The 2019 Hugo Awards will be announced at this year’s WorldCon 77 in Dublin, Ireland, on August 18th, 2019. Often considered “among the highest honors bestowed in science fiction and fantasy writing“, the Hugo Award for Best Novel is the central event of each year’s Worldcon. Any work of fiction 40,000 words or more and published or translated into English during the previous year is eligible.
Over the coming months, I will be reviewing each finalist in the Best Novel category and linking those reviews here. As I have in years past, I will circle back to this post once the Hugo Award winners are announced in August to record the winner.
Be sure to follow this page for the latest updates to this review series, and as always don’t hesitate to read along with me and let me know what you think of these nominees (or the Hugo Awards) in the comments!
The Calculating Stars (Winner, Best Novel)
Known as “A Lady Astronaut Novel”, Mary Robinette Kowal’s The Calculating Stars broke onto the scifi scene last summer to immediate acclaim. This series explores an alternate history shaken by disaster and saved by enterprise, hope, and (as one reviewer put it) “a version of history where men eventually, finally, listen to women”. The stars of this story are women scientists with incredible spirit, and an alternate history that simultaneously inspires and devastates.
You can read my review of The Calculating Stars here.
Record of a Spaceborn Few (Winner, Best Series)
Becky Chambers’ Wayfarers series came to an end this year with Record of a Spaceborn Few. This last installment of her stunning arc explores the Exodus Fleet, “a living relic” populated by the last of the Exodans, descendants of the very last humans on Earth and stepped out into the dark of space in search of a new home. Now that humanity is thriving not just among the stars but among myriad alien species, what life is left for these stubborn few who remain on the now dilapidated former arc of humanity?
You can read my review of Record of a Spaceborn Few here.
Revenant Gun is Yoon Ha Lee’s breathtaking conclusion to the Machineries of Empire series picks up the baton where Raven Stratagem left off, and delivers the same absolutely epic and inspiringly unique military scifi Lee has become known for. If the review “A homicidal space ghost goes around fighting injustice with math magic in a vacuum-faring moth” speaks to you, this book is for you.
(Note: Review quoted from user Allison Hurd on goodreads.com)
You can read my review of Revenant Gun here soon.
Though I’ve heard endless and creative praise for Space Opera since its publication, no description beats the one found at the top of this book’s Amazon page: “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy meets the joy and glamour of Eurovision in bestselling author Catherynne M. Valente’s science fiction spectacle, where sentient races compete for glory in a galactic musical contest…and the stakes are as high as the fate of planet Earth.” – Amazon.com
I will not be posting a review of Space Opera here per my policy, as I did not enjoy it enough to finish.
Naomi Novik became known for her brilliant narration, gorgeous world, complex characters, and vibrant magical stories long ago, but 2015’s Uprooted cemented her name on the list of great modern fantasy authors. Spinning Silver proves that this was no fluke, and explores a vital, vast tale that is part fantasy, part fairy tale, and all magic.
You can read my review of Spinning Silver here soon.
Trail of Lightning
A firm entry in NPR’s “2018 Great Reads” list, Rebecca Roanhorse’s Trail of Lightning tells a breathtaking story of a “badass indigenous monster-hunter and her silver-tongued sidekick” (quote from this book’s New York Times review). Despite being a huge story of a post-apocalyptic United States, Trail of Lightning had been lauded as a deeply personal tale, setting a unique heroine and her journey against a backdrop of frighteningly realistic global devastation and wickedly supernatural new dangers.
You can read my review of Trail of Lightning here soon.