The Hugo Awards 2017 – Nomination Worthy Novelettes

The 2017 Hugo Awards Nominations are open, so you should hurry and nominate your favorite fantasy and science-fiction works from last year. I read 30 novelettes that are eligible for the 2017 Hugo Award, and this page lists my favorite ones (if you have the time to squeeze in some last minute reading, and you have not read them yet, pick them up!). Take a look, and let us know what you think, and what I missed!

My Favorites
  
 

Fifty Shades of Grays by Steven Barnes
(published in Lightspeed #73)
Aliens finally made the first contact, and they say they are coming in peace, but they have a problem: their look is repellent. The protagonist is hired to make them more appealing to the general public… An interesting reflection on the power of advertisement in modern society.
Read it for free on-line: [lightspeed]
Buy it: [amazon]

Digital Medicine by Brian K. Hudson
(published in Lightspeed #73)
A beautifully written, and touching story, at the intersection of computer science, first nation traditions, and politics. Spider is on probation, after being caught hacking into her school computer. She is hired to help an elder, but soon what it was supposed to be a job and a chore, turn out to be something very different.
Buy it: [amazon]

Salto Mortal by Nick T. Chan
(published in Lightspeed #73)
Mary is a Mexican immigrant, that found safety from the invasion of the nagual in the arms of a loving US husband. Unfortunately the husband turns out to be extremely violent and abusive, and she is trapped in a life of fear and pain. One day, after the almost daily abuse, Mary gets the courage to run for safety to a women shelter, but along the way she meets a nagual, anf the encounter will change her life.
Read it for free on-line: [lightspeed]
Buy it: [amazon]

The Autobiography of a Traitor and a Half-Savage by Alix E. Harrow
An interesting alternative history novelette, set during the Westward expansion of the European Colonist, around the Mississippi area. Oona is born by the encounter of the Europeans with the First nation american, and she is despised by both as not belonging to either cultures. She has the power of the western people: by tracing rivers in ink on paper, Oona pins the land down to one reality, allowing the Europeans to settle the American land. This means betraying her people. Can she escape the bonds of gold and blood and bone that tie her to the Imperial American River Company?
Read it for free on-line: [tor]
Buy it: [amazon]

Breaking Water by Indrapramit Das
This story really shook me. The premise of the story is simple: suddenly dead people come back, not as zombies, but as brainless shells. The protagonist of this story is Krishna, a young man that is quite unsettled when he bumps into a woman’s corpse during his morning bath in Kolkata’s Hooghly River. Initially he declines to do anything about it, after all, why should he take responsibility for a stranger? But when the dead start coming back to life en mass, he rethinks his position and the debate around how to treat these newly risen corpses gets a lot more complicated. The book presents an unsettling portrait on how society deals with our dead.
Read it for free on-line: [tor]
Buy it: [amazon]

A Dead Djinn in Cairo by P. Djeli Clark
What a beautifully intriguing and entertaining alternative history novelette!
The story is set in a 1912 Cairo (Egypt) where somebody has perforated the wall between our world, and the supernatural one, opening the gates for djinns and angels to enter in our reality. The Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities investigate disturbances between the mortal and the (possibly) divine. What starts off as an odd suicide case for Special Investigator Fatma el-Sha’arawi leads her through the city’s underbelly as she encounters rampaging ghouls, saucy assassins, clockwork angels, and plot that could unravel time itself.
Read it for free on-line: [tor]
Buy it: [amazon]

You’ll Surely Drown Here If You Stay by Alyssa Wong
I am usually not fond of stories with a western flavor, but Alyssa Wong managed to write one I did like, and quite a lot. This is the story of Ellis, a young boy with a very deep connection with his land, the desert, and with mysterious powers. Ellis is being raised by Madame Lettie, the owner of the local brothel, and the second wife of his dead father. In the brothel, Ellis make himself useful with odd jobs, and sometimes as a ware for the not always straight customers.
The story starts three months after a mysterious incidents at the mines, that were the economical fulcrum of town, and three months after the violent death of Ellis’ father…
Read on-line for free: [uncanny]
Buy it: [amazon]

Complete list of eligible novelettes I read

  • Nick T. Chan, Salto Mortal, lightspeed
  • Brian K. Hudson, Digital Medicine, lightspeed
  • Steven Barnes, Fifty Shades of Grays,
  • Isha Karki, Firebird, lightspeed
  • Alix E. Harrow, The Autobiography of a Traitor and a Half-Savage, Tor
  • Indrapramit Das, Breaking Water, Tor
  • Jason Sanford, Blood Grains Speak Through Memories, Beneath Ceaseless Skys
  • A.J. Hartley, Chains, Tor
  • Glen Hirshberg, Freedom is Space for the Spirit, Tor
  • Dayo Ntwari, Omoshango, lightspeed
  • Dennis Danvers, Once More Into the Abyss, Tor
  • P. Djeli Clark, A Dead Djinn in Cairo, Tor
  • Theodora Goss, Red as Blood and White as Bone, Tor
  • Brian Hodge, The Weight of the Dead, Tor
  • Carrie Vaughn, The Thing About Growing Up in Jokertown, Tor
  • Melissa Marr, The Maiden Thief, Tor
  • Lettie Prell, The Three Lives of Sonata James, Tor
  • Angela Slatter, Finnegan’s Field, Tor
  • Alyssa Wong, You’ll Surely Drown Here If You Stay, Uncanny
  • Sarah Pinsker, Sooner or Later Everything Falls Into the Sea, Lightspeed
  • Jo Stufflebeam, The Orangery, Beneath Ceaseless Skys
  • Nina Allan, The Art of Space Travel, Tor
  • Dennis Danvers, Orphan Pirates of the Spanish Main, Tor
  • K. M. Ferebee, “Tom, Thom”, Tor
  • David D. Levine, Discards, Tor
  • Alter S. Reiss, Recalled to Service
  • Harry Turtledove, Typecasting, Tor
  • Rajnar Vajra, Her Scales Shine Like Music
  • Matt Wallace, Small Wars, Tor
  • David Drake, Up From Hell, Tor
  • Delia Sherman, The Great Detective
  • Stephen Graham Jones, The Night Cyclist, Tor

Related links

  • Rocker Stack Rank: our favorite novelettes [link]
  • Hugo Nominees 2017 wikia: Novelettes [link]
  • Tor Short Fiction [link]
  • Hugo Awards Official Site [link]
  • 2017 Recommended SF/F List [file770]

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