Nebula Awards Suggested Reading List 2015
November 17, 2015 6:25 PM   Subscribe

The 2015 The Nebula Awards Suggested Reading List, selected collaboratively by the members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America in the run up to the Nebula Award. Categories include novella, novellete and short story, within which most entries have links full stories.
posted by Artw (33 comments total) 92 users marked this as a favorite
Awesome. I highly recommend Last First Snow: it's a fantasy story about gentrification.
posted by anotherpanacea at 6:29 PM on November 17, 2015 [4 favorites]

Looking forward to The Just City. I read Walton's My Real Children this year and loved it. She's a gifted writer.
posted by duffell at 6:32 PM on November 17, 2015 [2 favorites]

I just finished The Traitor Baru Cormorant and dang it's good.
posted by smartyboots at 7:01 PM on November 17, 2015

I'll enjoy digging through these--thanks! To date, I agree with Uprooted being a top candidate. I posted my favorite short stories up through May, and I also liked the Vandana Singh story that tofu_crouton linked there. Since then, I've enjoyed "The Manifesto of the Committee to Abolish Outer Space" by Sam Kriss and "Dark Air" by Lincoln Michel, though I recall both having weird fiction elements and maybe other stuff that limit their audience.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 7:15 PM on November 17, 2015 [2 favorites]

Karen Memory is one of my top ones for the year (full disclosure: Bear is a friend of mine, but this is by far her most fun and accessible book to date.) Updraft had some of the coolest worldbuilding I've seen in a while.

I haven't read The Traitor Baru Cormorant, but a friend of mine wrote a fascinating analysis of it (which convinced me that reading it is not in my personal best interests, but that it's got neat stuff in it anyway.)
posted by restless_nomad at 8:39 PM on November 17, 2015 [4 favorites]

That's the second time today I've read a recommendation for The Traitor Baru Cormorant, so I guess that's next on the pile.
posted by zardoz at 9:45 PM on November 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

posted by TDavis at 9:57 PM on November 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

Okay, I've been hearing various people talk about Ursula Vernon for a while now. Having just finished Wooden Feathers I now understand why. I think if I hadn't been reading it at work, I would have cried.

Thank you for the post. I have been feeling out-of-touch with recent speculative fiction writing and I can see I will keep coming back here to discover and rediscover.
posted by Athanassiel at 10:30 PM on November 17, 2015 [1 favorite]

Holy shit, I had no idea this list existed. Yet another thing I owe to Artw. Great reading list. Uprooted seems a sure fire hit, huh?

Excuse me while I go whip myself for my poor knowledge of recent quality genre work.
posted by shmegegge at 10:40 PM on November 17, 2015

On the Novels list, of the ones I've read there are five I would rate fairly highly (The Traitor Baru Cormorant, Last First Snow, The Fifth Season, Ancillary Mercy, and The Mystic Marriage), three I thought were pretty good (Touch, A Darker Shade of Magic, Half A War), and three I didn't really care for (Persona, The Just City, The Chimes). A few of my favorites from this year aren't on the list (Shadow Scale, Half the World, and The Gracekeepers all leap to mind), but apparently it's still a work-in-progress so possibly they'll show up later. And unsurprisingly, there’s a bunch books on the list already in my to-read pile that I haven’t gotten to yet, including Uprooted.

I’ve read very little short fiction yet this year, and am happy this gives me some to check out.

On the Norton list, I’ve only read one (Archivist Wasp, which I didn't think much of, although I know some people love it), with one more on my to-read list. This really surprises me, since I read quite a lot of YA. On the other hand, I thought the ultimate Norton shortlist last year was kind of strange and lacking some obvious choices. *shrug* Just my opinion. (Although I do notice very few of the Norton award nominees have more than a couple of nominations, and wonder if that means anything.) There are a lot of books I'm surprised aren't on there -- both ones I've read, like The Rest of Us Just Live Here, Railhead, The Darkest Part of the Forest, and Shadow Scale, and ones I haven't read yet but which have good word of mouth, like Six of Crows and Carry On.
posted by kyrademon at 4:19 AM on November 18, 2015 [5 favorites]

I thought The Fifth Season and Ancillary Mercy were great. Uprooted was very badly let down by its end - until that point it would have been top of my list by far. I wasn't so keen on The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps, I thought it's ambition outstripped its ability to deliver. I enjoyed the Zen Cho and look forward to the sequel though I wouldn't give it an award, and I thought the Aliette de Bodard had a great concept but couldn't quite get the plotting and characters together (and the underwater stuff, while fascinating, really should have been knocked out by the editor). Aurora was good fun but I thought it'll eventually blur in my memory into a hundred other generation ship stories. And Baru Cormorant is next on my kindle, hurrah!

I feel there have been better years recently, but all the books I've read were ones I at least enjoyed. There's little that's exceptional, though.
posted by tavegyl at 6:28 AM on November 18, 2015

I loved Uprooted and Updraft (although I worry people will confuse them because of the similar names -- one is about a dangerous wood, the other is about people living in bone cities in the sky). And I think Black Wolves is excellent although it seems to suffer from being published late in the year, and because it's clearly volume 1 of a series.

Nice to see Court of Fives on the Norton list, though. If you're wondering about picking it up, consider that Kate Elliott described it as Little Women meets American Ninja Warrior...

Everything I've heard about Archivist Wasp makes me want to read it.
posted by suelac at 8:13 AM on November 18, 2015

can anyone recommend something along the the lines of Seveneves by Neal Stephenson?
posted by judson at 8:43 AM on November 18, 2015

Those of you who recommend Last First Snow, should the other books in the same series be read first?
posted by tavegyl at 9:17 AM on November 18, 2015

I loved Updraft. I liked Uprooted a lot, too, but Updraft has stayed with me better. I thought that Baru Cormorant was good, but not fantastic. I am adding a lot to my list from this.

Those of you who recommend Last First Snow, should the other books in the same series be read first?

It's not really necessary -- Last First Snow is first chronologically. That said I still think Three Parts Dead is the best intro to the series, though after that any order works.
posted by jeather at 9:29 AM on November 18, 2015

I thought Baru Cormorant suffered a bit from a need to make points which sometimes came at the expense of believable characterization. That being said, I have a hard time remembering the last time the ending of a book left me feeling physically nauseated, which I consider a big point in its favor. There are a number of books out this year I'd rate higher than it, but if it gets some awards or accolades I will in no way feel like a travesty has occurred.

And I'd agree with jeather -- I'd probably recommend reading Three Parts Dead before Last First Snow, but mostly to help make clear the world and concepts; the story works without it if you really don't want to. I don't think it's necessary to read the other two first, and I might actually suggest reading them *after* Last First Snow.
posted by kyrademon at 9:45 AM on November 18, 2015

Thanks a ton for this post, currently putting a bunch of holds at the library and there's little to no line, which won't be the case when the Nebula Awards actually happen!
posted by DynamiteToast at 9:57 AM on November 18, 2015

The shorter pieces are also worth reading. I've read Cat Pictures Please, When Your Child Strays from God and Damage and they are all excellent.
posted by Hactar at 10:08 AM on November 18, 2015

Looking at the books on the lists, I read lots of them I liked:

Uprooted -- very very good. Quit the boring dragon books. (I liked the initial dragon books, but the series has drawn out too long.)
Grace of Kings -- on the list, but some of the reviews have me wary.
Baru Cormorant -- the writing style annoyed me, the story kept me curious.
Ancillary Mercy -- great ending to the series.
Last First Snow -- great series overall.
Updraft -- awesome wordbuilding.
Seveneves -- technocrats are great, everyone else sucks, point could not have been more overt.
Sorcerer to the Crown -- so much fun.
Darker Shade of Magic -- everything she writes is amazing.
The Just City -- the first of her books that didn't make me hate myself by the last chapter.
Castle Hangnail -- my new comfort read.
The Empress Game -- also a lot of fun.
Watchmaker of Filigree Island -- slightly weird sometimes, but also a really good book.
The Fold -- eh.
Armada -- ugh.
Letters to Zell -- I love everything fairy tale and I loved this.
Of Noble Family -- fine, but I don't get why this finishes the series.
The Affinities -- eh.
Court of Fives -- fun, but I wish we'd introduce magic before the last chapter.
Walk on Earth a Stranger -- also fun, but the magic makes exactly zero sense.
In a World Just Right -- sort of gross/creepy in the not-cool-stalkerish-NiceGuy way.
Seriously Wicked -- charming, I've put all her other stuff on my list too.
posted by jeather at 10:28 AM on November 18, 2015 [5 favorites]

It's not really necessary -- Last First Snow is first chronologically. That said I still think Three Parts Dead is the best intro to the series, though after that any order works.

I really can't agree. It's virtually always best to read novels in publication rather than chronological order and this is no exception. In particular, one should read Two Serpents Rise before Last First Snow.

Gladstone is playing with the narrative order deliberately.

If people like this recommended list, Locus puts out a yearly one as well for Science Fiction, for fantasy, and for First Novels. It's usually very well done.
posted by Justinian at 1:44 PM on November 18, 2015

That's not actually what Gladstone himself says.

"Each book is self-contained; you can read them in any order."

The chronological order is determined by the numbers in the titles, interestingly, so Last FIRST Snow, then TWO Serpents Rise, then THREE Parts Dead, etc.
posted by kyrademon at 3:38 PM on November 18, 2015

OK I loved Ancillary Mercy, enjoyed The Water Knife, reluctantly enjoyed Seveneves (because SO BLOODY LONG). I don't like fantasy though, I prefer speculative fiction and hard sci-fi. What would people recommend from the list? The first few I looked up appeared to all be fantasy.
posted by Joh at 4:35 PM on November 18, 2015

Karen Memory is a weird western/steampunk, Last First Snow is... well, I suppose it's technically fantasy but reads like SF, Cat Valente's Radiance (as opposed to the other Radiance, which I know nothing about) is golden age SF and super awesome (I just finished it... yesterday maybe? Super awesome.)
posted by restless_nomad at 4:56 PM on November 18, 2015

I want somebody to try reading Last First Snow first and let us know how it goes. In particular there's a very major plot point in Two Serpents Rise that takes some of the uncertainty and punch out of Last First Snow in a way that made me wish I'd read them in narrative order.
posted by anotherpanacea at 5:49 PM on November 18, 2015

Weird. Different strokes and all that. Because to me that's like reading A Deepness in the Sky before A Fire Upon the Deep and that's just... no.
posted by Justinian at 6:46 PM on November 18, 2015

I actually did that, FWIW.
posted by Artw at 7:21 PM on November 18, 2015

Anarchy. Just... anarchy.
posted by Justinian at 7:35 PM on November 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

I think I read the short story which introduced the Tine after that, even.
posted by Artw at 11:59 PM on November 18, 2015

posted by Justinian at 8:19 PM on November 19, 2015 [2 favorites]

Just finished Uprooted. I really enjoyed it, and loved the world it was set in. As the pages left to go shrunk I didn't think it would stick the dismount, but was happy with how it ended up.
posted by DynamiteToast at 5:44 PM on November 22, 2015

posted by zardoz at 9:56 PM on November 23, 2015

posted by mwhybark at 12:59 AM on November 29, 2015

Long List Anthology Published

Long-List-BookCoverebook-200x300The Long List Anthology is now available in print, ebook, and audiobook form. Editor David Steffen’s book, funded by a Kickstarter appeal, collects 21 works of short fiction that received enough nominations for the Hugo Award to be named in the Sasquan committee’s report of voting statistics.
posted by Artw at 6:06 PM on December 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

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