Amanda's post on "How I'm Surviving A Deadline" is now up, which means my giveaway has closed and here's the result:
1 x copy of Charlaine Harris's Dead Reckoning goes to CaseyH.
1 x review copy of Nalini Singh's Archangel's Consort goes to Na.
CaseyH, I already have your address from an earlier giveaway
—but Na, if you email me through my website, contact [at] helenlowe [dot] info with your postal address, I'll get your book in the post as well.
Thanks to everyone for participating in the discussion & congratulations to the draw winners! I'll see you all again next month. :)
Over the past month since I finished the final edit of The Gathering of the Lost, The Wall of Night Book Two, I have been having fun reading the fiction finalists for this year's Hugo Awards. I am eligible to vote as well, which meant the reading wasn't just about what I "read and enjoyed," but also about deciding which of the works really wowed me, both as a good story that swept me along and one that used speculative elements in a compelling and persuasive way—given that the Hugos are awarded for excellence in speculative fiction. And remembering always that the Hugo Award is meant to be for the very best SFF novel (or short story, novelette, or novella) published in the world during the previous year.
As a novelist myself, my focus was very much on the novels as opposed to the shorter works of fiction. Time pressure was also a factor here, as I only had a month to read them all—and seriously, some of those novels were "doorstop" works in terms of size! Officially there are only five finalists in the novel category, but Connie Willis' Blackout and All Clear have been treated as one work for the purposes of the award. Yet whether one counts the list as five or six works I was intrigued by the variety of speculative themes addressed.
NK Jemisin's The One Hundred Thousand Kingdoms is set in an alternate world where war in heaven has resulted in the losing gods being bound into servitude in the human realm, and Lois McMaster Bujold's Cryoburn, another episode in her long-running miles Vorkosigan saga, is classic space opera: action adventure in a far-future space milieu. Mira Grant's Feed addresses the fallout from a zombie apocalypse in a world where live-feed "reality blogging" has become mainstream media, while Connie Willis' Blackout/All Clear explores World War 2 and the Blitz through the lens of time-traveling historians. Ian McDonald's The Dervish House is nanopunk SciFi meets magic-realism in a near-future Istanbul where the city is as much a character as the human protagonists.
I enjoyed all six novels and reading them reminded me of one of the many reasons I love SFF, which is because of its diversity—there are just so many wonderful speculative story ideas out there and a wealth of ways to tell them. Following awards like the Hugos is also a great way of keeping up with some of the genre stories that are making waves each year.
But how about you? What are your favorite subgenres of speculative fiction? And what is your favourite way of checking out new books and new trends in those genres?
And now for the giveaway!
To help the discussion along, I have a copy of Charlaine Harris's latest Sookie Stackhouse novel, Dead Reckoning, and a review copy of Nalini Singh's Archangel's Consort to give away.
Just post a comment to enter the draw, which will close when the next Supernatural Underground author posts their blog. I will then draw the two winners via Random Number Integer and post the result here.
Supernatural Underground author Helen Lowe is a novelist, poet and interviewer. Her latest novel, The Heir of Night, the first of THE WALL OF NIGHT quartet, is published in the USA, UK, Australia, NZ, and The Netherlands, and forthcoming in France. The Heir of Night recently won the Sir Julius Vogel Award 2011 for Best Novel, and was a Catanetwork Reviewers’ Choice Award in 2010. Helen's first novel, Thornspell, (Knopf, 2008) is also an award-winning novel. Helen blogs every day on her Helen Lowe on Anything, Really site and on the first day of every month right here on the Supernatural Underground.