If 2015 was a good year for novels, it was an even better for year for novellas. With Tor, Subterranean, PS Publishing and a whole range of other publishers committing to novellas, there’s more interesting long SF/F being published than in a long, long time.
There were a number of long stories, like Kai Ashante Wilson’s Sorcerer of the Wildeeps and Elizabeth Hand’s Wylding Hall which sit on the cusp of being novels, but belong on any list of the year’s best fiction.
I could have named another handful of stories, but I loved all of these. Any would have made a terrific winner, and I’m delighted Al Reynolds’ story actually made the final ballot. You should see all of these out, if you haven’t already done so.
The Four Thousand, the Eight Hundred, Greg Egan (Asimov’s)
The Hugo nominations came out last week.As is always the case, they are the tabulated nominations from a wide variety of people. And is often the case, they don’t quite fit with the views of an individual voter.
Given that, and given the various parties involved these days, I thought I might list some of what went on my own ballot, if only because it might be of some interest to people as a reading list.
Aurora Kim Stanley Robinson Orbit US; Orbit UK
Europe at Midnight Dave Hutchinson Solaris
Clade James Bradley Allen & Unwin
The Water Knife Paolo Bacigalupi Knopf
Luna: New Moon Ian McDonald Tor; Gollancz
2015 was a strong year for science fiction novels, which made this a hard choice. I also had limited reading time, which means I’m yet to read the latest Anne Leckie and Nora Jemisin books (though they’re at the top of the ‘to read’ pile). I could have listed books by a number of others, including Paul McAuley and Adam Roberts. I also definitely would have listed books by Aliette de Bodard and Naomi Novik, but my personal preference/choice is to only nominate SF for the Hugos. The Novik was a favourite from 2015, though, and I loved Aliette’s book.
Of the books listed, Stan Robinson’s smart, thoughtful, challenging Aurora was my favourite of the year. I wish it had made the Hugo and Nebula ballots -I think it’s the sort of science fiction we need right now – but so be it.
Welcome to the fourth episode of The Coode Street Roundtable. The Roundtable is a monthly podcast from Coode Street Productions where panelists James Bradley, Ian Mond, and Jonathan Strahan, joined by occasional special guests, discuss a new or recently released science fiction or fantasy novel.
Paul McAuley’s Into Everywhere
This month Coode Street co-host Gary Wolfe joins us to discuss Into Everwhere, the latest novel from Paul McAuley. It’s smart, engaging hard SF adventure described by its publisher as follows:
The Jackaroo, those enigmatic aliens who claim to have come to help, gave humanity access to worlds littered with ruins and scraps of technology left by long-dead client races. But although people have found new uses for alien technology, that technology may have found its own uses for people.
The dissolute scion of a powerful merchant family, and a woman living in seclusion with only her dog and her demons for company, have become infected by a copies of a powerful chunk of alien code. Driven to discover what it wants from them, they become caught up in a conflict between a policeman allied to the Jackaroo and the laminated brain of a scientific wizard, and a mystery that spans light years and centuries. Humanity is about to discover why the Jackaroo came to help us, and how that help is shaping the end of human history.
If you’re keen to avoid spoilers, we recommend reading the book before listening to the episode. If you don’t already have a copy, Into Everywhere can be ordered from:
As we head into our third straight week without a guest on the podcast, we confront our lack of organisation with a smile and a nod. We actually sat down and planned what we’d discuss on this episode, then Gary brought up something else entirely immediately after the intro and off we went.
Following the sad news that Prince had died, we spent some time discussing science fiction and popular music, then revisited my (Jonathan’s) comments on people reading SF criticism, had a few comments on The Big Book of SF (which Jonathan’s reading right now), noted the Hugo nominations are due in a few days, and wound up talking about what we are reading at the moment.
All in all, a pretty typical episode. As always, we hope you enjoy it. We’ll be back next week with more.
This week’s ramble touches upon a bunch of issues, from Hugo nominations and awards (of course) to what it takes to be called a major science fiction writer, the need for more translations of non-English language science fiction, the advantages and disadvantages of “fix-ups,” “story suites,” and collections of linked stories, and whether SF has developed a kind of informal hierarchy favoring American and British SF, followed by Australian and Canadian writers, and leaving most other world science fiction as a kind of niche interest (which we dearly hope is beginning to change).