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The 2018 Hugo finalists for Best Novel

My preferences are as follows:

6) The Stone Sky, by N.K. Jemisin

Reviewed here. I am in the small minority that has completely bounced off this series. You can get it here.

5) New York 2140, by Kim Stanley Robinson

Reviewed here. Too rambling for me, especially in the second half. You can get it here.

4) Raven Stratagem, by Yoon Ha Lee

Second paragraph of third chapter:
The usual instructor was a stocky, graying man who never smiled. Brezan, sitting in the classroom with the other cadets, noticed the gleam in his eyes. Not a good sign. Next to him, Onuen Wei was taking slow, deep breaths, which meant she had noticed, too.
Next in Lee’s sequence of novels about a long-dead male general reincarnated in a female body in a military sf future. Fascinating to see the central character developing his own agenda in the face of an ideological and segmented society, and I understood the society itself much better; but MilSF still isn’t really my thing. You can get it here.

3) The Collapsing Empire, by John Scalzi

Second paragraph of third chapter:
“You are going to have to officially declare a period of mourning,” Naffa Dolg said to her [Cardenia], in what had suddenly and officially become her office. It was now only moments after her father had died; his body was currently being removed from his bedroom—her bedroom—via a litter that had borne the bodies of nearly all the emperoxs who had been lucky enough to actually die at home. Cardenia had seen the litter, stored away in one of the other rooms in the private apartment, and thought it a ghastly bit of business, and realized that one day, it was very likely her bones would be carted out on it too. Tradition had its downsides.
It’s well recorded that I have had my problems with Scalzi’s prose in the past, but I really liked this up to the final moment - two excellent kickass female protagonists, a scenario of looming cosmic chaos, and high politics including crooked oligarchs. I was even considering it for my top spot - and then it turns out that this is the first part of a larger story, and the book ends practically in mid-sentence - well, not quite that abruptly, but with an awful lot of plot threads very far from being resolved. So it loses marks for not being a full story. You can get it here.

2) Six Wakes, by Mur Lafferty

Second paragraph of third chapter:
He knew it was ridiculous, given that whatever had happened, his last memory of Earth was only a few hours ago in his time line. The last time he went swimming, according to his memory, was a week ago. But this body had never touched a pool or ocean, and probably never would. He’d thought about the freedom of swimming several times after waking up. Diving down into the black water, away from the horrors that surrounded him. His mood, his quips, felt like autopilot while he submerged inside himself.
I had to swallow quite hard to accept the initial set-up - in Lafferty’s future, people routinely transfer their consciousness into younger clones of themselves, but clones have lesser rights than born humans and only one clone is allowed to exist at any one time. It’s no more ridiculous than faster-than-light travel, of course, or than a lot of other social and technological innovations that are sf staples. The plot then is a locked-room murder mystery, where the crew of a long-haul colonising starship are all resurrected to find that their previous bodies have been gruesomely murdered and they have lost their memories of the voyage so far. The answers turn out to lie in the very construction of their society. Very nicely done. You can get it here.

1) Provenance, by Ann Leckie

Reviewed here. The first of the finalists that I read (because it was a BSFA finalist too), and it has remained my favourite. You can get it here.

2018 Hugos: Novel | Novella | Novelette | Short Story | Related Work | Graphic Story | Dramatic Long | Dramatic Short | Professional Artist & Fan Artist | Series | Young Adult | Campbell Award
1943 Retro Hugos: Novel | Novella | Novelette | Short Story | Dramatic Short | Fan Artist


Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
kalimac
Jun. 15th, 2018 06:11 pm (UTC)
Does Scalzi have an office called an emperox, or is that a typo?
nwhyte
Jun. 16th, 2018 06:59 am (UTC)
It’s the correct title.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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