2016 Hugo/Nebula Watchlist
Some of you are going to want to close your eyes for this one: the 2016 Hugo/Nebula watchlist. Too early? Never! Part of my goal with Chaos Horizon is to let me get a jump on my reading. That way, I’ll be ahead of—and not behind—the SFF scene. Basically, these are the books I’m keeping an eye on (and perhaps reading, depending on reviews) for my eventual 2016 predictions. Or, as Shelley tells us:
‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
This list is by no means final: new books will be announced through throughout the year, and it’s next to impossible to know what books by new/unknown authors will be important 12 months from now. This is an initial direction, no more. Despair if you must!
Here’s what I’ve got so far. All publication dates are from Amazon. As always, let me throw out my disclaimer: here at Chaos Horizon, I try to predict what will happen, not what should happen. Don’t take my list as an endorsement (or condemnation!) of any particular book.
Tier I: My Early Frontrunners (in alphabetical order)
Bacigalupi, Paolo, The Water Knife, 26-May-15
Jemisin, N.K., The Fifth Season, 4-Aug-15
Leckie, Ann, Ancillary Mercy, TBA
Liu, Ken, The Grace of Kings, 7-Apr-15
Okorafor, Nnedi, The Book of Phoenix, 5-May-15
Stephenson, Neal, Seveneves, 19-May-15
A busy year, with plenty of books by well-known authors. Stephenson returns with another awkwardly titled epic; Bacigalupi delivers his first adult SF novel since his 2010 Hugo and Nebula wins; and Leckie wraps up her Ancillary trilogy. On the fantasy front, Liu is delivering his debut novel, the first part of an ambitious trilogy. Okorafor’s book is a prequel to her well-liked Who Fears Death, which scored a Nebula nom and a World Fantasy win back in 2011. The Fifth Season seems to move Jemisin into post-apocalyptic SF, and she had Nebula noms in 2011, 2012, and 2013, as well as a Hugo nomination from 2011.
Both the Nebula and Hugo are very repetitive, as we learned from my Repeat Study—but they aren’t this repetitive. It’ll be about 65% repeaters for the Hugo, 50% for the Nebula (if past patterns hold true), so not each of these 6 books is going to make the final slate. Still, they’re a strong place to start. Of course, we don’t know if each of these books will live up to expectations, but that’s what the next year is for.
Tier I: Other Candidates (in alphabetical order)
Bear, Elizabeth, Karen Memory, 3-Feb-15
Bennett, Robert Jackson, City of Blades, TBA
Bodard, Aliette, The House of Shattered Wings, 1-Sep-15
Chu, Wesley, Time Salvager, 07-Jul-15
Cline, Ernest, Armada, TBA
Corey, James S.A., Nemesis Games, 2-Jun-15
Danielewski, Mark, The Familiar, Volume 1, 12-May-15
Elliot, Kate, Court of Fives, 18-Aug-15
Hurley, Kameron, The Empire Ascendant, TBA
Kowal, Mary Robinette, Of Noble Family, 28-Apr-15
Liu, Cixin, The Dark Forest, 7-Jul-15
Lord, Karen, The Galaxy Game, 6-Jan-15
Milan, Victor, The Dinosaur Lords, 28-Jul-15
Naomi, Novik, Uprooted, 19-May-15
North, Clair, Touch, 24-Feb-15
Roberts, Adam, The Thing Itself, TBA
Robinson, Kim Stanley, Aurora, 7-Jul-15
Scalzi, John, The End of All Things, 11-Aug-15
Schwab, V.E., A Darker Shade of Magic, 24-Feb-15
Stross, Charles, The Annihilation Score, 7-Jul-15
Valente, Catherynne, Radiance, 18-Aug-15
Valentine, Genevieve, Persona, 10-Mar-15
Walton, Jo, The Just City, 13-Jan-15
Wilson, Robert Charles, The Affinities, 21-Apr-15
These books are all viable candidates based on past award history or early buzz. I won’t go through them one by one, but this at least gives me a chance to begin organizing my reading. Each of these potential nominees will need to be well-received when the book actually comes out. No one has read most of these books yet, so we don’t know if they’re good, great, or just average.
I’m sure I missed as many books as I’ve included. What else is coming out in 2015 that has a shot at either a Hugo or Nebula in 2016? Good grief, 2016 sounds like the far future, doesn’t it?
And don’t worry—I’ll try not to mention the 2016 awards again until after the 2015 Hugo and Nebula are awarded.