The 2017 Hugo Award winners are announced tomorrow. Awarded to the best science fiction or fantasy works of the previous year (so in this case, 2016), it is among the highest honors bestowed in science fiction and fantasy writing. This year, we wanted to get the full Hugo experience so we’ve been working tirelessly to read and discuss all of the nominees before the winner is announced. It’s safe to say that this is an excellent selection and a very tight race.
A Closed and Common Orbit is the sequel to Becky Chamber’s breakout hit The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet, and if it were possible to unilaterally bestow a Hugo award from this blog it would be this year’s winner. This book is no mere sequel, but stands as an evolution of the monumental narrative that came before it. In it we see honest human experiences, pain and joy and (more than all the rest) discovery, and through it we view a universe at once more bright and more terrible than our own. Everything about this book makes it a winner – from Chambers’ electric and relatable voice to the complete and immersive world she shows us. But what throws it out miles ahead of its fellow nominees are the characters and their journeys. Chambers does in A Closed and Common Orbit what science fiction authors strive to do – she illuminates what it means to be human: to grow, to want, to hurt, and to love.