2013 Hugo Award Nominees Announced

2013 Hugo Awards

The nominees for this year’s Hugo Awards were announced today via the Hugo Award website and a small handful of science fiction conventions throughout the world. The Hugo Awards website also announced that they broke their previous record of nomination ballots by a substantial amount, with 1,343 ballots compared to last year’s 1,101. It is worth pointing out the differences between these Hugo Award nominees and the recent Nebula Award nomination announcement. Among the Best Novel nominees, only Kim Stanley Robinson’s 2312 and Saladin Ahmed’s Throne of the Crescent Moon were nominated by both the Hugos and the Nebulas.

Best Novel

2312, Kim Stanley Robinson (Orbit)
Blackout, Mira Grant (Orbit)
Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance, Lois McMaster Bujold (Baen)
Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas, John Scalzi (Tor)
Throne of the Crescent Moon, Saladin Ahmed (DAW)

Best Novella

After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall, Nancy Kress (Tachyon Publications)
The Emperor’s Soul, Brandon Sanderson (Tachyon Publications)
On a Red Station, Drifting, Aliette de Bodard (Immersion Press)
San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats, Mira Grant (Orbit)
“The Stars Do Not Lie”, Jay Lake (Asimov’s, Oct-Nov 2012)

Best Novelette

“The Boy Who Cast No Shadow”, Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Postscripts: Unfit For Eden, PS Publications)
“Fade To White”, Catherynne M. Valente ( Clarkesworld, August 2012)
“The Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi”, Pat Cadigan (Edge of Infinity, Solaris)
“In Sea-Salt Tears”, Seanan McGuire (Self-published)
“Rat-Catcher”, Seanan McGuire ( A Fantasy Medley 2, Subterranean)

Best Short Story (662 nominating ballots cast)

“Immersion”, Aliette de Bodard ( Clarkesworld, June 2012)
“Mantis Wives”, Kij Johnson (Clarkesworld, August 2012)
“Mono no Aware”, Ken Liu (The Future is Japanese, VIZ Media LLC)

Once again, Paolo Bacigalupi’s wonderful The Drowned Cities was snubbed by voters, but John Scalzi’s amusing but underwhelming Redshirts received a nomination. If you’re interested in seeing the nominations in other categories, head over to the Hugo Awards website. Be sure to comment and let us know what you think of the nominees, and which works you believe were unfortunately overlooked.

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Upcoming SF Book Releases – Spring 2013

There are a handful of science fiction novels coming out in the next few months that have caught our eye, including the final entry of a trilogy that really ought to go down as one of the most entertaining and well-written science fiction series ever, the fifth book in a great military sci-fi series, and a detective story set on Mars. Here’s a quick look at the three books Android Dreamer is most excited about:

Robert J. Sawyer Red Planet BluesRed Planet Blues by Robert J. Sawyer – Robert J. Sawyer is one of those writers that you either love or hate, and we love everything we’ve read of his so far. Red Planet Blues is apparently a noir-ish detective story set on a future dystopian Mars extrapolated from his Hugo & Nebula Award-nominated novella “Identity Theft”, which sounds too good to pass up. To be released on March 26th.

Ian Tregillis Necessary EvilNecessary Evil by Ian Tregillis – Although he may not be a household name yet, the Milkweed Tryptych (as the trilogy is called) is one of the most exciting and completely original works to come out of science fiction in years. The first chapter, Bitter Seeds, was among the best books of the year when it was released way back in 2010, and the middle novel, The Coldest War, definitely lived up to the thrill of the first. Raybould Marsh is one of the most memorable sci-fi heroes ever, and the series is a must read on the strength of his character alone. Necessary Evil is set to be released on April 30th.
John Scalzi The Human DivisionThe Human Division by John Scalzi – The fifth novel in Scalzi’s Hugo Award nominated Old Man’s War series, The Human Division is already available in individual story-length ebooks. Scalzi is a huge presence on the internet, and is also juggling being the president of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America and being a very prolific novelist. The Human Division will see release as a complete novel on May 14th.

What big science fiction & fantasy release are you looking forward to over the next few months? Which big ones did we miss?

Science Fiction Summer: A Quick Look at Recent and Upcoming Novels

This summer looks like it will shape up to be pretty significant in terms of science fiction releases. The number of big names putting out new books over the next few months is pretty impressive, and as such it is worth taking a quick look at what we will be reading through the warmer months.

  • The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi – The hottest novelist in science fiction returns to the world he created in Ship Breaker with a new young adult novel that follows two young refugees from a war torn world, where one of them is kidnapped and the other is forced to decide between saving his friend or finally getting freedom. Was released on May 1st by Little Brown Books
  • Railsea by China Mieville – A science fiction-y retelling of Melville’s Moby Dick tells the story of hunters tracking down enormous  mole-like creatures with harpoons while travelling down an endless system of rails across the Railsea. They discover a derelict train that leads them to something mysterious and impossible. Was released on May 15th by Del Rey
  • Redshirts: A Novel with Three Codas by John Scalzi – Scalzi parodies the classic Star Trek series in a comedic novel that follows a young Ensign who begins to realize that every time a team leaves the ship, it comes back with one less lower ranked crew member while the officers always mysteriously remain in tact. Tongue-in-cheek sci-fi adventure in the typical Scalzi good humor. To be released June 5th by Tor Books
  • The Apocalypse Codex by Charles Stross – Bob Howard is a computational demonologist working for the English government when a mysterious televangelist with healing powers named Ray Schiller starts to get a little too cozy with the Prime Minister. When the government dispatches a brilliant woman named Persephone Hazard to infilitrate the healer’s religious organization, Howard has to make sure everything doesn’t blow up their collective faces. To be released July 3rd
  • The Coldest War by Ian TregillisThe long awaited sequel to the brilliant Bitter Seeds, an alternate history story set in a world where the British use warlocks to fight the Nazis and their superhuman soldiers. Raybould Marsh was one of the best characters in recent science fiction memory and his re-appearance will be worth the price of the book alone. To be released July 17th by Tor Books
  • Whispers Under Grounds by Ben Aaronovitch – The third novel in Aaronovitch’s series about Peter Grant, a mixed race copper and amateur wizard living in London and investigating crimes involving paranormal magic. This novel takes Grant and his allies into the subway, still on the hunt for a mysterious wizard called The Faceless Man. To be released July 31st by Del Rey

This is just a handful of the really exciting science fiction novels coming out this summer. Rest assured that your dear editor realizes that this list is a bit of a sausage fest so please let us know what we’re missing from the list that you are looking forward to in the coming months.

Review: Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi (2011)

Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi
Tor Books, 2011

Rating: A

In the not-too-distant future, an independent contractor named Jack Holloway working for megacorporation ZaraCorp finds a vein of rare sunstone that is worth billions. Shortly thereafter, he finds an adorable race of bipedal cat-like creatures that may be sentient, which would void ZaraCorp’s contract to strip the planet of resources and thus cause a lot of very wealthy people to miss out on becoming exponentially moreso. Although Holloway has no problem with manipulating people around him to fuel his own selfish needs, the little creatures he calls fuzzies start to warm this very Han Solo-like character’s heart.

Fuzzy Nation is basically an environmentalist novel. It is a “reboot” of a science fiction novel from the sixties by H. Beam Piper entitled Little Fuzzy, and takes the spirit and basic idea of discovering of a borderline sentient group of adorable little creatures and makes a basically entirely new story from it. Most of the characters are different, and only Holloway’s name is the same, but the important part is in tact. Enormous corporations like ZaraCorp have one obligation: make a lot of money. When a race like the fuzzies are discovered, their only course of action is to try to disprove their sentience so that it doesn’t affect their bottom line. It isn’t all that far off from the spin given to the general population on reasoning why oil companies should be allowed to drill in nature reserves.

Jack Holloway is a likable character from the start. Although he is definitely a jerk, he’s a pretty funny jerk and it is clear early on that, despite his flaws, he actually isn’t that bad of a guy. He is an accomplished lawyer who was unfortuantely disbarred because of an incident that had nothing to do with his knowledge of the law, and he generally seems like the sort of guy who is a good man, but who definitely believes that the ends justify the means. The supporting cast are all strong, but Holloway is a pretty much perfectly developed character. Scalzi’s sense of humor is reflected clearly in Holloway’s demanor, and it suits the character perfectly.

It is hard to find any individual aspects of this novel to criticize. The writing is strong; the dialogue is perfect and hilarious. The novel has moments that have the tendency to evoke strong emotional response (I cried FOUR times reading this novel) and the general issue of corporate tendency to have completely inhumane business practices is an important issue that is addressed perfectly and succintly in Fuzzy Nation. While this novel has moments that are so hard to read because they are so sad, it is generally a hopeful novel and a really hard to write about other than to say that it is just beautiful and perfect and is worth reading and reading again.