Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Tell me about the good SFF you've read/watched in 2015!

So, now that a record number of fans have shown up to prove that the group barking "You are a tiny clique trying to block us completely out of the Hugo Awards" were, in fact, the tiny clique who themselves were trying to block everybody else out of the awards.... Let's move on to what new SFF has been coming out!

What science fiction and fantasy have you read or watched, and loved, this year? I'm specifically looking for works that were first published or aired in 2015 and are eligible for nomination for the 2016 Hugo Awards. I'm especially hungry for recommendations of good shorter-than-novel-length fiction since I have a hard time finding good shorter works. I want recommendations of novels, too, though, please.

Here are the things on my "I might nominate this!" list so far (in no particular order):

Best Novel:
Best Dramatic Presentation - Long Form:
Best Fan Writer:
Here are a list of things that have been recommended to me so far, or that I'm just really looking forward to reading anyway. I'm going to read through as many of them as I can!

(Disclaimer: I'm only listing things here I think I might be interested in. There are many more extensive general lists of recommendations, and many more comprehensive lists of eligible works - please link me to more of these too!)

Short Stories:
Dramatic Presentation - Long Form:

Tell me about the new SFF you're loving! I want to read it!

I'll posted updated lists periodically.


  1. Oh! I need to add the new Ilona Andrews to that list.

  2. The only thing I'd add right now is for Dramatic Presentation Long Form: Predestination is worth checking out. Perhaps not for everyone, but worthwhile... I'm also assuming Mad Max: Fury Road will make the ballot, but again, not for everyone...

    1. Thanks, Mark! I will check out Predestination.

      Mad Max: Fury Road is not really my cup of tea. I, like you, assume it will make the ballot without my support, so I'll watch it next year during the voting phase, and I suspect once will be enough for me. :)

  3. My main source of short fiction is my subscription to Asimov's, and even that I'm a little behind on because I was so busy reading nominees that I neglected Asimov's for the past few months. But a couple that I really enjoyed so far this year were:

    Novelette - Pareidolia by Kathleen Bartholomew and Kage Barker
    Short Story - The Ghosts by Gwendolyn Clare

    1. Cool! Thanks! I'll check them out. I even have a subscription to Asimov's that's been lying neglected on my phone, so I should already have the stories!

  4. Hello via File 770's link to you! I've highlighted four anime shows from the first half of the year that are potentially award-worthy right here, with links to free, legal streams of all of them.

    If none of those work for you, I'll have another post at the end of the year with shows from the second half that everyone ought to take a look at.

    1. Hi! Very cool, thank you! I don't follow anime at all, so having a link to some really excellent ones is extremely helpful.

    2. Are these short-form or long-form?

    3. All the ones in that post cover single continuous serialized stories, so long-form.

  5. Heya!
    I'm an avid reader of F&SF.

    Two of my favorites this year, that I think are Hugo quality, are:

    "What Has Passed Shall In Kinder Light Appear," by Bao Shu (translated by Ken Liu), March/April 2015 - I don't know how to explain what makes this novella so wonderful without explaining its SF-nal premise, but that'd give away a bunch of the fun. It's kind of a twist on alternate history, with a love story, through the many travails of recent Chinese history. An absolute gem.

    "The Body Pirate," by Van Aaron Hughes, F&SF Jul/Aug 2015 - In this story, people's souls are blackbirds, and they do not stay put in their bodies. Well-written, inventive, and very unusual.

    In a complete different direction:
    "And I Show You How Deep The Rabbit Hole Goes," by Scott Alexander,
    This is a very oddball piece, which is what I love about it. It's kind of a humor piece, and a lot of what I like is how deftly it creates an intriguing story from a very unlikely source. Read the first few lines, and you'll be grinning. Get to the end, and I think you'll be duly impressed. I really enjoyed it :)

    In general, some good resources:
    * I think F&SF is still one of the finest magazines in the field. Great quality, great variety, and great entertainment. A Kindle subscription is very inexpensive, and I love the physical copies dearly.
    * Some existing projects to signal-boost various recommendations: The Hugo Nominees Wiki and The Hugo Awards Recommendations ; I'm just beginning to delve into those, but I think they're lovely.

    Happy reading!

    1. Oh, and two notes I forgot:
      * YAAAAAY for "The Just City". I loved that book, many others did as well, and I sincerely hope we'll be seeing it on the Hugo ballot.
      * For "Best Fanwriter," I can't speak highly enough of Abigail Nussbaum, and her excellent blog Asking The Wrong Questions. She's got fantastic insight and great eloquence; I come out of reading her essays going, "Yes, NOW I understand that thing I just read/watched!" She also usually has real gems to share for Short Fiction in advance of Hugo nominations; here are her recommendations for 2014 and 2015 - so if nothing else, you should check her blog out during the nominations :)

    2. Wonderful! Thank you!! I'm adding all of these to my list.

      Have you read "The Philosopher Kings" yet? It's next up after I finish the Liu Cixin short story collection my friend loaned me.

      Also, FYI, the link you gave here for F&SF takes me to a "Danger! I don't think you really want to click through to this link!" warning page for some reason. This link works though:

    3. I haven't read Philosopher Kings yet, but I'm really looking forward to it :) I'm actually on the lookout for other new novels, because at the moment, I've only got Just City to nominate for Best Novel, and I'd like to find other books worth considering :)

      My bad on the link - I accidentally wrote "https" instead of "http". Maybe I copied it from the full link (which really has no need to be secured; huh, that's weird).

      Anyway, enjoy! :)

  6. Heeeeeey!

    Great to see you've started compiling a list for this year.

    Sorry to see you weren't a fan of Mad max. That movie rocked my socks off.

    Anyway, here's some stuff you might be interested in: (novella) (short story)

    1. Cool! Thank you! Adding them to my list!

      I'm certain I'll get to watch Mad Max next spring after the Hugo ballot comes out. Maybe it will turn out that I'm wrong, and will love it! :)

  7. Oh, and for Dramatic Presentation (Short Form); I don't know what your opinion is on animated shows, but I think shows like Rick and Morty, Steven Universe and Gravity Falls each put out extremely good episodes this year. GF put out "Not What He Seems", which I really enjoyed, and SU could easily be nominated for its Season 1 finale or any Season 2 episode. But since I'd rather choose one animated show to nominate, since it'd have a better chance that way, I'm going with Rick and Morty's "Total Rickall". R&M might turn some people off due to being an adult cartoon, but it's also one of the finest sci-fi shows on TV right now, and the first 4 episodes of Season 2 prove it, with that 4th episode being the best, I think.

    I also liked Person of Interest's "If-Then-Else" a lot. Maybe Game of Throne's "Hardhome" was pretty good, too.

    1. Awesome, thank you! Question for you - for the episodes you suggest here, how much of these shows do I need to watch before I'd appreciate these episodes properly? So for example, "Not What He Seems" seems to come towards the end of Season 2 - do I need to watch all of Season 2 first? All of both seasons? (This question applies to all of the shows you mention, except for Game of Thrones - I'm familiar with that one. :))

    2. Also, I'm not sure what you mean by this: "But since I'd rather choose one animated show to nominate, since it'd have a better chance that way, I'm going with Rick and Morty's "Total Rickall"."

      Nominations this year still work the same way they've always worked. Nominating 5 different things won't dilute your nominations in any way.

    3. be honest, the GF one is dependent on the show's mythology. But I guess if you watched it as a standalone, there's still plenty to be impressed by. "Total Rickall" is definitely fine as a stand alone. I think the SU episodes are fine, too. All great shows, you should check them out!

    4. Oh! As for the Person of Interest episode? Not that much into the show as I'd like (I'm trying), but I LOVED that episde. Definitely on my ballot.

  8. One more thing: I know you already know of the existence of the spreadsheet, but there's a lot more novellas and novelettes on there now to check out.

    1. Thank you! Also, it's great to see you again! Are you going to nominate and vote again next year?

    2. Nominate, yes. Gotta pay 40 again to vote, tho.

      I heard something about a lifetime membership? It's probably expensive and I don't know all the details, though.

  9. I loved The Library at Mount Char and I need to check if the author (Scott Hawkins) is still eligible for a Campbell nomination.

    1. Thank you! Looking here, it appears that he is eligible! This appears to be his first published SFF work.

  10. For Novel, I'm almost through with Molly Tanzer's "Vermilion", which is a fantastic Weird West tale. It's gotten a lot of buzz, from NPR to IO9, and rightly so IMHO.

    I'm EXTREMELY excited for Seth Dickinson's "The Traitor Baru Cormorant" novel, which is coming out shortly, based on his 2011 short story of similar title in Beneath Ceaseless Skies . I consider Dickinson to be the leading short form writer of my generation, and I consider him on par with Ted Chiang.

    Speaking of Seth Dickinson, his short "Three Bodies at Mitanni" in the June 2015 of Analog was amazing. I don't normally read much Analog, but this stood out, and I'll be nominating it.

    I'd also like to throw in an oddball - the serial "Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality" was completed in 2015, which makes it eligible for Best Novel 2015. It is absolutely delightful. I consider it a fantasy-version of "The Martian". It has great problem-solving and competence-porn, a rip-roaring sense of humor, and an optimism about humanity and our ability to become better people that is so deep-seated it makes you want to stand up and cheer for our species. I honestly believe it deserves to be consider for Best Novel. It's not like fanfics haven't been nominated (Watts's "The Things") or won ("Red Shirts") in the past. And I say that with praise, I love both those works.

  11. Thank you for creating a space for recommending good SFF from 2015!

    I'd like to highly recommend the following books, all of which I've read and LOVED this year. I think they'd all make worthy Hugo/Nebula/etc. recommendations:

    The Book of Phoenix - Nnedi Okorafor
    The Fifth Season - N.K. Jemisin
    The Galaxy Game - Karen Lord
    The Glittering World - Robert Levy
    The House of Shattered Wings - Aliette de Bodard
    Signal to Noise - Silvia Moreno-Garcia

    The following books are on my current to-read list, so I have no opinion as of yet (but high hopes!):
    Apex - Ramez Naam
    Daughter of Gods and Shadows - Jayde Brooks
    Dragonfly - Raphael Ordoñez
    Grace of Kings - Ken Liu
    Half-Resurrection Blues - Daniel José Older
    The Liminal War - Ayize Jama-Everett
    Regeneration - Stephanie Saulter
    Somnalia - Sumiko Saulson
    Sorcerer to Crown - Zen Cho
    Time Salvager - Wesley Chu
    Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights - Salman Rushdie