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 Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn, Usman T. Malik (Tor.com)
- Slow Bullets, Alastair Reynolds (Tachyon)
- Waters of Versailles, Kelly Robson (Tor.com)
- Gypsy, Carter Scholz (Gypsy Plus..).
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.