It’s that time of year, and I haven’t been able to write one of these in a while. But these are the books I published this year that would be eligible for SFF awards like the Hugo or Nebula, etc. As 2020 has been such a weird year to launch a book, getting visibility next year through any award long or shortlists would be amazing. So if you enjoyed either of these and you’re someone who nominates, I’d love for you to consider the following.
Goldilocks (US: Orbit; UK: Wildfire)
This is The Martian by way of The Handmaid’s Tale – a bold and thought-provoking new high-concept thriller
Despite increasing restrictions on the freedoms of women on Earth, Valerie Black is spearheading the first all-female mission to a planet in the Goldilocks Zone, where conditions are just right for human habitation.
It’s humanity’s last hope for survival, and Naomi, Valerie’s surrogate daughter and the ship’s botanist, has been waiting her whole life for an opportunity like this – to step out of Valerie’s shadow and really make a difference.
But when things start going wrong on the ship, Naomi starts to suspect that someone on board is concealing a terrible secret – and realises time for life on Earth may be running out faster than they feared . . .
Genre: near future science fiction
Starred Kirkus & School Library Journal reviews (and was also on both of their Best Books of 2020 lists)
Waterstones called me a “bold and visionary talent,” which is pretty neat.
Chuck Wendig: “The end of our world is well-trod territory for science fiction but Goldilocks tackles it with startling relevance, fusing together our social and political anxieties in a tense, taut adventure with rich characterisation and care. It’s Interstellar’s brain with Handmaid’s Tale’s heart.”
Book Riot: “If The Martian and The Handmaid’s Tale had a book baby, this feminist environmental sci-fi thriller would be the incredible result.”
The best worst review: The Times: “Earth is dying, men are awful [ . . . ] the sort of reading-group title that finds most favour among people who get angry on Facebook and once read a Margaret Atwood novel.”
US/UK hardback and UK paperback came out during lockdown (the UK paperback came out one week before the recent 4 week lockdown in England)
Seven Devils (US: DAW; UK: Gollancz), co-written with Elizabeth May
This first book in a feminist space opera duology follows seven resistance fighters who will free the galaxy from the ruthless Tholosian Empire–or die trying.
When Eris faked her death, she thought she had left her old life as the heir to the galaxy’s most ruthless empire behind. But her recruitment by the Novantaen Resistance, an organization opposed to the empire’s voracious expansion, throws her right back into the fray.
Eris has been assigned a new mission: to infiltrate a spaceship ferrying deadly cargo and return the intelligence gathered to the Resistance. But her partner for the mission, mechanic and hotshot pilot Cloelia, bears an old grudge against Eris, making an already difficult infiltration even more complicated.
When they find the ship, they discover more than they bargained for: three fugitives with firsthand knowledge of the corrupt empire’s inner workings.
Together, these women possess the knowledge and capabilities to bring the empire to its knees. But the clock is ticking: the new heir to the empire plans to disrupt a peace summit with the only remaining alien empire, ensuring the empire’s continued expansion. If they can find a way to stop him, they will save the galaxy. If they can’t, millions may die.
Genre: space opera
It was a Sunday Times Bestseller (#5!)
The Guardian: “Star Wars recast for the modern age.”
A July Illumicrate pick!
Included in the Waterstones SFF Fiction 2020 Roundup
The best-worst review: SFX: “It’s just a space opera with occasional lesbian snogging. [ . . . ] It’s also a good, old-fashioned space romp where the girls get to have some fun.”
Also a pandemic release, obviously, but hey, the bookstores were open in August!
Thanks very much. And of course, a last mention that these would make excellent gifts for friends and family! *hopeful smile*
I have a few titles I’m thinking of nominating myself, but I need to catch up on 2020 releases over the holidays! I really fell behind as my reading mojo has taken a hit in the second half of the year. Hoping to read The First Sister by Linden A. Lewis, The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson, The City We Became by N.K. Jemsin, and more. Feel free to rec some of your favourite adult SFF releases.