2019 science fiction and fantasy awards

Adrian Liang on October 21, 2019
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While we still have two more major awards to go—the World Fantasy Awards in November and (ahem, ahem!) the Amazon Best Books of the Year announcement—this week seemed like a good time to look at the books that have been seizing accolades over the past year.

This year witnessed a remarkable hat trick, with Mary Robinette Kowal’s The Calculating Stars sweeping the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards for best novel—a feat unseen since Connie Willis’ Blackout/All Clear won the same trio of awards in 2011.

Children of Blood and Bone grabbed two of the major young adult awards this year. Tomi Adeyemi's happy readers have been counting down the days until the arrival of the sequel, Children of Virtue and Vengeance, reaches them on December 3.

NEBULA AWARD WINNERS


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The Calculating Stars: A Lady Astronaut Novel by Mary Robinette Kowal

Best novel:

The winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards, The Calculating Stars launches former WWII WASP pilot Elma York into the mission of saving the Earth after a meteorite decimates the eastern seaboard. But intolerant bureaucrats and military men have trouble seeing past York’s female face to her sharp mind, putting humanity’s future in jeopardy. Emma York's space-faring adventures continue in The Fated Sky.

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The Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette de Bodard

Best novella:

When a mindship that has suffered traumatic injury during military operations joins forces with a scholar investigating a murder, secrets from the past will have an unexpected effect on the unlikely partnership. De Bodard’s imagination spans the stars in this compulsively readable novella.


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Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orisha) by Tomi Adeyemi

Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Book:

The first in a new fantasy trilogy, Children of Blood and Bone pits descendants of magi who once created forbidden magic against the rulers who tried to exterminate them. Young Zélie is being trained in the arts of battle so that she can defend herself and her people, but she never expects that she might be the one who can finally bring magic back to the world and overthrow the tyrants who killed her mother.

LOCUS AWARD WINNERS


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The Calculating Stars: A Lady Astronaut Novel by Mary Robinette Kowal

Best science fiction novel:

After a meteorite decimates the eastern seaboard in 1952, humanity only has a few years before much of life on Earth will be wiped out. Enter former WWII WASP pilot Elma York, who has both the experience and the sense to help develop an evacuation plan. But will intolerant bureaucrats and military men have the sense to listen? The Calculating Stars won the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards in 2019.


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Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Best fantasy novel:

Naomi Novik, whose fantasy novel Uprooted was the Amazon Books editors’ #1 choice for best science fiction and fantasy book of 2015, returns to the rich soil of folk tales with Spinning Silver. When a young Jewish woman takes over her father's moneylender business in their small village, she gains not only the fervent dislike of those she lends to (and collects from) but also the attention of an powerful ice lord who loves gold. At the same time, a young noblewoman discovers that her royal betrothed is possessed by a demon, whom she escapes nightly by entering into the ice world through a mirror. Told through various viewpoints, this tale of young women forcing a place for themselves in a world that would prefer them to be small and quiet will impress readers on a number of levels, not least of which is Novik's storytelling prowess.


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Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

Best first novel:

After rising waters have reshaped the world, both gods and monsters walk the earth again. When monster-killer Maggie Hoskie is asked to find a missing girl, she uncovers a new danger to the Navajo people she protects…even as the darkness inside Maggie grows with each monster she kills. An exciting new author perfect for happy readers of Ilona Andrews, Jim Butcher, Faith Hunter, and Patricia Briggs, Roanhorse has proven that she’s here to stay with her fantastic sequel, Storm of Locusts, and her highly anticipated Star Wars novel, Resistance Reborn (November 5).

HUGO AWARD WINNERS


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The Calculating Stars: A Lady Astronaut Novel by Mary Robinette Kowal

Best novel:

The winner of the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards, The Calculating Stars begins with a meteorite crashing into the eastern seaboard in 1952. Within only a few years darkness and cold will wrap the Earth, killing off humanity much as the dinosaurs were killed in the last major impact. Former WWII WASP pilot Elma York, who is doing computing work for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, has the experience and the know-how to help evacuate the planet, but first she needs to higher-ups to actually listen to her.


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Artificial Condition: The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells

Best novella:

In book 2 of Wells' amazing Murderbot Diaries series, Murderbot wants to find out what really happened before it had its memory wiped and was reprogrammed. A set of naive humans, a set of far-less-naive humans, a spaceship that may or may not be military, and the secrets behind Murderbot's fateful killing spree weave together into a satisfying space yarn. Readers who have already powered through all four Murderbot novellas should mark their calendars for the release of Network Effect on May 5, 2020, Wells’ first Murderbot novel.


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Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orisha) by Tomi Adeyemi

Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book:

The first in a new fantasy trilogy, Children of Blood and Bone has been one of our favorite reads since it hit shelves in early March 2018. Says Amazon editor Seira Wilson, "Enriched with themes that resonate in today’s social and political landscape, Children of Blood and Bone takes on injustice, discrimination, and a struggle for change. The action and danger ramp up with each chapter, and I found myself racing through the final pages, holding my breath right up to the cliffhanger ending."

DRAGON AWARD WINNERS


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A Star-Wheeled Sky by Brad R. Torgersen

Best science fiction novel:

The Waywork is an abandoned alien superhighway system that allows instantaneous travel from star to star. The problem: There are a finite number of Waypoint nodes. When a new Waypoint appears, the race is on to discover what lies on the other side before a merciless dictatorship tries to control the Waypoint.


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House of Assassins (Saga of the Forgotten Warrior) by Larry Correia

Best fantasy novel:

In the second book of the Saga of the Forgotten Warrior, Ashok Vadal and the Sons of the Black Sword march to rescue Thera, a reluctant prophet who has been kidnapped and is held in the House of Assassins. The most-feared warrior of Lok, Ashok must fight for the first time without his sword Angruvadal—and he might be facing off against the gods this time as well.


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Bloodwitch: A Witchlands Novel by Susan Dennard

Best young adult or middle-grade novel:

In the third book of this epic fantasy series, Aeduan teams up with the Threadwitch Iseult and the magical girl Owl to stop a bloodthirsty horde of raiders preparing to destroy a monastery that holds more than just faith. But to do so, he must confront his own father, and his past. Bloodwitch currently has an impressive 4.8 average star rating on more than 160 customer reviews.


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