2018 Hugo Finalists: Best Novel

Hugo voting closed on July 31st, and we’ll find out the winners at the Hugo Award Ceremony on August 19.  Today let’s look at the finalists for Best Novel.

The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin is the third book in The Broken Earth trilogy.  It has already won the Nebula Award for Best Novel and the Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel.  Each of the previous books won Best Novel over the past two years.  Jemisin has received four total nominations in Best Novel and two for Best Short Story.  I’ll be curious to see if the trilogy appears on the Best Series longlist.  Jemisin asked people not to nominate the series, but they may have done so regardless.  Of course, she might have declined a nomination for that category.

Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty is the author’s first nomination for Best Novel.  It was also a finalist for the Nebula and the Philip K. Dick Award.  Lafferty is a finalist in Best Semiprozine for Escape Pod and in Best Fancast for Ditch Diggers as well.  She won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 2013.

Provenance by Ann Leckie takes place in the same universe as her Imperial Radch trilogy.  It was also a finalist for the BSFA Award and the Locus Award for Best SF Novel.  All three books in the related trilogy were Best Novel finalists with the first winning in 2014.  An appearance on the Best Series longlist wouldn’t surprise me here either.

Raven Stratagem by Yoon Ha Lee is the sequel to last year’s Best Novel finalist, Ninefox Gambit.  Lee’s “Extracurricular Activities” is also one of this year’s Best Novelette finalists.  Both were finalists for the Locus Awards as well.  The Machineries of Empire trilogy could be a contender for Best Series next year.

New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson is the author’s sixth nomination for Best Novel.  It was also a finalist for the Campbell Memorial Award and the Locus Award for Best SF Novel.  Robinson has won two Best Novel Hugos out of fifteen total Hugo nominations.

The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi is the first book in The Interdependency series.  It has already won the Locus Award for Best SF Novel.  This is Scalzi’s fifth nomination for Best Novel which he won in 2013.  He’s had one nomination for Best Novella and another for Best Short Story as well.  He won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 2006.  Writing from his blog has also earned him Hugos for Best Related Work and Best Fan Writer.

The first three above were my own nominees.  The Stone Sky brought a stellar trilogy to an incredible close.  Six Wakes combined thrilling murder mystery with space opera.  Provenance took a fresh view from a more relatable protagonist on a familiar setting.

The later three were already on my TBR list.  Raven Stratagem exceeded expectations without the steep learning curve of the first book.  The interesting premise of New York 2140 got me past its underdeveloped characters.  The Collapsing Empire sets up a fun series, but the humor started to grate on me.

We have four past Best Novel Hugo winners, a previous finalist, and one new to this category.  Here’s how I ranked them for my final ballot:

  1. The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin
  2. Raven Stratagem by Yoon Ha Lee
  3. Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty
  4. Provenance by Ann Leckie
  5. The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi
  6. New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson

How many of these have you read?  How would you rank them?

2018 Hugo Awards: Best Novel

Nominations are now open for the 2018 Hugo Awards.  We have until 11:59pm Pacific Daylight Time (UTC−7:00) on March 16th to pick out our favorites from 2017.  First up, I’m looking at Best Novel:

A science fiction or fantasy story of 40,000 words or more that appeared for the first time in 2017.

 

So far, I’ve got a couple that will probably be on my ballot:

  • The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
  • Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty

And I’m currently reading The Stone Sky by N. K. Jemisin.  At this point, it’s definitely on track to join my short list.  [Update 2/8/18:  Finished it last night and just added it to my ballot!]

 

In a world where I could read all I wanted (or at least read faster than I do), here are some others I’d consider:

  • Phantom Pains by Mishell Baker
  • Winter Tide by Ruthanna Emrys
  • The Ruin of Angels by Max Gladstone
  • Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant
  • The Stars Are Legion by Kameron Hurley
  • Clockwork Boys by T. Kingfisher
  • The Changeling by Victor LaValle
  • Provenance by Ann Leckie [added to my ballot 2/13/18]
  • Jade City by Fonda Lee
  • Raven Stratagem by Yoon Ha Lee
  • The Five Daughters of the Moon by Leena Likitalo
  • Autonomous by Annalee Newitz
  • New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson
  • Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson
  • The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi
  • The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. by Neal Stephenson and Nicole Galland
  • Borne by Jeff VanderMeer [added to my ballot 2/17/18]
  • Bannerless by Carrie Vaughn

Any thoughts on what I should prioritize from that list?

 

Here are some places to find recommendations:

 

At last year’s WSFS Business Meeting, a committee was formed to look into possible changes to the Hugo Award categories.  Obviously Best Novel is here to stay, but I could see the word count requirement being raised.  The average novel length has definitely gotten longer, and books marketed as novellas are pushing into the lower end of this category.