Tag: Hugo Finalist

Jan 14 2020

The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin

The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin

What’d I miss? The voters of the 2018 Worldcon awarded The Stone Sky the Hugo award for best novel, the first time in the award’s history that any author had won for best novel three years in a row, and also the first time that all three parts of a trilogy had won in that …

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Dec 24 2019

The Stone Sky (The Broken Earth #3) by N.K. Jemisin

I just don’t get it. This isn’t a terrible book. But it’s not a very good one either, and I am utterly mystified by all the acclaim it’s been getting. Never mind my hostility to the introduction of magic into what was a solidly sci-fi series till partway through book two. Never mind my brain’s …

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Oct 15 2019

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Spinning Silver

One of the unusual things that Naomi Novik does in Spinning Silver — so unusual, in fact, that I can’t think of another fantasy book that does it — is to state that some of her main characters are Jews. The first chapter lays out the hints: the characters are moneylenders in a small town whose …

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Aug 14 2019

The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth #1) by N.K. Jemisin

So on the one hand, this is some gorgeously written, truly imaginative sci-fi set in a world where the science seems like magic, so much so that the book reads like a terrific fantasy novel. It’s also a sharply drawn parable of slavery and gilded cages, based on inherent powers owned by people dubbed orogenes …

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Aug 10 2019

An Informal History of the Hugos by Jo Walton

An Informal History of the Hugos

I remember enjoying these assessments of the Hugo Awards when they first appeared as columns on Tor.com, and I am glad to see them collected in book form with the addition of selected comments that appeared in the discussion that followed each column. The subtitle of this collection — A Personal Look Back at the Hugo …

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Aug 10 2019

Conversations on Writing by Ursula K. Le Guin and David Naimon

Conversations on Writing

Conversations on Writing grew from three sets of discussions between Ursula K. Le Guin and David Naimon for the Oregon radio station KBOO. She completed her introduction to this volume less than four months before her death in January 2018; Naimon wrote his not quite two weeks after her passing, it’s a touching valediction. “I …

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Aug 09 2019

Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach by Kelly Robson

Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach

For the epigraph to Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach, Robson riffs on the old saying about the past being a foreign country. Instead of “they do things differently there” she has “we want to colonize it.” That’s the first indication that her novella will eventually be a time-travel story. The next is the abrupt …

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Aug 04 2019

Artificial Condition by Martha Wells

Artificial Condition by Martha Wells

One of the things that science fiction can do better than many other genres of literature is to take an abstract philosophical or metaphorical problem and make it very, very literal. “Am I forever defined by my past?” is a popular introspective question. “How do I deal with all of these other beings around me?” …

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Aug 03 2019

Binti: The Night Masquerade by Nnedi Okorafor

Binti: The Night Masquerade

It’s nearly impossible to talk about Binti: The Night Masquerade without discussing elements of Binti and Binti: Home, so I am not even going to try. And to be honest, the best thing that happens in Binti: The Night Masquerade, from a storytelling perspective, is a plot surprise a bit more than halfway through the …

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Jul 29 2019

The Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette de Bodard

The Tea Master and the Detective

The Tea Master and the Detective introduced me to Aliette de Bodard’s Xuya universe, an interstellar setting that sprang from an alternate Earth history in which East Asian powers and cultures dominated the age of discovery and thus also the leap into space. Her web site says that the more recent stories are influenced by …

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