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.)

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294 thoughts on “2017 Recommended SF/F List

  1. These are Novellas:
    Brother’s Ruin by Emma Newman
    Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor
    Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire
    The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion by Margaret Killjoy

    These are Novelettes:
    “To Us May Grace Be Given” by L.S.Johnson (~15500 words)
    “The Thule Stowaway” by Maria Dahvana Headley (~11600 words)

    It’s my understanding that this is a Collection:
    The Refrigerator Monologues by Catherynne M. Valente

  2. JJ – I’m not sure how the Refrigerator Monologues would fit, they’re all separate stories but they’re stories are interconnected by the narrative device of them being shared to each other at a bar.

    I’ll see if I can sort it out into a doc latter or reorganize them. Or I might play video games.

  3. While I really appreciate the time and effort you spent on this, Matt Y, as it says in the main post, “There will be no tallying of recommendations done in this thread”. I’m REALLY not comfortable with tallies being done in this thread.

    It’s one thing to do them in the “After Nominations Have Closed, What Did You Nominate?” thread, but this seems to me to be skating onto ice where I’d rather not venture.

    Matt Y, would you be okay with me asking Mike to remove these?

  4. Aw crap, for sure go for it. I only meant to make an easy to read list of what was recommended earlier and tried to capture everyone who had nominated. For sure though didn’t mean to make it seem like any kind of rankings whatsoever, if the comments go I can repost without the tallying or not, I’ve been using it for a library list 🙂

  5. Matt Y: if the comments go I can repost without the tallying

    Sounds good, I’ll send a request to Mike. Thanks for understanding. 🙂

  6. I just realized that I only posted this in the 2017 Novellapalooza thread, and not here:

    Passing Strange, by Ellen Klages (novella)
    This story is very loosely based on the life of Margaret Brundage, a prolific artist of more than 70 covers plus many interior illustrations for the early SFF pulp magazines (primarily Weird Tales).

    While the SFFnal elements are slight until the end, I really loved the way the story captured the cultural context of that time and place, as well as telling a poignant story of love and friendship, with beautifully-realized characters. I enjoyed this so much that I was sorry to see it end, and it will definitely be on my Hugo ballot.

  7. Novel? More likely YA-Not-a-Hugo

    Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor

    Although they are each complete and published six years apart, I feel like this book is the missing half of Akata Witch. I enjoyed Akata Witch, but few books have given me such a strong feeling of “there needs to be more” when I finished them.

    I finished this back in October. I find Nnedi Okorofor’s work to be vibrant, entertaining, and very hard for me to write about. Hard to explain what I find so compelling. Her portrayal of Africa (in general) is of a place which is both familiar and exotic, and I really believe I know what Nigeria (and especially Lagos) feels like as a sensory experience.

    Our protagonist (Sunny) was born in America, and is an albino. The first book details her family’s return to Africa, Sunny’s discovery that she possesses magic, and her initiation into the Leopard Society.

    This book takes place later, after she has adjusted to her new surroundings (environment, friends, school). Her adventures are more dangerous, the stakes are higher, relationships deepen and change, bad things happen to her (and others), she makes mistakes, and she faces consequences for those mistakes. It’s everything that a second book in a series should be. I hope there will be more, but I am ultimately satisfied with what I have.

  8. Prime Meridian, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (novella)

    This story is set on a near-future Earth where the divide between the haves and the have-nots has gotten much wider, and poor people sell their companionship, their blood, and just about anything else to survive. The story is not as grim as it sounds. Humanity has made it to Mars, and for a rare few with the money and the aptitude, a one-way trip to colonization is possible — and the story’s protagonist is working toward that goal.

    I really enjoyed the worldbuilding in this, as well as the development of the main character. Those who liked Lady Astronaut from Mars will probably like this one, too, as it touches on some similar themes.

  9. I’ll put in a good word for the following:

    Sunwake in the Lands of Teeth by Juliette Wade (novella);
    Afiya’s Song by Justin Key (novelette);
    That Lingering Sweetness by Tony Pi (novelette);
    Vinegar and Cinnamon by Nina Kiriki Hoffman (novelette);
    Fixer, Worker, Singer by Natalia Theodoridou (short story);
    Red Bark and Ambergris by Kate Marshall (short story);
    Can Anything Good Come by Suyi Davies Okungbowa (short story);
    The Scholast in the Low Waters Kingdom by Max Gladstone (short story);
    Undying Love by Ekari Mbvundula (short story);
    Utopia, LOL? by Jamie Wahls (short story).

    No particular theme – just stories that made an impression on me over the course of the year.

  10. The Changling would probably be classified as horror though it’s urbam fantasy, it just has no qualms against building up and making you care for it’s characters before it flips the table on you. One of the few books where stuff happens and I look around me like ‘can you believe this happened’ before I remember it’s a book and no one around me knows or cares. One of those bioks where you find yourself leaning further over as you read it like you are so tense about it you might fall in.

  11. “The Martian Obelisk” by Linda Nagata (short story)

    The length is just right for the story it has to tell — about the desperate effort to leave an enduring memorial to humanity on Mars, after technology has Fallen — but it was so good, that I wished it had been a lot longer.

    (selected for both Strahan’s and Dozois’ Year’s Best collections)

  12. @Matt Y —

    “One of those bioks where you find yourself leaning further over as you read it like you are so tense about it you might fall in.”

    I love that description. I’ve got this one on my TBR shortlist — maybe I’ll read it next!

  13. I’ll second the recommendation for

    The Scholast in the Low Waters Kingdom” by Max Gladstone (short story)

    A military advisor comes from a faraway land to help a kingdom fight off an invading army. But everything is not as it seems at first, and there are layers within layers in this story. It left me wanting to read more in this universe.

  14. I’m having a really good start to 2017 reading this year, and just finished two in a row that are making my shortlist decisions much harder:

    Provenance by Ann Leckie
    I agree with Kyra upthread that there were some very Bujold-y overtones to this, I think because of the “economically privileged hero who nevertheless feels they have a lot to prove because of societal expectations, messing around in politics when they are far too young to do so far-sightedly and panicking a lot when it goes wrong, but they’re really good at making friends so that’ll be OK then” thing both have going on. Unusually from the reviews I’ve seen, I loved Provenance’s main character, Ingray. Sure, she’s not Breq, but I enjoyed that she was smart without being sharp, and I found her journey and arc very believable. Paired with some brilliant ancillaryverse worldbuilding, some gently eviscerating Leckie-style social commentary, and the audiobook narration by Adjoa Andoh, it all added up to a book which did not disappoint me at all. (My full review)

    Jade City by Fonda Lee
    This one made me think I need to start a category in my tracking spreadsheet entitled “99p Kindle purchases that turned out WAY better than I expected”. The short description of Jade City is “magically-enhanced gangster families in a modern, secondary world Asian city”, and as my experience of non-genre gangster related media is pretty disappointing (i.e. I haven’t consumed much, and what I have, I didn’t like), I didn’t have high expectations that this would be my thing. I was wrong! Fonda Lee made me care about several of her characters to the point where I felt sick to my stomach when they put themselves in danger, and the storyline is fast and engaging and had me believing in the decisions that characters made even though their clan-influenced logic was completely different to anything I would employ in the same situation. The setting is also fantastic, and very detailed. I’m looking forward to more! (I did a long review for this one too)

  15. I can’t remember if I’ve commented on Jade City or not, but if not then I also really liked it. I’m not sure if it’ll be in my final five but definitely a good read, with bonus points for a cool setting.

  16. Re-listing, minus any tallying, recommended works from the previous pages to try to make an easy to read list. Please note though it is worth re-reading the prior pages as people put their personal reasons for enjoying the work, links to their own reviews of the works, and a ton of the short story recommendations have links to them on previous pages by helpful people.

    I read a lot of books in 2017 and many were from last year and seeing all the recommendations made me realize it was still a drop in the bucket to what was released and enjoyed in 2017. The last year has been, interesting, however I loved the recommendations and seeing how great speculative fiction was doing and how much awesome there was out there to experience. (hope this is ok)

    Any category, spelling or redundancy errors are all mine.

    Title / Author
    House of Binding Thorns by Aliette de Bodard
    The Power by Naomi Alderman
    Iron Gods by Andrew Bannister
    The Space Between the Stars by Anne Corlett
    The Stars Are Legion Kameron Hurley
    Concessions by Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali
    The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
    Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty
    The Punch Escrow Tal M. Klein
    Seven Surrenders (Terra Ignota #2) by Ada Palmer
    Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly
    Lotus Blue Cat Sparks
    Miranda and Caliban Jacqueline Carey
    City of Miracles, by Robert Jackson Bennett
    Phantom Pains Mishell Baker
    Breach of Containment by Elizabeth Bonesteel
    Places in the Darkness by Chris Brookmyre
    Cold Welcome by Elizabeth Moon
    Artemis by Andy Weir
    The Mermaid’s Daughter, by Ann Claycomb
    Borne by Jeff Vandermeer
    Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin translated by Megan McDowell
    Phantom Pains by Mishell Baker
    Red Sister by Mark Lawrence
    The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss
    All Those Explosions Were Someone Else’s Fault, James Alan Gardner
    Creatures of Will and Temper by Molly Tanzer
    Sovereign by April Daniels
    The Harbors of the Sun by Martha Wells
    The Stone Sky by N. K. Jemisin
    The Massacre of Mankind by Stephen Baxter
    Raven Stratagem by Yoon Ha Lee
    Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel
    Amatka by Karen Tidbeck
    The Boy on the Bridge M.L. Carey
    Null States by Malka Older
    Vallista by Steven Brust
    Noumenon by Marina J. Lostetter
    Ruin of Angels by Max Gladstone
    Orbital Cloud by Taiyo Fuiji
    A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge
    The Gates of Tagmeth by P. C. Hodgell
    The Glass Town Game by Catherynne Valente
    The Prey of Gods by Nicky Drayden
    The Girl in the Tower, by Katherine Arden
    An Oath of Dogs by Wendy N. Wagner
    The Ruin of Angels by Max Gladstone
    Pale Guardian by Barbara Hambly
    Oathbringer, by Brandon Sanderson
    Hekla’s Children by James Brogden
    Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero
    Terminal Alliance by Jim C. Hines
    Spoonbenders by Daryl Gregory
    An Unkindness of Magicians by Kat Howard
    Retrograde by Peter Cawdron
    Autonomous by Annalee Newitz
    Dogs of War by Adrian Tchaikovsky
    Sea of Rust by C. Robert Cargill
    Dichronauts by Greg Egan
    Brimstone by Cherie Priest
    Provenance by Ann Leckie
    Lightning in the Blood by Marie Brennan
    Jade City by Fonda Lee

    Brother’s Ruin by Emma Newman
    The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion Margaret Killjoy
    Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor
    Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire
    Ironclads by Adrian Tchaikovsky
    Snowspelled by Stephanie Burgis
    All Systems Red by Martha Wells
    Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day by Seanan McGuire
    Mira’s Last Dance by Lois McMaster Bujold
    And Then There Were (N-One), by Sarah Pinsker
    Nexus by Michael F. Flynn
    Agents of Dreamland by Caitlin R. Kiernan
    Penric’s Fox by Lois McMaster Bujold
    The Refrigerator Monologues by Catherynne M. Valente
    River of Teeth Sarah Gailey
    The Runabout by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
    A Long Day in Lychford by Paul Cornell
    Sunwake in the Lands of Teeth by Juliette Wade
    Prime Meridian, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
    Passing Strange, by Ellen Klages
    Unsong by Scott Alexander *(online serial, may not be Novella length?)

    To Us May Grace Be Given by L.S.Johnson
    The Thule Stowaway by Maria Dahvana Headley Afiya’s Song by Justin Key
    That Lingering Sweetness by Tony Pi
    Vinegar and Cinnamon by Nina Kiriki Hoffman

    Short story
    Cold Comforts by Graham Robert Scott
    The Heart’s Cartography by Susan Jane Bigelow
    I Am Not I by G. V. Anderson
    Evil Opposite by Naomi Kritzer
    The Best Man Wins by KJ Parker
    The Sword of Destiny by Matthew Hughes
    ‘I Am a Handsome Man,’ Said Apollo Crow by Kate Elliott
    Hrunting by C.J. Cherryh
    The Colgrid Conundrum by Rich Larson
    The King’s Evil by Elizabeth Bear
    “What football will look like in the future” by Jon Bois
    Microbiota and the Masses: A Love Story, S. B. Divya
    In the Shade of the Pixie Tree, Rodello Santos
    “Who Will Greet You at Home” by Lesley Nneka Arimah
    “What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky” by Lesley Nneka Arimah
    Paradox by Naomi Kritzer
    Beauty, Glory, Thrift, by Alison Tam
    “In the Shade of the Pixie Tree,” Rodello Santos
    “Some Cupids Kill With Arrows,” Tansy Rayner Roberts
    “Gallows Girl” by Mel Kassel
    Metal and Flesh by Marie Vibbert
    Hyddwen, by Heather Rose Jones
    Henosis by NK Jemisin
    Carnival Nine by Caroline M. Yoachim
    A Place to Grow by A.T. Greenblatt
    The Oracle and The Warlord by Karina Sumner-Smith
    Pan-Humanism: Hope and Pragmatics by Jess Barber & Sara Saab
    Becoming by Rachel Swirsky
    What I Told My Little Girl About the Aliens Preparing To Grind Us Into Hamburgers by Adam-Troy Castro
    Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience by Rebecca Roanhorse
    Fixer, Worker, Singer by Natalia Theodoridou
    Red Bark and Ambergris by Kate Marshall
    Can Anything Good Come by Suyi Davies Okungbowa
    The Scholast in the Low Waters Kingdom by Max Gladstone
    Undying Love by Ekari Mbvundula
    Utopia, LOL? by Jamie Wahls
    The Scholast in the Low Waters Kingdom by Max Gladstone
    The Martian Obelisk by Linda Nagata

    YA Not A Hugo
    Legion (The Talon Saga) by Julie Kagawa
    Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray
    The Book of Dust: La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman
    Battle of Venus by David Levine
    The Silver Mask, by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
    Jane, Unlimited by Kristen Cashore
    A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge
    The Empress, S.J. Kincaid
    Dreadnought by April Daniels
    The Fall of the Readers by Django Wexler
    Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor

    Best Related Work
    Crash Override: How Gamergate (Nearly) Destroyed My Life, and How We Can Win the Fight Against Online Hate, by Zoë Quinn

    Memoirs of Lady Trent by Marie Brennan
    Diving Universe by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
    The Broken Earth by NK Jemisin
    The Clan Chronicles by Julie Czerneda
    Court of Fives trilogy by Kate Elliott

    Graphic Novel
    Spill Zone
    Kindred: A Graphic Novel Adaptation, adapted by Damian Duffy, art by John Jennings
    Hawkeye: Kate Bishop, vol. 1: Anchor Points, written by Kelly Thompson, art by Leonardo Romero

    Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form
    Stranger Things 2
    Strange Beasts

    Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form
    The Handmaid’s Tale

  17. And while written categories are pretty deep I want to throw in some media recommendations too:

    Comic Books
    Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur – These might be YA but I always had a smile on my face throughout reading any of these. Mroo!
    Saga – Always and forever.
    Paper Girls – Super weird and super fascinating

    Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form
    The Expanse, S2;Ep11 ‘Here There Be Dragons’
    Black Mirror, S4;Ep1 ‘USS Callister’ with the Discovery and The Orville and discussion around them it seemed timely for this episode to exist.

    BDP, Long Form
    The Punisher, Season 1
    Star Wars: The Last Jedi
    Wonder Woman
    Thor: Ragnarock

  18. Best Semiprozine


    I’ve now read all the stories published last year in this online magazine, and I want to trumpet it to all and sundry. This is an overlooked gem that deserves to be more widely known, and editor Rashida J. Smith (who I will also be nominating for Best Editor, Short Form) has impeccable taste. A few of the twelve stories weren’t for me, but there wasn’t a stinker in the bunch. (And Greg Hullender? I urge you to add GigaNotoSaurus to Rocket Stack Rank’s list of covered magazines. Hell, I’ll volunteer to review it myself, if you’re too pressed for time.)

    The highlights:

    February 2017: “Finity,” by Elaine Atwell (Novelette: 12,300 words)

    This is another generation ship story (there seems to be a raft of those lately). This one takes a deep dive into its characters, and while there is a life-threatening problem to solve (and even that isn’t what it seems), the focus is on loss, and love, and a ship’s AI who is dedicated to helping those in its care. This is a gentle story that will stick with you.

    March 2017: “Six More Miles,” Alex Acks (Novelette: 8100 words)

    Alex Acks is also Alex Wells, whose first novel, Hunger Makes the Wolf, came out last year as well. I marked them as a writer to watch, and if this story is any indication, I will be snapping up the sequel to their book. This story is a weird Western dripping with atmosphere, with ghosts and demon longhorns, and a man who goes searching for his dead wife and finds something a bit different than he originally thought.

    April 2017: “The Landholders No Longer Carry Swords,” Patricia Russo (Short story: 6000 words)

    This story packs a helluva punch for its space. It can be read either as universal myth (the characters don’t even have names; they’re referred to as Middle Daughter, Younger Son-in-Law, etc) or as a powerful allegory for this country’s extreme income inequality. Either way, the suspense and terror expertly builds to the end.

    June 2017: “Salvage,” Tracy Canfield (Novelette: 13,400 words)

    This hard SF tale focuses on identity, with the point-of-view character, Buffalo, a cyborg with some inherited memories that play a central role in the plot. It has a fascinating setting, with its own unique blend of “weird Western in space” crossed with “combat AIs evolving their own economy and civilization”.

    July 2017: “The War on Space and Time,” Octavia Cade (Short story: 6800 words)

    I don’t even know how to describe this, other than “disturbing,” at least to me. Is it metaphysical? Horror? Slipstream? A pocket universe in World War II, created by the atomic bomb, compressing down to nothing, along with all the people in it? To do that I’d have to go back and reread it. I don’t regret reading it, but I’m never going to read it again.

    October 2017: “To Us May Grace Be Given,” L.S. Johnson (Novelette: 15,400 words)

    I’ve already raved about this story previously, but I’ll repeat myself again here. This is another weird Western, with a demon vampire and a twisted mother/daughter relationship at its bloody heart.

    November 2017: “Hungry Demigods,” Andrea Tang (Novelette: 12,800 words)

    I loved this. It was a delight from beginning to end. I laughed out loud several times, both for its characters (the wonderful protagonist Isabel, the self-described “Chinese-Canadian kitchen witch”) and its foodie jokes. But despite its generally being more lighthearted fare, it has serious themes of parents and children, and their relationships, and the price paid for immortality. I would love more stories set in this universe, with these characters.

  19. Mike, could you correct that last author’s name when my comment publishes? I didn’t see it till the edit window closed. It’s Andrea “Tang,” not Wang. Thank you.

  20. Been on a trip and got some plane reading done. Recommending or seconding:

    The Private Life of Jane Maxwell, by Jen Gott


    A comic book artist is dragged into a world where she is a superhero. A well-written book exploring superpowers, alternate universes, and the nature of grief. I’ll be picking up the next one in the series.

    Sovereign, by April Daniels

    Novel (YA)

    Now defending her city practically alone after the destruction of the local superhero team in the first book, Dreadnought faces more villains with dastardly plans. This book is not quite as carefully plotted as the first book, with a few moments that make less sense than they could, but it makes up for that with its excellent characterization. Getting super powers would not render you problem-free, and this book explores the hows and whys of that with a deft hand.

    The Girl in the Tower, by Katherine Arden


    When she finally reaches Moscow, the heroine’s problems are only just beginning. A solid follow-up to the first book. This one delves deeper into the world of medieval Russia and its mythology, and does not shy away from exploring the difficulties of being a woman in that society. Good stuff.

  21. +1 to “To Us May Grace Be Given,” L.S. Johnson (Giganotosaurus, novelette: 15,400 words, h/t Bonnie McDaniel above)

    I actually skipped on this originally because fantasy western isn’t my favourite type of setting, but I’m glad I followed up on Bonnie’s suggestion because that’s a powerful story and no mistake.

  22. Best Related Work

    Iain M Banks by Paul Kincaid (Modern Masters of Science Fiction series, University of Illinois Press)

    I’m unlikely to disagree with a book that calls IMB a master of SF, but what I liked about this book was that there was plenty of opinionating by Kincaid that I could get my fannish arguing on with. Academic attention to Banks is a bit light at the moment, and I suspect that Kincaid had twin aims to get some facts established and to start some conversation. It’s got a simple chronological scheme through all his cousin that interestingly makes the point that the sequence the early novels were written in differs substantially from publication order – something I was aware of from interviews but hadn’t seen laid out in such a way as to trace the links in the way Kincaid does.
    At the beginning it seems like Kincaid is assembling an argument that rather than Banks being a modern writer who dabbled in SF he was actually a SF writer who occasionally left out SF elements, but strangely he doesn’t seem to finish that thread. There’s also some interesting stuff about where the natural end of the Culture novels ought to be and an argument for the final novels being a coda of sorts.
    It’s relatively short and I’m not sure Kincaid had enough space to develop his thoughts fully, but maybe he will give us further works on Banks.
    Anyway, recommended for IMB fans.

  23. @Bonnie McDaniel

    And Greg Hullender? I urge you to add GigaNotoSaurus to Rocket Stack Rank’s list of covered magazines. Hell, I’ll volunteer to review it myself, if you’re too pressed for time.

    Now there’s a generous offer! 🙂

    I do occasionally read and review stories in magazines we don’t regularly review and which aren’t recommended by major reviewers. Send me an email (greghull at the obvious domain) if you see one that you think is particularly outstanding. There’s no guarantee I’ll make time to read it, but if I do, I’ll only publish a review if it’s three stars or more. (That’s so it doesn’t look like I’m picking on small magazines.)

    And if you pass me one or two things I can give 4 or 5 stars, I promise I’ll pay VERY close attention to your suggestions from then on! 🙂

  24. Ada Palmer’s The Will to Battle, third in the Terra Ignota series, was published in December. It absolutely knocked my socks off.

    I expect most Filers know where they stand on Palmer and her series. I’m absolutely smitten by it. And while I felt that Seven Surrenders was something of a low point — showing all the pretty dominoes Too Like The Lightning set up, being all knocked down — the third volume, while certainly not for everybody, is back to being straight-up brilliant.

    To those who haven’t tried Terra Ignota, or who didn’t like it but want to know why I do: I think the series is very much about social dynamics, and how any attempt to build a better world and a better society need to grapple with them. It does that by creating a cast of larger-than-life characters, veritable leviathans, most of whom are meant to earn our deep respect (though not necessarily our affection). And because these characters are created vividly, as both well-intentioned and with great power, seeing how their power is so limited when it comes to actually shaping social change, is something I find both very powerful and very familiar. It’s excellent and hits very close to home.

  25. JJ on January 21, 2018 at 1:27 am said:
    There’s an awesome, very short story by Beth Cato over at Daily Science Fiction, and I’ve put it on my Hugo shortlist.

    The Library is Open

    To avoid confusion, since the date is at the end, this is a 2018 story.

  26. Best Graphic Novel

    Monstress, Vol. 2: The Blood, Marjorie Liu/Sana Takeda

    This picks up where vol. 1 left off, and is every bit as good. The world and characters are expanded, interesting new characters are introduced, and the mystery of Maika’s past is deepened. Sana Takeda’s art is again outstanding.

    Best Novel

    Into the Drowning Deep, Mira Grant

    I wasn’t too impressed by the novella that started this series (Rolling in the Deep), but this book is a quantum improvement over that earlier effort. The science of the “mermaids” is well-thought-out, convincingly presented, and fascinating, and the large cast of characters equally well developed–these aren’t just redshirts standing in line to be offed, even if they only appear for one scene. This being a horror story, you do need to be able to tolerate blood, gore and in this case slime, but this book’s overall quality outweighed that for me.

    (I’ve got almost all of my Best Novel slots accounted for, but argggh! I’m already tearing my hair out over which book will complete the list.)

  27. Laura: To avoid confusion, since the date is at the end, [The Library is Open] is a 2018 story.

    Gah! Thanks for noticing that. I’ll have to make a note of it for the 2018 Recommended SF/F thread.

  28. Novel
    The Druid Gene (renamed to Inheritance)
    “Confluence” book 3
    by Jennifer Foehner Wells

    The new name fits better with the naming of the other “Confluence” book titles. The Audible artwork was updated to fit better, show the new title, and say “Confluence Book Three” on it, though the actual text name on the web page has the original title. Maybe Wells can’t change this? She should get the “Confluence” series tag added, though. Anyway, she’s rebranding it because #1 it’s in the same universe as the other two books, #2 the two main characters/storylines are going to connect in a later book, and #3 readers weren’t clear on the connection.

    But enough about that. This was a good book – a solid addition to the series! The setup started a bit slow, then things take a left turn into alien abduction, spaceship, and going through some very hard times for Darcy; then another sharp left turn very late in the book (one we’re meant to see coming, and I did) into hell, and she really has to show her competence to survive; and then a slightly surprising ending, including a connection to the previous two books. Some unusual aliens, including the return of an Ent-like creature from a short story Wells wrote (which I also liked).

    Darcy seemed more whiny-freak-out at times compared to what I expected based on how she was described, but I realized, hell, I’d be a basket case if I went through some of that stuff, so she was pretty good. 😉 And she was definitely quite competent, if somewhat naive (but she’s like 21 or something and this is her first time abducted by aliens, heh).

    Robin Miles was a great narrator, of course. 😀 I hope she narrates future books in this series.

    Anyway, recommended, especially if you liked the previous books in this universe. It stands quite well alone (it’s not a sequel; originally planned as two series in one universe that would overlap). You could read this, then if you liked it, go back ot the previous two (starting with Fluency). I’m guessing the next book will start really connecting the storylines, though I forget whether Wells said on her blog that would happen with book 4 or 5.

    I doubt I’m going to nominate this for the Hugos, but I’ve read some great 2017 books already.

  29. Short story

    Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience™,” Rebecca Roanhorse, Apex Magazine Issue 99 (August 2017)

    I started this issue of Apex the day before they announced that Roanhorse’s story was their 2017 Reader’s Choice pick, so I didn’t vote for it. If I’d read it before the voting closed, I would have. The title is accurate to the point of boring, and then it tips sideways. Currently in the pack on my longlist.

  30. I just finished The Ghost Line by Gray & Herbison, published by Tor.com. Very good; my very brief thoughts are here (2017 Novellapalooza thread).

    Like @JJ, I hope for more from this writing couple. Gray’s very out-of-date web site says he’s working on a novel and that he & Herbison are also working on a separate SF novel together. (Herbison’s site is practically just a placeholder.)

  31. @Matt Y
    “One of the few books where stuff happens and I look around me like ‘can you believe this happened’ before I remember it’s a book and no one around me knows or cares. One of those bioks where you find yourself leaning further over as you read it like you are so tense about it you might fall in.”

    This. I kept trying to talk to my girlfriend about it like the family were our neighbors. Victor LaValle’s The Changeling is on the list.

    The only book I liked more was Autonomous by Annalee Newitz. I believe she is eligible for the Campbell this year as well.

    I’m still digging through my kindle to remember what else I read that was published last year. In no particular order:

    Provenance by Anne Leckie
    The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
    The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin (this series is definitely going into best series)
    The Book of Dust by Pullman (this one will go into YA)
    Clockwork Boys by T. Kingfisher
    Raven Stratagem by Yoon Ha Lee
    Autonomous by Annalee Newitz
    The Changeling by Victor LaValle

    All Systems Red by Martha Wells
    River of Teeth Sarah Gailey
    Taste of Marrow by Sarah Gailey
    The Fisher of Bones by Sarah Gailey
    Penric’s Fox Louis McMaster Bujold
    The Prisoner of Limnos Louis McMaster Bujold
    The Black Tides of Heaven by Jy Yang

    The Lamentation of their Women by Kai Ashante Wilson (graphic violence)

  32. I recommend Dave Hutchinson’s Acadie, which I finished last night, though from Amazon reviews I skimmed, not everyone likes the ending. It’s a contender for my Hugo ballot, but I’ve read a lot of good novellas this year.

  33. All of the Cuddles With None of the Pain, by J. J. Roth.
    Short story. (~4000 words)

    An epistolary story, told as a sales pitch/FAQ for a company selling lifelike dolls, and posts from their community forum.

    A very sweet story, the tone changing from playful in the beginning to unexpectedly poignant in the latter half. The “forum post”-format does a great job at hinting at what’s going on.

    I particularly recommend the audio version – it’s a full cast recording that fits the format well.

    I also believe Podcastle is eligible for Best Semiprozine. (But for individual story nominations, be aware that unless a story is described as a Podcastle original, it’s a reprint.)

  34. Fan Writer

    There are plenty of more obvious choices such as Mike and the others who do great work here, fan writers like Foz Meadows, Abigail Nussbaum, James Nicoll, etc, but last year I did a rec post focusing on fan writers who hadn’t previously had a nomination, and doing it once creates a tradition, right?

    Adam Whitehead/The Wertzone

    A mixture of news and reviews, often with long-running projects such as his current Babylon 5 rewatch. Some suggested links:
    SF&F Questions: Do balrogs have wings?
    Ideas for the new LORD OF THE RINGS TV series
    Cities of Fantasy: Asshai http://thewertzone.blogspot.co.uk/2017/12/cities-of-fantasy-asshai.html?m=1
    The Punisher: Season 1

    Camestros Felapton (and Timothy the Talking Cat)

    Obviously I’m biased because he’s a regular feature in the comments here, but I consider CF’s blog to be second only to here in my daily fannish entertainment. You get a really interesting mix of kefluffle-watching, reviewing, and the comedy adventures of Timothy the Talking Cat.
    I suspect that different people will enjoy different elements of his blog, but for some samples I would suggest
    Reading an early proto-novel with fantastical elements
    Reading Too Like The Lightning and trying to dig out some of the references
    For watching the fractal weirdness of the post-puppy factions try the Dragon Award coverage
    For weird fiction, try McEdifice

    Charles Payseur/Quick Sip Reviews

    With a fairly different style of short SF reviewing to many others out there, his reviews seem to me to be trying to inject his enthusiasm for the story direct into your brain. I could never write reviews like his but they always find something I hadn’t considered.
    He reviews on his own site Quick Sip Reviews and also at Nerds of a Feather.
    It’s hard to pick out specific reviews, but an interesting piece to point out for a read is So You Want To Be A Short SFF Reviewer?

    Cora Buhlert

    With the obvious caveat that I’m biased because she comments here regularly, I think Cora writes some interesting and comprehensive pieces. For example
    A few words on the 2016 Nebula Awards, the 2017 Arthur C. Clarke Awards and the Shadow Clarkes
    Michael Burnham, Poe Dameron and the Decline of the Maverick Hero
    She also does a “Indie Speculative Fiction of the Month” feature and is part of a group blog at http://indiespecfic.blogspot.co.uk/

    Ethan Mills/Examined Worlds

    A philosophy professor talks about SF, so you get things like: Buddhist Philosophy and Ghost in the Shell: Studying the Ghost to Forget the Ghost
    Rediscovering Humanity: Chapterhouse: Dune by Frank Herbert
    Where Did Far-Future Science Fiction Go?
    A really interesting and different viewpoint.

    A final slightly cheating entry – Liz Burke had a nomination in 2014, but I think her reviewing has gone from strength to strength recently.

    (The number of links in this is going to get me spammed, right?)

  35. Semiprozine

    Unfortunately Semiprozine.org seems to have gone quiet so up to date eligibility might be a problem for this category. It’s worth bearing in mind that as of last year former semi-pros like Apex, Clarkesworld, and Lightspeed had become pro, and I assume they have stayed that way.
    On the basis of having at least one story on my fiction longlists, my semipro longlist is probably
    Uncanny Magazine
    Strange Horizons
    Beneath Ceaseless Skies
    Daily SF

    Due to too many links going to spam I’m going to do these in separate posts.

    (Mike, I sent a comment about Fan Writer into spam with too many links, if you spot it in there can you shoo it into the light?)

  36. Uncanny Magazine
    I wouldn’t bet against Uncanny again this year to be honest. Per their eligibility post they are still semi-pro.

    Some of my favourite stories of theirs from the last year:
    And Then There Were (N-One) by Sarah Pinsker (novella)
    Though She Be But Little, by C.S.E. Cooney (short)
    The Worshipful Society of Glovers, by Mary Robinette Kowal (novelette)
    The Thule Stowaway by Maria Dahvana Headley (novelette)
    Fandom for Robots by Vina Jie-Min Prasad (short, author is Campbell eligible)

    (Also: the editors Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas are eligible for Best Editor (Short Form) as a single editing team)

  37. Strange Horizons
    Eligibility post for fiction
    I didn’t read so much of SH this year, but there were some good stories in there:
    Utopia LOL by Jamie Wahls (short)
    These Constellations Will Be Yours by Elaine Cuyegkeng (short)
    Concessions by Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali (novelette)

    Also very strong on non-fiction, especially reviews.

    (Also, new editors Jane Crowley and Kate Dollarhyde took over from Niall Harrison in April, so all are eligible for Best Editor Short Form this year)

  38. Beneath Ceaseless Skies
    Every time I read something from BCS I think I ought to read them more regularly. I love the elegant spins on fantasy that they put out so consistently. Some favourites this year include
    The Shark God’s Child by Jonathan Edelstein (Short, although on the cusp of novelette)
    Carnival Nine, by Caroline M. Yoachim (Short, although on the cusp of novelette. If you only read one, make it this one)
    A Place to Grow, by A.T. Greenblatt (short)
    That Lingering Sweetness, by Tony Pi (novelette)
    (Also: editor Scott H. Andrews is eligible for Best Editor (Short Form))

  39. Interzone
    Consistently good, with quite an individual tone to the fiction, and strong non-fiction each issue too.
    Some favourites include:
    Blessings Erupt by Aliyah Whiteley (novelette)
    Freedom of Navigation by Val Nolan (novelette)
    The Goddess of the Highway, by Erica L. Satifka (novelette)

    (Also: editor Andy Cox is eligible for Best Editor (Short Form))

    Daily SF
    Flash isn’t entirely my thing but I will follow recs to Daily SF because the better stuff they publish is good. A story I particularly liked this year from them was:
    Metal and Flesh by Marie Vibbert

  40. Chiming in to second a couple of Mark’s Fan Writer recs.

    Adam Whitehead
    In addition to his general SFF news and reviews blog, he has a site analyzing fantasy maps, particularly GRRM’s A Song of Ice and Fire, but other worlds as well.
    Atlas of Ice and Fire

    Charles Payseur
    His short fiction reviews are wonderfully positive. Although he will indicate if he finds something problematic and why. But he still encourages you to read and see for yourself. I definitely feel like he’s helped me get more out of my short fiction reading. He also reviews the poetry in the sff mags he covers!

  41. I just finished Artemis, by Andy Weir, and I loved it. I had delayed reading it because I’d read some negative feedback, but I’m sorry I waited.

    It’s a strong, hard-SF story, with almost non-stop thrills, chills, and excitement. It has quite a cast of characters, but they’re all developed so well that I never found myself mixing them up nor needing to search the book to remind myself who a character was. The dialogue and first-person-narration was generally smooth and usually entertaining.

    There were a few things I thought less-than-plausible, but nothing serious enough to ruin the story for me. I’m surprised this novel hasn’t gotten more buzz.

  42. @Mark (kitteh): I second your rec for Daily Science Fiction and that story in particular. I don’t read much short fiction, but most short stories on my tentative ballot are from them and Vibbert’s “Metal and Flesh” is at the top of my list.

    Two others I liked a lot from DSF were “I Won at NaSuHeMo” by Marissa Lingen and “The Library Is Open” by Beth Cato. I’m sure I all three stories via Filer links.

    I’d kinda forgotten Daily Science Fiction was a semiprozine, BTW, so thanks for the reminder! ::updating working ballot::

  43. @Greg Hullender: Thanks for the Artemis comments. It’s been on my list, but, like you, it’s not high on my list due to the mixed reviews. I’ll rethink that. 🙂

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