Feb. 26th, 2017

psocoptera: ink drawing of celtic knot (ha!)
Everfair has a dynamite elevator pitch: British Fabians team up with black American missionaries to purchase a big chunk of the Belgian Congo from Leopold and make it a safe haven for Africans being enslaved for the rubber trade, steampunk alternate history ensues! Lesbian motorcycle guerrillas! Dirigibles running on the power of one tribe's "sacred earths", that is, nuclear power! Nifty mechanical prosthetic hands for everyone whose hands the Belgians chopped off! But it is kind of weird in the whole aspect of a book where there is tension and resolution, or expectation and satisfaction of it. It feels a little uncomfortable to criticize the writing of someone who's best known for teaching writing ("Writing the Other"), but the best way I can explain it is that reading this book was sort of like walking past a series of dioramas, and sometimes what was in them was really cool, but you never really had any idea what might be in the next one. Not unenjoyable - I read it to the end - but not my personal taste in stories, either. (I like a more immersive reading experience where I know more about the characters' hopes/goals/intentions and can feel their story along with them.) The book is sharpest and clearest about how race and nationality shape everyone's interactions - I foresee its future on various syllabuses. (You could teach it with Years of Rice and Salt, you could teach it with Westerfeld's Leviathan, you could teach it with Jo Walton's Just City and with Butler's Earthseed books maybe, I hardly remember those but I think so.)
psocoptera: ink drawing of celtic knot (ha!)
See them here!

Novel:
All the Birds in the Sky, Charlie Jane Anders
Borderline, Mishell Baker
The Obelisk Gate, N.K. Jemisin
Ninefox Gambit,Yoon Ha Lee
Everfair, Nisi Shawl
I've read four of these and haven't even heard of Borderline. Birds and Ninefox are on my Hugo list, Obelisk and Everfair certainly seem like plausible choices, if not in my personal sweet spot of entertainingness.

Novella
Runtime, S.B. Divya (Tor.com Publishing)
The Dream-Quest of Vellitt Boe, Kij Johnson (Tor.com Publishing)
The Ballad of Black Tom, Victor LaValle (Tor.com Publishing)
Every Heart a Doorway, Seanan McGuire (Tor.com Publishing)
“The Liar”, John P. Murphy (F&SF)
A Taste of Honey, Kai Ashante Wilson (Tor.com Publishing)
So, Tor's novella line is doing pretty well, eh? I liked "Dream-Quest" and "Taste of Honey" a lot and am not at all surprised to see "Every Heart" here too. I might put "Runtime" on my to-read list.

Novelette
“The Long Fall Up”, William Ledbetter (F&SF)
“Sooner or Later Everything Falls Into the Sea”, Sarah Pinsker (Lightspeed)
“Red in Tooth and Cog”, Cat Rambo (F&SF)
“Blood Grains Speak Through Memories”, Jason Sanford (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)
The Jewel and Her Lapidary, Fran Wilde (Tor.com Publishing)
“You’ll Surely Drown Here If You Stay”, Alyssa Wong (Uncanny)
"Sooner or Later" is the only one of these in my Hugo noms - I thought "You'll Surely Drown Here" had its moments but didn't quite pull it off for me, and I haven't read the rest. (I feel like I like Cat Rambo in general, maybe?)

Short Story
“Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies”, Brooke Bolander (Uncanny)
“Seasons of Glass and Iron”, Amal El-Mohtar (The Starlit Wood)
“Sabbath Wine”, Barbara Krasnoff (Clockwork Phoenix 5)
“Things With Beards”, Sam J. Miller (Clarkesworld)
“This Is Not a Wardrobe Door”, A. Merc Rustad (Fireside Magazine)
“A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers”, Alyssa Wong (Tor.com)
“Welcome to the Medical Clinic at the Interplanetary Relay Station│Hours Since the Last Patient Death: 0”, Caroline M. Yoachim (Lightspeed)
"Things With Beards" prediction fulfilled! I liked "Seasons" too. I must have read "Talons" but I can't remember it, do remember "Welcome" but thought it was more gimmick than story. I'm disappointed to not see "Between Dragons and Their Wrath" on this ballot, it was the other standout story of the year for me (with "Things").

Bradbury
Arrival
Doctor Strange
Kubo and the Two Strings
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
Westworld: ‘‘The Bicameral Mind’’
Zootopia
I read this list and immediately went and replaced Star Trek on my Hugo noms with Kubo.

Norton
The Girl Who Drank the Moon, Kelly Barnhill
The Star-Touched Queen, Roshani Chokshi
The Lie Tree, Frances Hardinge
Arabella of Mars, David D. Levine
Railhead, Philip Reeve
Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies, Lindsay Ribar
The Evil Wizard Smallbone, Delia Sherman
How am I always so clueless about the Norton nominees? Whatever happened to my being in the YA sff loop? Well, "Girl" was already on my to-reads from the Newberys, I guess I can add a few more.

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