Once again the Hugo Awards have been given to well-deserving writers and works, and once again The Field Library has its share of winners and finalists, so if you’re interested in what the experts in the field consider to be the best in speculative fiction, give these works a look.
The Field Library is especially rich in the area of novellas. Not only do we have the winner of Best Novella, A Psalm for the Wild Built, by Becky Chambers (reviewed here), but we also have all of the finalists: Across the Green Grass Fields, by Seanan McGuire (reviewed here), Elder Race, by Adrian Tchiakovsky, Fireheart Tiger, by Aliette de Bodard, The Past is Red, by Catherynne M. Valente, and A Spindle Splintered, by Alix E. Harrow (reviewed here). The last few years have been a golden age for novellas, which the Hugos define as being between 17,500 and 40,000 words. If you’re interested in testing the speculative fiction waters but aren’t sure you have the time or energy to devote to a full length book (and, to be fair, some speculative fiction novels are huge), try one of the finalist novellas, including this year’s winner.
I was personally delighted to see that Seanan McGuire won the Hugo for Best Series for her Wayward Children series. The series, the books of which I’ve reviewed in this blog (here, here, here, here, here and here), involves children who left this world for another one, with different rules, and then were forcibly returned to this world. The complex worldbuilding, the variety of characters and situations, the compassion McGuire shows for these damaged children, all adds up to a series that deserves the best series award, and more power to her (she has another book in the series coming out in January, just FYI).
The Field Library also has on its shelves The Last Graduate, by Naomi Novik, which won the award for Best Young Adult, though I’m not entirely sure it qualifies as a Young Adult Book, and most of the libraries in our system don’t treat it as such. Still, Novik is an excellent writer, and this book, the second in a trilogy that began with A Deadly Education (which the library also has), takes the reader deeper into the world of the Scholomance, a dark school of magic that devours its students. The third book (for people like me who don’t like reading series that aren’t finished) should be coming out this month.
Finally, what used to be the John Campbell Award for new writers, which has been renamed The Astounding Award for Best New Writer, went to Shelley Parker Chan for her novel, She Who Became the Sun, a book which reimagines the rise to power of the Ming Dynasty in China after the Mongol invasion. While I’m delighted to see the Hugo voters recognizing the value of stories set in other parts of the world than Europe and North America, I’m a little sorry that one of the other finalists didn’t win. Micaiah Johnson, who wrote the excellent The Space Between Worlds (reviewed here), was up for the award but didn’t get it, deserving as she was.
So here you have it. Come to The Field Library and check out our Hugo winners and the finalists who didn’t quite make it, and immerse yourself in the best of speculative fiction.