Some recommended SF/F from 2017
February 3, 2018 6:59 PM   Subscribe

The 2017 Locus Recommended Reading List is out. Rocket Stack Rank breaks down the short fiction lists according to whether several other sources also recommended the story (e.g. Gardner Dozois, Jonathan Strahan, Neil Clarke, Jason McGregor, and Charles Payseur). Incidentally, none of the r/Fantasy "Stabby" Award winners made the Locus list, but many nominees did. Additional short fiction recommendation lists from A.C. Wise (part 1 & part 2), Maria Haskins, and forestofglory are also available. 2017 SF/F short fiction on MeFi previously, previously, previously, previously, and previously.
posted by Wobbuffet (25 comments total) 59 users marked this as a favorite
[cackling] Brilliant! More SF/F books for my to-read list, because 481* is definitely not enough.

*A pretty much exact count, calculated by taking the total to-read count of 536, subtracting the 43 books labeled nonfiction and the 12 books labeled realistic fiction, because if it doesn't have one of those tags it's SF/F, which is the reason I don't have a SF/F tag--it seems a bit superflous.
posted by brook horse at 7:46 PM on February 3, 2018 [3 favorites]

Can I steal this opportunity to point everyone towards my favourite story of 2017? —Ursula Vernon's The Tomato Thief. It's not on that Locus list, but it did win the Hugo for Best Novelette, and her acceptance speech is maybe the best acceptance speech ever.

I have a love/hate relationship with those year-end Best Of lists. I mean, I realize by now that my to read list is literally impossible, but I like to live in hope and denial.
posted by fire, water, earth, air at 8:01 PM on February 3, 2018 [8 favorites]

I don't think any of the supporting links mention it, but Ursula Vernon's novel Clockwork Boys appeared in 2017 too. Predictably, it's delightful. A minor downside is that it's essentially the first half of a story, but the second half is going through final edits.
posted by Wobbuffet at 8:20 PM on February 3, 2018 [3 favorites]

I very much enjoyed Kim Stanley Robinson's New York 2140, and have a forest of notes to prove it. But it's dwindled somewhat on reflection.
posted by doctornemo at 6:20 AM on February 4, 2018 [2 favorites]

Ha! If I read the latest Expanse book I’ll be up to date with that and can get in some serious GRRM-fan style moaning if a new one doesn’t show up the second I want to read it.
posted by Artw at 8:54 AM on February 4, 2018

It's nice to see some unapologetically queer works make the list: Black Tides of Heaven/Red Threads of Fortune (they're twins), Down Among the Sticks and Bones, and an earlier Yoon Ha Lee topped my meager lists last year.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 10:19 AM on February 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

The horror list (down towards the end) was very useful, too.
posted by doctornemo at 11:37 AM on February 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


Have I talked about how I like to use money yet? Bear with me, I'm doing boomerang tangents again. Bad habit, I know, right?

So, there used to be a time when my budget was severely limited. Yes, my parents would occasionally ask me if I REALLY wanted something, and if I could demonstrate interest for more than a week they'd actually be supportive in the frame of their own limit. Thanks, parents.

But what was outright outside our combined economic possibilities was getting a subscription to Astounding or their likes, seeing as for either of us sending money across the big pond was about as, well, "astounding" as receiving mail from there. This was after all an era when you were charged extra for sending mail by plane instead of ship.

But I loved science fiction, and instead got myself books, and translated ones - original language ones were as inaccessible as magazines.

I have not forgotten about the times when I wished I could support creators outside my reach. And times have changed: It's not science fiction any more! Thanks progress.

Anyway, this post made me check a few of these sites and I ended up patron of Clarkesworld.

Part of it is because I can, part of it is because I liked their work best, but the part that's most important to me now is that I do, indeed, wish for my money to help create more stuff like that.

Thanks, also, Metafilter denizens. I like how you filter.
posted by flamewise at 1:11 PM on February 4, 2018 [5 favorites]

> "It's nice to see some unapologetically queer works make the list: Black Tides of Heaven/Red Threads of Fortune (they're twins), Down Among the Sticks and Bones, and an earlier Yoon Ha Lee topped my meager lists last year."

There was actually an explosion of good queer SFF in the past year. In addition to the ones you mentioned, Dreadnought, Sovereign, Ruin of Angels, The Stars Are Legion, Amatka, Creatures of Will and Temper, and Passing Strange all have major queer characters, and Before the Devil Breaks You and Provenance have important queer characters or content in the ensemble. And there may be more among the ones I haven't read.

It was a GOOD year for queer SFF.
posted by kyrademon at 4:33 AM on February 5, 2018 [2 favorites]

I missed Provenance--which I liked more than the Ancillary books, largely because the Radchaai are beyond creepy--when scanning down the list, and have not read many of the others. While I like Gladstone (love him actually), Yang and Leckie's unapologetic LGB people in gender-fluid cultures is like water right now.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 5:34 AM on February 5, 2018

The short fiction I loved last year that deserves more attention was Margaret Killjoy's The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion. She's releasing the second novella in the series later this year and I can't wait.

I loved Provenance to bits, too, but I also enjoyed how much Bujoldian it is.

I also got up to the first five books in the Craft Sequence, but I still have Ruin of Angels on top of the TBR pile.

And more recently I've read and liked the third Terra Ignota book and Django Wexler's final volume in the Shadow Campaigns series, but I think these are for next year's Hugos so.
posted by sukeban at 11:54 AM on February 5, 2018 [1 favorite]

I really loved An Unkindness of Magicians this year, which I thought was a really interesting expansion to The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas.

Laura Lam was a fantastic new to me author, Tim Pratt's space opera was all I want in a space opera. (I don't know if I need to say anything about Jemisin or Leckie, they're both amazing.) It's not on that list I think, but Nicky Drayden's The Prey of Gods was also very good.
posted by jeather at 12:37 PM on February 5, 2018

There were too many good novellas last year. I am not a crackpot.
posted by palindromic at 1:52 PM on February 5, 2018 [1 favorite]

So has anybody figured out how to nominate 17776 in the Hugos? Presentation, Short Form seems to be the most common suggestion I've seen, which I guess works but honestly it's mostly text and I feel like it's a better fit for a short fiction category.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 2:22 PM on February 5, 2018 [2 favorites]

And there may be more among the ones I haven't read.

It was a GOOD year for queer SFF.

Add in Seanan McGuire's The Brightest Fell, the latest October Daye novel. Plenty of queer characters there.
posted by Pink Frost at 2:44 PM on February 5, 2018

I'm at a point in my life, and thankfully, a point in history, where LGBTQ characters are close to the minimum bar. What really turns me on is the sense of a wave of authors looking beyond Left Hand of Darkness over 50 years ago. Gladstone has a magic pool where the select can transform themselves. Yang, Meadows, and Leckie (to a lesser extent) imagine worlds where becoming sexual (or not!) and gendered (or not!) is a rite of passage everyone struggles through in their own way, and not necessarily to a heterocentric conclusion. That is what really turns me own about SFF right now.

While every few years I encountered an author willing to go there, being spoiled for choice over the last few years has been very, very, very nice.
posted by GenderNullPointerException at 5:00 PM on February 5, 2018 [2 favorites]

how to nominate 17776 in the Hugos? Presentation, Short Form seems to be the most common suggestion

Someone has suggested it may be a novella on the Nebula reading list. Getting a judgment in advance is probably hard (the decisions made by last year's committee are an interesting read), but the WSFS Constitution (§3.2.6) says:
The categories of Best Novel, Novella, Novelette, and Short
Story shall be open to works in which the text is the primary form of
communication, regardless of the publication medium, including but
not limited to physical print, audiobook, and ebook.
I think that was added pretty recently to address an issue raised by Mary Robinette Kowal. I think 'primary' there can't mean the form of communication that was first released, because that's exactly the problem this clause fixed. I wonder if it could mean something like what did the creator intend this first of all to be. But given how much of 17776 is text and how much of the video and imagery in 17776 is also text, I'd guess the text is the primary form of communication for the work, regardless of the scrolling video and occasional graphics. Good luck getting an accurate word count.
posted by Wobbuffet at 10:48 PM on February 5, 2018 [2 favorites]

Thank you! That is very helpful. Wordcount of just the *text* text parts appears to be a little over 24K. It doesn't feel like there's as much text in video and pictures as the rest of it, so that's probably a novella and not a novel.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 1:19 AM on February 6, 2018

I was glad to see the horror list, because it seems really hard to find horror fiction that isn't badly written and awful. I just read Ill Will and liked it a good deal. (I also read Universal Harvester earlier this year, but wouldn't exactly put it in that genre, though I guess it's somewhat genre-adjacent.)
posted by whir at 6:24 PM on February 6, 2018

Asimov's has made five stories on the Locus list available online, and the TOC for Rich Horton's anthology has also been released.
posted by Wobbuffet at 9:02 PM on February 9, 2018

Is there any place that's aggregating the shorter works that are available online? I'd like to take a stab at actually nominating this year, now that I have a little bit more time to read each day than I did last year.
posted by Kattullus at 1:41 AM on February 15, 2018

Although I've done something like that in the past, my feeling this year was that other people are allllmost doing it. The Locus list links to stories, where available, and combines recs from John Joseph Adams, Ellen Datlow, Liz Grzyb, Faren Miller, Charles Payseur, Nisi Shawl, and A.C. Wise.

The RSR sort of the Locus list uses mostly "year's best" anthologists as input for prioritization, but I think ultimately it links to the same stories. I believe the main RSR list offers links to a mildly different selection (based solely on reading SFWA-qualifying venues, minus horror but plus Interzone, IIRC), but again prioritized mostly by the recommendations of a few anthologists.

And although it's a notoriously poor metric for a lot of purposes, I think the favorite counts on those MeFi previouslies is probably a half-decent 'meta' indicator for which ones to consider. I'm not aware of anyone doing super-meta-aggregation though.
posted by Wobbuffet at 2:53 AM on February 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

Oh, hm, it looks like "Fandom for Robots" didn't get much attention here, but it's one I feel like I've seen an awful lot of people comment on elsewhere. So I take back the comment about how to prioritize here--I was really just thinking of how someone might prioritize the slew of stories I posted.
posted by Wobbuffet at 3:06 AM on February 15, 2018 [2 favorites]

Nebula nominees. Out of ten works of short fiction available online, three had their own FPPs on Metafilter last year, each posted by a different person: "Fandom for Robots," "And Then There Were (N-One)," and "Utopia, LOL?"
posted by Wobbuffet at 10:37 PM on February 20, 2018 [3 favorites]

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