Friday, March 2, 2018

My Favorite Stories May Still Be Undiscovered

It is not much of a secret around these parts that I love the Hugo Awards (and that was before Nerds of a Feather was a finalist for Best Fanzine last year!), but astute friends of the Feather will know that I just love literary awards. It doesn't matter whether it is the Pulitzer, The Tournament of Books (The Rooster!!), World Fantasy, Locus, Nebula, or of course the Hugo Award, I love them all. One of my favorite things to do is check out what books and stories are finalists for a given award, read as many of the finalists as I can, and spend too much time putting together my own fantasy ballot.

Not for nothing, but there should really be a literary awards fantasy league. I would be in for that.

I digress.

The finalists for the Nebula Awards were announced last week. I have read four of the novels and three of the novellas on the final ballot and that's it. That means there are still three novels to read, three novellas, and every other piece of fiction on the final ballot. My love for The Stone Sky (my review) is well known and novellas like Passing Strange and All Systems Red are, in very different ways, stunningly good pieces of work. That's the fiction I've already experienced. Fiction that I know that I love.

I've written about this before, but one of the greatest aspect of a short list is that it provides an opportunity to discover stuff I might have otherwise missed. Even if I've encountered a lot of hype and praise for The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter, I might still not give it a shot without the award buzz. There is only so much time.

It's the same with the stories, except even more so. The last few years have been a short fiction drought for me despite all the excellence being published. I read a couple of anthologies a year, the Hugo short list, and if I'm lucky, a few other stories. There's so much that I'm missing out on, especially when I remember this is one of the ways I discover new favorite writers. I've been a fan of Sarah Pinsker's work since she burst on the scene a couple of years ago, but I'm excited to discover Rebecca Roanhorse. I know she has a novel coming out this year, but “Welcome to Your Authentic Indian ExperienceTM” keeps popping up as something I must read. There's no better opportunity to discover a new writer and a new favorite.

That's what awards are really about for me. At their best, awards are a celebration of excellence, but for me they are that opportunity to discover my new favorite stories and my new favorite writers.

For anyone looking for another opportunity to discover their new favorites, here are the Nebula finalists.

Amberlough, Lara Elena Donnelly (Tor)
The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, Theodora Goss (Saga)
Spoonbenders, Daryl Gregory (Knopf; riverrun)
The Stone Sky, N.K. Jemisin (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
Six Wakes, Mur Lafferty (Orbit US)
Jade City, Fonda Lee (Orbit US; Orbit UK)
Autonomous, Annalee Newitz (Tor; Orbit UK 2018)

River of Teeth, Sarah Gailey ( Publishing)
Passing Strange, Ellen Klages ( Publishing)
And Then There Were (N-One)”, Sarah Pinsker (Uncanny 3-4/17)
Barry’s Deal, Lawrence M. Schoen (NobleFusion Press)
All Systems Red, Martha Wells ( Publishing)
The Black Tides of Heaven, JY Yang ( Publishing)

Dirty Old Town”, Richard Bowes (F&SF 5-6/17)
Weaponized Math”, Jonathan P. Brazee (The Expanding Universe, Vol. 3)
Wind Will Rove”, Sarah Pinsker (Asimov’s 9-10/17)
A Series of Steaks”, Vina Jie-Min Prasad (Clarkesworld 1/17)
A Human Stain”, Kelly Robson ( 1/4/17)
Small Changes Over Long Periods of Time”, K.M. Szpara (Uncanny 5-6/17)

Short Story 
 “Fandom for Robots”, Vina Jie-Min Prasad (Uncanny 9-10/17)
Welcome to Your Authentic Indian ExperienceTM”, Rebecca Roanhorse (Apex 8/17)
Utopia, LOL?”, Jamie Wahls (Strange Horizons 6/5/17)
Clearly Lettered in a Mostly Steady Hand”, Fran Wilde (Uncanny 9-10/17)
The Last Novelist (or A Dead Lizard in the Yard)”, Matthew Kressel ( 3/15/17)
Carnival Nine”, Caroline M. Yoachim (Beneath Ceaseless Skies 5/11/17)

The Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation
Get Out (Written by Jordan Peele)
The Good Place: “Michael’s Gambit” (Written by Michael Schur)
Logan (Screenplay by Scott Frank, James Mangold, and Michael Green)
The Shape of Water (Screenplay by Guillermo del Toro & Vanessa Taylor)
Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Written by Rian Johnson)
Wonder Woman (Screenplay by Allan Heinberg)

The Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Book 
Exo, Fonda Lee (Scholastic Press)
Weave a Circle Round, Kari Maaren (Tor)
The Art of Starving, Sam J. Miller (HarperTeen)
Want, Cindy Pon (Simon Pulse)

POSTED BY: Joe Sherry - Co-editor of Nerds of a Feather, 2017 Hugo Award Finalist for Best Fanzine. Writer / Editor of the mostly defunct Adventures in Reading since 2004. Minnesotan.