Recommendations – Best Novel

Post your suggestions for Best Novel to this thread.

Eligible works are:

  • 40, 000 words or longer
  • First published in 2015 in any format

Please list the following:

  • Title
  • Author
  • About a sentence saying why you think it’s great
  • Links to somewhere people can buy it/read it are also great

356 thoughts on “Recommendations – Best Novel

    1. It’s… Vathara. It’s an urban fantasy that avoids both the “hidden world” issue, and that treats all the subjects with respect– kind of like how the Avengers movies have been awesome by respecting the source material. She does that with religion, and mythology, and tells a good story while doing it.

    1. Darn, you beat me to suggesting A Long Time Until Now. Having done some archaeology and taken many classes in the subject I know the book was well researched.

      1. As I understand the process, you’re supposed to duplicate suggestions. 🙂

        My own hope is that people will include some small bit of gush related to why they think some particular book is particularly awesome and deserves to be read by those who might not otherwise expect to love it, why it’s innovative or adds significantly to the genre, etc.

      1. I’ve been hearing conflicting opinions on this one. I’ve loved myself some Stephenson in the past, but fell out of the Baroque Cycle mid-way through book two. It was interesting, but soooo much data, and I wanted to move on to another book. It sounds like Seveneves may be similar?

      2. Seveneves was good, worhty of a nomination. I think it’s about average compared to the rest of his work. Better written than most of his books, but the plot is not as well structured or paced compared to his best work.

          1. Heh. I thought the problem was that the last third was a poorly thought out epilogue. I LOVED the first 2/3rds. The last part made me spitting mad. Seriously, he should have kept it for a sequel and fleshed it out with an actual plot. Instead, it was a little vignette about how humans are still humans.

      3. +1 on Seveneves. Complex, huge in scope, links to present day, plausible technology, great characterization. Unlike a few (a minority) of his books, the thread is consistent, engaging and contiguous. Top option so far, but I need to make a list of authors which I like and which are still accepting Hugo noms – LC, MZM are both self removed.

    2. Seconding Devil’s Only Friend.

      It’s a transition novel in a fascinating series that also works quite well as a standalone story.

    3. I also want to recommend A Long Time Until Now by Michael Z Williamson. It’s well written and extremely well researched. The premise isn’t actually original (Modern soldiers get sent back in time for some reason either accidently or deliberately) but the way they managed to deal with their problems both logically and logistically was interesting to read. It’s actually made me look deeper into some of the skills the soldiers had, with the aim of adding them to my own skillset.

  1. The Lost Fleet: Beyond the Frontier: Leviathan
    Jack Campbell

    This is one of the best military sci-fi series I’ve seen. It’s basic premise is “The Once and Future King” in space.
    Realistic effects of fighting on a solar system scale, time delayed orders, and a surprising amount of philosophical thought on the nature of politics, warfare, and the consequences of fighting.

    1. How does this read as a stand alone?

      I’ve tried to read two that were second books in a series this year. One I gave up on, in part because I got the feeling I was missing too much information. The other I am still struggling with – again I get the feeling I am missing critical details, so that one may also go back to the library unfinished. 🙁

  2. Seveneves, by Neal Stephenson

    “A catastrophic event renders the earth a ticking time bomb. In a feverish race against the inevitable, nations around the globe band together to devise an ambitious plan to ensure the survival of humanity far beyond our atmosphere, in outer space.

    “But the complexities and unpredictability of human nature coupled with unforeseen challenges and dangers threaten the intrepid pioneers, until only a handful of survivors remain . . .

    “Five thousand years later, their progeny—seven distinct races now three billion strong—embark on yet another audacious journey into the unknown . . . to an alien world utterly transformed by cataclysm and time: Earth.”

  3. Can we recommend a full series? Because I recommend The Black Fleet trilogy by Joshua Dalzelle. While the third book won’t be released for another month the other two came out earlier this year and I really enjoyed them and fully expect the last book in this series to be good as well. If it turns out to be a dud than I still give my recommendation to at least the first book in the series.

    the premise is:
    In the 25th century humans have conquered space. The advent of faster-than-light travel has opened up hundreds of habitable planets for colonization, and humans have exploited the virtually limitless space and resources for hundreds of years with impunity.

    So complacent have they become with the overabundance that armed conflict is a thing of the past, and their machines of war are obsolete and decrepit. What would happen if they were suddenly threatened by a terrifying new enemy? Would humanity fold and surrender, or would they return to their evolutionary roots and meet force with force? One ship—and one captain—will soon be faced with this very choice.

    1. Series (at least those that are one longer story) are eligible as a whole if no individual works are nominated and the final volume comes out in that year. See: Wheel of Time.

      1. On the basis that whole series are eligible as a whole if no individual works are nominated and the final volume comes out in that year, what about Sir Terry Pratchett’s Discworld?

        One of them was nominated in the past, but Pratchett asked for the nomination to be withdrawn because of his health (he had angina and didn’t want the stress of knowing whether he’d win or not). Now that he’s passed away and the last book has been published, this would seem to be a great way to honour one of the most important SFF authors of the last few decades.

        1. Oh, my goodness. You might just have locked down my best novel nomination: The Discworld Series, by the late Sir Terry Pratchett.

          I feel terrible for other worthy writers this year, that I may have to go this way. There really needs to be a different category–something like a Master Of The Genre Award, that we could give to someone who has the corpus of work that Sir Pterry produced.

          1. IIRC, Sir Pterry received a nomination for one of his Discworld books, and turned it down. If that is in fact the case, he would not be eligible for the whole series.

      2. Series are not eligible, only serials. The actual wording is “Works appearing in a series are eligible as individual works, but the series as a whole is not eligible. However, a work appearing in a number of parts shall be eligible for the year of the final part.” The Wheel of Time is arguably a single work published in multiple volumes; Discworld is not.

    1. I’ll second for Uprooted. What could’ve been a bog-standard story instead becomes it’s own unique self, and (dare I say it?) quite magical.

    2. This is a serious contender for best new novel I’ve read this year. Completely lands the ending, which is rare. The typical middle slump is almost negligible. Reminded me a tiny bit of CJ Cherryh’s Rusalka, in that it’s very Eastern European in its mythos, and is dark and gloomy, but much easier to follow than Cherryh’s Russian stories.

    3. Thirded on Uprooted. Unusual in that it is a strong female character who doesn’t have to become ‘one of the boys’ to be strong.

    4. Loved, loved, loved this book. I’ve recommended it to several people so far. Definitely on my nomination list.

  4. Honor At Stake

    Declan Finn

    This is the best vampire book I’ve ever read, explaining vampires, alignment, holy artifacts, and even uses philosophy as a part of world building.

  5. Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality
    Eliezer Yudlowsky
    Harry Potter Fan Fiction that is better than the original series. The author did to Harry Potter what Larry Correia did to B movie horror.

    You can read it and download it for free at hpmor.Com
    Fair warning, it’s longer than a Brandon Sanderson novel, but we’ll worth the read.

      1. Why not? If it’s a novel-length literary work and it had its last chapter posted in 2015, it should be eligible. Ain’t no rule that a fanfic can’t be nominated for Best Novel(la/ette) or Short Story. (Don’t consider this reply a recommendation though – I read the first few chapters and quite liked them, but couldn’t stand the protagonist.)

        However, according to TVTropes it is “Complete as of Pi Day, 2015. Except for the Epilogue, which will be posted on Pi Day, 2016.” So apparently this means it won’t be eligible until 2016?

    1. I second this recommendation provided it’s eligible, which I’m confused about. I find Eliezer’s non-fiction essays to be unsufferably smug, but when he’s writing fiction he really shows he can write convincingly from different points of view. Even Dumbledore, who’s worldview he clearly strongly disagrees with, is shown to be a good person with honest beliefs who has some good points. It literally is “message-fic” in the vein of Ayn Rand (not the same message as Rand, obviously) but it manages to be entertaining fiction anyway.

  6. The Just City by Jo Walton

    The first Walton I’ve read (her other stuff never appealed to me on a conceptual level), and even though I am pretty much dimetrically opposed to much of the politics in the book, I thought the drive in the novel to explore philosophy in a science fictional way was really well done, with strong writing and thoughtful characterization.

  7. I will have more suggestions over time, but in order to cut my teeth on this board I propose:

    Seveneves by Neal Stephenson

    I enjoy his complex world building and this latest does not disappoint. I appreciated that he worked hard to propose hard science solutions and challenges that occur in the near future. In particular, this book belongs on SP4 because (mild spoiler here) no one can suggest that this is a straight, white male dominated novel and yet lives up to the core principles of SP3 – great books by under recognized (by the Hugo intelligentsia) authors which also happen to demonstrate their broad appeal by virtue of commercial success.

    1. “by under recognized (by the Hugo intelligentsia) authors”…?
      From Neal Stephenson wikipedia pages:
      The Diamond Age: or A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer (1995) – Hugo and Locus SF Awards winner, 1996
      Cryptonomicon (1999) – Locus SF Award winner, 2000; Hugo and Clarke Awards nominee, 2000
      Anathem (2008) – Locus SF Award winner, 2009; British Science Fiction Association Award nominee, 2008; Hugo and Clarke Awards nominee, 2009.
      Many other Locus Award Wins, Clarke nominations and wins, Prometheus Award wins, Nebula nominations etc.
      Just wanted to point out that. I’ve not read Seveneves myself yet, but it’s on my TBR list.

  8. Second the Chancy recommendation.


    A Succession of Very Bad Days by Graydon Saunders, which I just finished. Egalitarian heroic fantasy. The author blurbed it: “Experimental magical pedagogy, non-Euclidean ancestry, and some sort of horror from beyond the world.” I sum it up as sorceror school as civil engineering projects mixed with friendship. Not on Amazon, unfortunately, and not for everyone, but check out the goodreads reviews and see if you think it’s for you.

    1. I’ll second this one. Somewhither is well-written and high-order fun, with excellent worldbuilding. It is mythic in scope, and mythic/ legendary/ archetypical in nature. Note that the world thus built is … old-fashioned in nature, and while the book isn’t preachy by type, events occur according to the nature and moral code of the world. I expect a fair percentage of people, even those attempting to give it a fair chance, would bounce HARD out of the book because the world vividly portrayed is so contrary to their view of the world that it breaks their suspension of disbelief.

    2. Seconded – a fun book, chock full of shamelessly epic ideas. It’s a neat combination of action, compelling and sympathetic characters, and humor.

        1. Another thumbs up for Somewhither. It’s like C.S. Lewis and H.P. Lovecraft rewrote Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons after a drugged-up road trip in Hunter S. Thompson’s hired red Chevy convertible. JCW has also got over the ‘flowery writing’ thang.

          There’s nothing really like it. It is stark raving bonkers.

    3. I, too, will throw my hat in for John C. Wright’s Somewither Well-written (as nearly anything by Wright is), fast-paced, complex, engrossing and engaging, with mind-boggling ideas coming at every turn. Definitely award-worthy.

  9. Distopia
    Robert Kroese

    “You have undoubtedly heard the story of Wyngalf the Bold, who is reputed to have liberated the land of Dis from the scourge of dragons. And like most who have heard the story, you likely have your doubts about its veracity. Did Wyngalf really cross the Sea of Dis on a raft buoyed by the gall bladders of seventeen mud trolls? Did he really live for a month inside the belly of a giant beaver? Did he really strangle the Beast of Borgoin with its own entrails? No. Frankly, most of the traditional story of Wyngalf is dead wrong— not to mention oddly preoccupied with the internal organs of mythical creatures.

    The part about the dragons, however, is true.”

    The story of how the world’s worst missionary comes to be regarded as its greatest hero. Hilarious yet thoughtful in the Pratchettian style. Plus, Rob is a Sad Puppy.

    1. I will Second Distopia by Kroese.

      Just discovered Kroese this year and I can’t get enough of him. Very prolific writer with a solid talent for humor as well. That’s so incredibly rare and hard to do- yet Kroese is pretty consistent. I wish he’d been nominated a few years back for his first Mercury book. Shame.

      If Monty Python and American pop-nerd culture had sex, Rob Kroese would be the spawn of the union.

  10. Pact by Wildbow.
    A FREE! urban fantasy web serial that takes the premise that magic, demons, and multigenerational Karma are real and runs with it. Pretty damn good, albeit dark since the main character(s) start deep in the hole.

    Might be a bit long though at 950k words.

  11. I add my voice for THE PHILOSOPHER KINGS.

    — What if a bunch of fanatical Platonists decide to actually create the Republic?
    — What if you had Socrates in the Republic, where he could see what his star pupil got up to?
    — What if Socrates was going about the streets, corrupting the robots?

    Plus, this would put the Torogs in the position of having to villify one of THEIR books, or admitting they were wrong.

    1. I would say it’d be more strategic to nominate The Just City (above) than the sequel, even though they’re both eligible. I think they’re both equally good books, but a first volume seems more sensible for the award.

    2. Actually, the Socrates plot you describe is in the first book THE JUST CITY. He does not appear in the second book THE PHILOSOPHER KINGS. But since the first book came out in 2015, it can be nominated.

      Or can we nominate both as a duology akin to BLACKOUT/ALL CLEAR by Connie Willis?

    1. I liked the previous one better. I don’t think this one can qualify – it was published in the UK in 2014. Hanging Tree is this year’s.

      1. Foxglove Summer is eligible. The WSFS constitution was recently amended and now specifies “Works originally published outside the United States of America and first published in the United States of America in the previous calendar year shall also be eligible for Hugo Awards.” So anything that didn’t get shortlisted after it was first published outside the US is eligible again after the first US publication.

    2. I’d also vote for Foxglove Summer. The whole series has been wonderful, and I’m really glad that the WorldCon committee has finally (after how many years?) realized that, perhaps, books first published in the UK should have a reasonable ability to win a Hugo.

  12. Jonathan Maberry, Predator One. The latest adventure of Joe Ledger and the Department of Military Science.

    Here people may complain about blurring genre boundaries. The plotline is certainly SF… What happens when UAVs become mainstream… and hackers set to work on them. But he suddenly brings in unrationalized supernatural elements.
    Another motive is to make CHORF heads explode by bringing in a military action novel, as they automatically equate “action hero” with “evilrightwingfascistbigot”, although Ledger is not “rightwing” by any sane standard.

    1. Definitely second Nemesis Games by James S.A. Corey. This is the 5th Book in the Expanse series (see my review). This will presumably get a higher profile once the television series with the same name starts airing on SyFy in mid-December. The television show has that channel’s highest budget ever and should (hopefully) have an even higher proile than their Battlestar Galactica reboot.

      1. I dumped out of the expanse after the third book. The endless abuse of the same tired tropes.

        That said, Seveneves may not be as good as Anathem, but it is among Stephenson’s better works, and among the best books I’ve read, period, never mind this year.

        Also, another thumbs up for SomeWither.

  13. If I may, I’d like to recommend Ernest Cline’s “Armada”; it’s a very interesting take on the whole ‘video games as tools for dealing with alien invasion’ (as exemplified by works such as “The Last Starfighter” and Orson Scott Card’s “Ender’s Game”).

    While it comes to a relatively satisfying conclusion, it’s also got a bit of a twist ending that leaves itself well open for a sequel, too.

  14. A Long Time Until Now
    Michael Z. Williamson
    The terror of the time displacement and the story of the ten American soldiers versus the prehistoric universe feels ‘true’.
    Go to for multiple ebook formats, the usual places for hardcover.

  15. Dinosaur Lords by Victor Milán. Fourteenth century Europe with dinosaurs and political intrigue that reminds you of George R. R. Martin. Available at book stores everywhere.

  16. Her Brother’s Keeper,
    Mike Kupari,
    Top notch military SF. Very well thought out plot that resolved the major issue but opened up several options for sequels, and it has perhaps the best action I’ve read all year. He also realistically portrays how it is to live and work on a small vessel (space or otherwise).
    Currently available in EARC,
    And as part of the BAEN November bundle

    Castaway Planet,
    Ryk E. Spoor, Eric Flint
    This is a very well thought out exploration of the possible dangers and difficulties of being shipwrecked on a planet not your own, with a good plot and a satisfying conclusion. The “willing suspension of disbelief” is helped by the fact it’s a colony ship that gets stricken, meaning that you can reasonably expect a large percent of castaways to already have needed skills – and with only a little bit of luck, you can plausibly get all the right skills with a much smaller number of people than would normally be possible.

    A Long Time Until Now
    Michael Z. Williamson
    Perhaps the best researched time travel novel I’ve ever read, and better yet, it manages to get the information across without infodumps! Perhaps the best part of it, there really are lots of people in the military with the requisite hobbies and skills to manage in a prehistoric era, so as with Castaway Planet, you can plausibly get all truly necessary skill sets with a very small group of people.

  17. N. K. Jemisin, _The Fifth Season_. Terrific story, well written, and although she has sociopolitical points to make, she lets the story and the characters make them. This is a great novel.

    1. Shoot. Need to search next time to make sure I’m not repeating someone else’s rec.

      Second for The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin. Agree with Walt’s comments, and for the same reasoning as for The Traitor:

      In recent times, the whole grimdark thing has gotten to the point where it’s like a repeat of the over-wrought anti-hero that DC and Marvel were creating every other week back in the 90’s.

      So it’s been incredibly refreshing to see takes where there is very little to no gratuitous darkness, where everyone has agency, and where evil is not needlessly cruel, but simply appallingly mundane.

      Both of these books are not for the light of heart, and they may haunt you for some time after, but they are excellent works.

    1. This would be an interesting decision for the administrators as the Anniversary Day Saga is a series within a series.–The Retrieval Artist series. The larger series will continue with, presumably, the same main character. And I don’t see how future books could avoid dealing with some of the repercussions of the Anniversary Day books. So, could one call Anniversary Day a finished multipart work? OTOH single books in a series are eligible and have won so why not a multibook work within a series? A case can be made either way.

    1. I like S.M. Stirling but his work is difficult to get hold of in the UK. No ebooks, and imported paperbacks are only sparsely available.

    2. I definitely second ‘The Desert and The Blade’ by S M Stirling. It’s excellent work full of delightful twists, wonderful protagonists, nasty surprises and a spectacular ending, I’ve already read it twice and am considering snuggling down with it over New Year’s Day for a third go-round. Reiko has become one of my all-time five favorite characters ever.

  18. What are people’s thoughts about this idea to nominate the ENTIRE Discworld series? I think Wheel of Time opened the door to something like this. I’ve haven’t read any of the books, but I have to admit that it was really cool to get the WHOLE Wheel of Time series in my Hugo voter’s packet. I wouldn’t mind getting all of Discworld, either.

    1. Couple of things to note:

      1. The Hugo Voters packet isn’t a must – like what was done for Ancillary Justice and for a few other works, the right holders are free to decline to provide anything beyond an excerpt (or completely decline), and the Hugo Committee are free to decide to not include a voters packet at all.

      2. The following rule:
      3.2.2: A work shall not be eligible if in a prior year it received sufficient nominations to appear on the final award ballot.

      Going Postal got enough nominations to appear on the final ballot but Sir Terry declined the nomination. Also, The Science of the Discworld was nominated for Best Related Work, and did appear on the final ballot – it is part of the Discworld series as it’s part of the Unseen University sub-thread. In both cases, it would go against the rule stated above.

      3. The point has been made that Wheel of Time was a single overarching story broken up into pieces, and that, along with it not having been previously nominated allowed it to get onto the ballot. Discworld doesn’t qualify for both. Individual elements had enough votes to have been previously nominated, and while there is a shared setting, (IMO) it’s not a serialisation or a single overarching story.

      As a fan of Discworld and Sir pTerry, I can understand where the impulse is coming from to honour him with all the awards, but I don’t think shoehorning the whole Discworld onto the Best Novel category is the best way.

      I do think that the guys who were pushing for a Best Series category should essentially try to do what the Best YA sub-committee did, and declare theirs also a Not-a-Hugo, get permission from the Pratchett Estate, and work towards a The Sir Terry Pratchett Award for Best Series.

      1. I agree with you on points 2 and 3, but if it ends up getting enough votes to be in the top 5, I just can’t see the WSFS ruling it ineligible. If they were willing to bend the rules for Robert Jordan, I think it would be hard for them to not bend them even more for Sir Terry Pratchett. I assume his estate would be free to decline the nomination (which is what I think would happen if this idea gets through). And I think point 1 is well-taken, but I also think it would be weird to accept the nomination and then not make the series available. I think last year’s packet, with the full Wheel of Time series AND the full Grimnoir series, made us a little greedy when it comes to our expectations about the Hugo voter’s packet.

        Right now, I’m mostly just curious to see what other people think about the idea. I agree that some sort of special posthumous lifetime recognition award would be more appropriate, but I don’t think there’s a mechanism for regular WSFS members to do that.

        1. Well, there is – you can draft a proposal for the Business Meeting. Even Supporting Members can sponsor a motion, but obvs you should get an attending member to co-sign and help defend the motion etc. IIRC, Todd and Jared Dashoff were working on the Best Series Hugo, and it may be worthwhile if they think the Not-A-Hugo approach is one they want to take.

      2. I know this page is recommendations, but I just got to point out the flaws on your argument.

        These are the rules that were found on the official Hugo Awards website:

        Thus, what you are referring to is not the rule 3.2.2. but rather the rule 3.2.4.

        And in turn I would like to point towards to the rule 3.2.6:
        – “Works appearing in a series are eligible as individual works, but the series as a whole is not eligible. ‘However, a work appearing in a number of parts shall be eligible for the year of the final part.'”

        Whatever criticisms can be levied towards Discworld, I do not believe anyone can claim that these works would not be interlinked in a way that intrinsically creates a greater whole. Not to mention that with a total of 46 novels, it is not just mere series, it is practically an author’s life’s work.

        Thus let us go back to that rule 3.2.6. it states that works in a series are each nominated one at a time, except in the case of the final part.

        And we should make no mistake here; The Shepherd’s Crown is the last Discworld novel, the last part there ever will be.

        Then how about we have a look at rule 3.2.7:
        – “In the written fiction categories, an author may withdraw a version of a work from consideration if the author feels that the version is not representative of what that author wrote.”

        In 2005, a work was withdrawn from consideration, hence we can argue that the number of actual nomination ballots is irrelevant here, because it never appeared on the final ballot.

        Additionally, were we to look at rule 3.2.1:
        “‘Unless otherwise specified’, Hugo Awards are given for work in the field of science fiction or fantasy appearing for the first time during the previous calendar year.”

        ‘Unless otherwise specified.’

        Something that we have already established earlier with the rule 3.2.6. The relevant part quoted: ‘However, a work appearing in a number of parts shall be eligible for the year of the final part.’

        Thus all in all, I would strongly argue that Discworld is, indeed, eligble. (Unless we have even more of those unwritten and unspoken secret rules and conventions. ‘Rolls eyes.’)

        Thus I recommend the entirety of Discworld for 2016’s Hugo Awards.

        And no one should ever play D&D against me.

        1. I’m aware that the others you’ve quoted there allow an interpretation where the entire Discworld would be nominated. That’s a question of interpretation and eligibility , and one in which the Hugo admins have final say.

          What I said was that both Going Postal and The Science of the Discworld got enough nominations to appear on the final ballot, and thus go against 3.2.2, quoted above.

          But yes, this is a recommendation thread, so go for it – just be aware that there are questions on the eligibility.

          “And no one should ever play D&D against me.”

          Not much danger of that I should think :p

        2. Yes the novels are interlinked but they are not a single work published in multiple parts. For one thing, there are several sets of novels in there that aren’t well linked to one another. How is Raising Steam inherently linked to the Shepherd’s Crown?

          Cyteen won for novel in 1989, but the paperback edition was published in three parts.

          So suppose an alternative universe in which the hardcover version didn’t exist and the paperbacks came out in different years. That would really be a single work published in multiple parts. The parts are not themselves novels.

          The Discworld series just isn’t a single work in that sense.

        1. One of my friends is involved in an effort to add a Hugo for series (serieses?) I have a slight disagreement with his approach but I both approve of adding the Hugo and the general approach he wants to take (that is, ignore the number of volumes; a series is anything over X00,000 words.)

          1. One big problem with having a best series category within the Hugos: it would require a huge amount of reading in a constrained period of time for the voters, many of whom won’t be familiar with some, or any, of the nominees, to make an informed decision. Even if most of the nominees ended up being trilogies, rather than epic monsters like The Wheel of Time or Discworld, that’s a lot to ask.

      3. I agree on points 1-3, though I will point out that one could presumably phrase the nomination to omit the Science of Discworld. Isn’t that a work with essays intertwined with a framing story that isn’t really integral to the thread of the novels. One could argue that if one nominated the entire Tiffany Aching sequence as a book whose final part was published in 2015, that it would be eligible. Such a nomination wouldn’t run afoul of point 2. It would also be a little more credible as a single work than the whole of the Discworld. Even so, I don’t consider the Aching books a single work in multiple parts. I wasn’t even expecting the Shepherd’s Crown to be written until it was. For that matter I consider the nomination of The Wheel of Time fairly dubious as a single work.

        Aside from the rules; for people who aren’t regular Prachett readers (difficult though it is to believe, I know a few), it would just be a giant pain in the ass. Even the most conscientious Hugo reader isn’t going to read the whole thing; I certainly didn’t read the whole Wheel of Time. Can’t we just not nominate a whole shelf of books as a single work and just nominate the Shepherd’s Crown if we think it worthy?

  19. ‘Half a War’, Joe Abercrombie.
    (Or alternatively, since Half a War is the third and final book in the series, the entire Shattered Sea Trilogy.)

    Gritty, norse-themed heroic fantasy trilogy from an author who doesn’t seem to get the recognition he deserves outside of the UK. Writes action scenes as well as any fantasy author. Great world-building too. Doesn’t set out to do anything other than tell a superb story, but what sets it apart from most fantasy trilogies is Abercrombie’s skill as a wordsmith.

    1. Ronin Games was terrific, but I’m dubious about recommending books-in-serieses, though they’re technically eligible. Now, if there was an award for best series I would think seriously about Wearing the Cape en toto.

  20. I’ve just finished The Dark Forest, the sequel to The Three Body Problem. I found it much more enjoyable than The Three Body Problem, and I’m looking forward to reading the third book in the trilogy.
    I don’t know how much (if any) of the improvement is due to having a different translator, but it doesn’t seem to have hurt.

    I have every intention of nominating it for next year’s Hugos.

      1. I actually really loved The Three Body Problem and–for most of The Dark Forest–I was a little underwhelmed. But the ending was incredible, and one of those endings where it makes you realize that things which hadn’t quite come together for you yet were actually all part of a bigger pattern. So, although I love Golden Son, I’ve totally got to second the nomination for The Dark Forest. It’s a strong, strong contender.

  21. So far this year my favorite three novels are:

    Signal to Noise, by Sylvia Moreno-Garcia
    Karen Memory, by Elizabeth Bear
    Seveneves, by Neal Stephenson

    Seveneves was my first Stephenson and I loved the level of detail and the build up to the Earth’s firestorm and how tense everything was in figuring out how / if humanity would survive. Also, the book opens up with the moon exploding. How does it get better than that?

    Elizabeth Bear is one of my favorite authors, but that is not a reason to nominate (at all). Luckily, Karen Memory is a standout book that doesn’t quite feel SF at first – it begins to read as an alternate old west tale with one hell of a narrative voice. The SF elements come in later, but the bottom line is that the novel just flat out works.

    From the jacket copy: “Set in the late 19th century–when the city we now call Seattle Underground was the whole town (and still on the surface), when airships plied the trade routes, would-be gold miners were heading to the gold fields of Alaska, and steam-powered mechanicals stalked the waterfront, Karen is a young woman on her own, is making the best of her orphaned state by working in Madame Damnable’s high-quality bordello. […] Bear brings alive this Jack-the-Ripper yarn of the old west with a light touch in Karen’s own memorable voice, and a mesmerizing evocation of classic steam-powered science.”

    Signal to Noise is a different sort of novel all together, melding magical realism with a modern day Mexico City storyline with the main characters as kids back in the 1980’s. Described as “A literary fantasy about love, music and sorcery, set against the background of Mexico City.”

    1. If you liked Seveneves, give Anathem a try. Snow Crash is also fun, but a bit too clever for its own good. Diamond Age and REAMDE are also pretty awesome.

      1. Anathem is amazing – totally second this recommendation. Reamde is also fun, but a bit more pedestrian given the setting (I thought). Snow Crash was really exciting until the last few chapters, when it felt like Stephenson just decided to stop, instead of ending.

    1. I second this nomination. While I didn’t like the avoidance of actually talking about the time travel technology and the malfunctions that caused the characters to be thrown back in time (avoiding actual science is IMHO one of the problems of the SJW factionfic), the story, the characters, etc were fantastic.

      1. To be fair, it’s more about how time travel effects the characters, instead of the mechanics of the tech. And the Paleolithic worldbuilding is first-rate.

  22. Raising Caine by Charles E. Gannon. After a second novel in the Caine Riordian series (Trial By Fire) got a bit bogged down in ground combat and infodumps, Gannon hits his stride again in book 3. In fact, I’d argue he upped his game: the world building is more ambitious, the head-spinning revelations come fast and furious, Caine Riordan’s character develops in ways he (and maybe we) didn’t anticipate, and pretty much all the other characters gain in complexity and interest. There’s even a surprisingly substantial coda after the big climax that’s worth hanging around for. Really good stuff.

    1. I second what Rick said, a fast-paced space opera with hard (biological and physical) science tendencies. I think this is the best in the series (so far).

    2. RAISING CAINE was outstanding, and did a great job of working some plot twists in via slight of hand that I didn’t see coming.

  23. Can I recommend “Son of the Black Sword” by Larry Correia (or is he avoiding nomination again this year).
    I have read the Baen e-ARC of this novel and it is great. Looking forward to more in this new series.


  24. On the basis that if the final volume comes out in the correct year, can we recommend the Dark Tide Rising series by John Ringo. (Is “Islands of Rage and Hope” going to be the last in the series ? If not then can we recommend book 3 in an ongoing series ?)

    This is a modern zombie book with science believable enough to make sense… and lots of action.

    1. I would agree with this recommendation but I think John would turn it down as he has said on Facebook he would not accept a Hugo. Long story and not mine to tell. I loved the entire Black Tide Rising series and am hoping for more of this world if the Muse gets her grip on him again.

    2. I also want to nominate Black Tide Rising, it fits in that it is a single story broken up into 4 plus parts, and it deserves a Hugo both because it is the best pure story told in the past 2 years AND it is the definitive ZA novel. These books leave the rest of the genre in the dust. Make him take it! Have Miriam tie him down or something!

    1. Would like to second this suggestion . I think the title could put people off sounds like penny dreadful but this is a very well written book. It comes from a different spin to the usual urban werewolf stories.

  25. 1636: The Cardinal Virtues by Eric Flint and Walter Hunt
    This is the best alternative history/time travel series with almost every installment worthy of five stars. Cardinal Virtues is one of the five-star installments. In the late 20th century Grantville, West Virginia is ‘relocated’ to 17th century Germany in the middle of the Thirty Years War. In a nutshell the novels (and the bimonthly Grantville Gazette) describe how a few thousand average Americans can/could impact European (world) history from political systems to technology.
    Cardinal Virtues is focused on the French royals with assassination and succession driving the plot. Up-timers (20th century West Virginians) play important but secondary roles in the political and military action.

  26. The House of Shattered Wings, by Aliette de Bodard. Paris has been ruined from decades of war. Fallen angels run the city (and probably other places in the world) and have divided themselves into “houses”. Mythology is real. In that setting, an emotionally gritty story dealing with the unraveling of one of the most prominent Houses. Beautiful, ugly, wonderful, highly recommended.

  27. Ancillary Mercy, by Ann Leckie

    The third, and final of Leckie’s spectacular Imperial Radch space trilogy not only sticks the landing, but outdoes it’s predecessors. It’s a stunningly well balanced book, with Big Ideas on freedom and identity, well paced action set pieces and (something that many people leave out) some really nicely done and properly placed moments of levity.

    It doesn’t do the mistake of trying to tie up everything, nor does it take the deus ex machina way out (especially since there was at *least* one right there at the end). The ending, and the questions raised are a natural progression to the world building Leckie has done, and she does it in such a way that you just find yourself asking “How did I not see that coming?”

    This is currently at the top of my longlist (alongside Seveneves and Uprooted).

    I would also pay real money for a series of episodic short stories regarding the (mis)adventures of the Translator.

    1. Fourthed. Ancillary Mercy might have been the best of the three books, and they were each among the best novels I had read each year they were published. This is top shelf science fiction.

  28. I nominate:

    “Golden Son” by Pierce Brown

    This is the followup to the first book, “Red Rising.” Red Rising was really great (Ender’s Game meets Hunger Games), but the sequel is even better. Non-stop action with intense plot twists, smart, well-written characters, something interesting to say about violence and justice, and a very cool sci-fi setting.


    “The Aeronaut’s WIndlass” by Jim Butcher

    This is the first book in a new series by Jim Butcher (The Cinder Spires). It’s a very, very different direction from his main series (The Dresden Files), and is much more accomplished than his other stand-alone series (Codex Alera). Fans of the Dresden Files will love this series (because it retains the strengths of a diverse cast of characters, great action and humor), but a lot of folks who weren’t really into the Dresden Files should also give this a try because it really is quite different. Instead of urban fiction, you get post-apocalyptic steampunk with airship combat. Definitely a must-read, and definitely a Hugo contender.

    1. Definitely second Golden Son – Red Rising was one of the most exciting books of last year (sadly, it didn’t get nearly as much traction as the generic “Ready Player One,” despite hitting many of the same notes a lot harder and better), and the sequel is a worthy follow-up.

    2. I agree both with “Golden Son” and “The Aeronaut’s Windlass”. Great books that deserve some recognition.

      “Golden Son” is intense and great story-telling.

      “The Aeronaut’s Windlass” is an imaginative and epic fantasy.

  29. Sorcerer to the Crown, by Zen Cho.

    I don’t think this one will be for everyone here, it’s a regency era fantasy with the political machinations of high society, but shown through the lens of a newish to the role Sorcerer Royal who is navigating this odd magical subculture while not at all accepted by his peers (for reasons)

    But the star of the show (and arguably the real protagonist / plot mover) is Prunella, who is a bad ass and fun character and if Cho writes more in this setting, I’d love to see how that character develops. She’s a character who entirely upends the social order of the time.

    It’s a bit of a slow build at first and I was initially just enjoying it without being too excited – but the deeper I got into the novel the less I wanted to put it down and by the end I was completely sold.

    To a very small point, it reminds of Mary Robinette Kowal’s Shades of Milk and Honey, which was a novel that could be described as “Jane Austen with Magic” – Sorcerer to the Crown isn’t so much a novel of manners as MRK’s, but it has a bit of that more “proper” feel to it, partly due to the setting, but with far rougher edges and the dagger of Prunella ripping right through the middle of it all. She’s a friggin delight, and in the end, so is this novel.

  30. Hell’s Foundations Quiver, David Weber

    This is book eight in the Safehold series. It ratchets up the tension all around, with continuing character development for old favorites and new characters who I think will quickly become favorites. As usual with Weber’s novels, there’s a heavy emphasis on individual responsibility. No shortage of combat or cloak & dagger, and definitely some things I didn’t see coming.

    1. I like this series but realistically anybody who hasn’t read the previous books in the series is probably going to bounce right off it. Even I wouldn’t be able to get behind its nomination as I’m only on book 4 so far, and I probably won’t have got to this volume by the time the nomination period closes.

  31. Gatefather – Orson Scott Card
    A satisfying, very Card-ian blend of American Gods and Jumper, concluding the most enjoyable non-Ender’s Game OSC series in years.

    A Borrowed Man – Gene Wolfe
    A dystopian noir-esque mystery. Wolfe’s worldbuilding is extremely interesting, his characterization engaging, and his construction of the world and its morality haunting.

    1. A Borrowed Man has interestingly subtle world-building: AFAICT, it’s close to the same tech level as our world because it’s on the other side of a peak, during a long slow civilizational decline. And of course the fact that Gene Wolfe has never won a Hugo is all sorts of ridiculous.

      1. I am a big Gene Wolfe fan, but he’s been Worldcon Guest of Honor and nominated for the Hugos 8 times, and he has won a ton of Nebula, Locus and World Fantasy awards, so he’s hardly been overlooked by the establishment.

        But yeah, I am really looking forward to reading his new book, as it does sound good.

  32. 1. The Whispering Swarm / Michael Moorcock

    What kicks this up in my book to Hugo-worthiness is the effort of attempting the conceit of an “autobiographantasy.” It read like no other fiction novel I’ve read recently, and gave me additional insight to one of our important grandmasters — I think. But that was part of the fun of Moorcock’s approach is figuring out just who his Michael Moorcock character of the novel actually is.

    2. Morte / Robert Repino

    Quite the opposite of The Whispering Swarm, Morte felt like a great, old fun friend from my formative junior high and high school reading days. To say it evokes the classic Animal Farm is an understatement. If you liked that novel, and the great insight into humanity that it offered, then you will love Morte.

    3. Somewhither / John C. Wright
    Echo some of the previous comments. This was absolutely one of the most entertaining reads for me this year. It collects a bunch of great ideas together to weave them in what is building to be a great epic adventure.

    4. Brian Catling / The Vorrh

    I absolutely read this based on the professional reviews, mainly Alan Moore and Terry Gilliam, both masterminds of creative fantasy. (I also have no idea about its eligibility; I came by it for the American 2015 publication.) It is a bit of a mixed bag, but I absolutely think there are great ideas and concepts, and especially characters. The prose plodded at times, but those pushing through get rewarded. It reminded me a lot of Matheson’s What Dreams May Come, which I loved.

  33. Archangel
    Marguerite Reed
    Excellent hardish SF, fully realized setting, well-rounded and believable characters, gripping from start to finish.
    Links to somewhere people can buy it/read it are also great

    Bones & All
    Camille DeAngelis
    Character-driven young adult dark fantasy/horror featuring a deeply sympathetic yet ineluctably creepy female protagonist.

    Cherie Priest
    Sequel to “Maplecroft,” second book in the Borden Dispatches. Lovecraftiana done right, featuring Lizzie Borden — yes, THAT Lizzie Borden — as the knowledgeable and dangerous main character.

    A Darker Shade of Magic
    VE Schwab
    Ingenious alternate universe fantasy.

  34. A Long Time Until Now (Temporal Displacement)
    Michael Z Williamson

    This is a new story in a new world where a modern military in Afghanistan unit finds itself Paleolithic times with only their vehicles and what they had on them at the moment of transition. Williamson writes this from the multiple view points of a very small, diverse, and not necessarily compatible group of people who suddenly find themselves very isolated and dependent on each other for survival. He does this while telling a gripping narrative and never falling into the rut of bashing the point of view of any of the characters.

  35. The Traitor Baru Cormorant, by Seth Dickinson

    Ohhh, so good, so brutal.

    From Amazon:
    “In Seth Dickinson’s highly-anticipated debut The Traitor Baru Cormorant, a young woman from a conquered people tries to transform an empire in this richly imagined geopolitical fantasy.

    Baru Cormorant believes any price is worth paying to liberate her people-even her soul.

    When the Empire of Masks conquers her island home, overwrites her culture, criminalizes her customs, and murders one of her fathers, Baru vows to swallow her hate, join the Empire’s civil service, and claw her way high enough to set her people free.

    Sent as an Imperial agent to distant Aurdwynn, another conquered country, Baru discovers it’s on the brink of rebellion. Drawn by the intriguing duchess Tain Hu into a circle of seditious dukes, Baru may be able to use her position to help. As she pursues a precarious balance between the rebels and a shadowy cabal within the Empire, she orchestrates a do-or-die gambit with freedom as the prize.

    But the cost of winning the long game of saving her people may be far greater than Baru imagines.”

    1. Ignore this one, I was hit by the dreaded Double Post Ghost. I didn’t realize I wasn’t logged in, so the comments hit moderation. As good as Traitor Baru is, it’s not a double recommendation.

  36. The Aeronaut’s Windlass

    by Jim Butcher.

    Excellent steampunk-flavored epic Fantasy. Enjoyable, compelling characters. The world is unique, with just enough familiar touchstones to help the reader enter into it. Lots of mysteries to be explored in sequels. Butcher even makes something like talking cats, which could come off as twee in the hands of a lesser writer, into a fascinating Fantasy culture. Despite the formidable 600 page length, the pages raced by.

    1. I was looking for this to nominate or second. If it does not end up here, it could go in to Campbell award for new author.

    2. I’d like to third the Best Novel recommendation and second the Campbell recommendation. The book stands on its own, but it’s even more impressive considering it’s Brian’s first novel.

    3. I would like to give a plus 1 for Nethereal. I really enjoyed this book. This book for me has broken a lot of the mundane Sci-fi plots. It has left me wanting more of this world that he has created.

  37. Son of the Black Sword
    Larry Correia
    Baen Books

    The world building in this book is just amazing. Instead of religion, there is the Law, telling the each Caste what to their responsibilities, duties, and privileges are. And then there’s the main character, whose very existence is against the law. The plot is well executed, the characters are complex, and the action is frequent, exciting, and plot advancing.

    The Aeronaut’s Windlass
    Jim Butcher

    Again, the world building is simply amazing. The “nations” (referred to as Spires in the book) bear more in common with City-States than they do with nations as we know, because outside of the gigantic spires the land is uninhabitable. Travel is done by way of magically powered air ships – leading to a “Wooden Ships and Iron Men” feeling. Overall, an extremely exciting book, with air battles, running gun battles, (literal) cat fights, magic battles, and interrupted duels all serving their part for the plot.

  38. I’m adding a vote for “Uprooted,” which was spectacular, and for Jo Walton’s “The Just City”–really smart, engaging book.

    Next on my list: Gene Wolfe’s The Borrowed Man. Really looking forward to this one!

  39. If the 40-odd Discworld books are nominated together, I’ll vote for them. Who decides if they’re eligible? When will they decide?

    Another left-field possibility … Michel Houellebecq’s Submission. It’s not exactly sci-fi, but could be considered speculative fiction in the dystopian possible future vein of 1984 or Fahrenheit 451.

    Based on what I’ve actually read so far, I would nominate Seveneves, Nemesis Games and The Just City.

    1. The Worldcon Committee for the 2016 Worldcon will appoint the Hugo Administrators. Ultimately, the Hugo Administrators would determine if Discworld as a whole is eligible.

      Historically speaking, they will not make a public statement on the eligibility of any work unless that work is nominated for a Hugo. So, the only way to find out is if Discworld gets enough nominations to make the final ballot. Generally, I believe they tend to follow the wishes of the nominators in those edge cases / gray areas between categories – provided that it isn’t against the rules to do so.

  40. I don’t think I posted here yet. Put me as another vote for Somewhither. I know nominating Wright again is tilting at windmills, but it is easily the best story I read all year. The world-building kind of goes without saying, but I also love the protagonist, the narrative tone, the little cultural references, the pacing–it all comes together great.

  41. Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen, by Lois McMaster Bujold

    I have a confession. When it comes to the Vorkosigan Saga, I really like Miles, I do! But the star of it, the person whose presence and…gravity? affects everything has always been, to me, Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan. In Gentleman Jole, it’s really good to see her return as a protagonist, and that her changed circumstance has done nothing too diminish her.

    Bujold, with this book, once again shows how it’s done, by juggling so many fascinating characters, settings, and motivations. It’s an excellent book, and certainly one of the best this year.

    1. It’s questionable whether this is eligible — it would be up to the Hugo sub-committee to determine. Its publication date is not technically until 2016, but advance reading copies of not quite the final version were made available for purchase in 2015.

      1. Typically the cover date distinction is for periodicals (ie when the volume that comes out in December is dated January). Regardless, the book I’ve linked above has a publication date of 10/21/2015, and is eligible regardless.

        End of the day, it’s Bujold. I think for her, she’d have try really hard to write something *NOT* Hugo worthy 🙂

          1. ARCs are normally excluded because they are not typically not widely distributed (ie, to reviewers etc only), and are not made available for purchase. GJ&tRQ is available for sale, and distribution wise it’s been released online. Anyone can purchase it from the Baen store, so it qualifies as a publication released last year.

        1. I quote the head post: ” First published in 2015 in any format “.

          I emphasize one word in the quote: “any”.

          Is it not worthwhile to benchmark the rules this year to discuss eArcs? It’s going to come up sooner or later and sooner is better than later. Make the nomination, then put the authorities in the position of explaining, or changing, the wording.

          Bujold, deservedly, sweeps the opposition before her whenever she takes the field. I see no reason the Puppies (4 or other number, sad, Rabid, rapid, or otherwise) should not credit an author of such quality “despite” (scare quotes) her gender, her publisher (Baen not Tor), her editor (Weiskopf) her topic matter in this particular novel, and her general SFnal approach to gender and economic issues since the 1980’s. (One of my favorite SF quotes is from one of Bujold’s first three published novels, Ethan Urquhart to Elli Quinn on the value and costs of maintaining hearth and home, raising a child or an army thereof — “There must be something wrong with your accounting .” )

          1. I think you are right. The misogynists at File 770 should not punish Bujold for being a woman published by Baen and edited by as woman (Weiskolf).

      2. The Nebula committee has ruled this work eligible in 2015, but this doesn’t affect the Hugo committee.

        This ruling came out just before Capricon and Dave McCarty commented at Capricon.

        1. The Hugo administrator doesn’t rule on eligibility unless the works gets enough votes to nominate, otherwise his life would consist entirely of eligibility rulings.

        2. There is precedent for ruling it a 2015 work.

        3. If it doesn’t get enough nominating votes in 2016, but does in 2017, the 2017 administrator might rule it ineligible as a 2016 work.

        4. Nominate what you love, and let the committee rule on eligibility and settle things questionable things into the right category, etc.


        Note that last year, a work was ruled in eligible because it had been published on the author’s web site in a prior year, and GJatRQ was offered for sale in 2015 on the publisher’s web site. My between-the-lines interpretation is that it’s eligible as a 2015 work.

        My advice is nominate it if you love it. Do you really have 5 other things that you love so much that you would hate to push one off to make room and then have it ruled ineligible? If so, then I guess you have a dilemma.

        I enjoyed the book because I’m a fan of the series and its characters, but I’m reluctant to nominate it. It’s principally a character study, and very little actually happens. Even less happens than happened in Cryoburn.

  42. My recommendation is for “The Sceptre of Morgulan” by Matthew D. Ryan. It is part of a fairly obscure series, so that hurts it a bit, but by god, what a series it is! Even though it has the scope of more modern fantasy (large cast of characters, fate of the world type stuff) the feeling and flavor of it can best be described as “Vampire Hunting in Lankhmar”. The world and tone is highly reminiscent of the older and darker sword and sorcery classics from the golden age through the “Flashing Swords!” type New Wave.

    1. I’ll second both of those, and add Son of the Black Sword by Larry Correia. I thought Larry wrote awesome worlds and characters into existence before reading this book, but…he truly demonstrates the length and breadth of his world/culture/myth/character/insert-here building skills in this introduction to a new series. I’d say more, but really the best way to understand what I’m talking about is to read it for yourself. I’d proudly call it (or The Aeronauts Windlass, or Strands of Sorrow) the best sci-fi/fantasy novel of the year.

      1. Echoing the support for both Aeronaut’s Windlass and Son of the Black Sword. The worldbuilding done for both is incredibly immersive, and easy to get into from the first few pages. SotBS has the most brutal setting I’ve read in a while (and a very unique protagonist~!); and AW has such a fascinating world, that I really, really want to know more. I just finished reading it today and was rather taken aback that I’d run out of story. “Nooo! I’m not done ENJOYING it yet!”

        In the Light Novel format of books, I recommend Log Horizon Vol 1, and Sword Art Online: Progressive – but I’ll have to dig out which books to list tomorrow. I’m getting rekt by this heatstroke.

    2. Definitely Strands of Sorrow: Black Tide Rising 4 by John Ringo at

      I haven’t gotten to The Aeronaut’s Windlass yet but sounds good.

  43. Okay, I’m going to go ahead and nominate my own series–I don’t see any rule that says I can’t.

    The Book Of Lost Doors series is four novels, “Catskinner’s Book”, “Cannibal Hearts”, “The Worms Of Heaven” and “Gingerbread Wolves”. The last one (and it is the last one–this series has a definite ending) was published in June of 2015.

    In this series I set out to recapture the sense of the fantastic hiding within the mundane that drew me into science fiction in the first place. To this end I invented a world with its own rules and its own gods and monsters, deliberately avoiding the standard fantasy tropes in order to give my readers something new.

  44. Knight’s Shadow by Sebastian de Castelle

    This is the second book in Sebastian’s Greatcoats series. The writing is fantastic and the characters quickly suck you into the storyline.

    One reason I particularly enjoy this series is the plot theme that no one should be above the law.


    The Skull Throne by Peter V. Brett.

    This is the fourth book in the Demon cycle series. Peter has done a great job of creating a variety of groups/cultures/traditions that are in some cases allied and in other cases quite opposed. Each group has its’ own relative merits. It’s possible to read between the lines as commentary on the modern world, or just enjoy a well told story.

    1. I second Somewhither. It’s possibly the best novel Wright has written yet. And if it gets nominated, everyone gets to read it for free!

  45. How about “Flex?” I recommend if you are seriously trying to come up with the best nominations, you read and consider it. Unfortunately I haven’t had a chance to read a whole lot of 2015 novels, but Flex stacks up very well against novels of the past. Frankly, compared to other urban fantasy like The Dresden Files and arguably Monster Hunter, I found Flex to have superior “literary” qualities in addition to explosions and highly logical, cohesive magic. The characters are flat out better developed.

    Now I will say there is a slight liberal bent to the author’s views, but it in no way detracts from the story or preaches. It’s not actually noticeable unless you’re highly attuned to it.

  46. I thoroughly enjoyed “War Dogs” by Greg Bear, ISBN-13: 978-0316072830, but I think it’s not eligible this year. Regardless, it’s an excellent read. He’s really thought through some interesting ideas on how interplanetary war, and war on Mars in particular, might play out.

    I’ve just bought the sequel, “Killing Titan,” ISBN-13: 978-0316224000, and I’m excited to read it. That would be eligible this year, so if it’s as good as the first in the series, it should be seriously considered.

    1. Well, I’ve finished “Killing Titan.” It pains me to say, but I don’t recommend it for a nomination. I really like Greg Bear, but if you compare this novel to some of his award-winning stuff, it’s not his best outing. Any one of Eon, Eternity, or Legacy is better than this. Killing Titan advances the story started in War Dogs. I’m looking forward to the third entry in the Trilogy, and I recommend reading the trilogy. However, the story in this middle book is slow moving, and the big ideas about technology, history, and aliens are handled by having the narrator confused or ignorant. I expect a bit of that will be revealed in the Trilogy final book, but this middle book doesn’t live up to that promise (yet). Looking forward to finding other novels to nominate.

  47. Hello everyone, I liked Seveneves by Stephenson, and SM Sterling’s The Desert and the Blade. I am going to have to catch up on some of the other recommendations here. Thanks, Brian

  48. Vermillion by Molly Tanzer This book came recommended to me and I have to say that nothing sounded appealing when I read the book jacket. I expected it to be a time wasting joke from my buddy who insisted that I give it a try and I did. I expect this to be a hard sell to any Sad Puppy let alone someone who likes the genre of weird westerns or steampunk. For those who do try it I think they will be pleasantly surprised. The book set in the Old West and San Fransisco gold rush period. The main character is a 19 year old chain smoking, gun toting psychopomp (yeah, I know, I was thinking the same thing. If that was Clint Eastwood it might have a fighting chance perking my interest) . A psychopomp is someone who dispatches the undead, primarily Chinese undead before they become a menacing problem (and therein lies the fun). What makes it a good weird western is there is a lot of the familiar setting but it is laced with Chinese folklore that makes the familiar strange, like the Chinese zombies. Again, the character is so far out of whack of what I thought I would like in a character that I was shocked to find her intriguing and entertaining. She must unravel a mysterious disappearance of Chinese railroad workers. and the story is the adventure. Although my Sad Puppy warning flags were on high alert when I read the book cover I read it anyway and was pleased and surprised to add it to my weird western shelf. I was prepared for the worst. The story moves, Lou, the main character rocks, you are in for some fun reading this. The cover of the book fits the story–no bait and switch. The book is devoid of messaging or preachy narrative. It is a good story that is entertaining fun.

    1. I second this. I would never have picked up this book except for your recommendation. I found the cover off putting. But I enjoyed your comments at Blackgate and felt you to have a credible logic so dived in. This book was intriguing from the start. Totally unique world view so made zombie premise fresh again.

    1. Second on Saturn Run. The first good new hard-SF spaceship I’ve read in years and the egg-spacesuits are good too. A great first-contact hard-SF. Larry Niven said it reminded him of Footfall, and it will delight anyone who remembers the Niven/Pournelle collaborations in the eighties. Really, by comparison, nothing else I’ve seen recommended here is SF at all: real speculative fiction based on real science, a real sense of wonder, by a writer who has Balzac’s realism down cold and has transcended that to the technique of Wells.

  49. I would suggest S.M. Stirling’s The Desert and the Blade. Yes its part of a setting/endless series but it works as a stand alone novel so you don’t have to read a bunch of other books to grok it [which is why although I am a die hard Cherryh fan I am not suggesting the latest Foreigner novel, which needs a libretto or sourcebook even if you have read the entire series]. Short form its a coming of age tale of two fated princesses and two magic swords in a near future version of our world where the tech went away and the magic is slowly returning. Its got honking great battles, excellent characterization, some dynamite encounters along the quest route and a blow away ending you will not see coming.

  50. Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin.

    The plot is a unique mix of alternate history, action, and science fiction/fantasy; the author almost seamlessly goes between the past and the present and it is a really compelling piece of speculative fiction.

    (And come on–a shapeshifting Holocaust survivor who competes in a motorcross race so she can assassinate Hitler. That’s just cool.)

    1. I would agree that Aurora is one of the best SF novels of the year. It’s neck-and-neck with Seveneves I think but the highs (and lows) of Robinson’s work makes it the more memorable work for my money.

      I wish there was a separate Fantasy category, which I would suggest that Brian Staveley’s The Providence of Fire would be at the top of that list. Book 2 in a trilogy but amazing world-building and many WTF! plot surprises.

    2. 3rd for Aurora.

      I’ve been comparing it to Ringworld.

      Well researched and developed with engaging characters and an engrossing plot. Thumbs up.

    3. 4th for Aurora. I don’t necessarily agree with his conclusions but I respect a SF writer who poses big questions and challenges orthodoxy in the genre.

      1. Same here.

        I felt that the entire last chapter could have been left out, (he got just a bit eco preachy imo) but it doesn’t damage the main story, so it still get my nod.

  51. Collisions of the Damned by James Young
    Go to for more information.
    This is the third book in the Usurper’s War (WW2) alternative history series. The geopolitics is plausible, the military encounters are logical and clearly described, and characters (historical and otherwise) are well-developed. For me, the series feels like Wouk’s ‘War and Remembrance’.

  52. I have to echo the nominations for Uprooted by Naomi Novik and The 5th Season by NK Jemisin (which is my favorite book of 2015, amazing worldbuilding!). I’d also like to add “Touch” by Claire North, a deliciously creepy book about entities who are essentially parasitic ghosts.

  53. Aside from Uprooted by Naomi Novik and The Just City by Jo Walton, I really enjoyed Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. Brilliant narrative. At first I figured it would be hard to read but I wolfed it down in one.

  54. Saturn Run by John Sanford and Ctein
    The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher
    The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins (I also put this in for the Campbell)
    Nemesis Games by James S A Corey

    There were a lot of great books this year. It was hard to just pick four.

    1. Yes, agree with SATURN RUN.

      BTW: Chapter 42 has a nice in-joke invoking both Douglas Adams and Fredric Brown’s short-short “Answer.”

  55. Radiance, by Catherynne M. Valente. The setting really hearkens back to Golden Age sci-fi: most of the planets are inhabited, and humans travel between them in gleaming rockets. The author does a great job of giving each of these planets its own unique culture and “feel.”

  56. My recommendations for Best Novel:

    The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher
    – The start of a new series by Butcher. Steampunk, Machiavellian scheming, brave and not so brave heroes, dastardly and not so dastardly villains, what’s not to like?

    Somewhither by John C Wright
    – Another start of an action packed old school adventure in a multi-verse setting. A young man (of unusual heritage) gets in trouble, fights and fails, fights and succeeds, almost always keeps his spirit intact. This is the sort of novel we don’t get much of today, and kind of reminds of a merger of Heinlein’s juveniles and Zelazny’s Amber. For those who dislike Christian themes, you might want to avoid it. For anyone else, highly recommended.

    The Dread Wyrm by Christian Cameron, aka Miles Cameron
    – The third in the Traitor Son series. A late medieval setting (verging on firearm use), this is akin to GRRM’s A Dance of Ice and FIre, but cleaner (for values of clean, it is still very dark and gritty) and more Arthurian fantasy oriented. There are horrible things going on and alluded to both on and off scene, and Machiavellian scheming and betrayal, but the good guys are mostly (sort of) good and the bad guys are mostly bad (but again, this is not iron clad). Dragons, battles, duels, assassinations, a put upon (but not helpless populace), arrogant knights, near gods, wizards and warriors all come together in excellent battle scenes, both massed and individual. There are a lot of competing themes in this series and all I can say is I highly recommended that you try the first one, “The Red Knight” and see what comes of it.

  57. I’d like to recommend ORIGINATOR by Joel Shepherd. It’s the latest book in Shepherd’s Cassandra Kresnov series, which is a tremendous political/military thriller set in a far future Cold War style conflict between two interstellar powers, the Federation and the League. In order to crush its more wealthy and larger enemy, the League created a race of super-soldiers, artificial humans – androids – to serve in its elite military units. Cassandra Kresnov is the most advanced artificial human ever built. The perfect commando and special operative, Kresnov has already helped topple the League, establish equal rights for artificial persons in the Federation, and has been demonstrating the line between life as we know it, and artificial life as she does is blurred to the point of being unrecognizable. In ORIGINATOR, Kresnov learns the origin of her people may not have been the League at all, but may be instead a race of mysterious aliens called the Talee. Now, she must defend her people, her nation, and most importantly her family from plots within the Federation, the Leage, and even the Talee.

    ORIGINATOR is a fantastic novel, and while I think it’s better if you have read all the rest, it can be read as a stand alone. This book and the whole series in general have everything a Puppy could want in a piece of SciFi: fast-paced action/adventure, political intrigue, espionage, and high-tech everywhere that centrally affects the story and the characters. What I like best is that Shepherd does all this while simultaneously asking some of the great questions the Grand Masters of SciFi did. What makes us human? How will technology affect that answer over time? And will humanity as we know it survive at all in the future? Even if you don’t nominate the book, I highly recommend reading it.

  58. In keeping with the rules interpretation that allowed Wheel of Time to be considered for Best Novel, I’d like to mention Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s Retrieval Artist series for potential nomination. Spanning 11 novels, the series follows the trials and tribulations of a handful of characters living in a universe where mankind has discovered the stars, and the other races that live within it. But unlike the utopian visions of Star Trek and the like, Rusch envisions a complex tapestry of societies and laws that don’t interrelate or interoperate all that well, governed by the Alliance. The Alliance maintains that any trespass against an alien law shall be paid for in full to the appropriate government, no matter what the offense and no matter the penalty. There is no appeal. Quite often the result for some poor human is death by torture, loss of their firstborn, mutation and brainwashing, you name it…it’s horrific. The result is the Disappearance Agencies, who provide the guilty with new identities and try to hide them from their pursuers, and of course the Retrieval Artists, who carefully find the Disappeared when necessary. Against that backdrop Rusch tells the story of a massive interstellar plot to destabilize the Alliance. Each book is a combination of police procedural, ethical thought problem, and high-tech action/adventure. Three of the series were published in 2015 (see list below). Given her prolific writing, the uniqueness of the world-building she has done and the quality of her writing and storytelling, I thought it fit she be nominated.


    1. Another vote for Son of the Black Sword. I’m so far behind on my “to read” pile that most of the books I’ve enjoyed lately are older than 2015 — but this one really stood out and thanks to Kindle I was able to read it while it was still freshly published. Fantastic story and the bones of the worldbuilding look very strong.

      “Torchship” I’m looking forward to but haven’t read it yet.

  59. Somewhither was my favorite of 2015: A mystery right up front that everything is not as it seems, excellent world building as the story unfolds, action, humor; left me wanting more.

  60. A few of the books from 2015 that I enjoyed:

    Seveneves by Neal Stephenson
    This one has been linked to and mentioned several times previously by others.

    Zero World by Jason M. Hough
    I had a lot of fun with this cinematic, quick paced book.

    Clockwork Lives by Kevin J. Anderson
    Kevin follows up Clockwork Angels with a very moving piece of work. This was filled with some very beautiful stuff.

    Fool’s Quest by Robin Hobb
    GRRM might like this but don’t let that fool you. It’s actually very good. So many things in this book hit the right notes for me.

  61. Recommendations:
    Seveneves by Neal Stephenson
    Holy cow I think Stephenson knocked this one out of the park. It’s epic and moderately hard SF and it reminds me of why I love SF in the first place.

    A Long Time Until Now by Michael Z. Williamson
    It’s not the worlds most original idea; it owes a fair bit to the Swiss Family Robinson and the Lost Regiment and a few others, but I think it’s very well executed.

  62. Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, by Eliezer Yudkowsky
    Every science fiction fan should read this book! It’s trilling and encouraging and thought provoking in a way that makes the thought not only painless but invigorating. It explores not only scientific ideas but what science itself is. And for now it is FREE! Some might overlook this because it is fan fiction and so only available electronically. But book is a complete story arch in and of itself. (Though a vague cultural awareness of the J K Rowling’s books helps in getting all of the humor.) Regardless of whether you want to nominate this you should download a copy and start reading it.

    The Aeronauts Windlass, by Jim Butcher
    I hadn’t previously been a Jim Butcher fan but this book totally captured me. It introduces a world that was very foreign but made its own sort of sense. I feel in love with so many of the charters even though they were so different from each other.

    Strands of Sorrow, by John Ringo
    The conclusion to the series is just fun, fun, fun all the way through. World building here doesn’t mean the author describing the world, it means the characters going out and build a society in the teeth of mindless rage.

    Son of the Black Sword, by Larry Correia
    The readers and the characters expectations both get over turned. No one starts out understanding what is really going on but it makes perfect sense when each revel takes place. The foundations of this society are being shaken but there is hope for a wonderful restoration.

    1. I haven’t read Strands of Sorrow, but I second the recommendations for HPMoR, The Aeronaut’s Windlass, and Son of the Black Sword. Methods of Rationality, despite being fan fiction, was a surprisingly fun read and thought provoking.

  63. Retro Hugo Novel Recommendations

    Feb 1940 Robert A. Heinlein’s “If This Goes On” serial starts in “Astounding” Novel

    Sep 1940 First serial “Slan!” by A. E. Van Vogt begins in “Astounding” Novel

    May 1940 L. Sprague de Camp & Fletcher Pratt: “The Compleat Enchanter” Novel in “Unknown”

    Darker Than You Think by Jack Williamson Novelette

    The Ill-Made Knight, The by T. H. White

    Synthetic Men of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs

  64. Seveneves – Neal Stephenson
    Ancillary Mercy – Ann Leckie – The best of the series.
    The Fifth Season – N.K. Jemisin
    The Aeronaut’s Windlass – Jim Butcher – Steampunk by a very readable, popular writer.
    Fool’s Quest – Robin Hobb – #2 in a series but a big epic fantasy and great story-telling.
    Golden Son – Pierce Brown – #2 in a series but big science fiction and Goodreads readers choice for best SF.

  65. Oops, forgot one from earlier last year

    Uprooted – Naomi Novik – fantasy that is funny and fast paced, a great heroine, new takes on old myths and legends.

  66. May I nominate:

    Sousmission by Michel Houllebecq
    This is speculative fiction about the presidential elections of 2022 in France. The narrator, a 40-something academic, observes the political violence when the centre-right and centre-left ally with the newly-formed Muslim Brotherhood to keep far-right candidate Marine Le Pen out of power.

    Michel Houellebecq has a lively pulp style, even though he’s a literary author, and a dark, cynical sense of humour. The book was a bestseller in Italy, Germany and France and with good reason – he’s a masterful prose writer. It’s also a punky takedown of what he sees as the venal, corrupt French literary establishment.

    As much of the discussion of the Hugo Awards from the literary end has been about challenging genre boundaries, I felt Sousmission would make an interesting talking point about what constituted speculative fiction. For example, is literary fiction only acceptable in so far as it promotes a specific brand of nominally left-wing politics? Can SF&F claim literary writers who tackle the near future? Is SF&F only pulp entertainment and, if so, how does this explain the magical realist short fiction that has won or been nominated for Hugo and Nebula awards?

  67. The Fifth Season, by N.K. Jemisin.

    Fairly sure I haven’t recommended this yet (based on when I finished it), but it’s my new favorite novel of the year for last year – supplanting even Uprooted and Ancillary Mercy (both astoundingly excellent).

  68. For what it’s worth, I’m putting the following on my nominations form as soon as it becomes available:

    Her Brother’s Keeper, by Mark Kupari
    Saturn Run, by John Stanford & Ctein
    Dragon Thief, by S. Andrew Swann
    The Cinder Spires, by Jim Butcher

    I’d love to also nominate Larry Correia’s Son of the Black Sword, but I know he’s taken himself permanently out of the Hugo running. Pity.

  69. I nominate ‘Nethereal’
    by Brian Niemeier

    It’s “complete”. The story line and characters are well developed and the world is complete. It’s a great read

  70. The Cunning Blood
    Jeff Duntemann
    Smart, thrilling, nanotech-fueled hard SF adventure.

    And who am I to argue with the readers who suggested my book?
    Brian Niemeier
    Anime-influenced space opera with space pirates descending into space hell.

  71. Recommendation: Yaqteenya, The Old World, by Yasser Bahjatt, a Saudi author (

    This novel is perhaps the first Islamic alternate history story: what if the Moors in Andslusia (Spain) had escaped to North America rather than being driven into North Africa? Thus begins the tale…

    Well worth a read by an up and coming author in Saudi Arabia, whose first novel, HWJN, a first-contact tale about humans and djinn, was a best-seller in his country.

  72. For Best Novel, my recommendation is Declan Finn’s “Honor at Stake”. The book is well-written and enjoyable. What people often refer to as “vampire novels” are not usually my sort of reading, but what Finn wrote here is certainly of significantly higher quality, and certainly much more readable.

  73. I’ve mentioned several of these before but for my own peace of mind I want to make sure these 2015 titles are out there for your consideration.

    Strands of Sorrow, John Ringo
    Straits of Hell, Taylor Anderson
    A Long Time Until Now, Michael Z. Williamson
    The Desert and the Blade, S.M. Stirling
    1636: The Cardinal Virtues, Eric Flint and Walter Hunt
    Hell’s Foundations Quiver, David Weber
    Collisions of the Damned, James Young
    A Call to Arms, David Weber, Timothy Zahn, Thomas Pope
    The Oncoming Storm, Christopher Nuttall
    Sword of Arelion, Amanda Green
    Raising Caine, Charles Gannon

  74. The Cinder Spires: the Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher
    Interesting world building, likeable characters, steampunk technology, airship battles, and talking cats–fun read.

    The Devil’s Only Friend by Dan Wells
    I’m not a big fan of horror, but I ‘ll make an exception for this series. John Cleaver is a fascinating character, and I’ve enjoyed watching his growth and development.

    If there were a young adult category, I’d nominate The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. As there isn’t, I’ll nominate it for novel anyway. The final book in the series, Winter, was published in 2015. It’s fairy tales in space with Cinderella as a cyborg.

    Saint Odd by Dean Koontz
    Odd Thomas is the kind of unique sympathetic character that can hold a series together. This is the final book.

    Firefight by Brandon Sanderson
    I’m generally not a fan of superheroes in novel form, but Sanderson can make a great story from any premise. This is the second book in the series, which is often a letdown from the initial book, but Firefight exceeds its predecessor.

  75. Don’t thing I’ve yet see a recommendation for Grace of Kings by Ken Liu. It’s inspired by moments in Chinese history as well as western Epics, and has a mixture of wondrous moments (battle kites! Riding narwhals!) and more mundane elements. I especially like what he’s doing with structure – there’s a grand narrative, but also a series of heroic episodes. Ambitious, and it almost always paid off for me.

  76. My best so far are:

    The Water Knife (Paolo Bacigalupi) — this is a bit more near-future than I usually like my science fiction, but I thought it was really well-built and kept me reading. Seems to be tagged as a “thriller” as well as SF, which applies, I think.

    Just City / Philosopher Kings (Jo Walton) – my vote would go to the first (Just City) if I had to pick, but they both were fascinating and so out of the ordinary. I hadn’t loved the other Walton I had read (Among Others) but this gets my vote for sure.

    The Library at Mount Char (Scott Hawkins) — one of those stories where you get little bits of the full picture as you go on — I read a note from him somewhere saying how the book is really different the second time around, so I read it again and it’s true — I really enjoyed it both times. Engrossing, really a different kind of story in the end– even the flow of the story was surprising to me.

    The Buried Giant (Kazuo Ishiguro) — this is also kind of a borderline genre choice, and I think it’s a love it or hate it choice. It’s very atmospheric. If you don’t like the atmosphere after 50 pages or so (maybe less), just give up. It’s definitely the opposite of a gripping adventure tale. But I really dug it.

  77. Good grief! We’re almost out of January! Between retiring and moving to Phoenix, I did less reading last year than any other year in recent memory. But I did get some in, and I do want to recommend Nethereal, by Brian Niemeier:

    Spectacularly well done for a first novel, and stands well against nearly all space stories I’ve read in the last ten years. It’s almost impossible to describe without spoiler risk, but the writing was superb and I found the underlying ideas fascinating. I liked it enough to want to read it a second time to see if I missed anything; it’s dense enough so that that’s definitely a risk. But forgive me if I go after Somewhither first. I have some serious catching up to do.

  78. Just did my nominations. In addition to the list I posted above, I added Raising Caine by Charles E. Gannon — mostly because I read and rather enjoyed it. But looking at some of the other lists going around, I can see there’s a number of suggestions that have already piqued interest but which I haven’t read yet. I guess I’ve got two months to do some reading…

  79. Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie
    Uprooted by Naomi Novik
    The Fifth Season by Nora Jemisin
    The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman
    Last Song Before Night by Ilana C. Myer
    The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley
    Archangel by Marguerite Reed
    A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab
    Sorcerer To the Crown by Zen Cho
    Bones and All by Camille DeAngelis
    The Mechanical by Ian Tregillis
    Welcome To Night Vale by Jeffery Cranor & Joseph Fink

    1. Unfortunately, “Long Way…” was published in 2014, so is ineligible for Best Novel (Becky Campbell is still eligible for the Campbell though – that has a two year window)

      1. No US pub in 2014 though, right? I believe publication in English but without a US release can leave the book eligibile to be nominated the year it gets a US publication (as long as it wasn’t on the shortlist the prior year)

  80. Title: Mind Over All
    Author: Karina Fabian
    About a sentence saying why you think it’s great:
    Its the third in a trilogy but the whole series is absolutely great! The characters come to life right off the page. Filled with the magic and mystery that makes science fiction so great, Karina’s Mind Over All takes you from Earth right down into another planet. Deryl, the main character, is a psychic with abilities he doesn’t quite know how to use yet who has been enlisted to help save two worlds from certain destruction. In the meantime he tries to help his friend work out his problems with his fiance. I LOVE these books!
    Links to somewhere people can buy it/read it are also great:

  81. Firefight by Brandon Sanderson
    The second of the Reckoners trilogy. As BOJOJOTI said, it exceeds its predecessor, which was a great book itself. The third and final book comes out in a few weeks, and it shows how much I enjoyed the second book that I’m considering buying the third sight unseen.

  82. Second Firefight by Brandon Sanderson
    Absolutly excellent YA, though it more than stands by its own as a SF/F Superhero novel.

  83. Nethereal by Brian Niemeier

    From my Amazon review:

    Nethereal is not afraid to drag its characters through hell.

    Brian Niemeier has laid the groundwork for a fascinating space opera with his novel Nethereal. A ragtag group of pirates gets more than they bargained for when they take control of the Exodus, an experimental starship unlike anything they could possibly imagine.
    Niemeier’s worldbuilding is superb, easily on par with Brandon Sanderson or John C Wright. The characters have a real depth to them as well. The story took me on a roller coaster of a ride to places I didn’t expect. I didn’t want to put it down.

  84. I’m nominating these books (in no particular order, really- they’re all very well done):

    Strands of Sorrow, John Ringo
    Aeronaut’s Windlass, Jim Butcher
    Somewither, John C. Wright
    Honor at Stake, Declan Finn
    A Long Time Until Now, Michael Z. Williamson
    Son of the Black Sword, Larry Correia

  85. Title: “Honor at Stake”
    Author: Declan Finn
    Review Sentence: This is an entertaining mix of action, history, and just the right amount of fantasy wrapped into a fast-paced thriller centered on two complex personalities (with glimpses of much deeper histories) that defend New York City against an onslaught of well planned vampire attacks.


  86. Title: Honor at Stake
    Author: Declan Finn
    Why: Honor at Stake is an intellectual take on vampire lore, without sacrificing a bit of fun or excitement. And…I have a crush on our main guy, Marco Catalano!

  87. “Honor at Stake” by Declan Finn is one of the best novels I’ve ever read. And I’m not one who particularly cares for this particular genre, but I love books that make sense and are intelligent. And the author did not portray vampires as the product of a one-night stand between Dracula and Tinkerbell! My full review is on and I highly recommend his novel to just about everyone.

  88. I would like to nominate (or second or third the nomination of) The Autumn Republic, by Brian McClellan. This amazing book concluded what I consider to be the best fantasy trilogy I have read in a long time.

  89. My novel recs:

    Firefight by Brandon Sanderson
    Amazing characters, funny, great twist on the superhero trope.

    Life and Death by Stephenie Meyer (yes, really)
    An improvement on Twilight (which I enjoy) while bringing an interesting new dimension to that series.

    The Hidden Masters of Marandur (and) The Assassins of Altis by Jack Campbell
    Two great books in a wonderful series with a fantastic main pair and a great relationship.

    Son of the Black Sword by Larry Correia
    A great, well-plotted story with exciting action and interesting characters.

    The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher
    Fun, interesting, with likable characters.

    Alice by Christina Henry
    A really compelling, dark take on Alice in Wonderland.

  90. Somewhither – John C. Wright – Pure delight from beginning to end. So many elements combined of Fantasy, SF, Catholicism in a world that is a Calvinistic hell with everything determined. I could hardly stop smiley through this novel.

  91. I nominate shadows of self by Brandon Sanderson. It’s really an improvement over the first book in the series and has a lot of good meat in it. Vigilantism vs. official force, love vs. practicality. Plus face changing assassins are always fun.

  92. I’ll chime in for the Chancy “A Net of Dawn and Bones,” which I discovered via these comments – an unexpected delight of a novel, very well crafted in every way. Reminded me a bit in writing style and overall concept of Elizabeth Bear’s “All The Windwracked Stars,” but with a generally positive – “superversive” if you will – tone rather than the pervasive sense of decay and depression which tends to permeate much of Bear’s writing.

    And then “Somewither,” which was an entirely EXPECTED delight of a novel – I read the sample chapters and occasional post about it at Wright’s website, waited with great anticipation, and the full novel certainly did not disappoint: a marvelous philosophical romp disguised as a hugely fun coming-of-age adventure story in the spirit of the sort of “Everything Plus The Kitchen Sink”-style roleplaying games that he used to DM once upon a time.

    Also Mad Mike’s “A Long Time Ago Until Now” – which is an entirely different sort of book from the above two, but amazingly executed – particularly in character development. It would have been easy, for example, for a lesser writer to portray some of the characters in one-dimensionally negative ways rather than leaving the reader feeling sympathetic towards pretty much everyone in the disparate group of protagonists by the end of the story.

    Honorable mention to Jeff Duntemann’s “Cunning Blood” – sadly, as he notes in the comments above, this is a reissue and is thus not eligible. Fun story though. As a consolation prize, go buy his latest Kindle (re)releases – “Ten Gentle Opportunities,” “Souls In Silicon,” and “Drumlin Circus/On Gossamer Wings.” Self-published, cheap, and thus superb value for your dollar.

    I expect that I would vote for the Butcher and the Stephenson as well based on past performance and the overall high level of their output, but I don’t have access to hard copies of these particular novels and refuse to pay that much for ebook fiction, so alas I cannot vote their books right now.

    1. Thanks for the vote of confidence! I do have to clarify here that I have *no* works eligible for the 2016 Hugos, in any category. I spent 2015 retiring and moving to warmer climes, which didn’t leave much time for writing or publishing. However, *Ten Gentle Opportunities* will be eligible next year, and I expect to get a couple of other things into eprint before the end of 2016 as well.

  93. As best I can tell, no one has mentioned John C. Wright’s *other* 2015 novel, THE ARCHITECT OF AEONS. Nothing against SOMEWHITHER, but it’s less ambitious than tAofA. There’s one major count against it: it’s v. 4 of a projected 6 in the “Count to the Eschaton” Sequence. On the other hand, this particular volume is about as self-contained a story as STARTIDE RISING, and the Sequence is arguably the most significant SF series currently in progress: it has great and increasing scope, remarkably hard science given how far it’s heading into the future, and is in dialogue with the whole history of the SF field from Olaf Stapledon down to contemporary transhumanism.

  94. Honor At Stake, By Declan Finn

    Why bother with this book? To be honest, I personally hate the author, but despite that, I still recommend this novel. I don’t think anyone can say more about the quality of someone’s work than that.

  95. Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits by David Wong: Sci-fi action comedy from the author of John Dies at the End.

    Radiomen by Eleanor Lerman: Are aliens among us? What do they want? (Not the usual.)

    Less than Hero by S. G. Browne: A group of slacker pharmaceutical testers acquire super powers based on the side effects of the drugs they test.

    The Rising by Ian Tregillis: Volume 2 of The Alchemy Wars. Alternate history in which the Dutch have nearly conquered the world by building enslaved mechanical men. But not all of them are staying enslaved.

    The Awesome by Eva Darrows: Maggie Cunningham is a monster hunter, but virgin blood drives vampires into a frenzy. On mother’s orders, hunting will have to take a back seat to dating.

    1. “Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits”, yes!!!

      I was reading along this list and was getting increasingly dismayed by not seeing this listed. I really enjoyed this book. The characters are interesting. I think what impressed me most about the book is its tone: it blends action, comedy, social commentary and just plain goofiness together. (The “Cats! Cats! Cats!” part of the good-guy’s plan was just hilarious!)

  96. Honor at Stake,
    by Declan Finn

    If you like mystery, action, adventure, fantasy, and a lot of blood, this book is for you. If you enjoy reading martial arts scenes where “fighting is just three-dimensional chess”, you will love this book. This is a unique mix of a thriller, mystery, and vamp romance rolled into one. Highly recommended.

  97. Declan Finn’s, Honor At Stake

    Best vampires since Dracula … and deeper vampire philosophy than Dracula ever had.

  98. Sir Terry Pratchett’s last book, The Shepherd’s Crown.
    It’s a bloody disgrace he doesn’t have a Hugo already.
    The Shepherd’s Crown was not the muddled mess that was Raising Steam. Two thirds of it is Terry at his best while a third is more like an unfinished rough outline… which makes it a fascinating read, because while you may mourn the book that could have been, you get the chance to see how Terry wrote. He was like an artist who painted complete scenes that he then linked them with minimal strokes, light sketch’s that he would fill in and colour at a later time. Except for Terry time ran out.
    So while some will argue this is not Terry’s best book I think it might be one of the most important in his catalogue when it comes to understanding how he thought and his writing process.
    It is absolutely a fitting finale to a brilliant career and totally deserving of the Hugo.

  99. Going through all my short story collections for Retro Hugo nominations — and … my God .. “Requiem” by Heinlein is a 1940 story. Run, do not walk, to nominate that.

  100. The Twice and Future Caesar: A Novel of the U.S.S. Merrimack, by R.M. Meluch.

    How military SF fandom toodles along with nary a mention of Rebecca Meluch’s brilliant books is beyond me. The Twice and Future Caesar has all the features of the earlier books of the Merrimack series, including wonderful characters that the reader can relate to on many levels, excellent world building, real suspense in the plotting, and all around techie pleasure. In addition, this volume has taken the Big Surprise from the end of the 1st book of the series, and done it over in an even bigger way. It’s like the Death Star vs Starkiller Base, and may well be a wrap-up for the whole series making it doubly eligible for Best Novel Hugo.

  101. Oracle, by Michelle West

    It’s the middle of a series, true, but she does a great job blending real humans, and the way they interact, with adventure, intrigue, and a supernatural world that is starting to break into the known world.

  102. One Year After by William R. Forstchen

    New York Times bestselling author William R. Forstchen brings a sequel to his hit novel One Second After. Months before publication, One Second After was cited on the floor of Congress as a book all Americans should read, a book discussed in the corridors of the Pentagon as a truly realistic look at the dangers of EMPs. An EMP is a weapon with the power to destroy the entire United States in a single act of terrorism, in a single second; indeed, it is a weapon that the Wall Street Journal warns could shatter America. One Second After was a dire warning of what might be our future…and our end. Now, One Year After returns to the small town of Black Mountain, NC, and the man who struggled so hard to rebuild it in the wake of devastation

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