17 Recent Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Horror Anthologies to Celebrate Short Story Month

The B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog

Sunspot Jungle art by John Jennings

May is short story month, and what better way to celebrate it than to gather up a big pile of fabulous new and recent anthologies?

Worlds Seen In Passing: Ten Years of Tor.com Short Fiction, edited by Irene Gallo
Since going online in 2008, Tor.com has become one of the prime venues for bold speculative short fiction. This anthology, edited by Tor.com art director and publisher Irene Gallo, brings together stories from Tor.com’s first decade, and the result is a veritable treasure chest of smart speculative fiction. The official blurb describes Worlds Seen In Passing as “an anthology of award-winning, eye-opening, genre-defining science fiction, fantasy, and horror” and in this case, that is definitely not mere hype. Some of my personal favorites in this anthology include “A Cup of Salt Tears” by Isabel Yap, “Breaking Water” by Indrapramit Das, “The Devil In America” by Kai Ashante Wilson (one of the most powerful short stories I’ve read in recent years), and “Your Orisons May Be Recorded” by Laurie Penny. If you’d like to sample them, all are available to read for free on Tor.com.

A People’s Future of the United States, edited by Victor LaValle and John Joseph Adams
According to the editors, the purpose of this anthology is to share stories that “explore new forms of freedom, love, and justice” and “give us new futures to believe in.” The editors also wanted the stories be “badass”, and I’m glad to say that A People’s Future of the United States delivers on all counts. Its contributing authors include the likes of Seanan McGuire, Catherynne M. Valente, Tobias S. Buckell, Maria Dahvana Hedley, and Charlie Jane Anders, among other stellar names in the world of speculative fiction. It’s an anthology that wears its politics like a badge of honor, delivering stories that are sometimes hopeful, occasionally cautionary, and often flat-out terrifying. (Read our review.)

New Suns: Original Speculative Fiction by People of Color, edited by Nisi Shawl
In his foreword (which doubles as a love letter to speculative fiction), LeVar Burton praises New Suns, describing it as a collection of “vibrant, authentic voices bursting to weigh in on the human condition and our journey of human evolution.” It’s a fitting description of an audacious and compelling anthology that includes every shade of fantasy, horror, and science fiction. New Suns gives you new stories by Silvia Moreno Garcia, Hiromi Goto, Darcie Little Badger, Jaymee Goh, and many others. The title is taken from Octavia E. Butler’s unfinished novel Parable of the Trickster: “There’s nothing new under the sun, but there are new suns.” It’s a line that perfectly describes an anthology that allows readers to explore new and different worlds, futures, wonders, and horrors. (Read our review.)

Skies of Wonder, Skies of Danger, edited by John Appel, Mary Alexandra Agner, and Jo Miles
If you like stories of adventure fantasy that effortlessly transport you to other worlds; if you have a penchant for a bit of steampunk; if you like airships, swaggering sky-pirates, and deeds of derring-do among the clouds, then this excellent anthology is just what the doctor ordered. You’ll meet a Tea-witch, tangle with the fabulous Captain Jack Valiant, and become acquainted with airborne book piracy. I love the often playful and thrilling spirit of the stories in this thoroughly entertaining book, which features contributions from Wren Wallis, C.C.S. Ryan, Fred Yost, and others.

The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror, 2018 Edition, edited by Paula Guran
Paula Guran always picks exceptional stories, and an exceptional range of stories, for her annual “best of” anthologies, and this year’s edition is no exception. Each and every story in the table of contents is, in my opinion, worth the price of admission by itself. Some of my personal favorites include Kai Ashante Wilson’s visceral and phantasmagoric “The Lamentation of Their Women”, Rebecca Roanhorse’s Hugo and Nebula award-winner “Welcome To Your Authentic Indian Experience™”, and Eden Royce’s fabulous “Graverobbing Negress Seeks Employment”.

The Best of the Best Horror of the Year: 10 Years of Essential Short Horror Fiction, edited by Ellen Datlow
More horror on offer: in her career as an editor and anthologist, Ellen Datlow has won multiple Hugo, Bram Stoker, and World Fantasy awards, and her Best Horror of the Year anthologies are must-reads for fans of the terrifying, the dark, and the strange. No wonder then that this “best of the best” anthology, featuring her top picks from the last ten years of anthologies, was met with widespread acclaim (including a spot on this blog’s Best of 2018 list). The lineup of authors on the table of contents is unparalleled—names like Neil Gaiman, Stephen Graham Jones, Mira Grant, and Tanith Lee are just the beginning. It’s an essential snapshot of a decade’s worth of dark fiction.

Suspended in Dusk II, edited by Simon Dewar
Suspended in Dusk II features speculative fiction stories lingering at the edges between light and dark, where “things either come good, or go badly, badly wrong.” The lineup of authors includes both veteran and lesser known but powerful voices—Bracken MacLeod, Gwendolyn Kiste, Alan Baxter, Paul Tremblay, Damien Angelica Walters, Letitia Trent, Sarah Read, and many others. In the words of Angela Slatter (who wrote the introduction), this is a dark fiction anthology that will make you “shiver and shudder, quake and quail.” It includes Alan Baxter’s “Crying Demon”, a finalist for an Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Short Story.

Making Monsters: A Speculative and Classical Anthology, edited by Djibril al-Ayad and Emma Bridges
Making Monsters features monsters (and authors) from all over the world. To quote the official blurb, the anthology “brings together fiction and accessible academic writing in conversation about monsters and their roles in our lives—and ours in theirs.” Inspired by mythology, folklore, games, movies, and fairy-tales, these short stories, essays, and poems reexamine, reimagine, and reshape monsters and monster tales, illuminating old myths in new ways. Participating authors include Megan Arkenberg, L. Chan, Margrét Helgdóttir, Rachel Bender, and Valeria Vitale.

The Apex Book of World SF: Volume 5, edited Lavie Tidhar and Cristina Jurado
Like all the anthologies in this series from Apex, Volume 5 features gripping, evocative, and mind-bending speculative fiction from authors around the world. Read it to get a taste of cyberpunk from Spain, Singapore, and Japan; mythology from Venezuela, Korea, and First Nations; tales of the dead from Zimbabwe and Egypt; and science fiction wonders from India, Germany, and Bolivia. The reach of this anthology series is deep and wide, and this volume includes fiction by Vandana Singh, Taiyo Fujii, Chi Hui, Darcie Little Badger, Vina Jie-Min Prasad, Sara Saab, and R.S.A. Garcia.

Nebula Awards Showcase 2018, edited by Jane Yolen
The Nebula Awards Showcase anthology reprints the winning and nominated stories for each year’s Nebula Awards, and it’s a great way to get a feel for just how deep and wide and rich the field of talent is right now in the realms of speculative fiction. 2018’s Showcase packs a whole lot of must-read stories into one volume, including the jaw-dropping “Things With Beards” by Sam J. Miller, Brooke Bolander’s magnificent “Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies”, Amal El-Mohtar’s fabulous “Seasons of Glass and Iron”, and William Ledbetter’s award-winning novelette “The Long Fall Up”.

Galileo’s Theme Park, edited by Juliana Rew
This anthology features an entertaining and eclectic mix of science fiction, fantasy, horror, and humor, all inspired in some way by Galileo, the science that followed in the footsteps of his discoveries, and by “the lands beyond Earth opened to us by Galileo’s telescope.” The stories span styles and genres as the authors explore space, science, religion, and cosmology. Some that stood out for me were Alex Zalben’s haunting “And Yet They Move,” about a very lonely astronaut who makes an astonishing discovery; and Erica Ruppert’s fascinating “Signals,” about the mysterious music of the spheres.

Sunspot Jungle: The Ever Expanding Universe of Fantasy and Science Fiction, edited by Bill Campbell
If you’re looking for a mind-bogglingly massive speculative fiction anthology, Sunspot Jungle fits the bill. This is volume one (of two), and it is brimful of stories by a wide range of spectacular authors. It includes horror, fantasy, and science fiction, and to quote the official blurb: “Sunspot Jungle has no boundaries and celebrates the wide varieties and possibilities that this genre represents…”  Featured writers include Angela Slatter, Charlie Jane Anders, Nadia Bulkin, Rose Lemberg, Chesya Burke, and Saladin Ahmed.

American Monsters, Part 1, edited by Margret Helgadottir
This anthology is the latest installment in The Fox Spirit Books of Monsters series, featuring dark fiction and art about monsters from around the world. In American Monsters, Part 1, you’ll meet monsters based on local folklore, myths and legends from southern and central America and American territories. The stories offer new, and often subversive perspectives on the weird, the dark, and the scary, introducing creatures that are formidable, terrifying, and often dangerously capricious. With stories by Sabrina Vourvoulias, Liliana Colanzi, Fabio Fernandes, Santiago Santos, and others, it is a must-read for fans of dark fantasy, horror, and monsters.

If This Goes On: The Science Fiction Future of Today’s Politics, edited by Cat Rambo
In this anthology, which editor Cat Rambo describes as “born of rage and sorrow and hope,” 30 writers of speculative fiction look at what today’s politics and policies might do to shape our world a generation from now. Outstanding writers like Sarah Pinsker, Scott Edelman, Lily Yu, Nick Mamatas, and Zandra Renwick envision futures shaped by the divisive politics of isolationism and nationalism, and a growing divide between rich and poor. In her stirring introduction, editor Cat Rambo calls the anthology, “an attempt to rally, to inspire, and to awaken. Some stories will despair, but others will have the light we seek, lamps to light the path and show the pitfalls as we continue upwards.”

The Outcast Hours, edited by Mahvesh Murad and Jared Shurin
The Outcast Hours is described as an anthology about “the stories of people who live at night: under neon and starlight, and never the light of the sun. These are the stories of poets and police, tourists and traders; the hidden and the forbidden; the lonely and the lovers.” With a lineup of authors that includes China Miéville, Sami Shah, Omar Robert Hamilton, Lavie Tidhar, Genevieve Valentine, Kuzhali Manickavel, Will Hill, Indrapramit Das, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, and Jeffrey Alan Love, it goes without saying that it delivers on that promise, offering the discerning reader some outstanding and audaciously odd fiction, best read late at night.

Robots vs. Fairies, edited by Dominik Parisien and Navah Wolfe
Everybody loves a great match-up, right? Alien versus Predator. Wolverine versus Hulk. Wby not robots versus fairies? In this anthology, we get the answer (or answers) to the question: what happens if you pit fantasy and fairies against robots and science fiction? What kind of mayhem and mischief might ensue when these two forces meet? With stories by Catherynne M. Valente, Ken Liu, Max Gladstone, Alyssa Wong, Jonathan Maberry, and others (including John Scalzi, whose contribution Three Robots was turned into an animated segment in the Netflix series Love, Death, and Robots), this anthology offers a perfect mix of wonder and humor and technology and magic. It will appeal equally to fans of both fantasy and sci-fi.

The Very Best of the Best: 35 Years of The Year’s Best Science Fiction, edited by Gardner Dozois
This career-capping book from the late Gardner Dozois includes stories published 2002 and 2017 and collection in previous editions of the editor’s Year’s Best Science Fiction series of anthologies. It includes a wide variety of science fiction from some of the genre’s best and brightest, including Pat Cadigan, Kage Baker, Charles Stross, Aliette de Bodard, Sam J. Miller, and Indrapramit Das. The Very Best of the Best includes 38 stories, an eclectic assortment of moods, styles, settings, and voices. Any fan of sci-fi should be able to find several favorites in this book. (Our full review.)

What essential SFF anthologies are on your bookshelf?

The post 17 Recent Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Horror Anthologies to Celebrate Short Story Month appeared first on The B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog.


Sci-Fi & Fantasy Short Fiction Roundup: April 2019

The B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog

“Mama Bruise,” Illustration by Mark Smith

This month, we read stories of mysterious dogs, silent songs on Mars, and witches wanted for Mars. We read about a singing conch-shell, robots playing music, werewolves, hair magic, extraordinary lifespans, and a very strange house. We read a lot of stories, and these are some of the best.

Mama Bruise“, by Jonathan Carroll on Tor.com
The rather ordinary life of a married couple takes a turn for the weird as items in their house begin to disappear and reappear in unexpected places and mysterious letters begin to show up on their skin, spelling out names and words. At the same time, their dog is behaving ever more erratically and also displays some decidedly un-doglike behavior. As things get odder in the household, the wife comes to the conclusion that the dog might not really be a dog after all. Carroll’s story takes everyday situations—the quirks of pet ownership, the subtle shifts and fractures in a long-term relationship—and spins them into a darkly humorous, deeply unsettling tale. I love the way he expertly tightens the screws, increasing the suspense and deepening the strangeness bit by bit, until the everyday world is revealed in a new and different light.

The Song Between Worlds“, by Indrapramit Das in Slate 
In a far future, a rich family from Earth is visiting Mars for a fancy holiday getaway. There are all sorts of spas and touristy sights to enjoy, but Varuna, who has come along with their parents, craves something beyond the glossy attractions. Varuna is especially interested in the original human settlers on Mars, “the Martian Shepherds” known for “the ushengaan”—the silent song of Mars. Things come to a head when Varuna sets out on an adventure on the surface of the planet with Nayima, a local guide and a Martian Shepherd. Das tells a lyrical, wistful, and deeply moving story about life on another planet, about families, and about finding a real connection with the world around us. It’s also about cultural appropriation, and how tourism can mar and distort our perspectives—but in the end, Das shows us their exists the possibility of more authentic interactions, even between people from different planets.

A Conch-Shell’s Notes“, by Shweta Adhyam in Lightspeed 
This is the story of a conch-shell, and the man who answered its call to adventure.” So begins Adhyam’s tale, set in the community of Peacetown, where the residents seek advice from a magic conch-shell when faced with difficult life choices. Kwa listens to the shell and chooses to set out to slay a dragon. Var also listens, but chooses to stay behind in the village and marry the beautiful, confident Shai. What seems at first to be a kind of ur-fable about choosing your destiny becomes more complex when we also follow the path of Shai, the woman Var marries. Adhyam crafts an insightful and thoughtful story with a barbed twist at the end. It picks apart the structure of the adventure-tale itself, baring our own assumptions about destiny and stories in the process.

Witches for Mars“, by Eden Royce in Drabblecast 
Maira is a witch, living in a future version of our own world where her kind face increasing persecution and threats of violence (their cats have already left). When Maira sees a mysterious message online seeking witches to emigrate to Mars, she is initially reluctant to consider it, especially since an earlier expedition to the planet came to a disastrous end. But after a nasty knife attack and visiting a mysterious website, she might just change her mind. Royce’s prose is lush, and her story deals with serious issues of bigotry and violence while effortlessly blending fantasy and science fiction, creating a layered and rich world. The story is beautifully narrated by Sara Makeba Daise. Look for Royce’s debut novel Tying the Devil’s Shoestrings, coming from Walden Pond Press in 2020.

Professor Strong and the Brass Boys“, by Amal Singh in Apex Magazine 
Robots and droids share the world with humans, but by order of an authority called the Palladium, and thanks to the Droid Rehabilitation Act, they are not allowed to do certain things: they enjoy no leisure time, for example, and cannot create or consume art. When Professor Strong, a droid and history teacher, becomes interested in music, rhe (the pronoun used by robots in the story) knows rheir new hobby is against the rules. Still, rhe keeps playing in secret and even finds other robots who share the same passion. When one of rhem, Yuyu, is apprehended and summarily decommissioned, the “Band of Robotic Brotherhood” perseveres, and even plans a public performance. Singh’s story puts a musical twist on the sci-fi trope of robots rebelling against humanity, and while there is darkness in this story, it also displays a wonderfully subtle sense of humor—and an infectious feeling of hope.

Elegy for a Slaughtered Swine” by Rafaela Farraz at Podcastle 
In the Portuguese countryside, two boys, Benedito and Ezequiel, grow up in the house of a rich man who is not their biological father. Now, this “master of the house” is dying from a strange condition, and the only thing that might save his life is a cure that will cost someone else their life. Everywhere in this tale, in the memories and lives of the characters, in the landscape and the lore of the local people, wolves are lurking. As Benedito narrates the story, we understand that he lives in a world where both magic and the horror run deep. When Benedito chooses to try to save Ezequiel, things grow increasingly dangerous and unpredictable for the boys as loyalties shift. I have a deep and abiding love for werewolf stories, and this one is outstanding—luscious and visceral in every detail.

The Flowering“, by Soyeon Jeong (translated by Jihyun Park and Gord Sellar) in Clarkesworld
In an interview, a woman recounts the story of how her sister’s lifelong fight against their country’s oppressive regime brought about profound changes, but also had other lasting effects—not always positive—on the lives of those closest to her. Set in a seemingly not too distant future and told in vivid first person, Park’s compelling story has a wonderful, direct quality, bringing to life the nitty-gritty realities and repercussions of resistance in an authoritarian system. While it’s clear the interviewer sees the sister as a hero, the woman herself is still very much concerned with old sibling rivalries, slights, and injustices. The title refers to the way the sister and the rest of the resistance managed to overthrow the government’s restrictive control—by quite literally planting seeds of rebellion.

While Dragons Claim the Sky“, by Jen Brown in Fiyah #10
This novelette by Jen Brown is a compelling fantasy tale set in a world where dragons roam the sky and magic exists, including the hair magic worked by Omani, a young woman who dreams of studying “coif magery” at the Imperial College. Omani has just received a highly prized acceptance letter from the institution when a fighter named Myra crosses her path. Myra wants to enter the famed Dragonscale Melées in the capital, and Omani offers her services as a hair mage to help her, in exchange for Myra taking her along. Once they reach the city, nothing goes as planned. Every part of this fantasy adventure is a delight, from the characters, to the setting, to the details coif magery. I would have happily kept reading an entire novel about these characters this world, and these dragons.

On the Lonely Shore“, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia in Uncanny Magazine
Balthazar, an ailing young man from a rich family, is sent off to convalesce at the far-off Saltwater House. Judith, a young woman, is assigned as his companion. Once they arrive at the seaside residence, Balthazar’s health continues to deteriorate, even as something new kindles between him and Judith. Silvia Moreno-Garcia weaves a beautiful, haunting tale that mixes a Gothic sensibility with strands of horror, fantasy, and romance, pulling you deep inside its world and into the heat of a burgeoning relationship before slowly unveiling the truth lurking beneath the surface. There’s a powerful sense of foreboding behind every sentence; Moreno-Garcia writes prose so delicious I want read it aloud, just to taste words. Look for her next novel, Gods of Jade and Shadow, in August. Her earlier books include The Beautiful Ones and the sci-fi novella Prime Meridian.

Vincent’s Penny“, by Chris Barnham in Dimension 6 
Barnham’s story starts in London in 1941 with the intriguing line, “I’m a child this time. Five or six years old.” Soon, we are transported back to 1593, as a young boy named Sebastian meets some very strange men at his father’s inn. Sebastian tries to steal from them on his father’s orders, but is caught by Vincent, the group’s leader. This chance meeting leads Sebastian into Vincent’s employ in an organization that spans countries and centuries. Vincent has found a way to extend his lifespan, but doing so requires both magic and ruthlessness. I loved the heck out of this story’s grit and action. It plays around with fantasy and history, focusing on characters who tread a narrow path between good and evil. If you enjoy it and want to read more of Barnham’s time-hopping stories, you can pick up his novel Fifty-One, about a timecop from 2040 who is sent back to WWII London to stop the assassination of Britain’s wartime leader.

What’s the best SFF story you read in April?

The post Sci-Fi & Fantasy Short Fiction Roundup: April 2019 appeared first on The B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog.


The Strange and Familiar Nominees for the 2019 Hugo Awards

The B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog

The nominees for the 2019 Hugo Awards were announced this morning via streaming webcast straight from Dublin, Ireland, home of the 77th annual World Science Fiction Convention, and the lucky honorees represent the daring, strange—and familiar—flavors of sci-fi and fantasy that defined last year.

All six authors vying for Best Novel this year are prior Hugo nominees, and three of them—Mary Robinette Kowal (The Calculating Stars), Rebecca Roanhorse (Trail of Lightning), and Catherynne Valente (Space Opera)—even won, though none of those trophies was for a novel. The three others facing off in the category—Naomi Novik (Spinning Silver), Becky Chambers (Record of a Spaceborn Few), and Yoon Ha Lee (Revenant Gun)—are celebrating nominations for consecutive novels, though not all were published in consecutive years. (Also worth noting: Roanhorse, Novik, and Kowal’s novels are contenders at this year’s Nebulas.)

There are fresher faces elsewhere on the ballot, including P. Djèlí Clark, nominated two times this year, for Best Novella for The Black God’s Drums and Best Short Story for “The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington.” Alix E. Harrow also celebrates her first nomination for her short story “A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies,” while the Best Novelette category features first-timers Simone Heller and Zen Cho—who, we’re pleased to say, picked up her nomination for “If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again,” a lovely story of love, perseverance, and dragons that was published right here on The B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog.

As ever, an established career and a dedicated fan following have their perks: in its third year, the Best Series Hugo sees its first repeat nominee, for Seanan McGuire’s October Daye urban fantasy series, while Aliette de Bodard, Yoon Ha Lee, and Becky Chambers are nominated for series whose recent individual works are also recognized in other categories this year.

With additional nominations for familiar names like Jo Walton and Ursula K. Le Guin (who earned her second posthumous nomination), what is perhaps most notable about this year’s slate—aside from the uniform excellence of the works recognized—is the how very traditionally Hugo they are. After a number of years during which the most storied honor in genre became mired in political gamesmanship, controversy, and no small amount of anger, this year’s ballot seems to do nothing more than speak to the year in SFF that was 2018, as it was seen by the WorldCon fandom.

And that’s the way it should be.

The Hugo Award winners will be announced in August at Dublin 2019. The complete list of nominees follows.

Best Novel

The Calculating Stars, by Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor)
The first of a pair of prequel novels to Kowal’s award-winning novelette The Lady Astronaut of MarsThe Calculating Stars (also a Nebula nominee) delves into the alternate history that resulted in humanity establishing a colony on Mars in the middle of the 20th century. In the spring of 1952, a huge meteor hits Chesapeake Bay, taking out most of the Eastern United States. Mathematician and former military pilot Elma York and her scientist husband Nate are there to witness the destruction, and Elma knows immediately that this is an ELE—an extinction-level event—and that humanity must look to the stars if it has any hope of survival. Although her experience as a pilot and her math skills earn Elma a place in the International Aerospace Coalition as a calculator, she begins to wonder why women can’t be astronauts as well—and she’s more than willing to confront racism, sexism, and more personal enemies on her quest to become the first lady astronaut. This is one of those books that seems to have come along at just the right moment, bringing together fascinating, inspiring characters; compelling, plausible worldbuilding; and a message that resonates—especially today. Read our review.

Record of a Spaceborn Few, by Becky Chambers (Harper Voyager)
This standalone followup to A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet and A Closed and Common Orbit explores what happens to those passengers on the generation ships humanity used to escape Earth who don’t know how to leave their vessels behind. The Exodans are the largest concentration of humanity anywhere in the universe; they are the descendants of those who left a poisoned Earth two centuries before on a flotilla of hope. The novel explores what happens to them after the ship reaches its destination: both to those who venture forth into new lives, and those who stay behind. Chambers’ books are celebrated for their warmth and diverse characters, but her worldbuilding is also stellar; it’s a delight to spend more time in this universe. Read our interview with the author.

Revenant Gun, by Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris)
Lee brings the Hugo and Nebula award-nominated Machineries of Empire trilogy to its conclusion in mathematical style with a brainy, fast-paced final entry. Shuos Jedao wakes up in the body of a much older man rather than the 17-year old one his memories led him to expect. He’s shocked to discover he’s now a general, commanded by Hexarch Nirai Kujen—a tyrant hiding behind an easy smile—to conquer the haxarchate using an army compelled to obey his every command. Worse—he quickly discovers that the soldiers despise him for a massacre he doesn’t remember committing. Worst—someone is hunting him, seeking to bring him to justice for his crimes. The first two books in the series stretched imaginations and taxed brains, and this one is no different—and no less worth the effort it takes to puzzle it out. Read our review.

Space Opera, by Catherynne M. Valente (Saga Press)
Valente spins a truly nutty disco ball of a sci-fi story that begins with the Sentience Wars that nearly eradicate all intelligent life in the universe; when they end, the scattered survivors regroup and begin a new tradition designed to avoid future apocalypses: the Metagalactic Grand Prix, a universe-wide competition of song and dance open only to recognized sentient species. When any new species emerges onto the universal stage to declare itself sentient—like, say, humanity—they must send contestants to the Grand Prix to prove their worth and quite literally sing for their lives (though alien singing doesn’t always sound like a Top 40 hit). Place anything but last and the upstart civilization is a part of the club. If they come in last, they’re quietly exterminated, in the name of preserving universal peace. (Tough choices, people…and not people.) When Earth is unexpectedly pulled into the next contest, the task of saving humanity falls to a has-been rock star named Decibel Jones, who must grapple with the demons of his past while venturing reluctantly onto the largest stage of all-time. It’s a a second chance to be a glitter-bombed rock star. or die trying—along with everyone else. Inspired by her dual love for Eurovision and Douglas Adams, this one is pure Catherynne Valente, from the first page to the last. Read our review.

Spinning Silver, by Naomi Novik (Del Rey)
Drawing on Eastern European folklore and the classic fairy tale of Rumplestiltskin, Novik tells the story of Miryem, daughter in a family of Jewish moneylenders led by her incompetent father. With their fortunes on the wane due to his poor business sense, Miryem must step in and turn the family business around. Inspired by a mixture of desperation and genius, she responds by spinning debts into gold—gold that attracts the attention of the Staryk, emotionless fairies who bring winter with them. The Staryk give Miryem Fairy Silver and demand she transform it, too. Miryem does so by turning the beautiful metal into jewelry that attracts the attention of the rich and powerful—but her success brings her more Staryk attention, and thus more problems. Novik’s first standalone novel to come along in the wake of the Nebula Award-winning Uprooted had a tough act to follow, but Spinning Silver—expanded from a short story included in anthology The Starlit Wood—is every bit as enchanting. Read our review.

Trail of Lightning, by Rebecca Roanhorse (Saga Press)
Roanhorse’s buzzy debut is set in a post-apocalyptic world comparable to Mad Max: Fury Road in intensity, with worldbuilding drawn from the author’s Indigenous American heritage. In an America devastated by rising sea levels, the Navajo Nation has been reborn as Dinétah—and with it have come the old gods and monsters of Native American legend. Maggie Hoskie is a monster-hunter, gifted with the power to fight and defeat these beasts. Hired by a small town to locate a missing girl, she teams up with a misfit medicine man named Kai Arviso, and the two dive into a mystery that takes them deeper into the dark side of Dinétah than they could have imagined—a world of tricksters, dark magic, and creatures more frightening than any story. Trail of Lightning is an audacious take on the conventions of both urban fantasy and the post-apocalyptic novel, binding them together in a way that could only and ever happen in Dinétah. Read our review.

Best Novella

Artificial Condition, by Martha Wells (Tor.com Publishing)

Beneath the Sugar Sky, by Seanan McGuire (Tor.com Publishing)

Binti: The Night Masquerade, by Nnedi Okorafor (Tor.com Publishing)

The Black God’s Drums, by P. Djèlí Clark (Tor.com Publishing)

Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach, by Kelly Robson (Tor.com Publishing)

The Tea Master and the Detective, by Aliette de Bodard (Subterranean Press / JABberwocky Literary Agency)

Best Novelette

If at First You Don’t Succeed, Try, Try Again,” by Zen Cho (B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog)

“The Last Banquet of Temporal Confections,” by Tina Connolly (Tor.com)

“Nine Last Days on Planet Earth,” by Daryl Gregory (Tor.com)

The Only Harmless Great Thing, by Brooke Bolander (Tor.com Publishing)

“The Thing About Ghost Stories,” by Naomi Kritzer (Uncanny Magazine #25)

“When We Were Starless,” by Simone Heller (Clarkesworld #145, October 2018)

Best Short Story

“The Court Magician,” by Sarah Pinsker (Lightspeed, January 2018)

“The Rose MacGregor Drinking and Admiration Society,” by T. Kingfisher (Uncanny Magazine #25)

“The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington,” by P. Djèlí Clark (Fireside Magazine, February 2018)

“STET,” by Sarah Gailey (Fireside Magazine, October 2018)

“The Tale of the Three Beautiful Raptor Sisters, and the Prince Who Was Made of Meat,” by Brooke Bolander (Uncanny Magazine #23)

“A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies,” by Alix E. Harrow (Apex Magazine, February 2018)

Best Series

The Centenal Cycle, by Malka Older (Tor.com Publishing)

The Laundry Files, by Charles Stross (Tor.com Publishing)

Machineries of Empire, by Yoon Ha Lee (Solaris)

The October Daye Series, by Seanan McGuire (DAW)

The Universe of Xuya, by Aliette de Bodard (Subterranean Press)

Wayfarers, by Becky Chambers (Harper Voyager)

Best Related Work

Archive of Our Own, a project of the Organization for Transformative Works

Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction, by Alec Nevala-Lee (Dey Street Books)

The Hobbit Duology, written and edited by Lindsay Ellis and Angelina Meehan (YouTube)

An Informal History of the Hugos: A Personal Look Back at the Hugo Awards, 1953-2000, by Jo Walton (Tor)

The Mexicanx Initiative Experience at Worldcon 76 (Julia Rios, Libia Brenda, Pablo Defendini, John Picacio)

Ursula K. Le Guin: Conversations on Writing, by Ursula K. Le Guin with David Naimon (Tin House Books)

Best Graphic Story

Abbott, written by Saladin Ahmed, art by Sami Kivelä, colours by Jason Wordie, letters by Jim Campbell (BOOM! Studios)

Black Panther: Long Live the King, written by Nnedi Okorafor and Aaron Covington, art by André Lima Araújo, Mario Del Pennino and Tana Ford (Marvel)

Monstress, Vol. 3: Haven, written by Marjorie Liu, art by Sana Takeda (Image Comics)

On a Sunbeam, by Tillie Walden (First Second)

Paper Girls, Vol. 4, written by Brian K. Vaughan, art by Cliff Chiang, colors by Matt Wilson, letters by Jared K. Fletcher (Image Comics)

Saga, Vol. 9, written by Brian K. Vaughan, art by Fiona Staples (Image Comics)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

Annihilation, directed and written for the screen by Alex Garland, based on the novel by Jeff VanderMeer (Paramount)

Avengers: Infinity War, screenplay by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, directed by Anthony Russo and Joe Russo (Marvel Studios)

Black Panther, written by Ryan Coogler and Joe Robert Cole, directed by Ryan Coogler (Marvel Studios)

A Quiet Place, screenplay by Scott Beck, John Krasinski and Bryan Woods, directed by John Krasinski (Platinum Dunes/Sunday Night)

Sorry to Bother You, written and directed by Boots Riley (Annapurna Pictures)

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, screenplay by Phil Lord and Rodney Rothman, directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman (Sony)

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

The Expanse: “Abaddon’s Gate,” written by Daniel Abraham, Ty Franck and Naren Shankar, directed by Simon Cellan Jones

Doctor Who: “Demons of the Punjab,” written by Vinay Patel, directed by Jamie Childs

Dirty Computer, written by Janelle Monáe, directed by Andrew Donoho and Chuck Lightning

The Good Place: “Janet(s),” written by Josh Siegal & Dylan Morgan, directed by Morgan Sackett

The Good Place: “Jeremy Bearimy,” written by Megan Amram, directed by Trent O’Donnell

Doctor Who: “Rosa,” written by Malorie Blackman and Chris Chibnall, directed by Mark Tonderai

Best Professional Editor, Short Form

Neil Clarke

Gardner Dozois

Lee Harris

Julia Rios

Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas

Catherine Tobler 

Best Professional Editor, Long Form

Sheila E. Gilbert

Anne Lesley Groell

Beth Meacham

Diana Pho

Gillian Redfearn

Navah Wolfe

Best Professional Artist

Galen Dara

Jaime Jones

Victo Ngai

John Picacio

Yuko Shimizu

Charles Vess

Best Semiprozine

Beneath Ceaseless Skies, editor-in-chief and publisher Scott H. Andrews

Fireside Magazine, edited by Julia Rios, managing editor Elsa Sjunneson-Henry, social coordinator Meg Frank, special features editor Tanya DePass, founding editor Brian White, publisher and art director Pablo Defendini

FIYAH Magazine of Black Speculative Fiction, executive editors Troy L. Wiggins and DaVaun Sanders, editors L.D. Lewis, Brandon O’Brien, Kaleb Russell, Danny Lore, and Brent Lambert

Shimmer, publisher Beth Wodzinski, senior editor E. Catherine Tobler

Strange Horizons, edited by Jane Crowley, Kate Dollarhyde, Vanessa Rose Phin, Vajra Chandrasekera, Romie Stott, Maureen Kincaid Speller, and the Strange Horizons Staff

Uncanny Magazine, publishers/editors-in-chief Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas, managing editor Michi Trota, podcast producers Erika Ensign and Steven Schapansky, Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction Special Issue editors-in-chief Elsa Sjunneson-Henry and Dominik Parisien

Best Fanzine

Galactic Journey, founder Gideon Marcus, editor Janice Marcus

Journey Planet, edited by Team Journey Planet

Lady Business, editors Ira, Jodie, KJ, Renay, & Susan

nerds of a feather, flock together, editors Joe Sherry, Vance Kotrla and The G

Quick Sip Reviews, editor Charles Payseur

Rocket Stack Rank, editors Greg Hullender and Eric Wong

Best Fancast

Be the Serpent, presented by Alexandra Rowland, Freya Marske and Jennifer Mace

The Coode Street Podcast, presented by Jonathan Strahan and Gary K. Wolfe

Fangirl Happy Hour, hosted by Ana Grilo and Renay Williams

Galactic Suburbia, hosted by Alisa Krasnostein, Alexandra Pierce, and Tansy Rayner Roberts, produced by Andrew Finch

Our Opinions Are Correct, hosted by Annalee Newitz and Charlie Jane Anders

The Skiffy and Fanty Show, produced by Jen Zink and Shaun Duke, hosted by the Skiffy and Fanty Crew 

Best Fan Writer

Foz Meadows

James Davis Nicoll

Charles Payseur

Elsa Sjunneson-Henry

Alasdair Stuart

Bogi Takács

Best Fan Artist

Sara Felix

Grace P. Fong

Meg Frank

Ariela Housman

Likhain (Mia Sereno)

Spring Schoenhuth

Best Art Book

The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition, illustrated by Charles Vess, written by Ursula K. Le Guin (Saga Press)

Daydreamer’s Journey: The Art of Julie Dillon, by Julie Dillon (self-published)

Dungeons & Dragons Art & Arcana: A Visual History, by Michael Witwer, Kyle Newman, Jon Peterson, Sam Witwer (Ten Speed Press)

Spectrum 25: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art, edited by John Fleskes (Flesk Publications)

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse—The Art of the Movie, by Ramin Zahed (Titan Books)

Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth, edited by Catherine McIlwaine (Bodleian Library)

John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer

Katherine Arden (2nd year of eligibility)

S.A. Chakraborty (2nd year of eligibility)

R.F. Kuang (1st year of eligibility)

Jeannette Ng (2nd year of eligibility)

Vina Jie-Min Prasad (2nd year of eligibility)

Rivers Solomon (2nd year of eligibility)

Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book

The Belles, by Dhonielle Clayton (Freeform)

Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi Adeyemi (Henry Holt)

The Cruel Prince, by Holly Black (Little, Brown)

Dread Nation, by Justina Ireland (Balzer + Bray)

The Invasion, by Peadar O’Guilin (Scholastic)

Tess of the Road, by Rachel Hartman (Random House)

Who are you pulling for at this year’s Hugo Awards? Let us know in the comments.

The post The Strange and Familiar Nominees for the 2019 Hugo Awards appeared first on The B&N Sci-Fi and Fantasy Blog.