season)

As the awards ballots start to go out, I’m getting some questions from folks about which work of mine is eligible this year in various categories. Since I have “first publication” on so many stories via Patreon, it can be a little confusing.

For instance “When We Fall” was FIRST published in 2017, but only appeared publicly in January of 2018. This means it’s eligible for this, the 2017 awards cycle, and not the 2018.

Make… sense?

Here’s a handy list:

Eligible for Best Fancast


Eligible for Short Story Noms

When We Fall 

The Fisherman and the Pig

The Hysteria of Anson U.


The Madness of Memory


Sister Solveig and Mr. Denial (will appear in Amazing Stories)

The One We Feed

Eligible for Novelette Noms

Crossroads at Jannah (will appear in Apocalypse Nyx)

Paint it Red (will appear In Apocalypse Nyx)

Garda (will appear on B&N SFF blog in Feb, 18)

The Sinners And The Sea

Eligible for Novella Noms


Eligible for Novel Noms:

THE STARS ARE LEGION (edited by Joe Monti)

Go forth and enjoy award-nomination season!

2016: Awards Eligibility AKA What I Wrote This Year

Like many of you, I opened up my awards ballots for this year and promptly forget everything I’d read in 2016, and everything I’d written.

To assist you all (and me) in remembering what I wrote in 2016, here’s the roundup:

Best Series

In a shocking twist, File 770 says the Bel Dame Apocrypha/God’s War series is actually eligible in this weird category because a novella in the series, The Heart is Eaten Last, was published in 2016. It’s for reasons like this that I think the Best Series category is flawed, and I’m not sure it would be a good addition to the Hugo list. But hey, the Bel Dame Apocrypha/God’s War series is eligible. So if you loved it, put a ring on it, etc.



Best Novelette Eligible

Both of these were published on Patreon in 2016 as well as in their respective reprint markets, where you can read them free:

These other four are patron-only works that were published this year, but haven’t yet been reprinted, alas. If you’re a patron and you’ve read them, they’re eligible this year in the novelette category. If you haven’t read them, access is $1.


Best Novella Eligible

Again, this was published first last year on Patreon, and later in the year reprinted in Forever Magazine, so it’s eligible in the novella category:




Best Related Work Eligible

Due to a push in dates for The Stars are Legion from fall 2016 to February 7th, 2017, GFR is my only eligible book-length work this year. While some of these essays were published prior, there are 9 new essays included exclusive to the collection, which I think makes its eligible for this year.


Best Fancast Eligible

I have somehow become a regular guest on Ditch Diggers hosted by Mur Lafferty and Matt Wallace. I love this show to pieces, as it’s of great help not just to newer writers, but to intermediate and pro writers as well. We need more like it. Check it out if you haven’t already!


Now I am off to go and look at other people’s awards-eligibility posts so I can fill out all these ballots…



Awards Eligibility & Reading Recs

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 MERCYUPROOTED 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.


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 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.

I’ll also point folks in the direction of Cassandra Khaw, whose work is new to me this year. Check out “You’re All Going to Die on Mars” and “Her Pound of Flesh.”


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.


Abigail Nussbaum is repeatedly robbed of this title every year. Read her stuff to see why you should vote for her this year.


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.



Award Season Boogie: What’s Up for 2014 Noms

It seems it’s that time of year again, when we remind folks what exactly we wrote last year, what we thought rocked from other people last year, and what’s eligible for what-what, etc.

And before I get pummeled with tomatoes for saying, “Hey, here’s some stuff I enjoyed this year!” I’ll note the suggestions below are just what I read and liked this year, or suggestions of things that may have been overlooked as folks go scrambling for the latest Hot New Thing. YMMV. It’s a free country! Vote for what you want! Don’t vote at all! I’m not the boss of you, for fuck’s sake. I did also include some crowd-sourced choices at the end, which provide far more variety than those I actually read. I don’t read a lot, and what I like does not often synch up with what other people like. But if I thought like everyone else, why read this blog, or any of my fiction, eh?

Which is probably why you should look for recommendations from book bloggers instead of me. They’ve actually waded through all the dross.

Here’s what’s eligible from me, and other people’s stuff I read and found enjoyable and thought-provoking.


THE MIRROR EMPIRE was published in 2014 and is eligible for All the Things related to Best Novel in both the US and the UK (Amanda Rutter, formerly of Strange Chemistry, edited this book, FYI).

INFIDEL was also published this year in the UK, and is eligible for all the UK Best Novel awards.

As for my nominations, I’ll be putting CITY OF STAIRS by Robert Jackson Bennett on it. If you haven’t read it yet, please do.  And don’t forget that Ann Leckie’s ANCILLARY SWORD is also eligible. All too often, we neglect to consider second books. Also remember Elizabeth Bear’s STELES OF THE SKY was out this year. Great series.



I wrote some short fiction this year, but it won’t come out until next year, so I’ve got nothing up in the category.

When it comes to short fiction, there’s an incredible amount of great stuff out there, as I discovered when I asked for recommendations on Twitter (see the end of this post for more on that). Luckily the types of fiction I like are very particular, so that made it easier for me to narrow them down. Though your tastes will of course vary, here are some things I enjoyed:

Seth Dickinson’s “A Tank Only Fears Four Things”  or “Morrigan in the Sunglare”  (his novel, due in the fall, THE TRAITOR BARU CORMORANT, will be on my Hugo ballot next year. Yes. I know that already. I got to read it early and you should pre-order it as soon as you’re able)

“The Days of War, As Red as Blood, As Dark as Bile”  and “The Breath of War” by Aliette de Bodard

“And Wash Out by Tides of War” by An Owomoyela



My novelette, The Body Project, was published on Del Rey UK’s website in January of 2014.

I believe this means it’s eligible in all the novelette categories. You can read part 1 and part 2 for free or download the full story from all the major ebook retailers.


Nothing from me on this front either, and I haven’t read many that actually came out this year, alas.


In the new-ish tradition of BEST FAN WRITER, having won in this category for the Hugos last year, I’ll be turning down my nomination if I’m nominated again.

Do consider my fellow nominees last year for this category: Foz Meadows, Abigail Nussbaum, Mark Oshiro, Liz Bourke.



I had work appear in WOMEN DESTROY FANTASY and WOMEN DESTROY SCIENCE FICTION, as well as THE MAMMOTH BOOK OF SF BY WOMEN. All fabulous collections you should check out.

Additionally, I urge everyone to read and consider LONG HIDDEN: SPECULATIVE FICTION FROM THE MARGINS.



When I asked for recommendations on Twitter, folks responded with a lot of wonderful stuff (some of them editors, so you’ve been warned). This list ended up a little different than some of the other ones I’ve seen out there, so I wanted to share it. There’s just so much out there that sometimes breaking it up into bite sized chunks on various lists makes it all manageable.

I encourage you to check these out and see what strikes your fancy.


THE GOBLIN EMPEROR by Katherine Addison

THE INCORRUPTIBLES by John Hornor Jacobs



THE PERILOUS SEA by Sherry Thomas

BREACH ZONE by Myke Cole

BOY, SNOW, BIRD by Helen Oyeyemi

MAPLECROFT by Cherie Priest


LAGOON by Nnedi Okorafor



Short Story

If God is Watching, by Mikki Kendall

Project Itoh’s “From the Nothingness With Love” from Phantasm Japan

“When it Ends, He Catches Her,” by Eugie Foster

Cookie Cutter Superhero by Tansy Raynor Roberts

The Clockwork Soldier by Ken Liu



The Devil in America, by Kai Ashante Wilson

The Litany of Earth by Ruthanna Emrys

Stone Hunger by NK Jemisin

In the Sight of Akresa by Ray Wood

Among the Thorns by Veronica Schanoes

The Regular by Ken Liu 

“Written on the Hides of Foxes” by Alex Daley MacFarlane




The Mothers of Voorhisville by Mary Rickert

The Awakened Kingdom by NK Jemisin

Hugo Speeches: Thanks for All the Llamas

So! How about those Hugos?

As for me, I said what I wanted to say in the acceptance speeches, which I’ll reprint below for those who missed them.

Thanks again to Kate Elliott and Tricia Sullivan for accepting in my absence, and to all the fans, readers, and colleagues who’ve supported me while I ranted my way out here along the margins. It’s an uphill slog, but you all make it worth it – and you made a popular award win possible, which, to be frank, I did not think was within the realm of possibility. Sometimes SFF surprises you. This year more than most (OMFG ANCILLARY JUSTICE 4EVAH).


Hugo Acceptance Speech – Fan Writer

(speech in case of emergency)

I’m told blog posts don’t matter. I’m told words don’t matter.

I’m told this by storytellers who know that the only thing that matters is words – and the ideas we convey with them. I’m told this by storytellers with a deep fear of people ranting on the internet.

Fans and pros write for all sorts of reasons, chief among them being love. I write for free online out of love, passion, and often – rage. Rage that the very stories I love punch me in the face. Rage that storytellers, many of them my colleagues, grind to dust my most fervent hopes and desires for a future that includes me and others like me.

It was this rage, I thought, that would preclude me from ever being nominated for a Hugo. Science fiction does not like change. Creators don’t like being called on their BS.  But in looking out at my fellow nominees, whose own work I admire so much, I suspect it is this rage, and this desire for positive change, that is fueling our future.

Thank you all for supporting this change. Thank you for championing the voices of myself and my fellow nominees.  I know we have a long way to go. I’m glad you’re all on board.


Hugo Acceptance Speech – Best Related Work

(speech in case of emergency)

Ten years ago, this rant about llamas would have dropped like a stone. Maybe a hundred people would have read it. Fewer would remember it.

But a lot can change in ten years.

This change isn’t mine to crow about. I’m just one person. One voice. And without other voices amplifying my voice, and sharing and discussing our broken views of the past that bleed into stories of the present and future, then I –  like our friends the fuzzy llamas –would sink like a stone; my voice forgotten, erased from history.

And the rest of us erased with me.

The conflict of narrative we’re engaged in online, in convention spaces, in stories, and in the wider world is a real one. It’s no less than a struggle for our inclusion in our own history. Not just my history, my future. But yours. Your friends’. Your colleagues. All of us, struggling together to write a better, truer story.

So this win goes to the llamas. Every one of us. Of every type. Even the alpacas.

Thank you.


On Writing the Good Fight: Hugo Roundup

In the first grade (3rd grade? whatever), my best friend ran for some student office, a rather innocuous one, I believe, like Treasurer or something like that. Treasurer was – I knew, even then – a good bet. He was an exceptionally gifted kid: smart, funny, brilliant; played violin and piano, read chapter books to the class, and had already skipped a grade.

He was a great pick for the office, but I remember being shocked at his chutzpah when he announced he was running and asked me to be his campaign manager. I knew we were both deeply geeky people, and putting me, another deeply geeky person, next to him on stage pretty much nailed the coffin shut on his chances. So I declined to be campaign manager, and he made a smarter choice  – a funny, far more popular guy who could bring in a few more votes outside the non-geek crowd.

If you think this already sounds way too politic for a bunch of elementary school kids, you don’t remember much about being in elementary school.

When he and the campaign manager got up onto that stage and did their campaign sketch/speech it was perfect. It was funny, engaging, smart. I was deeply proud to know the guy.

I knew he was running against a more popular candidate, but I couldn’t help but think, while the students laughed and clapped at the end of his speech, that he’d win it regardless. He’d win it on talent, because he was a smart kid who made good choices.

I believed.

When the ballot results came in, I sat at my desk clasping my hands in front of me, riveted to the PA speaker as the principle read out the list.

I believed.

My friend and his campaign manager stared too. Anticipation. Hope.

Hope for us, at least.

Looking back, I expect the class already knew the results.

When the principal announced the name of my friend’s rival as the elected treasurer, I felt sick. And the utter look of shock and devastation on my friend’s face is one I carry with me to this day.

We both learned a valuable lesson that day, him far more than me – the right people, the most talented people, don’t always win. In fact, the majority of the time, the right people, the most talented people, lose hard.

And it’s an ugly loss.

I’ve always viewed the Hugos and other “popular” fiction awards like the Gemmell as a rigged game. It’s a popularity contest. It always has been, since the very beginning. Popular awards are as messed up and corrupt as any other election.  The most engaging, insightful, and technically lovely work doesn’t generally win (whatever “the best” is). What wins is the work the most people have read and liked, or, barring that, the work the most people have heard of.

It’s no wonder that we’re seeing more and more folks hitting the Hugo list who have massive online followings – people of every sort.  When Scalzi won his Hugo for Best Novel last year, there was plenty of snark, as much snark as there will likely be when Wheel of Time rolls off with it this year, despite a fine showing by ANCILLARY JUSTICE as the year’s best book (ANCILLARY JUSTICE 4EVER).

WoT will win because it’s been read the most. It’s loved the most.  It’s a bloated, ambitious mess, but it’s OUR mess. And it will be rewarded for it.

Any book that’s only been out a year just doesn’t have a chance.

Is that fair? No.

It’s politics. It’s elections. It’s popular awards.

I can see your ugly disappointment already.

But that ugly disappointment is not more or less than other years. There’s no more or less politicking.

Many folks on the ballot are folks who’ve learned how to move the internet – myself among them – and I find it disingenuous to say that it’s OK for me to move the internet but not OK for others. Would I prefer that we only shared awesome, happy, not-oppressing-every-fucking-person screeds on the internet? Sure! But it’s the fucking internet.

All you can do it use your own voice for good. And amplify other good voices.

“We Have Always Fought” is the first blog post, ever, to be nominated for a Hugo Award. It’s also been read by more people than all of my books and short stories combined, and possibly read more than any single book in the Best Novel category except the collective Wheel of Time.

We can chomp about the evils of the Internet, and how it’s used to manufacture bullshit messages about oppressing people. But I want you all think about this: “We Have Always Fought” is not about silencing others, telling women to get back into the kitchen, or a piece of Nazi sympathizing.

It’s a post that asks creators – fiction writers, screenwriters, game makers, every creative person telling stories – to rethink the tired old narrative that erases women from history, from the present, from the future. It’s a cry for change, and the resonance it generated within the community shocked me.  I don’t have current stats, but six weeks after it came out last year, we were already at 50-70,000 hits. And the vast, vast VAST majority of the responses were overwhelmingly positive.

And when the Hugo nomination came out?

My friends, that shit is making the rounds again.

Can’t stop the fucking signal.

We spend a lot of time concentrating on backwards bullshit. I know why we do it – people whose mission in life is to basically to strip away your human rights are fucking scary.  As the member of a couple of groups that a lot of people would like to throw in a gaol or drag to death behind the back of a truck, I get it.

But I’ve been blogging for ten fucking years. And let me tell you – if I wrote “We Have Always Fought” ten years ago, it would have been ignored at best, and widely ridiculed at worst.

I could point to exceptional work in every category here, just like every year. And blatant bullshit, just like every year.  But you know what? Before we all throw up our hands and say, “What the fuck is the point and fuck everything and NOTHING WILL EVER CHANGE!” I invite you to take a look at, for instance, what the Best Fan Writer Hugo looked like ten years ago:

  • David Langford
  • Jeff Berkwits
  • John L. Flynn
  • Cheryl Morgan

And David Langford would win it AGAIN – as he had for the last 15 years (yes. 15 times) and as he’d go on to win it until the streak was broken by Scalzi in 2008 (at which point Cheryl was FINALLY able to win in 2009).

Politics, much?

No, no, surely no one has EVER politicked for the Hugos! Surely this is the Worst Year Evah!

Ahem. Well.

Sorry, gotta put on my historian hat for that one, my friends. Because I have a sign over my desk for whenever I get worked up into a frenzy that’s a quote from Paul Henry that says, “In times like these, it helps to remember there have always been times like these).

So, now let’s look at the Best Fan Writer list this year. Because I can fucking tell you, it’s an impossible list of nominations. I don’t think I’ve seen that many outrageously, outspokenly feminist women on a list outside the fucking Tiptree.  I’d have told you last year, even this year, that that list of women all on any single list for the fucking Hugos of all things was im-fucking-possible.

So as much as I’d like to spend all my time being mad at how shitty politics are in high school popularity contests – like we all say every year – you know what? It’s been a lot worse. So much, much worse. This is not an unprecedented amount of politicking. This goes on every year.

The real surprise is that so much good work makes the ballot at all, among all the bullshit. It reminds us that lots of bullshit gets through, yeah, but there’s hope.

There’s always hope.

game-of-thrones-the-avengers-hugo-awardsRemember my buddy from elementary school? He went on to be a successful immigration lawyer, fighting the good fight against ICE; protecting the vulnerable, giving voice to the voiceless, and all that shit. He does real, life-changing work that has nothing at all to do with whether or not he won a popularity contest for Treasurer in fucking elementary school. His life is measured by the work he does, and the lives he makes better. Not a cash prize, a tiara, a nomination for “cool dude” listed in the Guardian.

I’m proud to say I knew him back in the day.

The good folks aren’t always the people winning shit. The good folks are the people doing the fucking work. Sometimes they overlap – usually, they don’t.

Always. In life. In fiction.

There are a ton of good folks who will never, ever be nominated for any awards ever. They will struggle on writing incredible work that people love and never get acknowledged for it. And there are plenty of other folks who actually make a living writing fiction who won’t be nominated either, who I’d trade all my award nominations to, just so I could have their sales numbers.

Boo-fucking-hoo. Life isn’t fair. Looking at my bookscan numbers, don’t I fucking know it.

But you know what I have? I have hope. More hope than I had ten years ago.


Because if you’re worried about the future of science fiction – and sure, who wouldn’t be? –  I’ll leave you with this parting thought.

Here’s the Campbell list this year:

  • Wesley Chu
  • Max Gladstone
  • Ramez Naam
  • Sofia Somatar
  • Benjanun Sriduangkaew

Welcome to the fucking future.

Keep writing the good fucking fight.


Awards Eligibility and Recommendations

I’ve never been keen on listing eligible works, especially when I don’t have many, but I keep fielding questions about this on Twitter, so here’s a post I can point ya’ll to instead of endlessly rehashing.






RAPTURE, my last book, came out in 2012, so isn’t eligible for any 2013 awards. Nor is the series as a whole (but it was eligible last year. Spilled milk, my friends!). However, I encourage everyone to vote for:

AJ can also be nominated in the Best Debut novel categories.


God’s War came out in the UK in May of last year, and is eligible for the usual suspects when it comes to UK awards.

I spent most of last year – from February to October – writing a 160k novel for a new trilogy, (out August 26th!) so aside from blog posts, I wasn’t especially prolific (publicly, anyway). I have one short story up:


My creepy sentient spaceship story, “Enyo-Enyo” appeared in both The Lowest Heaven anthology (June) and Lightspeed magazine (October) in 2013 and is eligible for short story in pretty much every award category, I think.

However, before making up your mind, be sure to check out all the short fiction from Benjanun Sriduangkaew that came out last year. She is astonishing, and if you haven’t heard of her yet, you’re missing out.


I’ve seen a few people list me as eligible for this due to blog posts like this, this, this, and this and articles I’ve had in Locus this year (the Locus articles are paid, so shouldn’t count, I’m told – luckily I have a whole unpaid blog archive here). This is a weird category to think of myself in, since I’ve been blogging since 2004 and publishing fiction since 1996, but I’ll concede that the blog’s gotten a massive upward surge in traffic the last 12-14 months with some of these posts.

That said, for this category I recommend you all consider Foz Meadows, who I think has been passed up for this one one year too many.


“We Have Always Fought: Challenging the Women, Cattle and Slaves Narrative” can also be nominated on its own for the Hugos as Best Related Work, which seems to be what a few folks are doing. If all you liked of what I did this year was this post (and I think there were something like 70-80,000 of you who read it, which is more readers than have picked up all my books combined by a massive margin), then skip fan writer and go to Best Related Work, or hell, consider doing both. This one was popular with writers across the spectrum, from comics to gaming to spec fic.

If I’m never known for writing anything else, ever, I’ll be happy to go down being known for this one.


Sorry, haven’t been Campbell-eligible since 2006. Yes, I’ve been doing this awhile! However, I do recommend that you consider:

Who are both basically writing the kind of fiction I could only dream of writing.

Have fun with awards season, folks.