I've been racing through some of the 2010 Nebula Award Nominees. I plan to give my take on most of the categories, but for today I want to talk about the novel nominees.
My absolute favorite of the bunch was Who Fears Death by Nnedi Okorafor. This is a brilliant combination of post-apocalypse and magic, set in a tribal Africa of the future. It was different, fresh, and I couldn't put it down.
The close second would be Blackout and All Clear by Connie Willis. These chronicle time traveling historians during the Blitz, in London of World War II. These are more historical novel than science fiction, but I enjoyed learning, and really developed a deep attachment to the characters trying to find their way "home" to Oxford in 2060.
The rest of the books were mediocre for me, or maybe just not my favorite genres. I read at least 50 pages of each one. The one I finished, Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal, made me decide I didn't need to force myself to finish a book I wasn't enjoying. It was a weird combination of magic and regency romance, I wasn't really feeling it. Echo by Jack McDevitt just was kind of blase, not enough interesting stuff for a world of the 27th century! Native Star by M.K. Hobson and The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemison fall into the category of fantasy novels I can't even pretend to care about. No offense to the authors, of course. Everyone has a niche.
Stay tuned for my slightly skewed views of the nominated short stories, novellas, novelettes, and YA novels.