2023 Recommended SF/F List

Cat Rambo’s Taco

This thread is for posts about 2023-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 eligible for the Hugos or other awards (Nebula, Locus, Asimov’s, etc.) next year.

If you’re recommending for an award other than / in addition to the Hugo Awards which has different categories than the Hugos (such as Locus Awards’ First Novel), then be sure to specify the award and category.

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 or other Award Category: (Novel, Novella, Novelette, Short Story, Related Work, Graphic Novel, Lodestar, Astounding, etc)
  • link (if available to read/view online)
  • optional “Brief, spoiler-free description of story premise:”
  • “What I liked / didn’t like about it:”
  • (Please rot-13 any spoilers.)

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

[Based on a post by JJ.]

15 thoughts on “2023 Recommended SF/F List

  1. Novels
    Eyes of the Void by Adrian Tchiakovsky, Orbit
    The Justice of Kings by Richard Swan, Orbit
    A Practical Guide to Conquering the World by K J Parker, Orbit
    Flint and Mirror by John Crowley, Tor
    Quantum of Nightmares by Charles Stross, Tor.com
    The Art of Prophecy: The War Arts Saga, Book One by Wesley Chu, Del Rey

  2. I read a lot of older stuff these days, but one 2023 book I think worth your time:

    The World We Make, N.K. Jemisin, Orbit books. Novel. Sequel to 2020’s The City We Became — itself an expansion of 2016’s “The City Born Great” (https://www.tor.com/2016/09/28/the-city-born-great/) — this one takes the concept … I won’t say “as far as it can go,” but pretty darn far into the out-there, ending up conceptually in territory as much Stapeledon’s as Lovecraft’s, but mostly Jemisin’s own. I like Big Ideas stories, and the Big Idea here is as big as any BDO offered by Clarke, Bear, or Niven.

  3. @kyra Reading and writing too late at night. They are 2022 works. I was thinking that said 2023 Hugos (i.e. published in 2022). I see now this post is tracking forward for the 2024 list.

  4. The Scarab Mission, James Cambias, Baen Books (I know, I know). Novel.
    A return to the Billion Worlds of the Godel Operation. In this one, a deep space salvage team visits a habitat known for the arts that had a catastrophic accident 16 years earlier. In 30 days, the habitat goes on a 50 year orbit to the outer system. In the mean time, the crew are free to salvage high value items.
    Needless to say, things don’t go according to plan…
    Liked: The setting and world building. Characters. Ratcheting tension. Details of salvaging the habitat.
    Disliked: The opposition. And how one character suddenly grew a conscience.

  5. @ Sean Mead. That said, the eyes of the void trilogy will probably be on my series nomination for 2024.

  6. Josh Reidel’s Please Report Your Bug Here is coming out next week. Definitely sounded fun, almost an isekai-ish premise with shades of Scalzi’s TKPS- style protagonist. Anyone else hear about that one?

  7. Best Novel
    The Terraformers by Annalee Newitz
    Lone Women by Victor LaValle

    I got access to both of these through NetGalley, and they were both excellent. The Terraformers is a far-future SF novel in which the leader of a terraforming crew discovers something that will reshape her understanding of her past, her terraforming project, and the larger society she lives in. It’s full of cool SFnal ideas, interesting characters, and thoughtful social commentary.

    Lone Women is a genre mash-up between historical horror and Westerns. Set in 1914, it follows a Black woman who moves to Montana to homestead following a family tragedy. She’s carrying a very heavy steamer trunk with her–a trunk that absolutely must never be opened. I liked this even more than LaValle’s previous books The Ballad of Black Tom and The Changeling.

  8. The Stolen Heir, by Holly Black

    Novel (YA, 1st in a duology, 4th in an overarching series, 8th in a series-setting world)

    Suren, still haunted by the merciless torments she endured in the Court of Teeth, bides her time by releasing mortals from foolish bargains. She believes herself forgotten until the storm hag, Bogdana chases her through the night streets.

    A well-written book that presents an excellent character study of its abused and conflicted lead. The one flaw is that I was able to see the big ending twist coming from a long way away, but it didn’t ruin another great entry in Holly Black’s extensive fairy series.

  9. Now She Is Witch, by Kirsty Logan

    Novel

    Lux has lost everything when Else finds her, alone in the woods. Her family, her lover, her home – all burned. Else has not found Lux by accident. She needs her help to seek revenge against the man who wronged her, and together they pursue him north. But on their hunt they will uncover dark secrets that entangle them with dangerous adversaries.

    Powerful, lyrical, and vivid. A story about the choices women are constrained to make, the stories they are forced to live, and the tangled path towards breaking free. I loved it, as I’ve loved everything Kirsty Logan has written.

  10. The Infinite, by Ada Hoffmann

    Novel (3rd in a trilogy)

    Time is running out for the planet Jai. The artificially intelligent Gods who rule the galaxy have withdrawn their protection from the chaos-ravaged world, just as their most ancient enemy closes in. For Yasira Shien, who has devoted herself to the fragile planet’s nascent rebellion, it’s time to do or die – and the odds are overwhelming.

    A fantastic conclusion to this epic, innovative trilogy. There are many praises I could heap upon it, from its empathetic moral compass to its continuing examination of non-neurotypicality. But I particularly want to mention the mid-book twist, which was so clearly apparent in retrospect that I wanted to yell at the characters for not figuring it out … except that I only figured it out around the same time they did. That’s what I call a well-done twist. Also, I highly approve of the idea that if you have access to time travel on the brink of an imminent crisis, you should use it to take a long vacation first.

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