Monday, January 18, 2021

2021 Nerds of a Feather Hugo Awards Recommended Reading, Part 1: Fiction Categories

Several years ago our founding editor The G asked the flock here at Nerds of a Feather if we would come together to put out a longlist of works we would recommend for Hugo consideration. Flock Together we did.

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 does it intend 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. Also, while we've done what we can to ensure the recommendations are eligible in their respective categories, it's possible we've made a couple of errors. If you spot something on the list that isn't eligible, please let us know and we'll correct it.

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 (Novel, Novella, Novelette and Short Story, Series, and the Not a Hugo Lodestar Award for YA Novel). 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.

In the interest of being transparent, it is worth noting that several of our writers have published fiction in 2020. Because it would be a conflict of interest, we are not including them on our longlist, but would still invite anyone interested to take a look at their work.

Nerds of a Feather 2021 Recommendation List Series:


Barry, Max. Providence [Putnam]
Bear, Elizabeth. Machine [Saga]
Campbell, Lisbeth. The Vanished Queen [Saga]
Cooney, C.S.E. "The Twice Drowned Saint" [A Sinister Quartet, Mythic Delirium Press]*
Elliott, Kate. Unconquerable Sun [Tor]
Hairston, Andrea. Master of Poisons [ Publishing]
Jemisin, N.K. The City We Became [Orbit]
Kowal, Mary Robinette. The Relentless Moon [Tor]
Klune, T.J. The House in the Cerulean Sea [Tor]
Larkwood, A.K. The Unspoken Name [Tor]
Lee, Yoon Ha. Phoenix Extravagant [Solaris]
Mohamed, Premee. Beneath the Rising [Solaris]
Moreno-Garcia, Silvia. Mexican Gothic [Del Rey]
Muir, Tamsyn. Harrow the Ninth [ Publishing]
Osborne, Karen. Architects of Memory [Tor]
Polk, C.L. The Midnight Bargain [Erewhon]
Robinson, Kim Stanley. The Ministry for the Future [Orbit]
Schwab, V.E. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue [Tor]
Sriduangkaew, Benjanun. Machine's Last Testament [Prime]
Stewart, Andrea. The Bone Shard Daughter [Orbit]
Tchaikovsky. Adrian. The Doors of Eden [Tor]
Wade, Juliette. Mazes of Power [DAW]
Wagers, K.B. A Pale Light in the Black [Harper Voyager]
Wallace, Matt. Savage Legion [Saga]
Wells, Martha. Network Effect [ Publishing]

Cho, Zen. The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water [ Publishing]
Cipri, Nino. Finna [ Publishing]
Clark, P. Djeli. Ring Shout [ Publishing]
de Bodard, Aliette. Of Dragons, Feasts, and Murders [JABberwocky Literary Agency]
Gailey, Sarah. Upright Women Wanted [ Publishing]
Harlan, Leigh. Queens of Noise [Neon Hemlock Press]
Huang, S.L. Burning Roses [ Publishing]
Jarboe, Julian K. "Everyone On the Moon is Essential Personnel" [Everyone on the Moon is Essential Personnel, Lethe Press]
Jennings, Kathleen. Flyaway [ Publishing]
Lemberg, R.B. The Four Profound Weaves [Tachyon Publications]
McGuire, Seanan. Come Tumbling Down [ Publishing]
North, Claire. Sweet Harmony [Orbit]
Oghenechovwe, Donald Ekpeki. "Ife-Iyoku, Tale of Imadeyunuagbon" [Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora, Aurelia Leo]
Onyebuchi, Tochi. Riot Baby [ Publishing]
Ow, Anya. Cradle and Grave [Neon Hemlock Press]
Polansky, Daniel. The Seventh Perfection [ Publishing]
Tesh, Emily. Drowned Country [ Publishing]
Vo, Nghi. The Empress of Salt and Fortune [ Publishing]
Vo, Nghi. When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain [ Publishing]

Claybourne, Z.Z. "The Air in my House Tastes like Sugar" [Giganotosaurus]
De Bodard, Aliette. Tbe Inaccessibility of Heaven [Uncanny Magazine]
Elliott, Kate. "The Long Walk" [The Book of Dragons]
Garfinkle, Gwynne. "A Wild Patience" [Giganotosaurus]
Key, Justin C. "One Hand in the Coffin" [Strange Horizons]
Kritzer, Naomi. "Monster" [Clarkesworld]
Liu, Ken. "Grey Rabbit, Crimson Mare, Coal Leopard" [The Hidden Girl and Other Stories]
Lynch, Scott. "Maybe Just Go Up There and Talk to It" [The Book of Dragons]
Schneider, Rebecca. "A Wild Divinity" [Giganotosaurus]

Short Story
Bryski, K.T. "The Bone-Stag Walks" [Lightspeed]
Clark, C.L. "You Perfect, Broken Thing" [Uncanny Magazine]
Cruz, Vida. "Have your #Hugot harvested at this Diwata-owned cafe" [Strange Horizons]
Datt Sharma, Iona. "Heard, Half Heard, in the Stillness" [Anathema: Spec from the margins]
Datt Sharma, Iona. "St Anselm-by-the-Riverside" [Consolation Songs ed. Iona Datt Sharma]
Dong, Maria. "The Truth at the Bottom of the Ocean" [Augur Magazine]
Fitzwater, A.J. "Cetaceous Secrets of the Jeweled Nadir" [The Voyages of Cinrak the Dapper]**
Fraimow, Rebecca. "This is New Gehesran Calling" [Consolation Songs ed. Iona Datt Sharma]
Gonzalez, Aurelia. "The Wasteland Review" [The Future Fire]
Harrow, Alix. E. "The Sycamore and the Sybil" [Uncanny Magazine]
Hudson, Andrew Dana. "Voice of Their Generation" [Lightspeed]
Ilo, Innocent Chizaram. "Rat and Finch are Friends" [Strange Horizons]
Jerée, Tamara. "The Future in Saltwater" [Anathema Magazine]
Kindred, L.P. "Your Rover is Here" [FIYAH Literary Magazine]
Lingen, Marissa. "The Past, Like a River in Flood"
Miles, Jo. "The Longest Season in the Garden of the Tea-Fish" [Strange Horizons]
Nayler, Ray. "Outside of Omaha" [Nightmare]
Nunnally, Errick. "Uniform" [FIYAH Literary Magazine]
Ogundiran, Tobi. "Guardian of the Gods" [FIYAH Literary Magazine]
Onyebuchi, Tochi. "The Hurt Pattern" [Made to Order]
Prasad, Vina Jie-Min. "A Guide for Working Breeds" [Made to Order]
Raines II, Aurelius. "The Last Testament" [FIYAH Literary Magazine]
Rather, Lina. "Thin Red Jellies" [Giganotosaurus]
Tirado, Vincent. "Your Name is Oblivia" [FIYAH Literary Magazine]
Torzs, Emma. "High in the Clean Blue Air" [Uncanny]
Tu, L. "If you Want to Erase Us, You Must be Thorough" [Uncanny Magazine]
Wiswell, John. "Open House on Haunted Hill" [Diabolical Plots]

Series (inc. 2020 Qualifying Work)

Aaronovitch, Ben. Rivers of London (False Value and Tales from the Folly.)
Beaulieu, Bradley P. Song of Shattered Sands, (When Jackals Storm the Walls and The Flight of the Whisper King.)
Black, Holly. Folk of the Air (How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories)
Chakraborty, S.A. Daevabad Trilogy, (The Empire of Gold)
Cogman, Genevieve. The Invisible Library, (The Dark Archive)
de Bodard, Aliette. Dominion of the Fallen, (Of Dragons, Feasts and Murders)
Dickinson, Seth. The Masquerade, (The Tyrant Baru Cormorant)
Kingfisher, T. The Clocktaur Universe, (Paladin's Grace)
Kowal, Mary Robinette. Lady Astronaut (The Relentless Moon)
Kozloff, Sarah. The Nine Realms (A Queen in Hiding, The Queen of Raiders, A Broken Queen and The Cerulean Queen)
Kuang, R.F. The Poppy War (The Burning God)
McGuire, Seanan. October Daye (A Killing Frost and Shine in Pearl)
Scalzi, John. The Interdependency (The Last Emperox)
Wells, Martha. The Murderbot Diaries (Network Effect)
White, Alex. The Salvagers (The Worst of all Possible Worlds)
Yong, Jin (tr Anna Holmwood and Gigi Chang). Legends of the Condor Heroes (A Snake Lies Waiting)

Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book
Black, Holly. The Queen of Nothing [Little, Brown] our readers have reminded us that this was a late 2019 release!
Deonn, Tracy. Legendborn [Margaret K. McElderry Books]
Gong, Chloe. These Violent Delights [Hodder & Staughton]
Hernandez, Carlos. Sal and Gabi Fix the Universe [Disney Hyperion]
Ibañez, Isabel. Woven in Moonlight. [Page Street Kids]
Ifueko, Jordan. Raybearer [Amulet Books]
Kingfisher, T. A Wizard's Guide to Defensive Baking [Argyll Books]
Little Badger, Darcie (author) and Rovina Cai (illustrator). Elatsoe [Levine Querido]
Mbalia, Kwame. Tristan Strong Destroys the World [Disney Hyperion]
McLemore, Anne-Marie. Darkest and Deepest Red [Feiwel & Friends]
Morrow, Bethany C. A Song Below Water [Tor Teen]
Roanhorse, Rebecca. Race to the Sun [Disney Hyperion]
Thomas, Aiden. Cemetery Boys [Swoon Reads]
Young, Adrienne. Fable [Wednesday Books]

*An earlier version of this list recommended "The Twice Drowned Saint" in novella. However, it has been confirmed that the word count puts this at novel length.

**An earlier version of this list recommended "Search for the Heart of the Ocean" from this collection, but it has been confirmed that as a reprint, this story is not eligible. We loved the whole collection and are happy to recommend this alternative, or any of the other four original stories from Cinrak.