For the 2014 Hugo Awards, five novels are nominees for the final voting of best science fiction or fantasy novel of 2013. These are novels receiving the most votes from science fiction and fantasy fans and writers that are members of the World Science Fiction Society. It’s a good gauge of what science fiction an fantasy readers think are the best new novels. Here, for your convenience, is a description of each of the five nominated novels (one being a serialized single work).
Ancillary Justice, Ann Leckie (Orbit US/Orbit UK)
On a remote, icy planet, the soldier known as Breq is drawing closer to completing her quest.
Breq is both more than she seems and less than she was. Years ago, she was the Justice of Toren–a colossal starship with an artificial intelligence linking thousands of corpse soldiers in the service of the Radch, the empire that conquered the galaxy.
An act of treachery has ripped it all away, leaving her with only one fragile human body. And only one purpose–to revenge herself on Anaander Mianaai, many-bodied, near-immortal Lord of the Radch.
From debut author Ann Leckie, Ancillary Justice is a stunning space opera that asks what it means to be human in a universe guided by artificial intelligence
Neptune’s Brood, Charles Stross (Ace / Orbit UK)
Krina Alizond is a metahuman in a universe where the last natural humans became extinct five thousand years ago. When her sister goes missing she embarks on a daring voyage across the star systems to find her, travelling to her last known location – the mysterious water-world of Shin-Tethys.
In a universe with no faster-than-light travel that’s a dangerous journey, made all the more perilous by the arrival of an assassin on Krina’s tail, by the ‘privateers’ chasing her sister’s life insurance policy and by growing signs that the disappearance is linked to one of the biggest financial scams in the known universe.
This is set in the same universe as Saturn’s Children, 5000 years later.
Parasite, Mira Grant (Orbit US/Orbit UK)
A decade in the future, humanity thrives in the absence of sickness and disease.
We owe our good health to a humble parasite – a genetically engineered tapeworm developed by the pioneering SymboGen Corporation. When implanted, the tapeworm protects us from illness, boosts our immune system – even secretes designer drugs. It’s been successful beyond the scientists’ wildest dreams. Now, years on, almost every human being has a SymboGen tapeworm living within them.
But these parasites are getting restless. They want their own lives…and will do anything to get them.
Warbound, Book III of the Grimnoir Chronicles, Larry Correia (Baen Books)
Only a handful of people in the world know that mankind’s magic comes from a living creature, and it is a refugee from another universe. The Power showed up here in the 1850s because it was running from something. Now it is 1933, and the Power’s hiding place has been discovered by a killer.
It is a predator that eats magic and leaves destroyed worlds in its wake. Earth is next.
Former private eye, Jake Sullivan, knows the score. The problem is hardly anyone believes him. The world’s most capable Active, Faye Vierra, could back him up, but she is hiding from the forces that think she is too dangerous to let live. So Jake has put together a ragtag crew of airship pirates and Grimnoir knights, and set out on a suicide mission to stop the predator before it is too late.
The Wheel of Time, Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (Tor Books / Orbit UK)
When Robert Jordan died in 2007, all feared that these concluding scenes would never be written. But working from notes and partials left by Jordan, established fantasy writer Brandon Sanderson stepped in to complete the masterwork. With The Gathering Storm (Book 12) andTowers of Midnight (Book 13) behind him, both of which were # 1 New York Times hardcover bestsellers, Sanderson now re-creates the vision that Robert Jordan left behind.
Edited by Jordan’s widow, who edited all of Jordan’s books, A Memory of Light will delight, enthrall, and deeply satisfy all of Jordan’s legions of readers.
The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass.
What was, what will be, and what is,
may yet fall under the Shadow.
Let the Dragon ride again on the winds of time.