Top Two List (for suggested Hugo nominees)

Originally, this post was going to be a top five list. But, ah, that didn’t happen.

Here’s what I was thinking.

  • What? Top Five List of five indie/self-published works of science fiction from 2013.
  • Why? The Hugo Awards for best SF (and SF-adjacent goodness) allow any fan with $50 and an Internet connection to nominate books, stories, their fave TV episode, etc. Most fans don’t realize that they can get involved.
  • How does an indies list help? Numbers. The first round of nominations can be made by anyone, but you don’t pick from a list. You just suggest your fave books of the year. Largely, this means that famous/popular stuff makes the shortlists, instead of small/indie stuff. So, if indies had a “don’t forget me!” list, maybe we could get some onto the final ballot. (I say “we” because I’m totally doing it.)
  • When? Get your supporting membership to LonCon3 and send in your picks by January 31, 2014.

So Why A Top Two List?

I read a lot of books this past year. I read even more beginnings of stories (because I adore the “get sample” feature of every digital bookstore).

Very few of these books were published in 2013. Maybe one.

I hunted through all my “finished reading” lists. I sorted through my hundreds of unread samples. To aid this quest, I picked up 7 new books (and 30 new samples) last weekend. (Many turned out to be reprints and off-genre horror; a disproportionate amount included characters named Teague.)

And so, I give to you my Top Two Indie SF Works of 2013. I’m going to nominate them for Hugos. You are welcome to do the same.

The Top Two List

With absurdly simple descriptions

  1. Jane, Actually by Jennifer Petkus. (novel) Wherein Jane Austen’s ghost finishes her last novel, finds an agent, and becomes a celebrity. Her identity is verified (for Twitter and Facebooking purposes). She goes on tour. This, understandably, upsets PhDs whose entire academic careers are based on Austen.
  2. Delirium by Susan Kaye Quinn. (novelette) Insurance Adjusters decide when a person’s cost-benefit analysis has fallen too far. If you’re not likely to do anything productive for the world, but your healthcare is still expensive, they have their collectors whack you and give your potential energy to somebody else. (This speaks to modern American fears in the face of Obamacare and the imminent social security breakdown.)

So, ummm, that’s my list for 2013.

It Could Be A Top Four List

Okay, so I’m really voting for four indie SF works, not just the above two. Because if I’m nominating, then I’m totally nominating myself, darn it! But it felt a tad disingenuous to list my own books in a Top N List.

If you’re interested in nominating me, of course, that would be lovely. In 2013, I published:

  • Queen & Commander by Janine A. Southard. (novel) Wherein the Welsh colonized space before everybody else, and they brought a resurgence in Druidry with them. Also, they take high school exit exams way too seriously.
  • These Convergent Stars by Janine A. Southard. (novella) Shapeshifting cats in space. After Earth is destroyed, humanity uses its catshifting science experiments to sniff out compatible species for reproduction. This goes cross-culturally topsy-turvy on a planet where the heroine’s cat form matches a local’s.

It Could Be A Top Five List

If I changed the topic from “indie/self-published SF” to “longshots”, I could make this a top five list by adding:

  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. (related work) In this mainstream young adult novel, the main character writes fantasy fanfiction. The book’s not SF nor about scholarly SF, but it has a lovely portrayal of fandom as a part of someone’s life during the college years.

And now, I’m off to vote!

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Janine A. Southard is a Writer & Editor for narrative projects. She's a proven talent when it comes to mimicking voices and crafting content for videogames, articles, & fiction.