Nebula Award Finalists

The Nebulas, a prestigious science fiction award, has just announced the list of finalists for 2017, and the ballot is out of this world! Take a look at the full list of novels under consideration, with the results to be announced in May. I’ve already devoured all of them, and have no idea how they will ever decide. Give them a listen for yourself here, and feel free to leave your thoughts below!

 

Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly

“Trust no one with anything especially in Amberlough City.”

From author Lara Elena Donnelly, comes a debut spy thriller, Amberlough, where a gay double-agent schemes to protect his smuggler lover during the rise of a fascist government coup

Combining the espionage thrills of le Carré with the allure of an alternate vintage era, Amberlough will thoroughly seduce and enthrall you. Listen to a sample.

 

 

The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss

 

“Now it is up to the monsters to finally triumph over the monstrous.”

Based on some of literature’s horror and science fiction classics, this is the story of a remarkable group of women who come together to solve the mystery of a series of gruesome murders–and the bigger mystery of their own origins.

Listen to a sample.

 

 

Spoonbenders by Daryl Gregory 

 

“Hilarious, heartfelt and brimming with humanity.” -Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney, author of The Nest

Harnessing the imaginative powers that have made him a master storyteller, Daryl Gregory delivers a stunning, laugh-out-loud novel about a family of gifted dreamers and the invisible forces that bind us all.

Listen to a sample.

 

 

The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin

“She has seen the evil of the world, and accepted what her mother will not admit: that sometimes what is corrupt cannot be cleansed, only destroyed.”

The remarkable conclusion to the post-apocalyptic and highly acclaimed trilogy that began with the multi-award-nominated The Fifth Season. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly suggest you drop everything and get on that immediately.

Listen to a sample.

 

 

Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty

 

“It was not common to awaken in a cloning vat streaked with drying blood.”

A space adventure set on a lone ship where the clones of a murdered crew awake with with no memory of how they died, and somehow must find their murderer — before they kill again.

Listen to a sample.

 

 

Jade City by Fonda Lee

“FAMILY IS DUTY. MAGIC IS POWER. HONOR IS EVERYTHING.”

Award-winning author Fonda Lee explodes onto the adult fantasy scene with Jade City , an epic saga reminiscent of The Godfather with magic and kungfu, set in an Asia-inspired fantasy metropolis. Lose yourself in this tale of family, honor, and those who live and die by the ancient laws of jade and blood.

Listen to a sample.

 

Autonomous by Annalee Newitz

From award winning tech-journalist and io9 founder Annalee Newitz comes a highly anticipated science fiction debut, 

Autonomous will pull listeners into a dark and dirty world that feels, at times, a bit too familiar to readers today. And underlying it all is one fundamental question: Is freedom possible in a culture where everything, even people, can be owned?

Listen to a sample.

 

 

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STAFF PICK DEAL: The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss

Oh my goodness, this is an absolute treasure of a book. The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss tells the story of monstrous women: characters from classic literature who were barely considered noteworthy, infused with lives and voices all their own. While the respectable Mary Jekyll and the untameable Diana Hyde begrudgingly explore what it means to have a sister so unlike yourself, they are joined by Catherine, the unlucky creation of Doctor Moreau; Justine, the would-be bride of Frankenstein’s monster; and Beatrice, the tragic daughter of the botanist Rappaccini. The women adventure throughout Victorian London with varying degrees of enthusiasm, trying to unravel the mystery of a secret society of alchemists that seems to hold the answers to each of their respective origins.

The book is narrated with all five distinct voices telling the same story, often interrupting themselves and each other in the margins to let us know exactly how vexing the process is. Goss manages to weave this together with a simple elegance that masks how ambitious and nuanced the writing style truly is. They bicker as fiercely as they support each other, in a way that feels purely human and heartwarming.

These “monstrous” women, all by-products of men with too much power and too little humanity, are brought together by the need for answers about their origins, and stay together with the bond of chosen family. With them, we walk through familiar male-dominated worlds of classic sci fi and horror, reanimated by the vibrancy, agency, and aspirations of these five beautifully well-rounded, engrossing characters who have finally been given the space to flourish.

And, until February 11th, The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter is on sale! You can get this book in a BOGO with Himself–another charming, quirky mystery that draws inspiration from classic folklore. Jump on the deal here, under “Inspired Fiction”!

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In Memory of Ursula K. Le Guin

Ursula K. Le Guin was a profoundly influential figure, and truly a literary icon. To this day, I credit my discovery of The Dispossessed as a teenager as foundational to my development as a person, as an activist, and as a reader with a deep love of speculative fiction. This experience has been shared by countless other readers who have explored her work over the decades. We salute Ursula’s memory on this day, and thank her for her incredible contributions to not just sci-fi and fantasy, but to poetry and non-fiction as well.

Here is a selection of her titles that left an enormous impact on the literary landscape.

 

1. A Wizard of Earthsea

Originally published in 1968, it is an early precursor of Harry Potter, and regarded as a classic of fantasy and children’s literature.

The story is sA Wizard of Earthseaet in the fictional archipelago of Earthsea and centers around a young mage named Ged, born in a village on the island of Gont. He displays great power while still a boy and joins the school of wizardry, where his prickly nature drives him into conflict with one of his fellows. During a magical duel, Ged’s spell goes awry and releases a shadow creature that attacks him. The novel follows his journey as he seeks to be free of the creature.

 

2. Rocannon’s World

Rocannon's WorldThis was Le Guin’s first published novel, and employs a masterful blend of hard science fiction with heroic fantasy elements. This novel introduced readers to the world which would become to setting for many of her novels and stories.

Earth-scientist Rocannon has been living on a world shared by three native humanoid races: cave dwellers, elves, and warriors. When the planet is suddenly invaded, Rocannon sees his friends murdered and his spaceship destroyed. Marooned, he leads the battle to free this new world, and legends grow around him.

 

3. Lavinia

In this winner of the 2008 Locus Award for Best Fantasy Novel, Le Guin lends a resonant voice to a pivotal yetoften overlooked character of Vergil’s The Aeneid.

Lavinia

Born into peace and freedom, Lavinia is stunned to learn that she will be the cause of a great war-or so the prophecies and omens claim. Her fate is sealed, however, when she meets a man from Troy.

Le Guin has described Lavinia as a translation of the last six books of the epic poem into prose. Lavinia herself seems to have an awareness of her role in this translation, and frequently converses with “the poet” directly.

 

4. The Dispossessed

The Dispossessed Book CoverIn response to its highly political nature, this novel received a huge amount of literary recognition. It won a Nebula, Hugo, and Locus award for Best Novel, and received a nomination for the John W. Campbell Memorial Award as well.

The dual narrative set on twin planets–one capitalist and patriarchal, the other anarcho-syndicalist–is an exploration of humanity, society, and revolution, in an extraordinary work that is more relevant now than ever.

 

5. The Left Hand of Darkness

Perhaps her most famous novel, this winner of the Hugo and Nebula Awards is a groundbreaking achievement of intellectual science fiction.

The Left Hand of Darkness

Embracing the aspects of psychology, society, and human emotion on an alien world, The Left Hand of Darkness tells the story of a lone human emissary to Winter, an alien world whose inhabitants can change their gender. His goal is to facilitate Winter’s inclusion in a growing intergalactic civilization. But to do so he must bridge the gulf between his own views and those of the completely dissimilar culture that he encounters.

 

 

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