Honestly, this is the best week of the year to kick off a science-fiction round-up. One of the most prestigious award ceremony in the genre — the Hugo Awards — were held on August 19 at the World Science Fiction Convention in downtown San Diego. Winning a Hugo Award is a major feather in any sci-fi/fantasy author’s cap, as the winners are chosen by a vote of the fan community. It’s like the MTV Video Music Awards, or the People’s Choice Award, only good.
This year, women won in nearly every category. Out of seventeen categories, women took home trophies in fifteen of them. Perhaps the greatest achievement of the evening belonged to N.K. Jemisin, who made Hugo history when her novel The Stone Sky took home the win for Best Novel. The book is the third in her Broken Earth series, which means Jemisin has now won Best Novel for every single installment of this saga!
Other major winners included Martha Wells novella All Systems Red, Suzanne Palmer’s novelette The Secret Life of Bots, and newcomer Rebecca Roanhorse, who not only took home the award for Best New Writer but also Best Short Story for Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience. On the graphic novel side, Monstress author Marjorie M. Liu and artist Saga Takeda respectively took home awards for Best Graphic Story and Best Professional artist.
If you’re looking for new cuts of sci-fi to read as summer fades into fall, the genre has you covered. This week’s new releases include an alternate American Civil War and an alternate universe where space colonization is a reality.
The Black God’s Drums
First up is Djèlí Clark ‘s debut novel. Set in New Orleans in a steampunk version of the American Civil War, readers follow a girl called Creeper who creeps (zing!) abroad an airship. From the description:
“Creeper plans to earn Captain Ann-Marie’s trust with information she discovers about a Haitian scientist and a mysterious weapon he calls The Black God’s Drums. But Creeper also has a secret herself: Oya, the African orisha of the wind and storms, speaks inside her head, and may have her ulterior motivations. Soon, Creeper, Oya, and the crew of the Midnight Robber are pulled into a perilous mission aimed to stop the Black God’s Drums from being unleashed and wiping out the entirety of New Orleans.”
The Fated Sky
Also out this week is The Fated Sky by Mary Robinette Kowal. The novel is the second in a series about an alternate America where the trajectory of the planet is changed when a meteor crashes into Washington D.C. in 1960. The first installment, called The Calculating Stars show that with Earth set to become inhospitable to humans due to the fallout of the meteor, humanity colonizes the moon. Now, in The Fated Sky, astronaut Elma York must grapple with if she can leave behind her husband for a mission to Mars that could save humanity. Or it could just get her killed.
Aphrodite V #2
This a new graphic novel from Bryan Hill and Jeff Spokes is fascinating. A biomechanics woman living in near-future L.A., Aphrodite V follows the title character as she seeks to stop an evil machine. She teams up with a human that doesn’t trust androids but can they learn to trust each other enough to stop the bad guys?
And just because I can’t help myself, a little bit of adaptation news. Apple has officially signed off on turning Isaac Asimov’s Foundation novels into a television series. Good luck to them, because there are exactly zero* women in the first book and only one in the second.
*There is one walk-on role but she says one line and is never heard from again in the book.
Science Fiction in all its forms has become such a part of our society and bridged the gap from niche genre to pop culture phenomenon. There is something for everyone if you dig deep enough. The Wailing Blade is a great new comic series. There are a ton of amazing Sci-Fi TV shows to binge right now. Observe the best eclipses in Sci-Fi history too. You’ll find something you love in the world of Science Fiction for sure right here.
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