The finalists for the 2017 Hugo Awards were announced this morning! You can see a complete list of nominees for all fields on the Worldcon website; winners will be announced on August 11, 2017, at the 75th World Science Fiction Convention in Helsinki, Finland.
This year's finalists for Best Novel are particularly exciting. The six-title field features two first novels, as well as second and third books in some very popular sagas. The nominees tackle issues like gender, climate change, and our relationship to the galaxy around us. They're guaranteed to expand your mind, and possibly your heart, too—so why not use today's announcement as an excuse to check out their Hugo-worthy radness firsthand?
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All the Birds in the Sky
The debut novel from io9 co-founder Charlie Jane Anders, All the Birds in the Sky follows computer whiz Laurence and reluctant witch Patricia from childhood to young adulthood. After their childhood friendship ends badly, Patricia and Laurence are surprised when an accidental meet-up in San Francisco years later leads to them connecting again.
Soon, climate change becomes an urgent thread, and the world they've always known begins to disappear forever. Laurence and Patricia find their newly rekindled friendship endangered as they're pitted against each other by their respective loyalties to tech and the natural world. Will cutting-edge science Laurence helped develop save humanity? Or will the magic embraced by Patricia and her community be the answer? All the Birds in the Sky is a gorgeous novel that proves imagination and science aren't mutually exclusive, and shows that love has value even in the midst of apocalypse.
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A Closed and Common Orbit
The standalone sequel to Becky Chambers' fantastic debut novel The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, A Closed and Common Orbit is thoughtful, character-driven, optimistic science fiction. It centers around the sentient AI Sidra and her companion and protector Pepper, a former child slave who was raised by an AI. With the help of Pepper, Sidra slowly adjusts to life in her new—and highly illegal—synthetic human body.
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Death's End is the final book in the widely acclaimed Remembrance of Earth's Past trilogy, a sci-fi saga that began with the 2015 Best Novel-winner The Three-Body Problem. The epic final book opens during an uneasy stalemate between Earth and extraterrestrial Trisolaran invaders. For now, the Trisolarans have been deterred in their takeover of Earth, fearing discovery by other hostile alien forces. But the fragile peace between Trisolarans and humanity is threatened when aerospace engineer Cheng Xin awakes from hibernation, and reintroduces forgotten knowledge into the delicately balanced political climate.
Book 1 in The Machineries of Empire series follows Kel Cheris, a hexarchate captain whose reputation is threatened after she employs frowned-upon weapons in a battle against the heretics — insurgents whose rebuke of widely-accepted mathematical facts threatens the hexarchate's power. Cheris' one chance to redeem herself is by retaking a captured star fortress crucial to the hexarchate's war efforts. Knowing what's at stake, she takes the risky step of turning to undead general Ninefox Shuos Jedao for help, a master tactician whose brilliance is only eclipsed by his insanity.
The Obelisk Gate
The sequel to 2016 Best Novel Award-winner The Fifth Season, The Obelisk Gate continues the lauded Broken Earth trilogy. Set on an ever-shifting, turbulent supercontinent ironically called "The Stillness," the Broken Earth trilogy is a compelling combination of post-apocalypse and high fantasy, and features an incredibly unique system of magic. Book two picks up immediately after The Fifth Season, and continues to follow Essun's quest.
Too Like the Lightning
In 2424, Earth is, according to some of its residents, a utopia. Rather than being divided by borders between countries, humanity is organized into Hives inspired by Enlightenment philosophy. Gender-specific pronouns are banned, as is the public practice of religion, and advancements in technology and transportation have arguably led to an overall increased quality of life and convenience. The first book in the Terra Ignota series, Too Like the Lightning follows Mycroft, a convict with a shocking past, and sensayer Carlyle Foster. When the pair meet meet a young boy named Bridger, they realize that his very existence threatens Earth's most established systems.
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