March 30, 2017

Book Review: The Nebula Awards Showcase 2016

On sale now.

Ready for some of the very best in science fiction? Every year since 1966, the Nebula Awards recognize the best of the best in all that is speculative fiction. It’s a tough call, sure, boiling and distilling down the field from all of the diverse and excellent sci-fi prose that’s out there. But the Nebula Awards compilation is always a rewarding and exhilarating read.

We managed to get our hands on the Nebula Awards Showcase 2016 edited by Mercedes Lackey, out this week from the Pyr science fiction imprint of  Prometheus Books, and it didn’t disappoint. We’re currently living, writing and traveling long term, and we’re glad we could get a pdf copy of the book to read and review. We’ve been reviewing the Nebula compilation since 2014, and it has sort of become tradition here at Astroguyz.com. You can peruse our past reviews here from 2014 and 2015.

What caught our eye in 2016? What’s the state of affairs in modern science fiction writing? Here are some of the tales in this current compilation that caught our eye;

-Yesterday’s Kin by Nancy Kress: We have met the aliens, and they are indeed us. An interesting first contact tale that (spoiler alert) brings humanity’s ancestors back from the stars. What would a few years of divergent evolution around an alien star do for homo sapiens? I particularly like the attention to detail with this one as well, such as how our bacterial flora would diverge over time.

-The Regular by Ken Liu: A sex robot story with a twist. We all know that sex will ultimately be the real propulsive force behind a future robot revolution… but how far is too far? Hey, how come robots never turn out to be the Johns in a tale?

-A Guide to the Fruits of Hawai’I by Alaya Dawn Johnson: It takes lots for us to include a vampire tale in the mix… but A Guide to the Fruits of Hawai’I is definitely worth an honorable mention. In this tale, it’s humans as prey meets the travel industry and big business head on. But just what would be the results and consequences of such a parasitic relationship?

And that’s just a sampling of what this fine collection has to offer.

Don’t miss the Nebula Awards Showcase 2016 for the very best in science fiction!

Postscript: As you might have noticed, we’ve been giving the regular science and science-fiction book reviews a break whilst we’re on the road. This is more of a practical matter, as physical mail can no longer reach us, and, well, it goes against everything in our writer’s blood to hit the ‘shred’ button every time a new review book shows up in our Earth Class Mail account. Books need to be read, not destroyed, and, as sappy as it sounds, a part of us is shredded inside every time the hard work of an author is destroyed unread.

But hey, the good news is, I doesn’t have to be this way. With the Nebula reviews, we’ve experimented with getting review copies sent to us via pdf, and we’re simply reading ‘em on our shiny new Android. Got a science of sci-fi book to review? Want to see weekly reviews come back to this space? Drop us a line in the comments below and let us know!

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