Tag Archives: Ghost Talkers

Obligatory Hugo Post

Hey y’all! Long time, no see, huh?

For 2016 I did not have any awards-eligible works appear, but that doesn’t mean I won’t come on here to tell you who I think you should nominate for the final Hugo ballot.

Best Novel

Borderline – Mishell Baker

Is this the best debut novel I’ve ever read? Maybe. Is that question hyperbole? Certainly not! Borderline is the best book I read last year, and thankfully, it also came out in 2016.

If you like urban fantasy, read Borderline. If you don’t usually like urban fantasy, check it out anyway, because our protagonist is a disabled woman with Borderline Personality Disorder who ends up working with faeries.

Ghost Talkers – Mary Robinette Kowal

I was sold on this book the moment I heard the premise at a reading Mary did in SF back in 2015: mediums in the British army gathering battlefield intelligence from fresh ghosts during World War One. This book delivers on that promise in spades. There are lots of things I want to say about this book that are huge spoilers, so instead I’ll say this: I want Mary to write more in this world, and once you read this book, you will too. A Hugo nom can help make that happen.

Best Short Story

“This is Not a Wardrobe Door” – A. Merc Rustad, Fireside

This was the first short story I read in 2016, and the fact that it’s stuck with me these past 12 months should be an indication of how good this post-portal-fantasy story is. Seriously. It’s not that long. Go read it right now. LINK

“Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies” – Brooke Bolander, Uncanny Magazine

Short, violent, heartbreaking, triumphant. I love the hell out of this story. It’ll take you just a couple minutes to start loving it, too. Go! LINK

“The Green Knight’s Wife” – Kat Howard, Uncanny Magazine

Holy crap, y’all. This is a late addition, just rescued from my tab-purgatory today, and it’s just. Holy hecking eff, y’all. I love me some fabulism, and this right here hits that spot perfectly. Not your average wintertime story. LINK

Best Editor, Short Form

Lynne and Michael Thomas

The Thomases have done amazing work at Uncanny Magazine, which should be evident from the fact that Uncanny won a Hugo last year in its first year of eligibility. They’re quality folks.

Brian J. White

Brian is at the helm of Fireside, which has published some of the best fiction to come out in the past year. He is quality people.

Best Semiprozine

Uncanny Magazine

Uncanny has been publishing wonderful, vital fiction since issue 1, and this year has been no exception.


Fireside has been on a roll the last couple years. They’ve published many of my favorite stories from many of my favorite authors. They also work really hard to make sure that their authors get paid and get paid well.

Best Related Work

The Women of Harry Potter – Sarah Gailey, Tor.com

Sarah’s series of essays is wonderful. You will be filled with feels and reminded that HP is maybe even more relevant today than it was when it was written. LINK

#BlackSpecFic Report, Fireside

This series of essays takes a powerful look at the state of speculative fiction today and the ways that racism is still present and insidious. LINK

Best Professional Artist

Galen Dara

Seriously, look at this cover for Uncanny.


“Bubbles and Blast Off” – Galen Dara, Uncanny Magazine, Issue 10


John W. Campbell Award for New Writers

Sarah Gailey

Sarah kinda exploded onto the scene a little while ago (I even talked up the first of her stories that I read on here), and she’s just continued to shine since that time. Recommended stories include “Look,” from the post linked above; “Haunted,” Fireside; and “Bargain,” Mothership Zeta.

I’ve undoubtedly left off things that you love and forgotten things that I love, so this post may be followed by addenda. And if there’s something that you love that you think I’d love, please let me know in the comments!


Of Noble Book Tours

Last night, I made a rare weeknight trek across the bay to San Francisco. I got home late, and now I’m running on Irish breakfast tea as much as anything else.

And it was




The reason for this unusual behavior on my part was that Mary Robinette Kowal and Marie Brennan, fabulous authors, both, were finishing up their book tour with a stop at Borderlands Books. There were readings from books that aren’t out yet. There were puppets and natural history lessons. There were secrets that we are sworn to keep. There was fannish squeeing. Tor (their publisher) even bought us wine and cheese.

I must admit, at this point, that I don’t get out very much, and this was my first time going to a book tour stop in a very long time. It might have spoiled me for other tours. Mary and Marie both dressed in period clothing (Mary in a Regency-era dress that she herself sewed as practice for making the dress that appears on the cover of her most recent book, Of Noble Family, Marie in a Victorian dress sewn by one of the costumers for the SF Opera), and at the end of the reading, there were prizes for those who came in costume. (Next time they come through, I’m determined to put together a Back Watch parade uniform, or something approaching that, at least.)

Mary read from her upcoming novel, Ghost Talkers, which opens in a warehouse near the front during the Somme with our protagonist speaking to the spirit of a recently-deceased soldier of the Black Watch to determine enemy locations and movements and relay that information to command. I’ve been seriously excited for this book since I read a bit of its first chapter during the workshop I took from Mary back in January, but her reading, complete with accents (Mary is a professional audiobook narrator, after all) has me even more stoked (and panicking about how I’m going to finish my huge to-read pile in preparation for that book’s release). Following the reading, Mary (also a professional puppeteer) performed “The Broken Bridge,” a shadow puppet play that was popular during the time period in which her Glamourist Histories are set.

Marie took the podium next to read the first chapter from her upcoming fourth book in the Lady Trent series, the title of which I have sadly forgotten. Marie’s reading, likewise, was excellent, and she had the audience laughing many times. Her reading was followed by a brief natural history lecture in which artifacts from the world of her books were passed through the audience. Dragon teeth and claws, reproduction skulls and eggs, a mysterious fossil of an unknown but ginormous beast: Marie’s lecture had it all.

The readings and demonstrations were followed by a Q&A period, in which we, the attendees, learned some secrets. Pity you who were not there. We also got a story from Mary about her time on the set of Sesame Street. Yes, that Sesame Street.

I know, right?

So much squeeing.

A book signing followed, as is only right. We were bribed to buy local with the promise of sandalwood fans. My messenger bag smells fantastic.

And Mary recognized me, even though I wasn’t shivering under a pile of coats and blankets in my home office.

I got a hug from a Hugo-winning author. Hashtag humblebrag.

(EEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! There, I managed to save that for later, rather than squeeing directly at Mary.)

So yeah. Worth it.

I can’t wait for their next book tour to come through town (Borderlands, I love you, but maybe Pegasus could have the next one, so I can stay in the East Bay?), and I really strongly encourage you to check out both authors’ books and stories and go see them the next time they come through your town. You won’t be sorry.

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