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“The Wicked King” by Holly Black

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Holly Black, the bestselling author of The Spiderwick Chronicles, has penned a new trilogy about human twins, Jude and Taryn, raised among the Fair Folk. Jude gets thrown into the deep end of Faerie politics and has to protect her younger half-brother, Oak. The Wicked King is the second book in the series, and as it starts, Jude has engineered a bargain with Faerie’s new king, Cardan, wherein he must obey her for a year and a day. Of course, being the power behind the throne only works if she can keep him on that throne, and there are any number of rivals who’d love to throw him off it, preferably with a dagger in his back.

The Wicked King is one of this year’s finalists for the Lodestar Award, and that’s the context in which I read it. Not having read the first book, I was worried that I’d be lost, but Black does a great job of summarizing the previous action in a way that gets readers up to speed without slowing down the plot. I also enjoyed her portrayal of Faerie. The many types (species?) of Folk, the palace built into the side of a hill, the horses made of reeds, and a host of other details serve to give Elfhame an otherworldly atmosphere. As one would expect from a book about Faerie politics, there are plenty of schemes and plots and complex relationships between factions and characters bubbling away in the background until they finally came to a head.

My one complaint is with the pacing of the ending. The events surrounding Taryn’s wedding and the queen of the Undersea’s plot happen in the last couple chapters of the book, at a breakneck pace. It felt rushed, and the book ends right in the middle of the action, so the reader doesn’t really have any time to process all that’s happened. I recognize that this is the second book in a trilogy, and there’s a need to set up plot threads for the final installment, but that could have been done with a denouement that resolved the action while hinting at more to come. As it is, it feels more like Black ended the book at some arbitrary page count rather than a natural pause point in the plot.

“Riverland” by Fran Wilde

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I adored Fran Wilde’s Bone Universe trilogy, so I was excited to read her YA novel, Riverland. Sisters Eleanor and Mary (known as Mike) live by the banks of a river. That river extends into a dreamworld, and like many real-world ecosystems, it’s fragile. When their abusive father destroys a talisman that was maintaining the balance of that ecosystem, nightmares start leaking into the waking world, and the real river threatens to flood their whole neighborhood.

My favorite part of this novel was the friendship between Eleanor and Pendra. Many stories center a romantic arc, and this would have been even more natural in a book aimed at younger readers. But platonic friendships are just as important, and it was nice to see the main relationship in a book being between the main character and her friend. I especially appreciated that their friendship isn’t perfect. They have arguments, and sometimes Pendra gets upset with Eleanor over something petty—but that doesn’t mean they’re no longer friends. Even in a fantasy novel, the relationships between the human characters need to ring true, and this one does.

This is a book that deals with some difficult subjects, chief among them living with an abusive parent. Eleanor’s father’s abuse puts strain on all her other relationships: with Mike, with her mother, with Pendra. This felt realistic to me, and my understanding is that the way Eleanor’s parents make her feel as though she’s responsible for her father’s anger issues is also realistic. I felt that Wilde did a good job of tackling an issue that could easily have been mishandled.

There are some things I liked and some I didn’t about the climax and ending of the story, which I will put below on account of spoilers.

 

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

 

Riverland doesn’t have as crisp a resolution as most standalone novels, but I think that’s due to Wilde’s desire to handle her subject matter respectfully. While Eleanor and Mike end up in a better situation than they started in, a home situation like theirs isn’t going to be solved immediately or easily in most cases. Something that might have been a flaw in another book is, I think, a necessity in this one.

At the same time, I felt like Anassa was a red herring, or maybe an unfired Chekov’s gun. I was expecting her previous human identity to be a major revelation, perhaps that she was an ancestor or other relative of Eleanor and Mike. The fact that she was defeated without us learning anything much about her disappointed me a bit. Still, this was overall an enjoyable novel and definitely a worthy Hugo/Lodestar nominee.

2020 Hugo Award Nominees: Novelette

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Once again, I’d only read one of these stories previously, Siobhan Carroll’s “For He Can Creep.” But I was happy to see offerings from N.K. Jemisin and Ted Chiang make the list, as both are outstanding authors.

“The Blur in the Corner of Your Eye” by Sarah Pinsker—This is a wonderful story. At first, it seems like a straightforward mystery, but when the speculative element is introduced, it makes sense because of small hints earlier that point toward it. 4.8/5.

“Omphalos” by Ted Chiang—This was an interesting and moving story. While there were a few infodumps, they were interspersed through the story so they didn’t feel as intrusive. I liked both the setting and the main character. 4.7/5.

“For He Can Creep” by Siobhan Carroll—This was an engaging story, and I loved Nighthunter Moppet. Christopher Smart was a real person, and it was interesting to read a story inspired by his life and poetry. 4.6/5.

“Emergency Skin” by N.K. Jemisin—I love the premise of this story, and I was surprised by the twist of the old man’s identity. However, the narrative device of having the implanted AI be the POV character rather than the soldier himself meant that a lot of information was conveyed through the old man repeating things the soldier had told him. That made for a lot of “As you know, Bob” dialogue that weakened the story a bit. 4.55/5.

“Away with the Wolves” by Sarah Gailey—I like the new twist on the werewolf myth here. Both the main character and her best friend are sympathetic, and I love that the friendship between them is the centerpiece of the story. 4.5/5.

“The Archronology of Love” by Caroline Yoachim—There are two really fascinating concepts in this story, and Yoachim melds them together well. At the same time, she never loses sight of the human (or alien) heart of the piece. 4/5.

2020 Hugo Award Nominees: Graphic Story

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Two of the series nominated for this year’s Hugo Awards in the Graphic Story category came to an end in 2019. Both are highly acclaimed, with Paper Girls having garnered several previous nominations. One of this year’s entries, Die, is just starting, and in my opinion, it’s the most intriguing of the bunch.

Die, Vol. 1: Solomon creates a TTRPG for his friend Ash’s birthday, and their whole friend group gets together to play it. But what Solomon has created is more than a game: he’s found or built a portal into a fantasy setting, and the consequences of winning or losing are very real. It’s an engaging story with great art, and although I’ve never read the series before, I found myself becoming invested in the characters. However, the cliffhanger at the end of the volume is dependent on a decision made by Isabelle and Chuck, two members of the aforementioned friend group. In Chuck’s case, it was believable that he would make the choice he did, but I didn’t feel the same way about Isabelle’s decision. In her case, it felt rushed and pulled me out of the story a bit. 4/5.

The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 9: A poignant finale, with solid resolutions for most of the characters. 3.9/5.

Paper Girls, Vol. 6: This is the final volume of the series, and it came to a satisfying close. 3.8/5.

Monstress, Vol. 4: Each of the three previous volumes in this series has been nominated for the Graphic Story Hugo, and it’s won at least once. The tradition continues here, and with good reason. The art is beautiful and the story engaging, although sometimes I feel as if both are a bit too “busy.” 3.75/5.

Mooncakes: I enjoyed this story, and I liked how it focused on many different types of relationships. While Nova’s budding romance with Tam is important to the story, of course, her familial relationship with her grandmothers and her friendship with Tatyana are also shown to give her a lot of strength. The setting is an interesting one, and the spirits reminded me of something out of a Miyazaki film. The art wasn’t as impressive as in some of the other nominees, though. 3.6/5.

LaGuardia: Humans have made contact with a number of intelligent alien species, and there’s movement of both people and goods between Earth and other worlds. But some places are more welcoming to alien immigrants than others. When Future’s alien friend is in danger, she helps him flee from Nigeria to the United States, where they both have to confront anti-alien sentiment. This is a very timely story, and the characters—particularly Citizen—are given a lot of depth. I would have liked to know more about the conflict among the Florals, though, and I didn’t like the art style in this one as much as some of the other nominees. 3.5/5.

“Deeplight” by Frances Hardinge

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A famous childrens’ book author (I want to say it was A.A. Milne, but I can’t find the quote now to verify that) said that you can’t write down to children. That is, a book intended for young readers may have a simpler plot structure or be less explicit in discussing certain themes, but it shouldn’t be condescending. Kids and young adults may not have as much experience of the world, but that doesn’t mean they’re stupid or oblivious. Frances Hardinge has taken this advice to heart in her latest young adult novel, Deeplight.

This is most obvious in the way Hardinge portrays the relationship between the main character, Hark, and his best friend Jelt. They both grew up as orphans and quite literally relied on one another to survive. Those experiences have forged a bond as close as any blood relation. But at the same time, their relationship is toxic. Jelt repeatedly pressures Hark into taking on jobs that he’s not comfortable with on account of their danger, guilt-trips him whenever he objects to one of Jelt’s plans, and becomes resentful if Hark obtains something he lacks. It takes Hark most of the book to consciously acknowledge this. When he does, it’s cathartic but also sad, because it means losing a friendship that truly was meaningful to him. The complexity of this central relationship is something I hadn’t expected to encounter in a YA novel.

All of this is presented against the background of a fascinating, original setting. Hark’s home is a sprawling island chain called the Myriad. Its people once placated a collection of distinctly Lovecraftian gods who dwelled in an abyssal ocean level known as the Undersea. Thirty years before the start of the book, those gods turned on each other, literally tearing each other to pieces. The inhabitants of the Myriad have largely adjusted to the new, god-less world, but the developments of the novel threaten to turn their lives upside down again. Most of the action takes place on Hark’s home island of Lady’s Crave and the nearby Nest, but it’s clear that there’s a lot more out there, and I hope we get to see more of the Myriad in future books.

The characterization of Selphin is another strength of Deeplight. The teenaged daughter of a renowned smuggler, she gets entangled in Hark and Jelt’s latest adventure. She’s also deaf, the result of burst eardrums from an underwater accident. There are a number of people in the Myriad with a similar condition, and they’ve developed a form of sign language. I loved the way Hardinge shows Selphin’s emotions through her sign language. At one point, her signs are described as “angry stabs of motion;” at another, we’re told that she “threw up her hands, then hit the heels of her palms against her forehead in frustration.” It’s also nice to see that while Selphin’s disability obviously has a large impact on her life, it isn’t her only defining characteristic. She’s clever, brave, stubborn, and fiercely loyal, and all these traits are just as important as her deafness.

I don’t read YA often and had never heard of Hardinge before receiving a copy of Deeplight through NetGalley as part of the Hugo Awards voters’ packet. I enjoyed it enough that I’m looking forward to seeking out more of Hardinge’s work.

2020 Hugo Award Nominees: Short Story

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It’s that time of year again! The voters’ packet for the 2020 Hugo Awards has been released, so I’ve been reading through the entries.

In the short story category, only one of the nominees is a story I’d previously read. This is pretty unusual; I’ve typically read at least three of the six nominees. This year’s group is excellent. I was especially happy to see Fran Wilde and Nibedita Sen make the list, since I loved Wilde’s Bone Universe trilogy and I’ve enjoyed several of Sen’s previous short works.

“A Catalog of Storms” by Fran Wilde—This is exactly the kind of story I love, with magic that’s beautiful and dangerous at the same time. 5/5.

“As the Last I May Know” by S.L. Huang—A poignant story based on the idea, once suggested but never used, that the nuclear launch codes would be on some sort of computer chip embedded in the vice president’s chest. Huang is careful to make neither the president nor the Order out to be some sort of cardboard villain, and it’s a story that really makes you think. 4.8/5.

“Ten Excerpts from an Annotated Bibliography on the Cannibal Women of Ratnabar Island” by Nibedita Sen—I love this kind of story as well, where so much of it lies in what’s left unsaid. 4.75/5.

“Do Not Look Back, My Lion” by Alix E. Harrow—Eefa loves her husband Talaan but is tired of sending her off to war over and over. (Note: The combination of “her” and “husband” to refer to Talaan isn’t a typo; in the setting of the story, the terms “husband” and “wife” denote a social role rather than strictly adhering to gender.) When their son dies in battle, things come to a head and provoke both of them to drastic measures. The relationship between Eefa and Talaan is loving but complex. Talaan spends most of her life dedicated to what she sees as patriotism and basks in the adulation of her countrymen, but her love for her family ultimately overcomes her societal conditioning. I found the ending moving, though I was hoping that the story would end with Talaan catching up to Eefa. 4.5/5.

“And Now His Lordship is Laughing” by Shiv Ramdas—The “Denial of Rice” and “Denial of Boat” policies referenced in this story are real. In 1942, the British colonial government destroyed or confiscated rice stocks and boats to deny them to the Japanese army, which they expected to invade Bengal. Unsurprisingly, these policies led to widespread famine and hardship among the Bengali. Apa’s despair when the policies cause the death of her grandson is heartbreaking, and although she does avenge his death, the story still ends in a pretty dark place. 4.4/5.

“Blood is Another Word for Hunger” by Rivers Solomon—There’s deep, powerful emotion in this story, but I would have liked to learn more about the other revenants. Also, it didn’t seem realistic to me that the deaths of Sully’s mistress and her family would have gone unnoticed for so long. 3.5/5.

2019 Hugo Award Nominations

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Nominations for the 2019 Hugo Awards have just closed. Below are the works on my ballot, in no particular order. Some of the stories are free to read online; where that’s the case, I’ve included links.

 

Best Novel

The Kingdom of Copper, by S.A. Chakraborty. A stellar continuation of her Daevabad Trilogy.

The Last Astronaut, by David Wellington. A great sci-fi novel with some thriller aspects.

The Forbidden Stars, by Tim Pratt. The conclusion of his Axiom Trilogy. I only heard about this trilogy this year, blitzed through the first two books, and read this as soon as it came out.

The Winter of the Witch, by Katherine Arden. A wonderful end to Vasya’s journey, filled with beings from Eastern European folklore.

The Outside, by Ada Hoffman. A fascinating blend of far-future sci-fi and cosmic horror.

 

Best Novella

In the Shadow of Spindrift House, by Mira Grant (pen name of Seanan McGuire). A chilling story of a young woman caught between the biological family she never knew and the “found family” she’s built in their absence.

In An Absent Dream, by Seanan McGuire. The latest installment in her Wayward Children series. Although it’s of a very different genre and tone to Spindrift House, there are some similar themes.

Summer Frost, by Blake Crouch. A thought-provoking story about AI.

Desdemona and the Deep, by C.S.E. Cooney. A fun story about friendship, finding oneself, and fighting for justice.

“Waterlines” by Suzanne Palmer, in the July/August issue of Asimov’s. An engaging mystery set in an interesting world where humans have very limited interaction with an inscrutable species of aliens.

 

Best Novelette

“The Thirty-Eight Hundred Bone Coat” by R.K. Duncan, in Beneath Ceaseless Skies

“A Handful of Sky” by Elly Bangs, in Beneath Ceaseless Skies

“Contagion’s Eve at the House Noctambulus” by Rich Larson, in the March/April issue of Fantasy and Science Fiction

“The Disappeared” by Leah Cypress, in the July/August issue of Asimov’s

“The Ocean Between the Leaves” by Ray Nayler, in the July/August issue of Asimov’s

 

Best Short Story

“Elegy of a Lanthornist” by M.E. Bronstein, in Beneath Ceaseless Skies

“The Moss Kings” by David Gullan, in the May/June issue of Fantasy and Science Fiction

“Boiled Bones and Black Eggs” by Nghi Vo, in Beneath Ceaseless Skies

“The Boy Who Loved Drowning” by R.K. Duncan, in Beneath Ceaseless Skies

“The Garden’s First Rule” by Sheldon Costa, in Strange Horizons

 

Best Series

Wayward Children by Seanan McGuire

The Winternight Trilogy by Katherine Arden

The Axiom Trilogy by Tim Pratt

The Song of the Shattered Sands by Bradley P. Beaulieu

The Memoirs of Lady Trent by Marie Brennan

 

Best Graphic Story

The Dreaming, Vol. 1: Pathways and Emanations, by Neil Gaiman

House of Whispers, Vol. 1: The Power Divided, by Neil Gaiman and Nalo Hopkinson

House of Whispers, Vol.2: Ananse, by Nalo Hopkinson

The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed, by Rich Burlew

All Night Laundry, by Zachary Hall

 

Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

Good Omens Episode 5: “The Doomsday Option”

American Gods S2E6: “Donar the Great”

American Gods S2E7: “Treasure of the Sun”

Game of Thrones S8E2: “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms”

 

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

Avengers: Endgame

Good Omens

 

Astounding Award for Best New Writer

R.K. Duncan

2018 Hugo Award Nominations

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Nominations for the Hugo Awards closed on Friday. Here’s what was on my ballot, in no particular order for each category. Some stories are available to read for free online; where that’s the case, I’ve included links.

 

Novel

Spinning Silver, by Naomi Novik. A compelling story that draws on Eastern European folklore, with several clever, determined protagonists.

The City of Brass, by S.A. Chakraborty. A superb debut novel that made me immediately preorder the sequel.

Foundryside, by Robert Jackson Bennett. The magic system in this story is fascinating and refreshingly different.

Fire and Blood, by George R.R. Martin. It’s not The Winds of Winter, but I loved the historical feel of the story, and there are definitely some interesting implications for the main plot of the ASOIAF series. The artwork is lovely too, and made me glad I bought the hard-copy edition.

A Veil of Spears, by Bradley P. Beaulieu. The continuation of the Song of the Shattered Sands series ups the stakes even further.

 

Novella

The Freeze-Frame Revolution, by Peter Watts

“We Ragged Few” by Kate Marshall (in Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

Elevation, by Stephen King

“The Last Biker Gang” by Wil McCarthy (in Analog)

“Bury Me in the Rainbow” by Bill Johnson (in Asimov’s)

 

Novelette

“You Know How the Story Goes” by Thomas Olde Heuvelt (Tor.com)

“Do As I Do, Sing As I Sing” by Sarah Pinsker (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

“The Sweetness of Honey and Rot” by A. Merc Rustad (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

“The Tragedy of Zayred the Splendid” by Grace Seybold (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

“The Last Banquet of Temporal Confections” by Tina Connolly (Tor.com)

 

Short Story

“A Witch’s Guide to Escape: A Practical Compendium of Portal Fantasies” by Alix E. Harrow (Apex)

“Suite for Accompanied Cello” by Tamara Vardomskaya (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

“Strange Waters” by Samantha Mills (Strange Horizons)

“Three Meetings of the Pregnant Man Support Group” by James Beamon (Apex)

“Loss of Signal” by S.B. Divya (Tor.com)

 

Graphic Story

The Sandman Universe

The Order of the Stick. 2018 was a great year for this comic, with one of the most dramatic and emotionally satisfying moments in the storyline to date.

 

Editor, Long Form

Gavin J. Grant and Kelly Link. I was very impressed with some of the books put out by their Small Beer Press in 2018, such as Su Wei’s The Invisible Valley.

 

Editor, Short Form

Ellen Datlow. In addition to her work as acquiring editor for Tor.com, I was blown away by some of the stories in her anthology The Devil and the Deep: Horror Stories of the Sea. I’d love to see the anthology as a whole win its category in the Bram Stoker Awards.

Scott H. Andrews. Editor-in-chief of Beneath Ceaseless Skies.

C.C. Finlay. Editor-in-chief of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

Trevor Quachri. Editor-in-chief of Apex.

Neil Clarke. Editor-in-chief of Clarkesworld.

 

Professional Artist

Doug Wheately. As mentioned above, I really liked his work on the illustrations in Fire and Blood.

Todd Lockwood. He may be familiar to Dungeons and Dragons players as one of the artists for the Monster Manuals, including the classic metallic and chromatic dragons. More recently, and qualifying him for a 2018 Hugo, he did the cover and interior illustrations for Marie Brennan’s Memoirs of Lady Trent series.

 

Semiprozine

Beneath Ceaseless Skies. This was the clear standout last year, with a number of excellent stories.

Tor.com

Analog

Fantasy and Science Fiction

Clarkesworld

 

Fanzine

Rocket Stack Rank

File770

 

Series

Song of the Shattered Sands by Bradley P. Beaulieu

A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R.R. Martin

Wayward Children, by Seanan McGuire

 

Campbell Award for Best New Writer

S.A. Chakraborty, for The City of Brass

 

Lodestar Award for Best YA Novel

Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi Adeyemi

Hugo Award Nominations

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Nominations for the Hugo Awards have been open for a couple of weeks now and close on March 16. Here are the works I plan on nominating, in no particular order within each category:

Novel

Norse Mythology, by Neil Gaiman: Gaiman is probably the only author who, if he published his grocery list, I would read it. He does a wonderful job with the myths here.

With Blood Upon the Sand, by Bradley P. Beaulieu: This is the second book in Beaulieu’s Song of the Shattered Sands series. Not only does it avoid “middle book syndrome,” it’s downright excellent.

The Bear and the Nightingale, by Katherine Arden: Probably my favorite out of all the books I read in 2017.

The Stone Sky, by N.K. Jemisin: A stunning conclusion to the Broken Earth series.

Into the Drowning Deep, by Mira Grant: A truly unique take on the mermaid legend, and I love the thought she put into the biology and sociology of the mermaids.

 

Novella

“Mira’s Last Dance” and “Penric’s Fox”, both by Lois McMaster Bujold: Bujold and Grant/Seanan McGuire are tied for “most mentions on my Hugo Nominations list.” Bujold’s Penric and Desdemona series is wonderful; after the first one, I’ve bought each one as soon as it came out.

“Dark or Dusk or Dawn or Day” and “Down Among the Sticks and Bones”, both by Seanan McGuire: I loved the horror movie setting that most of “Sticks and Bones” takes place in, and “Dark” was a great standalone novella.

“The Doors at Dusk and Dawn” by Bradley P. Beaulieu: I love the way the novellas in the Song of Shattered Sands series add depth to the main storyline of the novels.

 

Novelette

“This World is Full of Monsters” by Jeff VanderMeer (Tor.com): An eerie story of transformation with some really stunning descriptions.

“Gravity’s Exile” by Grace Seybold (Beneath Ceaseless Skies): An interesting world and story.

“Crispin’s Model” by Max Gladstone (Tor.com): A wonderfully creepy Lovecraftian story.

“The Worshipful Society of Glovers” by Mary Robinette Kowal (Uncanny): Poignant and heartfelt, with one hell of a twist at the end.

“Concessions” by Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali (Strange Horizons): An interesting setting, and the author did a good job of portraying the main character’s dilemma.

 

Short Story

“The Cold, Lonely Waters” by Aimee Ogden (Shimmer): Mermaids! In space! I liked the descriptions of the mermaids’ spaceship.

“Sasabonsam” by Tara Campbell (Strange Horizons): I loved the concept behind this story and the main character’s gradual transformation.

“The Transmuted Child” by Michael Reed (Interzone): The Buddhist concepts underlying this story were really thought-provoking, and I liked that it included truly alien aliens.

“A Nest of Ghosts, A House of Birds” by Kat Howard (Uncanny): This was an absolutely beautiful story.

“The Morrigan” by Stewart Horn (Interzone): An excellent modern update of a mythical being.

This was by far the hardest category for me to pick five nominees in. I also greatly enjoyed “The Lights We Carried Home” by Kay Chronister (in Strange Horizons) and “Men of the Ashen Morrow” by Margaret Killjoy (in Beneath Ceaseless Skies).

 

Best Series

The Song of the Shattered Sands, by Bradley P. Beaulieu

The Broken Earth, by N.K. Jemisin

Penric and Desdemona, by Lois McMaster Bujold

Bone Universe, by Fran Wilde: This is the only series of the four whose installments I haven’t reviewed on this blog. I finished the first novel, Updraft, recently, and have just started the second book, Cloudbound.

 

Best Related Work

“The Shape of the Darkness as it Overtakes Us” by Dimas Ilaw (Uncanny): A powerful essay about how stories of heroes overcoming dystopian governments have given hope to the author, whose birth country, the Philippines, is currently suffering under a dictator.

 

Best Semiprozine

Beneath Ceaseless Skies

Strange Horizons

Uncanny

Interzone

All of these magazines had a number of stories I enjoyed. The first three also make all their stories available for free online. Lightspeed also features some excellent work (and can be read for free), but its content is skewed too heavily towards reprints instead of new work.

 

Best Editor, Short Form

Lynne M. Thomas and Michael Damian Thomas, editors of Uncanny

Scott H. Andrews, editor of Beneath Ceaseless Skies

Jane Crowley and Kate Dollarhyde, editor of Strange Horizons

Andy Cox, editor of Interzone

 

Best Fanzine

Rocket Stack Rank: This invaluable website catalogues short stories, novelettes, and novellas produced by a number of different magazines and a couple of yearly anthologies. It also provides a brief summary and short review of each one to help readers find stories they’re likely to enjoy.

 

Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form

“The Spoils of War” (Game of Thrones): This episode of the fantastic visuals of the loot train attack, as well as some brief but insightful character moments.

“Beyond the Wall” (Game of Thrones): Great banter among the men on the expedition to capture a wight, thrilling battle scenes, the uplifting arrival of the dragons, and the heartwrenching death of Viserion.

“The Bone Orchard” (American Gods): An excellent start to what I think is the standout film/TV speculative fiction presentation of this year.

“Git Gone” (American Gods): A compelling portrayal of the despair Laura felt and her relationship with Shadow.

 

Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form

American Gods, Season 1

Game of Thrones, Season 7

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2

 

As mentioned above, some of the magazines that published short stories, novelettes, and novellas on my list make the stories freely available online, including Shimmer, Strange Horizons, Uncanny, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and Tor.com. The fanzine I nominated, Rocket Stack Rank, is also not monetized. All of these are great places to find new sci-fi, fantasy, and horror stories to read.