The 56th Annual Nebula Awards

Adventure tales, fantastical romance, space opera — whatever your brand, there is something in the imaginative world of science fiction & fantasy just waiting for you. And if you’re looking for your next otherworldly escape, you’re in luck — it’s the Nebula Awards weekend! The Nebula Awards annually recognize the best works of science fiction or fantasy published in the United States, and this year’s finalists in the best novel category are nothing short of stellar.

Black Sun
Rebecca Roanhorse

Drawing inspiration from the folklore of indigenous cultures of North and Central America, this sweeping series starter is a fantasy thriller, weaving celestial prophecies and magic with political intrigue and revenge — it’s perfection! The lush world-building and complex character dynamics will entrance you from the start, and the exploration of power and societal confines in a Pre-Colombian Americas-inspired setting make this epic a refreshing addition to the fantasy space. “Rebecca Roanhorse … [is one] of the Indigenous novelists reshaping North American science fiction, horror and fantasy — genres in which Native writers have long been overlooked.” —The New York Times

The City We Became
N. K. Jemisin

N.K Jemisin absolutely crushes her readers by mixing real world themes of cultural conflict and the human condition with hauntingly reimagined worlds — The City We Became is no exception. Book one of this new series is a joyride of magic and myth set in contemporary NYC. A newly awakened force is on the attack, and five people — one that delightfully personifies each of the city’s five boroughs — are called on to come together to protect it. Touching on cultural identity, privilege and gentrification, this perfectly weird and witty fantasy adventure is a love letter to NYC and the power of standing up for each other in times of great darkness.

Mexican Gothic
Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Something sinister is brewing beneath an isolated mansion on the Mexican countryside, and an ancient evil is about to be exposed. With callbacks to classics like Rebecca, Jane Eyre and The Haunting of Hill House, Moreno-Garcia (author of Gods of Jade and Shadow) proves that she is just as consumed by stories of haunted houses as we are in this new gothic horror with a twist. “Masterful … a gloriously moody adventure, spooky, smart, and wry. Chic, no-nonsense Noemí Taboada is one hell of a tour guide through this world of mystery, scandal and spirits.”—Victor LaValle, author of The Changeling

The Midnight Bargain
C. L. Polk

Romance, magic and one impossible choice sum up this regency-inspired romantic fantasy. The “bargaining season” is upon us, and young women are forced to give up their magical abilities to secure an advantageous match. But one sorceress yearns for something more, forcing her to go against her duty to her family, and turning away from a love she wasn’t expecting. With strong female protagonists unapologetically fighting for freedoms in a stifling patriarchal society, The Midnight Bargain is a riveting tale of sorcery and perseverance wrapped in a fierce feminist coming-of-age story you will not be able to put down.

Piranesi
Susanna Clarke

It’s been just about 16 years since Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell brought a little magic back into our lives and it’s probably an understatement to say that fans have been eagerly awaiting something new from the enchanting imagination of Susanna Clarke. It was worth the wait. Set in a dreamlike alternative reality, Piranesi is a stunning metaphysical fantasy, an intricate labyrinth of epic proportions that will haunt you long after the final pages. “What a world Susanna Clarke conjures into being, what a tick-tock-tick-tock of reveals … what beauty, tension and restraint … Piranesi is an exquisite puzzle-box far, far bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.” —David Mitchell, author of Cloud Atlas

And the winner is … 

Network Effect: A Murderbot Novel
Martha Wells

Network Effect may be the 5th in the Murderbot Diaries series, but it’s the first full-length novel — and it’s about time! This heart-pounding space opera thriller not only gifts us epic battle sequences with a sentient murder machine, but it’s also hilarious and surprisingly relatable. Our deeply flawed protagonist, Murderbot, is sarcastic, enjoys soap operas, and is blatantly honest with a general disdain for humanity. NPR may have captured it best when they said, “we are all a little bit Murderbot.” You may come for the space action, but it’s Murderbot that steals the show. And while you really should not miss the four novellas that came before, you can also just jump right in with Network Effect. We have a feeling you’ll be coming back for more, whichever way you start.

 

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