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Hugo and Nebula nominees

This year I finished reading the nominees for the Hugo and Nebula awards (novels only).

My ranking along with (non spoiler) thoughts on each:

  1. Some Desperate Glory: This was the clear best of the bunch. I wasn’t sure about it at the start but then it swerves.

  2. Translation State: I loved this, though it is second. It is an Ann Leckie book through and through.

  3. The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi: While 1 and 2 were very good, this was a step down. It was fun but nowhere near as good as the author’s City trilogy. There are some fun callbacks and cameos too.

  4. Shigidi and the Brass Head of Obalufon: As a lover of god fiction, this is right in my wheelhouse, but it’s a little formulaic. Fun but nothing special.

  5. Witch King: This was enjoyable, but ultimately it didn’t come together for me, leaving a sense of disappointment.

  6. Starter Villain: I am not sure why this is in this list. This is what I call a snack book. It’s like a bag of chips; light, tasty, but ultimately forgettable. This is a perfect example, and Scalzi remains extremely good at writing these. I do wish he’d write something meaty again though. His sci-fi is quite good.

  7. Terraformers: This was very boring. The thing that kept coming to mind was that Kim Stanley Robinson writes books that do something similar but they work for him because he’s very good at it. This one did not work. There are a few points where I thought the story would turn and become something more but was disappointed throughout.

  8. The Water Outlaws: Getting through this was a slog. Right at the start the author says that this is a retelling of a Chinese folk tale. A lot of retellings work. This one doesn’t.

  9. The Saint of Bright Doors: I don’t know why I finished reading this one, other than to complete all of the nominees.

Sometimes I read reviews of books and agree with the reviewer, and other times I can’t help but wonder if we were reading the same book.