The OF Blog: Non-"core SF" recs for a hypothetical Hugo Awards nomination ballot, or rather, a Best of 2014 in non-"core" speculative fiction

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Non-"core SF" recs for a hypothetical Hugo Awards nomination ballot, or rather, a Best of 2014 in non-"core" speculative fiction

I am unlikely to ever pay any money to be any sort of WorldCon member, but for those who are more interested in such things and who might be curious to see what sorts of works I would nominate for the fiction categories, below is a list of works published by non-genre-specific publishers of authors whose stories, both novels and shorter fiction alike, would be considered for such a hypothetical Hugo ballot.  I am also writing this in case there are those who are going to be nominating works in the next couple of months and who might be wanting to seek out recommended books so that their own ballots might contain as many diverse and wonderful books as possible.


In most cases, I've already written reviews, so I'll just link to those:

Chang-rae Lee, On Such a Full Sea 

Okey Ndibe, Foreign Gods, Inc. 

Marcel Theroux, Strange Bodies

Jeff VanderMeer, The Southern Reach trilogy (Annihilation; Authority; Acceptance)

Helen Oyeyemi, Boy, Snow, Bird 

Carlos Labbé, Navidad and Matanza 

Edmundo Paz Soldán, Iris 

Can Xue, The Last Lover 

Shane Jones, Crystal Eaters 

Lev Grossman, The Magician's Land 

Antoine Volodine, Terminus radieux 

John Darnielle, Wolf in White Van (writing a short review in the next 24 hours or so)

David Cronenberg, Consumed 

Emily St. John Mandel, Station Eleven 

Keith Donohue, The Boy Who Drew Monsters (I'll write a review of this shortly)

Blake Butler, 300,000,000 

Michel Faber, The Book of Strange New Things

Johanna Sinisalo, The Blood of Angels 

Jenny Erpenbeck, The End of Days 

Short Fiction:  (multiple stories found within each of these collections)

Julia Elliott, The Wilds

Jac Jemc, A Different Bed Every Time 

Margaret Atwood, Stone Mattress 

William T. Vollmann, Last Stories & Other Stories 

Hilda Hilst, With My Dog Eyes (novella)

Dorothy Tse, Snow and Shadow 

Karen Russell, Sleep Donation (novella)

David James Poissant, The Heaven of Animals 

Kyle Minor, Praying Drunk 

Yes, I know that if this were a real ballot, I would have had to list a Top 5 (something I will not do now, as I would like to maintain some suspense for when I reveal my Top 50 for 2014 over the course of the next 10 days).  But these are some of the best speculative fiction that I've read this year (very few works published by genre imprints would have been considered, but maybe that's a post for another time?) and for those looking for some great stories, I believe these will please the majority of you.  The short fiction categories (collections, unless otherwise noted) contain several really good stories, too many to list here (if I had, the list of noteworthy spec fic stories would have easily exceeded 50).

Hopefully, there will be something for some to consider as they try to make out their Hugo nomination ballots in the coming months.  I certainly hope my lists provide something different and not more of the same for those readers who do want to see just what is being published out there beyond the familiar confines of genre publishing.

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