Recommendations – Best Novella

Post your recommendations for Best Novella to this thread.

Eligible works are:

  • Between 17,500 and 40, 000 words.
  • 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

38 thoughts on “Recommendations – Best Novella

  1. Fall of the Core – Netcast: Zero, by Ryk Brown

    At the dawn of a new century, the line between the real world and the virtual world has become nearly indistinguishable. Some claim that humanity is on the precipice of becoming one with our digital systems, despite centuries of effort at staving off that event. They claim that our dependence upon our digital technology is the doomsday weapon that will be our final undoing, and they warn that time is running out.

    For independent field reporter Hanna Bohl, the end of humanity is just the beginning.

  2. “The Long Wait” by Allen M. Steele (Asimov’s, January 2015)

    Standalone novella and continuing story of generations of a family who created a foundation to sponsor a project to get mankind into space, which they have done. Begun by SF writers of the 1930s (sort of an alternate version of those who attended the first SF worldcon in 1939 as given in the first novella last year), this installment sees the generation ship Galactique, traveling at .5c finally reaching a habitable planet, and its message finally reaching Earth after its decades long transmission time. Most of this installment concerns the descendants of the original family, their losses and successes, births and deaths. Very reminiscent of Simak’s CITY in this respect, but told only as Allen Steele can. A wonderful read.

    1. I love me some Allen Steele but I don’t think this particular story is eligible. The January 2015 issue of Asimov’s was published in December 2014, and all the stories in it are copyrighted 2014. Some periodicals use the cover date to indicate how long the issue should remain on the shelf. In this case my guess is they wanted the issue to be sold to the end of January. Steele had a great novella in the April/May issue of Asimov’s called “The Children of Gal” that is worth considering.

  3. “Speak Easy” by Catherynne M. Valente

    This is about the hotel Artemisia and its inhabitants. Al Capone is the ruler of its very own underworld/basement and supplies everyone with booze and drugs and entertainment. There is so much to discover in this little book and it absolutely blew me away. Also, no social message, just fun and sensawonda and amazing character.

      1. Standalone from Amazon, $4.99 for Kindle. Listed as 90 pages.

        It’s in my (increasingly long thanks to infinite space and two small children and a fulltime job) to-read pile, so I can’t give an informed opinion about whether or not the 90 pages is worth the $5. I obviously guessed that it was….

    1. Ali and I reviewed Speak Easy on The #WrongFun Podcast Episode 4. It was beautifully written, but nothing happened. Not a single damn thing. If you want a primer on how to write interesting character introductions, it’s great. But there was not story.

      The rest of the episode is good because we interviewed Sarah Hoyt.

      1. I’d say a lot of stuff happens in that novel, it’s just not always spelled out. I liked it a lot and will be nominating it for a Hugo.

        Good podcast episode though. I ejoyed listening despite disagreeing with you on certain things. 🙂

    1. Looks like 2014, from what I can tell. Originally released a 3 part serial and as a complete ebook also in 2014. Print edition in 2015 (according to Reilly’s wiki), but the complete electronic publication in 2014 would probably trump the print edition from this year. I suspect that’s how the Hugo committee would rule, anyway.

  4. The Builders, by Daniel Polansky.

    This is one of’s new Novella series and will be published early November. I had an advanced copy. I’ve seen it described as grimdark Redwall – so it’s a revenge tale (or tail, if you’re into the puns) with a crew getting back together for one last nasty job that they might not come home from. The story opens with the gathering, complete with some flashbacks. If you stick a little bit during the opening, keep pushing through because I got hoooked a bit later on. You want to see how this nasty business all pulls together.

    The story is a bit episodic at first and jumps back and forth a bit much, and I think that jarred me out of it initially, but as a whole it is a strong piece of fiction.

    Preorder for $2.99 here if you do the Kindle thing (personally, I’m a Nook user, but whatever floats one’s e-reading boat):

  5. The Desolate Guardians, by Matt Dymerski.

    A blend of horror and science fiction. Usually I don’t care for horror, but Dymerski (best known for the creepypasta story “Psychosis”) pulls it off superbly. He’s created a fascinating multiverse of people trying, against all hope, to meet barely comprehensible threats that endanger everything they know. What can a network manager on the graveyard shift do to assist these lonely fighters against utter destruction, when he knows of them only through files on the network? And where are they coming from, anyway? Nothing like this has happened in his world…right?

    The book is second in a loosely connected series (I’d recommend the first, The Portal in the Forest, as well), and available for free download here:

  6. Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds

    A soldier wakes up aboard a prison transport ship that has been cast 5,000 years into the future and where the systems are slowly failing. She must work with war criminals to survive, but soon realises that her bitterest enemy is among their number…

    That a good enough advert? This is a brilliant piece of fast-paced hard SF. Despite being action-packed pulp, it doesn’t skimp on the ideas – touching upon religion, the construction of identity, collective memory, and the rise and fall of civilisations. He’s a bit weak on character, but – otherwise – beautifully executed.

    Available on Amazon here:

  7. Binti, by Nnedi Okorafor ( Publishing): Binti is the first of her tribe to be accepted / offered a slot at *the* best university in the galaxy / universe, but she has to leave all she knows behind. Contact with aliens, isolation, alienation, and wonder all in a tight package.
    Ebook or Paperback

    “Ur”, by Stephen King (The Bazaar of Bad Dreams): King notes that this story is significantly revised from its original Amazon publication, so I believe it would count. Knowledge of alternate histories because of a kindle that can apparently access past news articles from the multiverse – but a glimpse into the future of future could drive a man crazy trying to change it.


    Elliott Kay –

    Collection of four short stories within his GOOD INTENTIONS world. Very fun to read and you find yourself at a loss for devouring it so quickly.

    It’s urban fantasy that refuses to be taken seriously and requires the reader to only sit back, relax and enjoy. That is a perfect discriptor of his GOOD INTENTIONS series (which I, of course, recommend).

    Word of warning/caution – the series is NOT for the…eh…prudish.

    Also, unsure if this work fits this category. If not then please, absolutely, correct me.

  9. Wylding Hall, by Elizabeth Hand

    This is a book that starts out very differently…imagine some sort of Where Are They Now/ Behind the Music style narration about a folk music band that suddenly takes a fairly dark turn. Can’t really say more, but this is a very approachable book, and seriously worth a read.

  10. Recommendation for Sorcerer of the Wildeeps by Kai Ashante Wilson. Just won the 2016 Crawford award for best debut novel. It’s a sword & sorcery adventure on another planet that dips in between fantasy (the two main protagonists are demigods) and science fiction (one of them is the product of a fallen high-technology society so constantly has to translate his vocabulary to what his companions will understand). Amazing use of language and a solid adventure story.

    1. (It’s 43K words, so technically a novel, but the Hugo admins can categorize as either novel or novella based on nominations, and the categories allow stretching up to 5K words/20% in either direction. Since it kicked off the tordotcom novella line, I usually put it there)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *