2017 Recommended SF/F List

By JJ: This thread is for posts about 2017-published works, which people have read and recommend to other Filers.

There will be no tallying of recommendations done in this thread; its purpose is to provide a source of recommendations for people who want to find something to read which will be Hugo-eligible next year.

You don’t have to stop recommending works in Pixel Scrolls, please don’t! But it would be nice if you also post here, to capture the information for other readers.

The Suggested Format for posts is:

  • Title, Author, Published by / Published in (Anthology, Collection, Website, or Magazine + Issue)
  • Hugo Category: (Novel, Novella, Novelette, Short Story, Related Work, Graphic Novel, etc)
  • link (if available to read/view online)
  • optional “Brief, spoiler-free description of story premise:”
  • optional “What I liked and didn’t like about it:”
  • (Please rot-13 any spoilers.)

There is a permalink to this thread in the blog header.

66 thoughts on “2017 Recommended SF/F List

  1. Jacqueline Carey’s Miranda and Caliban (novel, Tor Books) is a prequel to Shakespeare’s The Tempest that merges into the events of the play in the last few chapters. It’s a sad and convincing version of the story, and I found it well worth reading, though it isn’t really what I want in a Hugo contender. I stopped after a couple of chapters to revisit The Tempest, and concluded it wasn’t necessary to appreciate the book.

    It’s on my possibles list for now, and if it’s displaced it’ll be for intangibles.

  2. Martha Wells’ tor.com novella All Systems Red arrived Tuesday and I finished it Wednesday. Fun was had. I enjoyed the narrator and its humans – the book is stuffed full of potential for touching moments of cyborg-human connections, which would happen in a different book and don’t in this one.

    It’s on the list for now, it may well stay there, and I’ll definitely tune in for future installments.

  3. I finished Six Wakes and I highly recommend it. At first I suffered a lot from the Eight Deadly Words up until about page 80, which I get isn’t a glowing recommendation, but it’s totally worth hanging with and as a mystery sticks the landing real well.

  4. City of Miracles, by Robert Jackson Bennett

    Novel, third book in a series

    Comments: This book vastly exceeded my expectations. While I was a big fan of the first book in this series, I thought the second one, while still enjoyable, wasn’t as good. And then, the only things I had heard about this one before I picked it up was that my favorite character is dead, and the main character would be someone who I thought wouldn’t really work in a leading role. I figured I’d enjoy it but probably not think it was fantastic or anything. I was wrong. It was fantastic. Highly recommended to anyone who liked City of Stairs.

  5. @Kyra —

    City of Miracles, by Robert Jackson Bennett

    Glad to hear that. I liked the first two a lot, and I’m dying to find out more about Sigrud.

  6. I just finished Mishell Baker’s Phantom Pains, the sequel to Borderline. We learn a lot more about Arcadia in this one, and more of the Project outside LA. I’m not sure if it will stick to my Hugo ballot, depending on how many eligibles I read. However, I read it straight through, enjoyed it, and will be back for further installments in the series.

  7. Novels:

    Borne by Jeff Vandermeer

    This is the best Vandermeer I’ve read in a long time. It has the creepiness of Annihilation but with more follow-through.


    N-thing Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty.

    Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin, translated by Megan McDowell

    A very short, creepy novel set in Argentina, where children switch bodies and neither houses nor plains can be trusted.

  8. Finished Borne and really enjoyed it. I don’t know if it leaves as much of an impression as the Area X trilogy does, which stuck in my head like a song lyric that I could almost remember but the harder I thought about it the more difficult it became to remember it but was right there for a second damnit, but I enjoyed Borne more.

    It does a lot, and it does it all really well. Lot of good books so far this year.

  9. A few solid mid-year contenders for me:

    (n+1)thing Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty! Well plotted mystery, great use of technology. I’ve written a full review here.

    Also adding a recommendation for Phantom Pains, by Mishell Baker. I don’t read much urban fantasy and I still have Concerns about British/European fairy myths being transplanted into the USA and totally displacing Native American cultures, BUT this series does a lot of things right for me, especially the portrayal of Millie, the mentally ill protagonist whose POV is written in the first person without being an unreliable narrator. I thought the writing style in Phantom Pains was a step up too, as it relied less on the more infodump-style digressions into BPD symptoms and management while still recognising Millie’s struggle. Borderline just missed my ballot this year; I suspect Phantom Pains won’t.


    All Systems Red by Martha Wells has already had a lot of deserving hype among Filers – I also loved it and wrote a little bit about it here.

    And Then There Were (N-one) by Sarah Pinsker: I don’t think I’ve ever read anything quite like this, and I wish it had been twice as long.

    Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor is a very worthy continuation of 2015’s winner, and I’m very excited to see how the final(?) installment pans out.

    If this category sticks, I very much hope the Memoirs of Lady Trent by Marie Brennan will get to represent the dragons next year. The qualifying volume, Within the Sanctuary of Wings, is a very worthy entry in the series with all the things I love about Lady Trent’s narrative voice – in particular, her ability to sum up huge implied adventures and geopolitical events, which in other series would be entire books on their own, in mere paragraphs because they didn’t involve dragons so who cares. Needless to say, the bits of her adventures that do contain dragons and are therefore worth telling are 1000% worth showing up for.

  10. I recently finished Alison Tam’s novella Beauty, Glory, Thrift, from Book Smugglers Publishing. It’s a fun story and I’m smiling thinking back on it. A thief steals from a temple and enables the escape of Thrift, least of her sister goddesses.

  11. City of Miracles man, that’s a good book. Not just the end of a trilogy but also about childhood, parenthood, growing up, belief, how we allow trauma to shape us, and so much. It’s not just a good third book, it’s something all by itself.

  12. Some recent short fiction reads:

    Short stories:
    In the Shade of the Pixie Tree,” Rodello Santos, Beneath Ceaseless Skies 221. Told from the ends of its timeline inward.

    Some Cupids Kill With Arrows,” Tansy Rayner Roberts, Uncanny Magazine 14. Speed dating gone odd – nothing deep, but short and fun.


    The Thule Stowaway,” Maria Dahvana Headley, Uncanny Magazine 14. A tale steeped in Poe – I don’t think I grokked the whole but it grew on me steadily.

  13. Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire, Tor
    Hugo Category: Novella Link to B&N,com (I hope that works)

    Premise: What happened to Jack and Jill before Every Heart a Doorway? We find out about the world they went to and what happened there.

    I picked this up on my birthday weekend trip and really loved it! The world is creepy and yet, the real world for the twins was creepy too. In fact, in some ways, the real world for them was worse. We see how that world affected them in the otherworld they visited. It is definitely at the top of my 2017 novella longlist.

  14. Another recommendation for Robert Jackson Bennett’s City of Miracles. A lot of just plain fun – this is Sigrud, after all – and some clever twists and poignance.

    (Because I didn’t think the library hold would come in until after the Hugo voting closed, that’s why! Fortunately, I only have one novella left to read.)

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