Hugo & Nebula Awards: Best Novels discussion

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message 1: by Sarah (last edited Sep 11, 2020 04:14AM) (new)

Sarah Tate | 338 comments For those times when you just can't decide what to read, put the decision into someone else's hands.

Spin the wheel and let fate decide... where fate is another member of the group :)

Thought this might be a fun idea (although not strictly a game so I'm not sure where to put it).

How it works:
- If you want someone to pick your next book, just post in the thread.
- You can set some parameters to limit the selection. For example, you could link a specific shelf, request books from a specific author, etc.
- Someone will come along and select a book for you!

Guidelines for selection:
- If you're picking a book for someone else, please don't recommend twice in a row so that others have a chance to play along.
- You could recommend your favourites, or something you think that person will like, or a totally random choice... it's up to you! Just make sure to stick within the parameters they requested.
- It doesn't necessarily have to be SF or a Hugo/Nebula book.
- It doesn't have to be a book you've read yourself.

This is a very slow 'game', so no time limits. Feel free to necro the post at your leisure!

Thoughts? Feedback? Requests? Post away :)


message 2: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Tate | 338 comments I'll start because I can't decide what to read next.

One of my goals for the year is to read more books from my physical bookshelf. So can anyone pick a book from my shelf for me to read next? :)

The only request is please try to avoid anything in the middle of a series.


message 3: by Anthony (new)

Anthony (albinokid) | 173 comments Ok, I’ll recommend The Color Purple. I read it over 30 years ago and I still vividly recall how it made me feel.


message 4: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new)

Oleksandr Zholud | 3713 comments Mod
Oh, a nice list and a nice problem setting :)

If you are into easy non-fic then Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? Big Questions from Tiny Mortals About Death, well written but a bit too concentrated on the US. Still a lot of info I haven't known

If you are into political SF and the way the anarcho-communism might work then clearly The Dispossessed (it is from the series, but all books there are perfectly stand alone)


message 5: by Sarah (last edited Sep 10, 2020 07:36AM) (new)

Sarah Tate | 338 comments Anthony wrote: "Ok, I’ll recommend The Color Purple. I read it over 30 years ago and I still vividly recall how it made me feel."

It's about time I got to reading this classic. I expected it to be a difficult read, hence why I've put it off for so long. Thank you Anthony for the recommendation!


Oleksandr wrote: "If you are into easy non-fic then Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs? Big Questions from Tiny Mortals About Death"

Thanks Z. It seems like a fun one just to dip into, and it aligns with my goal of reading more non-fiction this year, so I'll go with this afterwards!


message 6: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (new)

Art | 2551 comments Mod
Anthony wrote: "Ok, I’ll recommend The Color Purple. I read it over 30 years ago and I still vividly recall how it made me feel."

I second that.


message 7: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (new)

Art | 2551 comments Mod
Great idea, Sarah. I'll have to come a list of 'owned/have access' to books and ask for recommendations here.


message 8: by Allan (last edited Sep 10, 2020 08:47PM) (new)

Allan Phillips | 2081 comments Mod
I'm game! I created a "pick-em" folder and put 20 books there of varying length, mostly H/N listed, some of which I'd planned to read at some point this year and others not. PICK TWO!

https://www.goodreads.com/review/list...


message 9: by Kalin (new)

Kalin | 696 comments I'd say The Player of Games, since you'll never get to read it just following our group goals here. And apparently The Culture is fantastic.


message 10: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new)

Oleksandr Zholud | 3713 comments Mod
Allan wrote: "I'm game! I created a "pick-em" folder and put 20 books ."

I liked The Dervish House and planned to read more by the author, even got two more books... but you know how it goes, other readings....


message 11: by Allan (new)

Allan Phillips | 2081 comments Mod
I enjoyed Consider Phlebas a lot when I read it a month or so ago. Phlebas, The Player of Games and Use of Weapons (#3) are mentioned on best-of lists. I’ve been trying to fit The Dervish House in for some time. I’ll slot those two in as soon as I finish the monthly reads and the others in progress. September might be tight but definitely by October.


message 12: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Tate | 338 comments Art wrote: "Great idea, Sarah. I'll have to come a list of 'owned/have access' to books and ask for recommendations here."
Thanks! Glad you are on board. I'll look out for that list :)

Allan wrote: "I'm game! I created a "pick-em" folder and put 20 books there of varying length, mostly H/N listed, some of which I'd planned to read at some point this year and others not. PICK TWO!"
That's the spirit! Nice varied list you got there. Sorry for encouraging you to put even more books on your plate lol!


message 13: by Eva (last edited Sep 11, 2020 12:56AM) (new)

Eva | 0 comments How are you guys recommending twice in a row, isn't that against the rules?

That said: I haven't read any of those on Allan's list, so I also have to sit this one out.


message 14: by Sarah (last edited Sep 11, 2020 04:13AM) (new)

Sarah Tate | 338 comments Eva wrote: "How are you guys recommending twice in a row, isn't that against the rules?"
It is true. But I'm always open to bending rules. Especially rules that I just made up. Use them at your discretion!

Eva wrote: "I haven't read any of those on Allan's list, so I also have to sit this one out."
I'll often recommend books I've heard good things about, even if I haven't read them myself (my job in a library would be impossible if I had to read everything before helping people pick books haha). There are just too many good books out there to read them all.


message 15: by Allan (new)

Allan Phillips | 2081 comments Mod
I said “pick two” so two in a row is ok in this case. Almost half of the books I shelved were sub-200 pages, so I thought there was a chance a shortie might get picked. Silly me! LOL


message 16: by Eva (new)

Eva | 0 comments No, I meant "two in a row" because some people had already recommended something to the previous person asking for recs and were technically disqualified from recommending anything again. ;-) But Sarah is right, maybe that rule needn't be followed, I don't really care either!

Okay, I'd like a recommendation: recommend a less well-known (under 8,000 ratings) fantasy novel that features:
- magic
- cool magical creatures
- some interesting female characters
- smart and complex
- some characters should have altruistic motivation and want to help/protect people
- you think I will like it

If it's rape-free, that would be even better. Looking forward to hearing from anyone, regardless of prior recs. ;-) I can't actually promise it will be my very next book because I still have to finish a few I've started.


message 17: by *Tau* (last edited Sep 11, 2020 03:42AM) (new)

*Tau* | 106 comments Eva wrote: "
Okay, I'd like a recommendation: recommend a less well-known (under 8,000 ratings) fantasy novel that features:
- magic
- cool magical creatures
- some interesting female characters
- smart and complex
- some characters should have altruistic motivation and want to help/protect people
- you think I will like it"


There is a book that I didn't read yet, but that is very high on my TBR-list and it will probably be my nomination for the next BOTM (fantasy).
It meets all your requirements though ;-)

Race the Sands by Sarah Beth Durst Race the Sands

Here's a nice review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 18: by Eva (new)

Eva | 0 comments Oh, thank you so much, Tau! That does sound wonderful! 😍


message 19: by *Tau* (new)

*Tau* | 106 comments Eva wrote: "Oh, thank you so much, Tau! That does sound wonderful! 😍"

You're welcome, Eva!
Thought that this one might be right up your alley. Glad you like it ;-)


message 20: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new)

Oleksandr Zholud | 3713 comments Mod
Eva wrote: "a less well-known (under 8,000 ratings) fantasy novel that features:
- magic
- cool magical creatures
- some interesting female characters
- smart and complex
- some characters should have altruistic motivation and want to help/protect people
- you think I will like it"


More known novel (first in the series) is The Way of Kings. A quick read I'd say His Majesty's Dragon, - no major female chars (several minor) but written by a woman...


message 21: by Eva (new)

Eva | 0 comments Thank you! I've already read both of those, but you're right - they would have been pretty good fits. And I think the dragon Temeraire counts as a female character. 😄


message 22: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (new)

Art | 2551 comments Mod
Eva wrote: "Oh, thank you so much, Tau! That does sound wonderful! 😍"

That recommendation was spot on.
You may check this link out, maybe you'll get some ideas:

http://bestfantasybooks.com/top25-fan...


message 23: by Allan (new)

Allan Phillips | 2081 comments Mod
Great link & source for reading plans!


message 24: by *Tau* (last edited Sep 11, 2020 08:41AM) (new)

*Tau* | 106 comments Oleksandr wrote: "More known novel (first in the series) is The Way of Kings."

Mmmm ... 293.450 ratings ;-p

@Eva: btw if the number of ratings may be a bit higher and you're in the mood to read a webcomic, you can also try:

On a Sunbeam by Tillie Walden On a Sunbeam

You can find my review here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show....
Lots of women (no men at all, in fact ;-p) and if you consider the giant goldfish ships as 'cool magical creatures', then this could be something at your taste. Although it's more sci-fi than fantasy ... But overall it's a tale of growing up, friendship, love and adventure :-)

Oleksandr wrote: "A quick read I'd say His Majesty's Dragon,"

Dragons ... that makes me think of another tip for Eva :-)
@Eva: If you're in the mood for a humorous read, you should definitely try:

Fool's Gold (The Dragon Lords, #1) by Jon Hollins Fool's Gold

One of the main characters is definitely a kick-ass female and the other female character in the ragtag group is more the altruistic one ;-p


message 25: by *Tau* (new)

*Tau* | 106 comments And if you're in a really adventurous mood, Eva, you can also join me and read a book that has only 2 reviews/ratings so far (and that seems to meet all your requirements too) ;-p

The Wound of Words by Deborah Makarios The Wound of Words

One (very short) review is of Lukasz, whose opinions always lean close to mine. So that's a review I really rely on.
And the other one makes me even more curious to read this book that's unknown by the greater public. But judge for yourself: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... ;-)

And now I'm going to keep quiet because otherwise the others here will think I'm hijacking this thread :-D


message 26: by Eva (new)

Eva | 0 comments Thanks again - On A Sunbeam felt too young for me, but I've downloaded the free sample of The Wound of Words and Fool's Gold to take a look at them.


message 27: by Allan (new)

Allan Phillips | 2081 comments Mod
Even though I have a few other reads going, I went ahead and started The Player of Games, as proscribed. The Culture novels move pretty fast I think, so it’s a good break from Perdido.


message 28: by *Tau* (last edited Sep 12, 2020 09:55AM) (new)

*Tau* | 106 comments Eva wrote: "Thanks again - On A Sunbeam felt too young for me, but I've downloaded the free sample of The Wound of Words and Fool's Gold to take a look at them."

You're welcome, Eva!

No problem ;-)
As mostly I'm not a fan of YA either, I understand why this feels 'too young' to you. For me, compared to other YA, there was more substance in the story over long term (but I agree that this doesn't show immediately).

If you ever read one of these books, you're always welcome to let me know if you liked it.
The same goes for me (at least for Race the Sands and The Wound of Words) ;-)


message 29: by TomK2 (new)

TomK2 (thomaskrolick) | 312 comments Sarah wrote: "I'll start because I can't decide what to read next.

One of my goals for the year is to read more books from my physical bookshelf. So can anyone pick a book from my shelf for me to read next? :)
..."

Circe! A nice retelling of a minor Greek mythology character as the protagonist. I thoroughly enjoyed it, easy to read, don't put this one off.


message 30: by Kalin (last edited Sep 13, 2020 01:41PM) (new)

Kalin | 696 comments I thought On a Sunbeam was okay, and I was even fine with the intentional exclusion of men from the story, until I read Tillie Walden's "about me" page on their website:

Tillie Walden wrote: "The inception of On a Sunbeam came from my perpetual disappointment and boredom towards any story set in space. At the beginning, Sunbeam was just called ‘Space Book.’ I spent almost a year just thinking about it before I actually started drawing it. I went into it with no plan. My initial goal with Sunbeam was to create a version of outer space that I would want to live in. So of course that includes tons of queer people, no men (did you notice?), trees, old buildings, and endless constellations.

Wonderful to see that "no men" is a condition of a world you find appealing, Tillie. I'll pass.


message 31: by Kristenelle (new)

Kristenelle | 305 comments Respectfully, I think that may be an overreaction, Kalin. The appeal of a world without men doesn't necessarily mean they hate men or want men annihilated. Because men have caused a lot of trauma many of the rest of us are uncomfortable around men. I am. Obviously, I deal and I'm not looking for a world free of men, but I can certainly imagine feeling more comfortable in a world without men. Imagine a world where I'm never sexually harassed by strangers or coworkers. Imagine a world where large men don't feel entitled to aggressively ream me out whenever they feel like it. Imagine a world where I could go for a walk after dark.


message 32: by Eva (new)

Eva | 0 comments Yeah, but I can understand Kalin - imagine a gay male author saying that his ideal world would be without women. Wouldn't that make you personally not want to read them? It also implies that men have nothing worthwhile and unique to contribute to the world that you would miss if it was gone. So many men have contributed so much value to my life, so much fun, insights, camaraderie, friendship, creativity, protection - even saved my life. Imagine if all your past and future favorite male authors had been killed at birth, and you'd never get to read any of them.

Anyway, if her ideal world is without men, that should also logically mean she doesn't want any male readers in it, either, so why would it be an overreaction to respect her wishes?


message 33: by Kristenelle (last edited Sep 13, 2020 07:54PM) (new)

Kristenelle | 305 comments Eva wrote: "Yeah, but I can understand Kalin - imagine a gay male author saying that his ideal world would be without women. Wouldn't that make you personally not want to read them? It also implies that men ha..."

I think I would want to read that, provided it wasn't hateful towards women. I enjoy learning about the perspectives and experiences of those who are different from me.

Just to clarify, I don't think refraining from reading more from this author is an overreaction. I feel the overreaction is assuming the author is hateful towards men...which Kalin didn't actually specify, but that I was assuming he meant. I could be wrong. These things can be hard to read in a text format.

"So many men have contributed so much value to my life, so much fun, insights, camaraderie, friendship, creativity, protection - even saved my life. Imagine if all your past and future favorite male authors had been killed at birth, and you'd never get to read any of them."

I'm missing how this is related. I didn't say that I don't value the men in my life.

"Anyway, if her ideal world is without men, that should also logically mean she doesn't want any male readers in it, either, so why would it be an overreaction to respect her wishes?"

That isn't how I read the author's statement. They(?) didn't set out to create an ideal world or say that is how they would create the world if they had the power. They said they created a world they would like to live in. If I said something like that it would mean that I was imagining one of many possible worlds I would enjoy inhabiting. It seems like you both you (Eva) and Kalin both read this statement as being very anti-men or even hateful of men while I read it as just imagining what life might be like free of men...that that might be a nice place to hang out. That's what I imagine authors doing when they create worlds in their books. They are creating places where they literally spend time while they are creating their books. It isn't like they are god annihilating men from the universe. They are just creating little fantasies where they can remove the stresses of the real world. But like, once again, I'm somewhat reading into a text communication and am necessarily reading between the lines. Maybe this author really is hateful.


message 34: by Eva (new)

Eva | 0 comments Yes, I can see your interpretation makes sense, as well, and we shouldn't interpret too much into internet communications that may be taken out of context, said unthinkingly in a moment, or not meant the way they seem. :-)


message 35: by Kalin (new)

Kalin | 696 comments Hm, okay, well I do actually read the statement as being anti-men. I loathe the word misandrist, and usually roll my eyes when it's used, but this statement comes closest to that word of anything I've ever read. And I realize that it's a blithe quippy one-liner and not a deep statement with lots of nuance. But Kristen, my feeling is that you're providing her words with nuance that she herself didn't provide. She straight up said an imagined world she would want to live in doesn't have men, no further explanation.

I consider myself a feminist, and I hope for a world without patriarchy and strive to live anti-sexism in my life and work as much as I can. I understand and respect the desire for male-free physical and narrative spaces, so I'm comfortable with the idea that authors and artists are not interested in telling men's stories, or even stories involving men. So I noticed the lack of men in On a Sunbeam, assumed it was intentional, found it lovely as a story and as graphic novel art anyway.

I am against sexual harassment and gendered violence, and don't want anyone to have to experience those harms. I know that the world we live in means that many people, overwhelmingly but not exclusively women and nonbinary folks (boys are subject to adult male violence as well), have experienced this in their day to day life. But sexist and volent behaviour is not inherent to masculinity or men, it's learned behaviour.

Kristen wrote: didn't set out to create an ideal world or say that is how they would create the world if they had the power.

But she did exercise power here, the power of her imagination to create this story. She created her fictional world and the most her words did to explain her decision is that her (ideal) space story has no men in it. She didn't use the world "ideal" but that's the only way I see of interpreting it?

I just... yeah, I found her comment offensive and depressing when I first read it, and unpacking it hasn't really changed that original emotional reaction. I appreciate what you've written, but what you've shared is more nuanced and clear that what she did.


message 36: by Oleksandr, a.k.a. Acorn (new)

Oleksandr Zholud | 3713 comments Mod
Kristen wrote: "(Eva) and Kalin both read this statement as being very anti-men or even hateful of men while I read it as just imagining what life might be like free of men...that that might be a nice place to hang out."

This will be a place without my great comments! Who can like such a place?!
*sarcasm*


message 37: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (last edited Sep 13, 2020 10:47PM) (new)

Art | 2551 comments Mod
I believe this is a part of the slippery slope Plamen wrote about. Had any white cis author wrote "I would like to live in a world without "insert any group of people here" we would all peg them for a neo-nazi.

I do appreciate Kristen's explaining another point of view, which makes sense but sounds like a bit of an excuse for an off the cuff remark which was probably aimed at the author's audience (which would lap it up too).

Not that it's any of my business, but I think it's sad that a phrase like that could turn into something very divisive, especially since the next sentence goes on to praising their male editor who was an invaluable part of the project. I guess the author doesn't hate men, they would just rather not be around them.


message 38: by Eva (new)

Eva | 0 comments Oleksandr wrote: "Kristen wrote: "(Eva) and Kalin both read this statement as being very anti-men or even hateful of men while I read it as just imagining what life might be like free of men...that that might be a n..."

Lol, I would miss you!


message 39: by Sarah (last edited Sep 14, 2020 03:32AM) (new)

Sarah Tate | 338 comments Kalin wrote: "Wonderful to see that "no men" is a condition of a world you find appealing, Tillie. I'll pass."

I think we're all too used to reading books that don't pass the Bechdel test. There are plenty of books with no women in them, but to write one with no men is a political statement.

Were I in her position, I'd endeavour to write male characters that match the people I want to see in the world, rather than omit them entirely. Since the author's statement was pretty vague, I'll reserve judgement, as it can easily be read either way.

This discussion goes pretty deep though. Perhaps it deserves its own thread? :)


message 40: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (new)

Art | 2551 comments Mod
Okay, here's the new thread so we don't pollute this one:
https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...


message 41: by Plamen (new)

Plamen Nenchev (vmro) | 95 comments Kalin wrote: "Wonderful to see that "no men" is a condition of a world you find appealing, Tillie. I'll pass."

Oh. Postmodern feminism in all of its glory, again.


message 42: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (new)

Art | 2551 comments Mod
Alright, I am in need of a recommendation for the last week of September.

I'm still trying to catch up on all of the missing reads from the last year and I have a week to read one of these:

Annihilation trilogy?
The Golem and the Jinni
The Collapsing Empire trilogy?
Neuromancer trilogy?
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell already started but got sidetracked.
Killing Commendatore unrelated, by Haruki Murakami

I would like to read something standalone because we have the Crobuzon series lined up next and I'm still picking at the Vorkosigan saga. Half way through the Vor Game now.

For the context:
I'm working on the Vorkosigan Saga, New Crobuzon, I don't want to be too late starting on the October reads and I want to fit a horror/mythology book in the end of October.


message 43: by Kalin (new)

Kalin | 696 comments The Collapsing Empire is quick and easy like everything Scalzi -- but it has sequels...


message 44: by Kristenelle (new)

Kristenelle | 305 comments Are you interested in anything by Murakami? I quite like his books and if you haven’t read any of his work yet you should give him a try. IQ84 is my favorite but it is long. Maybe Norwegian Wood or Sputnik Sweetheart. Sputnik Sweetheart is my official suggestion.


message 45: by Kalin (new)

Kalin | 696 comments IQ84 is one of the brickiest bricks that ever bricked! It's IT-sized!


message 46: by Allan (new)

Allan Phillips | 2081 comments Mod
If you don’t really want to start another trilogy, I’d recommend The Golem & the Jinni. I didn’t think it would be my type of book, but I wound up enjoying it a lot. A little long for a week maybe but really good.


message 47: by Gabi (new)

Gabi | 546 comments To make it completely unhelpful for a decision I would suggest Annihilation :D. I found that it works as a standalone (if you don't mind open endings) and it has the right size for a week.


message 48: by Art, Stay home, stay safe. (last edited Sep 23, 2020 01:07AM) (new)

Art | 2551 comments Mod
Thanks for all the suggestions!

Kalin wrote: "The Collapsing Empire is quick and easy like everything Scalzi -- but it has sequels..."

I know some of our members read those, I wonder if they are worth the time investment. I also can't recall if they were nominated for anything.

Kristen wrote: "Are you interested in anything by Murakami? I quite like his books and if you haven’t read any of his work yet you should give him a try. ."

I've already read two or three of his novels and I'm enjoying the time I spend in his universes. It's like a little vacation for me every time. The one I mentioned is the next on my reading list, I'm saving the best for last!
P.s. I've read Sputnik!

Allan wrote: "If you don’t really want to start another trilogy, I’d recommend The Golem & the Jinni. "

I got stuck 30% in, so after a little refresher I can just pick it up from there, will help with the time frame.

Gabi wrote: "To make it completely unhelpful for a decision I would suggest Annihilation :D"

It's the one I would like to knock off the list the most, but if the trilogy is worth it, I may do it later in the year.

Choices choices!!


message 49: by Gabi (new)

Gabi | 546 comments :D my answer to your Collapsing Empire question would be, no they are not worth the time. ;) But my dislike of Scalzi's work in general does not mirror the majority.


message 50: by Allan (new)

Allan Phillips | 2081 comments Mod
I’m finishing out Scalzi’s trilogy myself on audio, read by Wil Wheaton, who’s well-suited to Scalzi’s style. Underneath the overly sarcastic dialogue, there’s a pretty good space opera going on. I’m finishing a re-listen of the 2nd book, then going to the 3rd. They are indeed quick and easy.


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