Monday, January 29, 2024

Nerds of a Feather 2024 Hugo Award Recommendation List: Part 1

Welcome to the Nerds of a Feather 2024 Hugo Award Recommendation List.

As in previous years, this is a 4-part list covering things our writers have loved, admired and gone "oh
damn" over published in 2023. Part 1, today's list, covers the written fiction categories: Novel, novella, novelette, short story, series and Lodestar.

We're not going to lie: posting this list now, less than two weeks after the release of compromised and untrustworthy longlist data from the Chengdu Hugos, feels... uncomfortable. The 2024 Glasgow Worldcon has announced measures for transparency in the way they will handle this year's process, and this is a welcome step. Unfortunately, the loss of trust which the 2023 Hugo committee's actions have caused, and the ongoing lack of explanation or explicit consequences for those who made the decisions, makes it difficult to get as enthusiastic as usual about a new cycle of Hugos.

HOWEVER. None of this changes the fact that, once again, SFF creatives collectively knocked it out of the park in every area in 2023, and our flock collectively
need to tell you our favourites, so they can be your favourites too. We're not going to pretend this isn't a Hugo-aligned recommendation post: our work on the lists starts months in advance, and pivoting to "here's all the categories in many possible SFF awards" with a week's notice was beyond our capacity in several ways. But we think that regardless of your inclination to engage with the Hugos, this recommendation list provides plenty to be getting on with: whether you're using it to read for other awards or just looking for great stuff from 2023, we aim to please.

As in previous years, we also emphasise that this list is - intentionally! - subjective and far from comprehensive. Some stories that are undoubtedly "award worthy" are absent because our flock of humble and finite humans haven't read them yet. Additionally, we collectively read/watch less in some categories than others, so shorter lists shouldn't be taken as an absence of quality in the category as a whole - we simply haven't got as much to say. Thus we encourage you to think of this as a list of candidates to consider and discover, alongside others you may be already familiar with and other recommendation sources.

We have also excluded works written and edited by NoaF contributors. Particular apologies to the contributors to Fighting for the Future, edited by our Phoebe Wagner: we think you're great! Look out for links to the work our flock did in our upcoming eligibility post.

Finally, while we've done what we can to ensure the recommendations are Hugo-eligible in their respective categories, it is possible we've made a couple of errors. If you spot something on the list that isn't eligible in a particular category, please let us know and we'll correct it. Nobody wants any ineligibility shenanigans in 2024.

Best Novel

Adjei-Brenyah, Nana Kwame. Chain Gang All-Stars [Pantheon (US)/Harvill Secker (UK)]
Aryan, Stephen. The Judas Blossom [Angry Robot]
Austin, Blair. Dioramas [Dzanc Books]
Basu, Samit. The Jinn-Bot of Shantiport [Tordotcom]
Carey, M.R. Infinity Gate [Orbit]
Carlson, Brenden. Dark All Day [Dundurn Press]
Carrick, M.A. Labyrinth’s Heart [Orbit]
Candon, Emma Mieko. The Archive Undying [Tordotcom]
Chakraborty, Shannon. The Adventures of Amina Al-Sirafi [Harper Voyager]
Chan, Kylie. Minds of Sand and Light [Voyager]
Chandrasekera, Vajra. The Saint of Bright Doors [Tordotcom]
Clark, C.L. The Faithless [Orbit]
Clothier, Meg. The Book of Eve [Wildfire]
Deb, Siddhartha. The Light at the End of the World [Soho Press]
Elliott, Kate. Furious Heaven [Tor Books (UK)/Head of Zeus (US)]
Galey, Trip. A Market of Dreams and Destiny [Titan]
Graham, Jo. A Blackened Mirror [Candlelight and Gleam]
Graham, Jo. Fortune’s Favor [Candlelight and Gleam]
Griffith, Nicola. Menewood [MCD]
Guanzon, Thea. The Hurricane Wars [Harper Voyager]
Harrow, Alix E. Starling House [Tor]
Holmberg, Charlie N. The Hanging City [47North]
Huang, S.L. The Water Outlaws [Tordotcom/Solaris]
James, Tania. Loot [Knopf]
Jones, Howard Andrew. Lord of a Shattered Land [Baen]
Kalfar, Jaroslav. A Brief History of Living Forever [Little, Brown and Company (US)/Hodder & Staughton (UK)]
Kaner, Hannah. Godkiller [Harper Voyager]
Kelly, Greta. The Queen of Days [Harper Voyager]
King, Owen. The Curator [Scribner/Hodder & Staughton]
Klune, T.J. In the Lives of Puppets [Tor]

Lakghomi, Babak. South [Rare Machines]
Lansdell, C.B. Far Removed [Coe Books]
Lares, Mariely. Sun of Blood and Ruin [Harper Voyager]
Leckie, Ann. Translation State [Orbit]
McGill, C.E. Our Hideous Progeny [Doubleday]
Moore, Scotto. Wild Massive [Tordotcom]
Mudzingwa, Farai. Avenues by Train [Cassava Republic Press]
Newitz, Annalee. The Terraformers [Tor (US)/Orbit (UK)]
Parker-Chan, Shelley. He Who Drowned the World [Tor (US)/Pan Macmillan (UK)]
Parris, E.W. Doc. The Dent in the Universe [Magic Genius Books]
Rao, Kritika H. The Surviving Sky [Titan]
Rushdie, Salman. Victory City [Random House]
Ryman, Geoff. Him [Angry Robot]
Saintcrow, Lilith. Spring’s Arcana [Tor]
Shah, Bina. The Monsoon War [Delphinium]
Spufford, Francis. Cahokia Jazz [Faber & Faber]
Stegall, D.H. The Smell of Satellites [Independently Published]
Stross, Charles. Season of Skulls [Tordotcom (US)/Orbit (UK)]
Talabi, Wole. Shigidi and the Brass Head of Obalufon [Daw (US)/Gollancz (UK)]
Tesh, Emily. Some Desperate Glory [Tordotcom (US)/Orbit (UK)]
Therin, Allie. Liar City [Carina Adores]
Tidhar, Lavie. The Circumference of the World [Tachyon Publications]
Törzs, Emma. Ink, Blood, Sister, Scribe [William Morrow]
Tshuma, Novuyo Rosa. Digging Stars [W.W. Norton and Company]
Valdes, Valerie. Where Peace is Lost [Harper Voyager]
Verghese, Abraham. The Covenant of Water [Grove Press]
Wangtechawat, Pim. The Moon Represents My Heart [Blackstone Publishing]
Wells, Martha. Witch King [Tordotcom]
Wharton, Thomas. The Book of Rain [Random House]

Best Novella

Barnhill, Kelly. The Crane Husband [Tordotcom]
Das, Indra. The Last Dragoners of Bowbazar [Subterranean Press]
DeNiro, Anya Johanna. OKPsyche [Small Beer Press] Note: technically a novel but within the "extra" wordcount for novella in the Hugo Awards
Donohoo, A.M. The Past Trader [Ambuscade House]
Drnovšek Zorko, Filip Hajdar. "Between Blades" (Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Issue 392)
Fraimow, Rebecca. The Iron Children [Solaris]
Hyslop, Jess. Miasma [Luna Press]
Kitney, L.K. The Lies We Tell Ourselves [Luna Press]
Knighton, Andrew. Ashes of the Ancestors [Luna Press]
Kusano, Iori. Hybrid Heart [Neon Hemlock]
Lagor, Kelly. Ghosting” (GigaNotoSaurus)
Lambert, Brent C. A Necessary Chaos [Neon Hemlock]
Lee, Fonda. Untethered Sky [Tordotcom]
Martine, Arkady. Rose / House [Subterranean Press]
Monette, Sarah. "The Kingdom of Darkness" (Uncanny Magazine Issue 54)
Ogden, Aimee. "A Half-Remembered World" (Fantasy & Science Fiction, July/August 2023)
Ogden, Aimee. Emergent Properties [Tordotcom]
Older, Malka. The Mimicking of Known Successes [Tordotcom]
Rather, Lina. A Season of Monstrous Conceptions [Tordotcom]
Rowe, Christopher. The Navigating Fox [Tordotcom]
Salman, Naomi. Nothing but the Rain [Tordotcom]
Saxey, E. "On the English Approach to the Study of History" (GigaNotoSaurus)
Scherzinger, Claire. "Sea Wolf" (GigaNotoSaurus)
Taylor, Abigail F. The Night Begins [Luna Press]
Utomi, Moses Ose. The Lies of the Ajungo [Tordotcom]
Vo, Nghi. Mammoths at the Gate [Tordotcom]
Wilde, Fran. The Book of Gems [Tordotcom]


Andelsmith, Leah. “We Grew Tall and Strong by the Water” (FIYAH Issue 25)
Beagle, Peter S. "The Very Nasty Aquarium" (Fantasy & Science Fiction July/August 2023)
Chan, L. "Dragonsworn" (khōréō 3.3)
Croal, Lyndsey. Have you Decided On Your Question [Shortwave Publishing]
Dellamonica, A.M. "Horsewoman" (Uncanny Magazine 50)
Duckworth, Jonathan Louis.Little Red Hands,” (Beneath Ceaseless Skies 390)
Dunbar, Eboni J. “Spell for Grief and Longing” (FIYAH Issue 26)
Echiverri Rivera, Michael. "Valis Seeker Fierefiz" (Beneath Ceaseless Skies 395)
El Mohtar, Amal. "John Hollowback and the Witch" (The Book of Witches ed. Jonathan Strahan)
Fisher, Tessa. “Morning Star Blues” (Rosalind’s Siblings ed. Bogi Takács)
Gómez, Cynthia. "The Ones Who Come Back to Heal" (Strange Horizons July 2023)
Hopkinson, Nalo. "The Most Strongest Obeah Woman of the World" (Out There Screaming ed. Jordan Peele and John Joseph Adams)
Jemisin, N.K. "Reckless Eyeballing" (Out There Screaming)
Jiang, Ai. I AM AI [Shortwave Publishing]
Kabza, KJ. "Five Encounters with the Color God" (Beneath Ceaseless Skies 393)
Kidruk, Max tr. Tetiana Savchynska. “Closest to the Pole” (Embroidered Worlds ed. Dudycz Lupescu, Olha Brylova, and Iryna Pasko)
Kritzer, Naomi. “The Year Without Sunshine” (Uncanny Magazine Issue 55)
Liu, Ken and Caroline M. Yoachim. "Collaboration?" (Uncanny Magazine 50)
Macario, Maricar. "Bayanihan" (Fantasy &Science Fiction September/October 2023)
Niyonsenga, Aline-Mwezi.Fell Our Selves” (GigaNotoSaurus)
Nogle, Christi. "A Chronicle of the Mole-Year" (Strange Horizons Fund Drive Issue)
Norja, Sara. Reconciliation Dumplings and Other Recipes” (GigaNotoSaurus)
Palumbo, Suzan. “Kill Jar” (Skin Thief)
Pinsker, Sarah. "One Man's Treasure" (Uncanny Magazine 50)
Pinsker, Sarah. Science Facts! (Lost Places)
Polk, C.L. "Ivy, Angelica, Bay" (
Rose, Christopher Mark. Three Sisters Syzygy (Fantasy & Science Fiction September/October 2023)
Srivatsa, Prashanth. Floating on the Stream that Brings from the Fount (Fantasy & Science Fiction January/February 2023)
Taqvi, Fatima. A Truth So Loyal and Vicious (Fantasy & Science Fiction May/June 2023)
Tzeng, Ten. "Black are the Waters" (Strange Horizons, September 2023)
Thompson, Tade. “The Luck Thief” (The Book of Witches)
Vaughn, Carrie. "The Tyrant’s Heir’s Tale" (Beneath Ceaseless Skies 392)
Willrich, Chris. "Hausferatu" (Beneath Ceaseless Skies 384)
Yang, Tessa. Upstairs (Fantasy & Science Fiction September/October 2023)

Short Story

Abraham, Z.K. “Vardøger” (FIYAH Issue 28)
Allen, Violet. “The Rainbow Ghosts” (Luminescent Machinations ed. Rhiannon Rasmussen and dave ring)
Asari, H.B. "Bury Me In the Water" (Strange Horizons December 2023)
Ayinde, M.H. “Our Grandmother’s Words” (Beneath Ceaseless Skies 376)
Balatska, Vira, tr. Michael M. Naydan and Alla Perminova. “Revenge in Pursuit” (Embroidered Worlds)
Bangs, Elly. “Being Quicksilver” (Luminescent Machinations)
Barker, Laura. “The Plaster” (FIYAH 25)
Brown, Erin. “Knoxmarion Burning” (FIYAH 28)
Buckell, Tobias S. “By Throat and Void” (Sunday Morning Transport)
Cahill, Martin. An Inheritance of Scars”. (Beneath Ceaseless Skies 379)
Cameron, Jess.missed connections - Central square today around 930” (Strange Horizons January 2023
Capetta, A.R.Resurrection Highway” (Sunday Morning Transport)
Case, Stephen. “Daughters of the Lattice” (Asimov’s July/August 2023)
Chase, Robert R. “Neptune’s Acres” (Asimov’s November/December 2023)
Chen, Ruoxi. Fandom for Witches” (Fantasy Magazine October 2023)
Chung, Samantha H. “The Pigeon Wife” (Fantasy & Science Fiction November/December 2023)
Coutinho Teixeira, Fernanda.Hers” (Strange Horizons February 2023)
Datt Sharma, Iona. "Always and Forever, Only You" (Strange Horizons March 2023)
Day, Naomi. “A Small Bloody Gift” (FIYAH Literary Magazine Issue 25)
Donohue, Jennifer R. "Purity" (The Future Fire 64) (editor's note: not eligible for this year - originally published on Patreon in 2019)
Drnovšek Zorko, Filip Hajdar.The Cuckoo of Vrezna Mountain” (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)
Duncan, R.K. “Meeting in Greenwood” (Fantasy & Science Fiction November/December 2023)
Dyer, Thoraiya. “Beirut Robot Hyenadrome” (Shoreline of Infinity 36)
El Sayed, Mahmud. "Memories of Memories Lost" (khōréō 3.2)
Francisco, Ben. "Brincando Charcos (Jumping Puddles)" (Strange Horizons Caribbean SFF Special, October 2023)
Gailey, Sarah. Such an Honor” (Sunday Morning Transport)
Garcia, R.S.A. "Mid-Earth Removals Ltd" (Sunday Morning Transport)
Grist, Rhiannon A. “A Change of Direction” (Shoreline of Infinity 36)
Ha, Thomas. "For However Long" (khōréō 3.1)
Harlen, Leigh. "Singing Goblin Songs" (Rosalind’s Siblings)
Harry, Gabrielle Emem. “A Name is a Plea and a Prophecy” (Strange Horizons August 2023)
Hartman, Rachel.Ghost Story” (Sunday Morning Transport)
Hinson, Brian D.Disposable Gabriel” (Cast of Wonders 567)
Hudson, Andrew Dana. “The Uncool Hunters" (Escape Pod 894)
Ize-Iyamu, Osahon. “Great Things of Which to Speak of” (Rosalind’s Siblings)
Jayachandra, Abhilash. "The Sing-Along Killing and Silent Death of Malakine, the Horse Whisperer" (Strange Horizons, March 2023)
Jennings, Kathleen. "The Five Lazy Sisters" (Fantasy & Science Fiction March/April 2023)
Joffre, Ruth. Icediver”. (Reckoning 7)
Katz, Gwen C. Glass Flies” (Cast of Wonders 548)
Kilgore, Davida.My Dear, My Love” (Fantasy Magazine August 2023)
Kuttler, Dane. “Off the Map” (Fantasy & Science Fiction January/February 2023)
Lang, Amanda Cecelia.The Woods in the House” (Cast of Wonders 568/569)
Leveret, Hesper. “Our Lady of the Void” (Interzone 296)
Lee, Yoon Ha.The Ethnomusicology of the Last Dreadnought” (Sunday Morning Transport)
Lingen, Marissa. “Exiled to Gravity” (Sunday Morning Transport)
Little Badger, Darcie. “The Liar” (The Book of Witches)
Marken Jack, Ariel. What Is Owed and What Can Never Be” (Beneath Ceaseless Skies 372)
Mariz, Rae. "The Field Guide for Next Time" (khōréō 3.1)
Marlow, Gregory. A Jar of Malice” (Podcastle 797)
Marlys, Malda.A Princess with a Nose Three Ells Long” (Fantasy Magazine February 2023)
Mohamed, Premee. “Quietus” (No One Will Come Back For Us)
Morris, Stephanie Malia. Discreet Services Offered for Women Ridden By Hags” (Beneath Ceaseless Skies 377)
Moté, Rajiv. “Interlude: Shelter from the Storm” (Beneath Ceaseless Skies 389)
Mugaa, Dennis. “Nairuko” (Fantasy Magazine May 2023)
Neri, Celia. “The Tightrope Walker” (Rosalind’s Siblings)
Nikel, Wendy.Driftwood in the Sea of Time” (Escape Pod 911)
Ning, Leah.The Consequences of Microwaving Styrofoam” (PodCastle 768)
Ntumy, Cheryl S. The Way of Baa’gh (Mothersound: The Sauútiverse Anthology ed. Wole Talabi)
Nwaka, Uchechukwu. Challenges to Becoming a Pro Dragonracer in Apapa-Downtown” (Escape Pod 917)
Ogden, Aimee.Long Enough for a Cup of Tea” (Strange Horizons)
Ogundiran, Tobi. “Midnight in Moscow” (Jackal, Jackal)
Poletti, Lowry. "The Dead Return in Strange Shapes" (Fantasy Magazine February 2023)
Pueyo, H. “Glory Hounds” (Interzone 295)
Rocklyn, Zin E. “Tet Fe Mal” (FIYAH Issue 25)
Schumann, Tascha. “Homo Minimalensis” (FIYAH Issue 26)
Seiberg, Effie. There’s Magic in Bread” (Fantasy Magazine March 2023)
Tabing, Nadine Aurora.The Bright in the Gyre” (Reckoning 7)
Tao, Riley. Both Hope and Breath” (Cast of Wonders 527)
Taylor, Terence. "Your Happy Place" (Out There Screaming)
Tehnuka. Why We Bury Our Dead at Sea” (Reckoning 7)
Ten, Kristina. “Approved Methods of Love Divination in the First-Rate City of Dushagorod” (Fantasy & Science Fiction Jul/Aug)
Teng, Emily. "The Cost of Doing Business" (The Book of Witches)
Terasaki, Kimberly. "The World is Ending Tomorrow" (Fantasy Magazine July 2023)
Triantafyllou, Eugenia. Always Be Returning” (Sunday Morning Transport)
Umeh, J. “Kalabashing” (Mothersound: The Sauútiverse Anthology)
Ukrainets, Ostap, translated by Oksana Katsanivska. "Neptune’s Day" (Embroidered Worlds)
Valdes, Valerie. "In Time, a Weed may Break Stone" (Uncanny Magazine 51)
Vibbert, Marie. "The Subway Algorithm is Half-Constructed" (Fantasy & Science Fiction March/April)
Wang, Laura. "The Land of Happiness" (khōréō 3.1)
Watkins, Melissa A. Eat” (Fantasy Magazine June 2023)
Watkins, Melissa A. “Knotty Girl” (F&SF May/June)
What, Leslie. “The Inventor We May Learn is More of a Conceptual Artist in Part Seven” (Sunday Morning Transport)
Whitcher, Ursula. Closer Than Your Kidneys” (Frivolous Comma)
Wilson, Aigner Loren. “Building Blocks” (Interzone 295)
Turnbull, Cadwell. "Wandering Devil" (Out There Screaming)
Yoo, Sam Kyung. Set Yourself on Fire” (Fantasy Magazine September 2023)

Best Series (Qualifiying Work)

Anders, Charlie Jane.
Unstoppable (Promises Stronger than Darkness)
Briggs, Patricia. Mercy Thompson (Soul Taken)
Carlson, Brenden. The Walking Shadows (Dark All Day)
Carrick, M.A. Rook & Rose (Labyrinth’s Heart)
Cherryh, C.J. with Jane S. Fancher. Foreigner (Defiance)
de Bodard, Aliette. Xuya (A Fire Born of Exile)
Gladstone, Max. The Craft Sequence (Dead Country)
Hansen, Essa. Azura’s Ghost (Ethera Grave)
Hoffman, Ada. The Outside (The Infinite)
Huchu, T.L. Edinburgh Nights (The Mystery at Dunvegan Castle)
Marske, Freya. The Last Binding (A Power Unbound)
McGuire, Seanan. Incryptid (Backpacking Through Bedlam)
McGuire, Seanan. October Daye (Sleep No More / The Innocent Sleep)
Modesitt, Jr, L.E. The Grand Illusion (Contrarian)
Stewart, Andrea. The Drowning Empire (The Bone Shard War)
Stross, Charles. The Laundry Files (Season of Skulls)
Wallace, Matt. Savage Rebellion (Savage Crowns)
Yee, F.C. Chronicles of the Avatar (The Legacy of Yangchen)

Best YA Book (Lodestar)
(Note, as in previous years, we've included some Middle Grade in our recommendations here.)

Aldridge, Ethan M. Deephaven [Quill Tree Books]
Alexander, Kwame. The Door of No Return [Little, Brown Books for Young Readers]
Anders, Charlie Jane. Promises Stronger than Darkness [Tor Teen (US)/Titan (UK)]
Bakewell, Catherine. Flowerheart [HarperTeen]
Bates, Laura. Sisters of Sword and Shadow [Simon & Schuster Ltd]
Black, Holly. The Stolen Heir [Little, Brown Books for Young Readers]
Blackgoose, Moniquill. To Shape A Dragon’s Breath [Del Rey]
Clark, P. Djéli. Abeni's Song [Starscape]
Dotson, J. Dianne. The Inn at the Amethyst Lantern [Android Press]
Dunn, Kat. Bitterthorn [Andersen Press]
Gratton, Tessa and Justina Ireland. Chaos and Flame [Razorbill]
Hardinge, Frances. Unraveller [Harry N. Abrams, 2023 (US)/Macmillan Children's, 2022 (UK)] (Note: eligible due to first US publication in 2023)
Kaufman, Amie. The Isles of the Gods [Knopf]
Lim, Elizabeth. Her Radiant Curse [Knopf (US)/Hodder & Staughton (UK)]
McLemore, Anna-Marie and Elliott McLemore. Venom and Vow [Feiwel and Friends]
McNicoll, Elle. Like a Curse [Knights of]
Older, Daniel José. Last Canto of the Dead [Rick Riordan Presents]
Owen, Margaret. Painted Devils [Henry Holt and Co.]
Reid, Ava. A Study in Drowning [HarperTeen]
Rosen, L.C. Lion's Legacy [Union Square Co.]
Ross, Rebecca. Divine Rivals [Wednesday Books]
Tran, Trang Thanh. She is a Haunting [Bloomsbury YA]