Sunday, January 4, 2015

Reading Since August -and- What SFF Has Knocked YOUR Socks Off In 2014?

*Edited 1/5/15 - see list of recommended books below*

Hello! Sorry I went dark for awhile! A lot of long work hours in the months since LonCon. I've also been sick a lot, waxing and waning, since mid-August, and I'm still sick. I haven't had a lot of brain for reading. I've read a bit, but most of my down time has been playing mindless iPhone games and catching up on Survivor and Downton Abbey. Well, and Doctor Who. I mean, come on.

I'll write up another post with the things I'm thinking about nominating for the 2014 Hugo Awards.

Short version, from the 2014 stories I've managed to read so far:
Ancillary Sword (Ann Leckie) - oh hell yes, definitely nominating
Lock In (John Scalzi) - probably
Magic Breaks (Ilona Andrews) - liked it, but probably not
Unlocked (John Scalzi) - no
The Mirror Empire (Kameron Hurley) - no
Skin Game (Jim Butcher) - liked it, but no
Hieroglyph anthology - a number of these shorts will be on my nomination ballot - more detail in the nominations post
Rogues anthology - I think there were a couple of shorts I really liked - need to go back and look at my notes

I'm assuming there will be time to read at least a couple more books before nominations close. Here is the list my friends are recommending, with potential to nominate. What about you? What has really knocked your socks off in sci-fi/fantasy published in 2014?

The Seventh Bride (T. Kingfisher)
The Milkman (Michael Martineck)
The Peripheral (William Gibson)
The Martian (Andy Weir) *
The Book of Life (Deborah Harkness) (with recommendation to read the other two in the series first)**
The Magician's Land (Lev Grossman) (with recommendation to read the other two in the series first)**

Clearly I've been unfairly discriminating against book titles that begin with "The." 

[Edited - added on 1/5/15]:
Shards of Time (Lynn Flewelling) (with recommendation to read the other six in the series first)
The Goblin Emperor (Katherine Addison) (aka Sarah Monette)
ALSO please see the excellent lists in the comments below!

I'll update this list as I get more recommendations. There were literally hundreds of books published every month this year. Insane. If only there were time to read them all!

Has anyone heard yet when the nominations will open?

More soon. Promise!

Update: Potentially stupid newbie question:
How do you determine the word count of works of fiction that are shorter than novels and are published in anthologies or magazines? It's important to know for the nomination ballot - the categories are divided by approximate word count. My google-fu is failing me. Thanks!

[Added notes]
*Note - may not be eligible since it was first self-published in 2012
**It's my understanding that these are complete trilogies with their final parts published in 2014. They are therefore eligible to be nominated as a single work (the entire trilogy) OR as the individual book that was published in 2014.


  1. This is my first year nominating for the Hugos. Here's what I got at this time:

    *Best Novel* (The Martian's not eligible, IDK if enough people nominating it will get it on the ballot):
    Words of Radiance, Brandon Sanderson (Tor Books)

    The Three Body Problem, Liu Cixin (Tor Books)

    City of Stairs, Robert Jackson Bennett (Broadway Books)

    The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison (Tor Books)

    The Bone Clocks, David Mitchell (Sceptre)

    *Best Novella*
    “The Last Log of the Lachrimosa”, Alastair Reynolds (Subterranean)

    “The Regular”, Ken Liu (Upgraded; Wyrm Publishing)

    “Where the Trains Turn”, Pasi Ilmari Jääskeläinen (

    "Visitation", John F.D. Taff (The End in All Beginnings; Grey Matter Press)

    “Entanglement”, Vandana Singh (Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future; William Morrow)

    *Best Novelette*
    “In the Sight of Akresa”, Ray Wood (

    "The Litany of Earth", Ruthana Emrys (

    "A Long Spoon", Jonathan L. Howard (

    "The Magician and Laplace's Demon", Tom Crosshill (Clarkesworld)

    *Best Short Story*
    “The Floating Girls: A Documentary”, Damien Angelica Walters (Jamais Vu)

    “Passage of Earth”, Michael Swanwick (Clarkesworld Magazine)

    “How to Become a Robot in 12 Easy Steps”, A. Merc Rustad (Scientgasy)

    “The Vaporization Enthalpy of a Peculiar Pakistani Family”, Usman T. Malik (Qualia Nous; Written Backwards)

    "The Fisher Queen”, Alyssa Wong (Fantasy & Science Fiction)

    For the hell of it, *Best Graphic Story*
    Saga, Volume Three, written by Brian K. Vaughan, illustrated by Fiona Staples (Image Comics)

    Aama Volume 1: The Smell of Warm Dust, written and illustrated by Frederik Peeters (SelfMadeHero)

    Sex Criminals, Vol. 1: One Weird Trick, written by Matt Fraction, illustrated by Chip Zdarsky (Image Comics)

    Rat Queens, Vol. 1: Sass & Sorcery, written by Kurtis J. Wiebe; illustrated by Roc Upchurch (Image Comics)

    Nimona, written and illustrated by Noelle Stevenson (self-published)

    For stuff that's published in magazines, I think the magazine's website would say so? I've been looking at review sites, usually they also say.

    ...I need a novelette. I had "Each to Each" or "Among the Thorns" in mind, but I don't know.

    1. THANK YOU!! I had not caught that The Martian was originally self-published in 2012.

      Impressive list!! Thank you!

      I'm going to try to get to as many stories as I can before the nominations close!!

  2. also my dramatic presentation categories because i feel like no one ever talks about that aspect of the hugos that much and everyone just nominates like 3 doctor who episodes i'm sorry

    *Long Form*
    Snowpiercer, screenplay by Bong Joon-ho and Kelly Masterson; directed by Bong Joon-ho (Moho Films; Opus Pictures; The Weinstein Company)

    Edge of Tomorrow, screenplay by Christopher McQuarrie, Jez Butterworth, and John-Henry Butterworth; directed by Doug Liman (Village Roadshow; RatPac-Dune Entertainment; 3 Arts Entertainment; Viz Productions)

    Guardians of the Galaxy, screenplay by James Gunn and Nicole Perlman; directed by James Gunn (Marvel Studios; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

    Under the Skin, screenplay by Walter Campbell and Jonathan Glazer, directed by Jonathan Glazer (Film4, BFI, A24 Films)

    Interstellar, written by Jonathan and Christopher Nolan; directed by Christopher Nolan (Syncopy Films Inc.; Lynda Obst Pictures; Legendary Pictures; Paramount Pictures)

    *Short Form*
    Doctor Who: “Listen”, written by Steven Moffat; directed by Douglas Mackinnon (BBC Cymru Wales)

    Game of Thrones: “The Children”, written by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss; directed by Alex Graves (HBO Entertainment in association with Bighead, Littlehead; Television 360; Startling Television and Generator Productions)

    Black Mirror: “White Christmas”, written by Charlie Brooker, directed by Carl Tibbetts (Zeppotron, Endemol UK, DirecTV)

    Wanderers, written by Carl Sagan and Erik Wernquist, directed by Erik Wernquist (self-released)

    Rick and Morty: “Close Rick-counters of the Rick Kind”, written by Ryan Ridley; directed by Stephen Sandoval (Harmonious Claptrap; Justin Roiland's Solo Vanity Card Productions; Starburns Industries; Williams Street)

  3. I don't think there's been an official ruling on "The Martian", though most are assuming it's not eligible because it was self published in 2012... That being said, Scalzi's Old Man's War was nominated in 2004 or 2005, and it was originally published on his website in 2002 or something, so there's precedent... I will be including it on my ballot depending on definitive statements as to eligibility. It's worth reading regardless!

    Other than that, the book I most enjoyed that seems to be getting moderate love (but not quite Leckie/Scalzi level love) is "A Darkling Sea" by James Cambias

    I'm not that far along on shorter fiction, though I also read Hieroglyph and plan to nominate a few things from that.

    Like you, I have several books in the queue that might work. "The Peripheral" and "The Bone Clocks" are next up for me.

    For Dramatic Presentation, Long Form, I will be nominating "Coherence". I also want to see "The One I Love" before nominations close. I really enjoyed "Guardians of the Galaxy" and "Edge of Tomorrow", borderline on "Interstellar" (but will probably nominate). Did not care much for "Snowpiercer". Still don't know what to make of "Under the Skin"...

    I'm guessing Black Mirror will be included in Short Form, though I haven't seen it yet. Curious if Darknet will turn heads (haven't seen that yet either, though it seems more horror oriented).

    Nominations are a lot more difficult than actual voting!

  4. Oh yeah, Related Work! Jodorowsky's Dune is technically eligible, so that's definitely a mainstay on my ballot.

  5. Did you read Burn for Me, by Ilona Andrews?