Friday, January 29, 2016

2016 Hugo Longlist, Part 4: Nonfiction and Institutional Categories

Welcome to the fourth and final installment of the Nerds of a Feather, Flock Together 2016 Hugo Awards Longlist! (Parts 1, 2 and 3.)

This time we are looking at what are, for lack of a better term, the "nonfiction and institutional categories": Best Related Work, Best Semiprozine, Best Fanzine and Best Fancast. Now, those who follow this blog know how cranky I can get on the subject of certain categories and their bizarre eligibility guidelines--and we've got two of them today (Best Semiprozine and Best Fancast). Nevertheless, I will do my best to stay calm and stick to the rules, frustrating as they can be. I reserve the right, will, however, get a little snarky and passive-aggressive in the process.   

There are, however, some sticky issues that made putting this list together a bit difficult. Knowing what does or does not constitute a "fanzine" in the era of blogs, for example--and given that we may already be on the downward slide of that era, it only promises to get more difficult as time passes. Nevertheless, we have tried to create clear and consistent guidelines for inclusion in this category. Thus, to qualify, a fanzine: (1) must be a fan venture (i.e. must not generate a significant amount of money, or pay professional rates for work); (2) must publish a lot of content in a given year; and (3) must publish "award worthy" content. We did not discount single-author blogs from consideration, but criterion #2 makes it difficult for most single-author blogs to  merit consideration. Consequently, while a couple made it, most did not--including some very good ones.  

I also feel obliged to mention that 'nerds of a feather, flock together' is eligible in this category, but whether we belong on anyone's list (short, long, good or bad) is another story, and part of a conversation we aren't inclined to join. We'd much rather talk about all the other sites we like to read (and which meet the criteria outlined above). 

The category Best Fancast also presented issues, namely, on the question of whether podcasts hosted by profit-making websites were still fancasts. The issue here comes down to whether the podcasts qualify (given token-level payment for the podcasts themselves) or do not (given that the parent companies can employ at least some people full-time). There were internal disagreements on this question, but in the end we decided to include the podcasts in question, but make note that they may not meet the eligibility requirements. I personally encourage you to vote them in that category--both because they belong there and, consequently, because a rule that keeps them out is dumb. But that's just me.

Before moving on to the recommendations, a gentle reminder that this list is not and does not intend to be a comprehensive survey of genre or fandom. Rather, these are recommendations we suggest you consider alongside whatever other candidates you have in mind.  -G

Best Related Work

Day, Felicia. You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) [Touchstone, 2015]

Jordan, Robert, Harriet McDougal et al. The Wheel of Time Companion [Tor, 2015]

Klastorin, Michael and Randal Atamaniuk. Back to the Future: The Ultimate Visual History [Harper Design, 2015]

Landon, Justin. "The Hugo Awards: an Entity at War with Itself" (Pornokitsch)

Makeup & Vanity Set. Wilderness [Telefuture Records, 2015]

McCown, Alex. "Mr. Robot: 'eps1.5br4ve-trave1er.asf': Rage, rage against the dying of the light" (and related articles in series) [Onion AV Club]

Whitehead, Adam "A History of Epic Fantasy" [The Wertzone]

Williams, Renay and Shaun Duke, eds. Speculative Fiction 2014 [Book Smugglers Publishing, 2015]

Prune [iOS game from Joel McDonald]

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt [multi-platform game from CD Projekt Red]

Best Semiprozine

Beneath Ceaseless Skies (Scott H. Andrews, ed.) - publisher of high quality adventure and literary short fantasy

Black Static (Andy Cox, ed.) - premier British publisher of short horror and dark fantasy fiction.

The Book Smugglers (Ana Grilo and Thea James, eds.) - top-notch SF/F and YA blog and now an up-and-coming publisher of short fiction.

Interzone (Andy Cox, ed.) - Britain's premier short SF magazine.

Lightspeed/Nightmare (John Joseph Adams, ed.) - high prestige publisher of SF/F and horror, respectively. Notable for its "Destroy" series of special issues.

Pornokitsch (Jared Shurin and Anne Perry, eds.) - savvy SF/F and geek culture group blog that, like the Book Smugglers, is now and up-and-coming publisher of short fiction.

Strange Horizons (Niall Harrison, ed.) - publisher of literary fantasy and science fiction also notable for strong nonfiction content and focus on diversity issues.

Best Fanzine

A Dribble of Ink (Aidan Moher, ed.) - pour one out for Aidan Moher's dearly departed fantasy site, which won the Hugo in 2014. This is its last year of eligibility.

BiblioSanctum (Mogsy, Tiara and Wendy B, eds.) - great site for book and game reviews

Chaos Horizon (Brandon Kempfner, ed.) - addictive site that tries to predict SF/F nominees and winners.

file770 (Mike Glyer, ed.) - the beating heart of fandom

Lady Business - fantastic group blog with a distinctive, feminist and pulp SF/F slant.

Neon Dystopia - a fun new group blog that focuses on cyberpunk and derived matter across the arts (books, comics, film, tv, games, etc.)

Scy-Fy (Stuart Flynn, ed.) - massive number of interviews with genre bloggers at a time of great change in the "industry." Plus the most parsimonious/elegant book reviews you will find anywhere.

SF Mistressworks (Ian Sales, ed.) - a site dedicated to celebrating the (often under-appreciated) contributions of female SF/F writers to the genre

SF Signal (John DeNardo, ed.) - this venerable fanzine qua blog, and multiple Hugo winner, is always worth your consideration.

SFFWorld (Dag Rambruat, Rob Bedford, Mark Yon, and Nila White, eds.) - A fantastic place to go for reviews and interviews (and the forums still live).

Best Fancast

Adventures in Sci-Fi Publishing (Kristi Charish and Brent Bowen)

Cabbages and Kings (Jonah Sutton-Morse)

Fangirl Happy Hour (Ana Grilo and Renay Williams)

Galactic Suburbia Podcast (Alisa Krasnostein, Tansy Rayner Roberts and Alexandra Pierce)

The Grim Tidings Podcast (R.S. Matheny and Philip Overby)

Midnight in Karachi (Mahvesh Murad)

[Note: Midnight in Karachi may not be eligible because the podcast is hosted by a parent company that pays its full-time employees, despite the fact that said parent company does not pay podcasters at professional rates. Yes, I know--nonsensical. In such event, however, it would still be eligible for Best Related Work.]

Rocket Talk (Justin Landon)

[Note: Rocket Talk may not be eligible because the podcast is hosted by a parent company that pays its full-time employees, despite the fact that said parent company does not pay podcasters at professional rates. Yes, I know--nonsensical. In such event, however, it would still be eligible for Best Related Work.]

Skiffy & Fanty (Shaun Duke, Jen Zinc, Paul Weimer, Julia Rios, David Annadale, Mike R. Underwood and Rachael Acks)

Speculate! (Gregory A. Wilson)

The Three Hoarsemen (Fred Kiesche, John E.O. Stevens and Jeff Patterson)

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Thursday Morning Superhero

This week we have a jumbo sized version of Thursday Morning Superhero, but before jumping into this week's recap, I want to urge everyone to go visit the Skelton Crew Studio's website.  As the proud owner of a plush Poyo, a Chog, and multiple keys, I can attest to the amazing products that they produce.  With the impending end of Chew, my wallet fears what may happen as new products are announced.

Pick of the Week:

Chew #54 - This series is racing towards its conclusion and I fear for the life of everyone.  John Layman, George R. Martin, Jr., isn't afraid to kill even our most beloved of characters.   From what Layman wrote at the end of this issue, things are only going to get worse.  I feel like this comic just punched me in the face.  With only six issues left in the series, I struggle with how things can work out for Tony Chu.   Despite all of the doom and gloom, he does manage to give his readers a gift every now and then and the Punxsutawney Groundchog is the gift that keeps on giving.  Hoping the Skelton Crew Studio will offer a plush of this fella. 

The Rest:

Southern Bastards #13 - Jason Aaron and Jason Latour don't pull any punches with their take on football in the south.  As someone who has abandoned the NFL many years ago, it is a guilty pleasure to read about the corruption that impacts our sport system.  This is a series provides a glimpse behind the curtain of big time high school sports and might find itself on the reading list for a sociology of sport class at some point.  Boss is the coach you love to hate.

Daredevil #2 - Charles Soule's run is off to a good start and is doing a nice job distinguishing his style from Mark Waid's incredible journey with the Man with No Fear.  The series now has a noir feel to it and is lacking a lot of the humor that Waid used to inject in the series.  While I enjoyed the humor of old, I feel that the new direction breathes new life into one of my favorite comic book characters.  Tenfingers is a very intriguing villain and is a formidable foe if he managed to escape the Hand with some sort of mystical item.   I am excited to see where Soule takes this series. 

Saga #33 - Oh how the Will has fallen.  Apparently losing your main squeeze and your feline sidekick will do that to a man.  Despite all of his troubles, he remains on the trail Marko.  We learn this through a series of reporters who may be in over their heads trying to break the biggest story in the universe.  Brian K. Vaughan gives us another wrinkle in this tale of forbidden love and it continues to be one of my favorite series of all time.

Old Man Logan #1 - As strange as it is to read a Wolverine title penned by Jeff Lemire, it is quite fun.  Logan, who as you may have guessed from the title is an old man, has somehow traveled back in time.  In order to prevent his family's death at the hands of the Hulk Gang, Logan sets himself on the path that he thinks will set things straight.  After reading Daredevil and seeing the length that most superheros go to to prevent death, it is oddly refreshing to witness the brutality that Wolverine is capable of. 

POSTED BY MIKE N. aka Victor Domashev -- comic guy, proudly raising nerdy kids, and Nerds of a Feather contributor since 2012.  

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

2016 Hugo Award Longlist, Part 3: Individual Catagories

Welcome to the third part of our presentation of the Nerds of a Feather 2016 Hugo Award Longlist (see parts 1 & 2). Today we take a look at the categories recognizing individuals for their body of work during 2015:  Editor (Short and Long Form), Professional Artist, Fan Artist, Fan Writer, and the John W Campbell Award for Best New Writer

As before, we here at 'nerds of a feather, flock together' are presenting a collective longlist of potential Hugo nominees that we think are worthy of your consideration. These selections represent the spectrum of tastes, tendencies, and predilections found among our group of 13 writers.

As a reminder, this list should not at all be considered comprehensive. There are some truly outstanding editors, writers, and artists who will not make our longlist because they did not produce enough work for non-paying / non-professional venues, did not write enough genre focused work, or for the very simple reason that we are not just familiar with what work they did produce during 2015. We encourage you to think of this as a list of candidates to consider alongside works which you are already familiar, nothing more and nothing less. 

In an effort at brevity (you may scoff) and perhaps at propriety, for these categories we have decided to simply list the individuals we are collectively recommending as part of the longlist, rather than detailing why each person listed below is awesome.

Finally, in the interests of being transparent, while it may worth noting that we, the writers of Nerds of a Feather are individually eligible for the Fan Writer category; because it is a conflict of interest, it would not appropriate to include any of us on our formal longlist. However, we would like to make a note of the work our own Charles Payseur has done both here as well at Quick Sip Reviews. Because of that conflict of interest, we are not including him on our list, but we do encourage anyone so inclined to take a look at his work and decide for themselves.

Editor, Short Form
Neil Clarke (Clarkesworld)
John Joseph Adams (Lightspeed, Nightmare, everything)
Lee Harris ( / Publishing)
Jonathan Strahan (Meeting Infinity)
Lynne M. Thomas (Uncanny)
Michael Damien Thomas (Uncanny)
Wendy N. Wagner (Lightspeed, Nightmare, Queers Destroy Horror)

Editor, Long Form
Nobody. But, we recommend that when you put together your final nominating ballot that you also look at who the editors were for your Best Novel selections and consider them for nomination for Editor, Long Form.

Professional Artist
Richard Anderson (Empire Ascendant)
Daniel Dociu (Nemesis Games)
Shan Jiang (Illustrated Man in the High Castle)
Stephan Martiniere (The Dark Forest, Dragondrums)
Victor Mosquera (Luna: New Moon)
David Palumbo (Binti)
Cynthia Sheppard (Karen Memory)
Sam Weber (Illustrated Dune)
Stephen Youll (Navigators of Dune)

Fan Artist
Ariel / Orisoni 
Megan Lara
Gabriel Picolo
Sarah Webb

Fan Writer
Rob Bedford 
Cora Buhlert
Cecily Kane
Maureen Kincaid-Speller 
Natalie Luhrs
Foz Meadows 
Mahvesh Murad
Abigail Nussbaum
Ian Sales 
Jared Shurin
Adam Whitehead
Renay Williams

John W Campbell Award for Best New Writer*
*(Not a Hugo, but Totally a Hugo) 
Lou Anders
Becky Chambers 
Roshani Chokshi
Nino Cipri
S.L. Huang
Cassandra Khaw
Sam J Miller (uncertain on his eligibility due to a 2013 Daily Science Fiction publication)
Malka Older
Kelly Robson 
Naru Dames Sundar
Andy Weir
Alyssa Wong 
Isabel Yap

COMPILED BY: Joe Sherry - Writer / Editor at Adventures in Reading since 2004, Nerds of a Feather contributor since 2015. Minnesotan.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

2016 Hugo Award Longlist, Part 2: Visual Work Categories

Welcome to our continuing presentation of the Nerds of a Feather 2016 Hugo Award Longlist (see part 1 here). Today will look at Graphic Story and the two Dramatic Presentation categories. 

As before, we here at 'nerds of a feather, flock together' are presenting a collective longlist of potential Hugo nominees that we think are worthy of your consideration. These selections represent the spectrum of tastes, tendencies, and predilections found among our group of 13 writers.

As a reminder, this list should not at all be considered comprehensive. Some outstanding works will not make our longlist for the simple reason that we have not seen or read it. We encourage you to think of this as a list of candidates to consider alongside works which you are already familiar, nothing more and nothing less. 

Graphic Story

Aaron, Jason. Art by John Cassaday. Star Wars: Skywalker Strikes (Vol 1) [Marvel, 2015]

Marvel had some big shoes to fill after getting the rights back to Star Wars from Dark Horse.  Fortunately Jason Aaron penned the main title and delivered a classic tale that really demonstrated how powerful and vengeful Darth Vader really was.

DeConnick, Kelly Sue, Art by Valentine DeLandro. Bitch Planet: Extraordinary Machine (Vol 1). [Image Comics, 2015]

An astoundingly good and intensely in your face comic riffing off of the various exploitation genres set in a world where "noncompliant" women are sent to a prison planet.

McCloud, Scott. The Sculptor. [First Second Books, 2015]

A stunning look at art and artistry, but really about life and love and consequence (all with a mostly unlikeable protagonist). I did not want to put this down.

Rucka, Greg, Art by Michael Lark. Lazarus: Conclave (Vol 3) [Image Comics, 2015]

The latest collection of an excellent series presents a top notch story of dividing loyalties.

Stevenson, Noelle. Grace Ellis, and Shannon Waters, Art by Brook Allen. Lumberjanes: Friendship to the Max (Vol 2) [Boom Studios, 2015]

A charming story of friends at the Lumberjanes summer camp (for Hardcore Lady Types) have adventures and arm wrestle statues! Not to be missed.

Sundberg, Minna. Stand Still. Stay Silent: Book One [2015]

The story arc for Book One ended on page 276, published in February 2015. This is a big, ambitious post apocalyptic story set some 90 years in the future in the Nordic countries. From the art to the writing, this is wonderful.

Vaughan, Brian. Art by Fiona Staples. Saga: Volume 5 [Image Comics, 2015]

Briak K. Vaughan continues to push the envelope and Fiona Staples delivers some of the most stunning visuals in the industry in the latest trade of this Eisner winning series.  Marko really shines in this arc as Vaughan really focuses on character development as the main characters quest to reconnect. 

Williamson, Joshua. Art by Mike Henderson. Nailbiter: Bloody Hands (Vol 2) [Image Comics, 2015]

The best current horror title on the market, Joshua Williamson begins to pull the curtain back on the mystery surrounding the town of Buckaroo, Oregon. 

Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

Ant-Man, directed by Peyton Reed [Marvel Studios, 2015]

Ant-Man did more than deliver a good comic book movie; it made me care about Ant-Man.

Ex Machina, directed by Alex Garland [A24 (US Distributor), 2015]

The writer that gave us fast zombies in 28 Days Later made his directorial debut and gave us a robot that achieved some of the good, but also some of the bad of what it means to be "human."

Fear Itself, directed by Charlie Lynn [BBC Films, 2015] 

One of the most bleakly disturbing pieces of TV I have seen in a long time... I found myself lost in its web

Inside Out, directed by Pete Docter and Ronnie Del Carmen [Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar Animation Studios, 2015]

Inside Out hits the coming of age tale with Pixar's signature touching storytelling.

Mad Max: Fury Road, directed by George Miller [Village Road Show, 2015]

Delightfully intense over the top action coupled with a new bad ass heroine in Imperator Furiosa makes Mad Max: Fury Road a can't miss movie with something to say hidden within its high octane engine.

The Martian, directed by Ridley Scott [Twentieth Century Fox, 2015]

The Martian is near future science fiction for everyone and with any luck, helps reinvigorate the public's desire and excitement for space travel. Oh, and it's an awesome movie.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens, directed by J.J. Abrams [Disney, 2015]

Finally, a Star Wars movie that *felt* like Star Wars: with all the joy and adventure and heroics that entails. Now, with Rey.

Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

Ash vs. Evil Dead (Season 1), created by Sam Raimi, Ivan Raimi, Tom Spezialy [Starz, 2015]
Pulling off a show that came right out of the gate feeling like it was of-a-piece with horror/comedy high-water marks EVIL DEAD 2 and ARMY OF DARKNESS was quite an accomplishment, and the show built up a great cast of characters that it wasn't afraid to...well, let's say the audience never knew who was safe.

Recommended Episodes: "El Jefe" (Ep 1), "Ashes to Ashe" (Ep 8)

Daredevil (Season 1), created by Drew Goddard [Netflix, 2015]

"Nelson V. Murdoch" lays the relationship between a secret vigilante and his best friend on a table and dissects it in the show's best episode. 

Recommended Episode: "Nelson V. Murdock" (Ep 10)

Doctor Who (Series 9), head writer Stephen Moffat [BBC, 2015]

Capaldi and Moffat just needed some time to get on form together, and when they did, in this daring episode, and in the transcendent finale, magic happened.

Recommended Episode: "Heaven Sent" (Ep 11)

Game of Thrones (Season 5), created by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss [HBO, 2015]

Season 5 began to slow the show down with Danaerys stuck in Mereen and the various other characters spreading farther apart, but nevertheless delivered some big character moments and a climactic battle north of the wall.

Recommended Episodes: "Hardhome" (Ep 8), "Mother's Mercy" (Ep 10)

iZombie, created by Diane Ruggiero and Rob Thomas [The CW, 2015]

In a show with a premise that got seemingly more ridiculous as the season went on, iZombie tied it all together with an amazing season finale.

Recommended Episode: "Blaine's World" (Ep 13)

Jessica Jones (Season 1), created by Melissa Rosenberg [Netflix, 2015]

This feels like the moment where superhero stories took a huge leap in foregrounding the humanity of people with extraordinary powers; whereas some of the better Marvel movies were credited with having that humanity there at all, now it's up front.

Recommended Episodes: "Aka Ladies Night" (Ep 1), "Aka Sin Bin" (Ep 9)

Kung Fury, directed by David Sandberg [Laser Unicorns, 2015]

With a 31 minute running time, Kung Fury is technically only eligible for the short-form category, but it is so big and awesome that it could and should stand against feature length movies. And magenta. 

The Librarians (Season 2), developed by John Rogers [TNT 2015].

A bright and fun presentation with powerful undertones that constantly challenges gender norms, highlights the importance of and struggles surround women in STEM, and explored the ideas self image and perception.

Recommended Episodes: "And the Cost of Education" (Ep 4), "And the Image of Image" (Ep 7)

Mr Robot (Season 1), created by Sam Esmail [USA, 2015]

An overall stunning new show, with a heady brew of genres and emotional gear shifts, and this mid-season tension-cranked episode was my highlight, ending on perhaps the greatest tv moment of the year 

Recommended Episodes: "br4ve_traveler" (Ep 5), "eps1.8m1rr0r1ng.qt" (Ep 9)

Orphan Black (Season 3), created by Graeme Manson and John Fawcett [BBC, 2015]

Orphan Black (season 3) continued the propulsive pacing of the first two seasons, while focusing even more closely in on character dynamics and relationships. Plus, Tatiana forever.

Recommended Episode: "Insolvent Phantasm of Tomorrow" (Ep 9)

COMPILED BY: Joe Sherry - Writer / Editor at Adventures in Reading since 2004, Nerds of a Feather contributor since 2015. Minnesotan.

Monday, January 25, 2016

The 2016 Nerds of a Feather, Flock Together Hugo Award Longlist, Part 1: Fiction Categories

For the past couple years I've posted a draft Hugo ballot (2014, 2015). Last year's slate voting controversy, however, made me rethink that practice. True, this blog has limited influence within fandom, and we've never tried to mobilize voters to further a cause or agenda either. But it still feels strange to call out slate-based voting campaigns while publishing something that looks, superficially at least, like a slate of our own. So instead of giving you my personal ballot, I asked the the thirteen 'nerds of a feather' to contribute to a longlist of potential Hugo nominees.

The rules for inclusion were simple--just: (a) meet the eligibility criteria; and (b) be "award worthy" (i.e. good). Given the subjectivity of the latter, it should come as no surprise that the selections on our longlist reflect the spectrum of tastes, tendencies and predilections found among our group of writers. You'll find selections ranging from the obscure and literary to the unabashedly popular and commercial, and from all corners and subdivisions of the genresphere.

That said, this is not nor intends to be a comprehensive survey of the field. Some books that are undoubtedly "award worthy," for example, are absent for the simple reason that we haven't read them yet. Thus we encourage you to think of this as a list of candidates to consider--alongside others. 

Given the vast number of Hugo categories, we've also made the decision to split the longlist up into multiple posts. Today we look at the fiction categories (Best Novel, Best Novella, Best Novelette and Best Short Story). In each case, we provide a reference followed by a brief summary of why we think the work in question is worth your time. For fiction that is available free of charge, we've embedded a direct link to the story. For novels and works of short fiction that are not available for free, the embedded link redirects to a review (with a separate purchase link added at the end). 

Finally, in the interests of transparency, a disclaimer: Charles (here and here), Chloe (here, here and here) and I (here) published short stories in 2015, and as such are eligible in that category. We'd love for you to check those stories out, but do not feel it would be appropriate to discuss their merits (or lack thereof) here. 

But enough about all that--on to Part 1 of the 2016 'nerds of a feather' Hugo Longlist!

-The G

Best Novel

Asher, Neal. Dark Intelligence [Night Shade Books, 2015] (buy)

A planet-hopping tale in which everyone involved turns into monsters (literally and figuratively). 

Bear, Elizabeth. Karen Memory [Tor, 2015] (buy)

A steampunk Western with a heart of gold (and the only novel on this list that features a "squidmersible"). 

Gilman, Carolyn Ives. Dark Orbit [Tor, 2015] (buy)

A dense, multilayered novel about exploration and first contact on an alien planet.

Hutchinson, Dave. Europe At Midnight [Rebellion, 2015] (buy)

An intelligent and complex work of political SF that will haunt readers long after completion. 

Jemisin, N.K. The Fifth Season [Orbit, 2015] (buy)

A terrifying fantasy set in a uniquely conceived world where continual disasters mark epochal time.

Leckie, Ann. Ancillary Mercy [Orbit, 2015] (buy)

A gratifying conclusion to Leckie's award-winning Imperial Radch trilogy.

Moreno-Garcia, Silvia. Signal to Noise [Solaris, 2015] (buy)

A beautifully written literary fantasy about love, music and growing up--set against the backdrop of Mexico City.

Novik, Naomi. Uprooted [Del Rey, 2015] (buy)

A grown up fairy tale that works for adults of most ages.

Older, Daniel José. Shadowshaper [Arthur A. Levine, 2015] (buy)

Magic and the fight against cultural appropriation feature in this engaging and fun contemporary fantasy. 

Robinson, Kim Stanley. Aurora [Orbit, 2015] (buy)

A generation starship leads 1,000 humans to an extrasolar colony they will terraform in what is essentially a revised take on themes developed in Robinson's "greatest hits."

Schwab, V.E. A Darker Shade of Magic [Tor, 2015] (buy)

An innovative, affectionate and highly entertaining fantasy thriller in a beautifully rendered world(s). 

Smale, Alan. Clash of Eagles [Del Rey, 2015] (buy)

A well researched alternate history in which Roman legions invade the New World.

Stephenson, Neal. Seveneves [William Morrow, 2015] (buy)

An unsentimental yet spellbinding take on what comes after the end of the world.

Sumner-Smith, Karina. Defiant [Talos, 2015] (buy)

A major step up for Sumner-Smith's postapocalyptic series, in which two unlikely heroines must face impossible--and worsening--odds and overcome the systemic social inequality of their world.

Valente, Catherynne M. Radiance [Tor, 2015] (buy)

A beautifully constructed novel that unfolds in a solar system inspired by early cinema.

Walton, Jo. The Just City [Tor, 2015] (buy)

A smart, fun and historically-grounded mythological fantasy.

Wexler, Django. The Price of Valor [ROC, 2015] (buy)

The third installment in Wexler's Shadow Campaigns series. A thoroughly addictive flintlock fantasy.


Khaw, Cassandra. Rupert Wong, Cannibal Chef [Abaddon, 2015] (buy)

A man tries to survive the plots of corrupt pantheons, but what must he betray to do so?

King, Stephen. "Ur" [The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, Scribner, 2015] (buy)

A Kindle deliveries historical news from alternate realities, as well as glimpses into the future of this one.

Malik, Usman. "The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn" [, April 2015]

Family and history bleed into this story about place and self.

Okorafor, Nnedi. "Binti" [ Publishing, 2015] (buy)

A very strong cultural contact story, centered on a young woman who is the first of her people to attend a galactic university.

Polansky, Daniel. The Builders [ Publishing, 2015] (buy)

Redwall meets Joe Abercrombie in a revenge tale (featuring tails). Brutally good.

Reynolds, Alastair. Slow Bullets [Tachyon, 2015] (buy)

Space opera set on a deteriorating ship with limited chance of rescue, focused on the idea of deciding what information is most worth preserving.

Robson, Kelly. "The Waters of Versailles" [, 2015]

Toilets. In historical France. With Magic. 

Sales, Ian. All That Outer Space Allows [Whippelshield Books, 2015] (buy)

A smart, sophisticated alternate history of science fiction that highlights the struggles of female authors in the field.

Shu, Bao [trans. Ken Liu] "What Has Passed Shall in Kinder Light Appear" [F&SF, March 2015] (buy)

A deeply-affecting, big idea story that borders SF, fantasy and alternate history.  


Bear, Elizabeth. "And the Balance in Blood" [Uncanny Magazine, November 2015]

A powerful story about the expectations that might come from having a direct conduit to God, and the ability to have your prayers answered, no matter what they are. 

King, Stephen. "Obits" [The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, Scribner, 2015] (buy)

What if writing an obituary meant that the subject would die within a couple of days? 

Lemberg, Rose. "Grandmother-nai-Leylit's Cloth of Winds" [Beneath Ceaseless Skies, June 2015]

Exceptional world-building features in this poignant story about acceptance and love.

Pinsker, Sarah. "Our Lady of the Open Road" [Asimov's, June 2015]

A remarkable speculative piece about a rock band trying to find gigs at a time when holovids are fast replacing live music.

St. George, Carlie. "The Price You Pay is Red" [Book Smugglers Publishing, November 2015]

A fable-noir story with a great cast and a healthy dose of tragedy in the face of victory.

Thomas, Lee. "The Lord of Corrosion" [Nightmare, October 2015]

A father finds his daughter being attacked by an unseen force, and does what he needs to protect her.

Valente, Catherynne M. "The Long Goodnight of Violet Wild" [Clarkesworld, January/March 2015]

A surreal jaunt through the lands of color with an eye for grief and loss and healing.

Short Story

Chandrasekera, Vajra. "Documentary" [Lightspeed, March 2015]

A very strange story about the aftereffects of war, centered on a documentary about a "were-helicopter" that flies but never fires its guns. This one really sticks with you. 

Cipri, Nino. "The Shape of My Name" [, March 2015]

A tightly-plotted, emotionally devastating time travel story.

Dickenson, Seth. "Three Bodies at Mitanni [Analog, June 2015] (buy)

An interstellar survey team is faced with a moral-ethical dilemma: whether or not to destroy a rapacious, ex-colonial society that almost certainly poses an existential threat to human space. Unnerving and thought-provoking.

Hurley, Kameron. "The Light Brigade" [Lightspeed, November 2015] (originally published on Patreon in 2015)

Moving futurewar story in which soldiers are transported across the universe as beams of light, narrated by a very disaffected soldier who has seen and done too much. 

Kritzer, Naomi. "Cat Pictures Please" [Clarkesworld, January 2015]

A benevolent, self-aware internet features in this smart, funny and referential story. 

Machado, Carmen Maria. "Descent" [Nightmare, February 2015]

An intricately layered story about death and horror and stories.

Markov, Haralambi. "The Language of Knives" [, February 2015]

An absorbing story about death rituals and, of all things, baking a cake.

Maughan, Tim. "Dialed Up" [Terraform, November 2015]

A corporate dystopia in which the intake of digital pharmaceuticals structure the workday. 

Miller, Sam J. "To Die Dancing" [Apex, November 2015]

A story at turns jubilant and sad, which looks at the price of waiting and inaction in a corrupt society.

Moher, Aidan. "Tide of Shadows" [Tide of Shadows & Other Stories, 2015] (buy)

Strong military SF story with a tight and unexpected focus on one soldier's preparations for battle. 

Moraine, Sunny. "Eyes I Dare Not Meet in Dreams" [Cyborgology, June 2015]

Dead girls begin to appear, climbing out of their refrigerators in a chilling tale marked by a strong narrative voice. 

Napper, T.R. "A Shout is a Prayer / For the Waiting Centuries" [Interzone, May 2015] (buy )

Two highly compelling near-future stories weave together in surprising and gratifying fashion: one of a family trying to escape war, and other struggling to make ends meet in a society marked by extreme social stratification.

Older, Malka. "Tear Tracks" [, October 21, 2015]

A beautiful story, ostensibly about signing an agreement with an alien race, but which is really about suffering and the nature of wisdom.

Sriduangkaew, Benjanun. "The Occidental Bride" [Clarkesworld, September 2015]

Tropes are inverted in a story that explores the meaning of forgiveness and overcoming the past.

Rucker, Rudy and Marc Laidlaw "Watergirl" [Asimov's, January 2015]

A "surfpunk" murder mystery, in which even the waves are controlled by "the man." Quirky and fun.

Sundar, Naru Dames. "Infinite Skeins" [Crossed Genres, 2015]

A poignant story set across infinite parallel dimensions.

Wojcik, Michal. "The Dragons of Kraków" [Pornokitsch, 2015]

Absorbing travel story that approaches the "find yourself after a breakup" narrative trope in novel fashion.


POSTED BY: The G--purveyor of nerdliness, genre fanatic and Nerds of a
Feather founder/administrator since 2012.