Last Recommendations!

Well, we’re to the end of my little project for this year. I cannot thank all of you enough for sending in recommendations and offering to help – it’s been great! When I started this, I had no idea if anyone at all would even come to the site, let alone send in recommendations. For a first year effort, in many ways it went better than I had hoped, and in others (me keeping up on the schedule) it was much rougher.

I’m hoping to do this again next year, and with having a better idea of the rough spots and ideas on running things better, I’m pretty excited about it (I should be only working 1 full time job next year, so that will help). 🙂 I’m also taking a realistic look at my schedule the rest of Spring and early Summer to consider doing a Phase 2 and posting link rounds up of discussions about the nominees after they are announced. With some short lists, I think it might actually be easier to get a lot of discussion around particular focus categories and not just have 90% of the discussion be about Best Novel (although that’s still better than 99% of the discussion being arguments about the process and how terrible people are like it was last year with extremely little about the works themselves – please, please, let there be more discussion about the works themselves this time!!)

So if you think that would be useful, feel free to speak up. We will see how it goes. Either way, get your nominations in!!!

And now, the final recommendations that have come in both for the final categories as well as late arrivals for past focus weeks.

Thank you.

Best Fancast

Sequential Fiction – Sequential Fiction is a weekly comics and pop culture podcast that has a focus on comics, sci-fi and fantasy.Brian and Liam talk about what interests them in comics and pop culture, and interview guests from time to time.

Other – The Retro Hugos

The Retro Hugos – Not a specific recommendation, or a specific category – but the Retro Hugos for 1941 are also up for consideration this year, and I have considered them, probably not very well, and I’ve written down my thoughts.

Best Graphic Story

Avengers, Time Runs Out Vol 4 – Hickman took years to set up this endgame, and manages to have it live up to that setup. It’s a story about the end of the world that, rather than being depressing is about survival. It’s about not giving in, and clawing and scraping, and using all of your wit to find a way to keep going somehow, someway.

Best Fan Artist

D. West – A call for a final fond farewell to UK fannish landmark D. West (1945-2015).

Best Novelette

And You Shall Know Her by the Trail of Dead – Every bit as cheerful as it sounds – a piece of bloody, visceral, intense cyberpunk by Brooke Bolander.

Best Novel

Cursed: Black Swan – A Fixer Novel – Cursed: Black Swan – A Fixer Novel is the debut novel from Ryan T. McFadden. Nathaniel is a fixer, if there is a job you need done, he is the one to do it. When he gets mixed up in the case of the Black Swan, he finds that everyone is out to get him. It’s a thrill ride in the vein of Raymond E Feist meets Eric Van Lustbader.

The Long Goodnight of Violet Wild – Catherynne M. Valente’s picaresque, fairy-tale quest across a psychedelic landscape of colours.

Merman’s Mark – This book was so rich in detail and story I was gripped from start to finish. Tara Omar creates and populates two intricate worlds with dynamic characters, cultures, and a plot that keeps the reader turning the page. The next book can’t come soon enough!

The Ticket Taker of Cenote Zací – Benjamin Parzybok’s story of a tourist attraction where the number of visitors… doesn’t quite add up.

Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form)

Da Vinci’s Demons “The Labrys” (Writer/Will Pascoe and Director/Alex Pillai) – Leonardo Da Vinci has been captured by the secretive Labyrinth cult who are attempting to brainwash to convert him to their cause. As a form of resistance, Da Vinci escapes to an alternate reality/parallel universe inside his mind where the choices he’s made in his life turn out to have their own dark consequences.

Best Related Work

I haven’t received any Best Editor (Long Form) recommendations, which isn’t surprising since that is a category that is difficult for readers rather than industry insiders to get a firm grasp on. But if anyone has anything, definitely let me know!

Below are some Best Related Work recommendations that came in. Next, please submit recommendations for Best Graphic Story and Best Fancast! I will get any that I received posted this weekend. Thanks!


Downfall, by Caroline Hobbs – Downfall is a fascinating story game of inventing a society, flourishing but flawed, and then playing out its total collapse. It’s a tragic, powerful game which is all about speculation, extrapolation, and asking what our society can be.

Invisible 2: Personal Essays on Representation in SF/F – More than pushing a message or trying to persuade readers, these essays present complex human beings sharing their personal experiences.

Letters to Tiptree – A multi-faceted exploration of the legacy of “James Tiptree Jr.”, by the writers who were influenced by her.

Thing Explainer – Randall Munroe of xkcd explains complex ideas in really excessively simple language.

Wheel of Time Companion – a mammoth concordance of facts about the universe and characters of the late Robert Jordan’s epic fantasy series, edited and assembled by Harriet McDougal, Alan Romanczuk, and Maria Simons. It’s a labor of love, and everything one could possibly want to know about Jordan’s universe is in there.

You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) (scroll down) – Felicia Day’s delightful look at her life.

Best Short Story

“A House of Her Own” by Bo Balder from F & SF Sept 2015 – A planet of women who share the place with commensal alien houses is rediscovered by humans (mostly men) who are There To Rescue Them. Naturally, they don’t want to be rescued. Chilling.

Bucket List Found in the Locker of Maddie Price, Age 14, Written Two Weeks Before the Great Uplifting of All Mankind – Erica L. Satifka’s touching and simple look at what we give up when we transcend humanity.

Forestspirit, Forestspirit – Bogi Takács’s story of a retired war machine, now the guardian of a forest, which finds itself caught in a new and different kind of conflict.

I am Graalnak of the Vroon Empire, Destroyer of Galaxies, Supreme Overlord of the Planet Earth. Ask Me Anything. – Laura Pearlman’s funny tale of an interstellar despot, vulnerable only to Internet sockpuppetry and radishes.

“Love Letters to Things Lost and Gained” by Sunny Moraine from Uncanny Magazine 2 – A woman gets an artificial arm after an accident. Wonderful mood and tone: a dash of horror as she becomes certain that the arm is NOT HER and may have its own consciousness. Satisfying ending.

Monkey King, Faerie Queen – Asian and European supernatural royalty meet in Zen Cho’s witty short story; sparks flash and the fur flies!

“Please Undo This Hurt,” by Seth Dickinson – We don’t just want to fix suffering we’ve caused; we want it never to have happened at all.
This story hurts. And twists your mind. And hurts.

Things You Can Buy for a Penny – Will Kaufman’s sinister story of the wet gentleman who lives in the well, and how everyone knows the deal with him will turn out badly… but they try it anyway.

“Things You Can Buy for a Penny” by Will Kaufman from Lightspeed Feb 2015 – A retelling of a folk tale, maybe. The wet gentleman at the bottom of the well grants wishes. Of course they generally don’t come out the way the wisher expects. Wonderful voice and intricate, intertwined structure.

“Who Will Greet You At Home” by Lesley Nneka Arimah
Mothers construct their children, out of whatever material they can manage. But a life of hardship requires rough, unpleasant material.

Wooden Feathers – Ursula Vernon, with a story about indifferently carved wooden ducks, the old man who buys them, and why he does it.


Remember to send in your recommendations for “everything else!” I will start posting those as soon as I get a few more in. It might get a bit haphazard, but you can access particular categories from the schedule. Thank you!

Best Novella and Novelette

Still here and thank you for the offers to help. Might take one of you up on that as we approach the end. Today here are a Best Novelette and several Best Novella recommendations. A few came through without links, so I will see if I can check out what is up with those. But are included below for recommendation.

Tomorrow I will post Best Short Story recommendations. For the rest of this week, how about sending in recommendations for any category we haven’t covered. You can see the schedule here.


“We’re So Very Sorry for your Recent Tragic Loss” by Nick Wolven from F & SF Sept 2015 – In a completely personalized world, a computer glitch makes everything think that the main character has suffered a loss. She starts to wonder. Nice tone, interesting story.


Binti – A young woman from an insular community is the first of her people to travel into space – and promptly runs into trouble.

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor – A little masterpiece, with an unusual, distinctive voice, that sets it apart.

The Bone Swans of Amandale – C.S.E. Cooney does a new take on two traditional tales, “The Pied Piper” and “The Juniper Tree”. Features a talented rat called Maurice, which is always good news.

“The Lord of Ragnarok” by Albert E Cowdrey – Peasant becomes knight becomes vassal of a lord who has a particular relationship with a dragon. Our hero sees wonders, fights bravely, makes sacrifices.

“The Nalender” by Ann Leckie From Uncanny Magazine 2 – A smart, capable woman in a low-technology world with lots of gods all over the place is traveling down the river, avoiding an annoying suitor. He gets the best of her briefly. Wonderful mood, great world building, and a clever ending.

The Pauper Prince and the Eucalyptus Jinn by Usman T. Malik – The story of an American immigrant looking back to its family and cultural roots.

Penric’s Demon – Lois McMaster Bujold’s tale of a good deed, which, like most, does not go unpunished.

The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps – Kai Ashante Wilson’s tale of Demane, a caravan guard on a journey through a treacherous and magical land.

The Witches of Lychford – The forces of good and evil clash over planning permission in rural Gloucestershire, in Paul Cornell’s story of modern people dealing with ancient magic.

X’s for Eyes – Laird Barron’s story of a 1950s space probe that goes off course – way off course, to encounter the primal nuclear chaos that froths and seethes at the centre of creation. (Lovecraft’s kind of creation, that is.)

Best Novel Recs – Part 1

Part 1 of hopefully several. (Everyone loves novels!) Keep sending in those recommendations, especially for Best Novel, but all categories are great!

Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie
Concluding volume of Ann Leckie’s “Imperial Radch” trilogy, an absolutely classic space opera, and a convincing finale to a great story.

The Capital of Latecomers by Nina Nenova and Vladimir Poleganov
Bulgarian slipstream novel dealing with a psychologically crippled artist recuperating at a luxury resort which may (or may not) be haunted by the ghosts of an extinct civilization. Devious, complex and unsettling.

The Chimes by Anna Smaill
Man Booker-nominated fantasy set in a near-future England devastated by catastrophe, where memory is impossible and writing has been replaced by music.

Dark Orbit by Carolyn Ives Gilman
Thoughtful novel about an expedition to an alien planet, where different ways of seeing things – both literally and metaphorically – become vitally important.

The Elven
Thunderingly enormous Germanic epic concerning Mandred Torgridson, a human nobleman in a quasi-mediaeval setting, who is caught up in a war between the elves and an ancient adversary. (First published in German in 2004, this English translation 2015.)

The Fifth Season by N K Jemisin
First volume of a planned trilogy set in a world beset by natural disasters. Complicated, thoughtful, and beautifully written.

The Galaxy Game by Karen Lord
Sequel to “The Best of All Possible Worlds”: Rafi Delarua leaves his home planet to train for a complex game, and finds it’s played for higher stakes than he first thought.

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Beyond a finely crafted story and relatable characters, what really lifts this book up above the rest is the format. Illuminae is told in a “found format” of chat logs between the two teens, computer logs, memos, and the like.

Inish Carraig by Joe Zebedee
High quality self-published YA novel concerning the aftermath of an alien invasion of Earth, where a Belfast teenager is caught up in a conflict between two alien races.

The Just City by Jo Walton
An attempt to implement Plato’s philosophical Republic is granted phenomenal, ideal conditions, but skirts ever-closer to dystopia. But it’s not just a dystopia story – it’s a story about different people, in extraordinary circumstances, each trying in their own way to be good; to do good; to build a society that they can be proud of.

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins
Fantasy novel with a contemporary setting, centred around a library containing absolutely everything, the man who built it, and the librarians he’s recruited to work in it. Inventive and often graphically gory.

Planetfall by Emma Newman
Emma Newman’s story about a reclusive 3d printer engineer on an extrasolar colony world, hiding a grim secret from the rest of the colonists.

Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente
Widescreen baroque alternative-universe SF about a film-maker who disappears mysteriously when making a documentary about Venus. Exotic and inventive, with deliciously pyrotechnic prose.

Something Coming Through by Paul McAuley
Two investigators solve a mystery in a setting where benevolent aliens have given humanity access to a number of new worlds – though the worlds are not without their dangers.

The Traitor [Baru Cormorant] by Seth Dickinson
(Variant titles in US and UK: the UK one is just “The Traitor”.) Follows the eponymous Baru Cormorant, a child of a newly assimilated province of a subtly colonizing empire, as she becomes an official of that empire while secretly despising it. Fascinating, but very grim.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Fantasy tale in a quasi-mediaeval-Polish setting, complete with ambiguous sorcerers, sinister woods, and a seriously dangerous villain. Initial fairytale ambience develops into high-stakes drama and adventure.

Best Fan Artist Recommendations

Quiet week, but we have a few recommendations, plus some great lists to review and judge on your own. Now, let’s get some recommendations flowing in for Best Novel! I KNOW everyone has several opinions on that one. Plus with nominations open now, recommendations are on plenty of our minds.

From Eric Wong:

Here are five I liked. The links point to work they did in 2015 and to their websites.
Antonio Caparo
Feliks Grzesiczek
Sam Burley
Tyler Edlin
Xiao Ran

From Leah:

I would ask that Richard Man be considered for Best Fan Artist.

Richard is a photographer who has been documenting fandom as a labor of love. I believe many of the portraits in his “Worldbuilders of Science Fiction and Fantasy” were taken in 2015, as were many of the photos in “Transformations: Cosplay”.

From me:

My family can’t get enough of Karen Hallion’s work. Her mash-ups are the epitome of online fandom art, and are often emotionally moving in simple pictures.

As for some lists to check:

RocketStackRank has an excellent directory of artists based upon their fan and semiprozine collections and rankings. Check it out. Now. We will wait for you to come back.

The Hugo Eligible Art(ists) Tumblr has had a focus on Fan Artists this year. Another awesome resource you should go check.

I haven’t had a chance to read through the Sad Puppy 4 thread for this category, but there’s 21 comments, so unless there’s 1 artists listed and 20 people responding, I’m guessing there’s plenty to consider there as well. 🙂

So go enjoy some art!!!

And then recommend some novels! I’m eager to hear both people’s opinions of the novels that had a lot of award buzz leading up to their release as well as lesser hyped novels that I might not have heard about before. So post and submit links to those recommendations!


Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form) 3 of 3 – TV Episodes

The three parts of Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form) are:

  1. Short Films
  2. Podcasts & Audio
  3. TV Episodes (this post)

Warning: There may be spoilers below.


The 100: “Bodyguard of Lies”
As the army makes its way towards Mt. Weather, Clarke and Lexa deal with unresolved issues.

Doctor Who, “Heaven Sent”
Possibly the stand-out episode of the latest series, with the Doctor trapped and alone, with nothing but his wits to help him escape… and, it turns out, a certain amount of patience and determination.

Doctor Who: “Heaven Sent”
In the wake of Clara Oswald’s death, The Doctor finds himself in a water-locked castle, trying to avoid death at the hands of a mysterious creature.

The Expanse: “CQB”
Holden and the Donnager face a mysterious enemy.

The Flash: “Fast Enough”
To save his mother, Barry uses his speed to travel back in time.

Game of Thrones: “Hardhome”
Arya trains, Sansa confronts Reek, Cersei struggles, and Jon and Tormund embark to chat with the Wilding elders.

Gravity Falls: “Not What He Seems”
When Grunkle Stan is arrested by government agents, the Pine twins realize how little they actually know about him,

The Leftovers: “International Assassin”
Kevin’s decision to vanquish Patti raises repercussions; Kevin finds himself in a strange place.

Marvel’s Jessica Jones: “AKA Sin Bin”
Kilgrave is confined in a glass cage and more aspects of his past are revealed. Hogarth complicates the situation.

Person of Interest “If-Then-Else”
The Machine has always been a main character of the series as well as the premise. Here’s an episode from its POV.

Person of Interest: “If-Then-Else”
The team goes on a potential suicide mission to save the stock exchange from Samaritan. The Machine analyzes possible outcomes to try and find the best route to take.

Rick and Morty: “Total Rickall”
Parasites take over the Smith household and inject fake memories (and fake characters) into their minds. (broh)

Sense8 “What is Human?”
I greatly recommend it for a Hugo nomination. Even if I could only nominate one thing this year, I would push aside all the stories I have read, and nominate this episode.

Sense8: “I Can’t Leave Her”
As Riley gets captured by the Whispers, the sensates rush to save her.

Steven Universe: “The Return/Jail Break”
The Homeworld Gems finally arrive at Beach City.

Steven Universe: Full Disclosure

George R.R. Martin
having a general discussion of several recommendations.

Many recommendations at Sad Puppies 4

Some echoing above, most are short “this is great” recs, but still plenty of great episodes to consider.

The Blacklist – season 2 episode 19 ‘Leonard Caul’

Daredevil “Cut Man”

Daredevil “Daredevil”

Defiance “My Name is Datak Tarr and I Have Come to Kill You” & Upon the March We Fittest Die”

Gravity Falls: Season 2, Episode 10, Northwest Mansion Mystery

iZombie – “Dead Rat, Live Rat, Brown Rat, White Rat”

Jessica Jones, episode 8, “AKA WWJD?”

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell – “Chapter Six: The Black Tower”

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Season 5, Episodes 1 & 2: “The Cutie Map”

Parks and Recreation, season 7 episode 5, “Gryzzlebox.” (Yes, they make a good case for an episode of Parks & Rec being nominated!)

Person of Interest – Season 4, Episode 19 – “Search and Destroy”

Rick & Morty: “Total Rickall”

Steven Universe: ‘The Return/Jail Break’

Tales of Alethrin – “The First Hero”



Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form) 2 of 3 – Podcasts and Audio

The three parts of Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form) are:

  1. Short Films
  2. Podcasts & Audio (this post)
  3. TV Episodes

“Endless Forms Most Beautiful” by Nightwish – Symphonic metal album with more science fact than fiction but with a nod to fantasy as well (one track, “Edema Ruh”, is about the nomadic entertainers of that name from Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicle).

Limetown: “Scarecrow” – The midpoint between Welcome top Night Vale, Serial, and The X-Files, Limetown is an utter treat that stands as a pivotal moment in podcasting. In this episode, Lia interviews Deidre.

PBS’s The Race for Space (music and spoken word) and Frankenstein by the Mechanisms – (UK-based steampunk folk band The Mechanisms looks to have you covered. Retelling the classic gothic tale as a ten-minute song about a rogue AI)

Red Panda Adventures Episode 114 “final chapter” of the Red Panda Adventures.” – The Red Panda Adventures is a modern version of an old time radio comic book superhero adventure. The writing is great, the acting is even better.

Welcome to Night Vale “Best Of?” – Prairie Home Companion meets the Twilight Zone  –  but with regular host Cecil on vacation, former host Leonard Burton comes out of supposed retirement to share clips from Cecil’s early career in a way that only makes sense in Night Vale.

Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form) 1 of 3 – Short Films

Well, this was definitely a very popular category. So much so, that I am going to break it up into 3 posts, especially since a number of recommendations are not the usual television episodes, which I think is great! Nothing wrong with TV, but for considering recommendations, I am all for looking far and wide for the best sci-fi/fantasy of the year.

Today will be Short Films. Tomorrow will be Podcasts & Other Audio. Friday will be Television Episodes.

Next week I want to work on catching up by jumping to Best Fan Artist. Best Dramatic Presentation (Long Form) is another one that will have a lot of interest, but I think, unlike Short Form, will have a smaller variety of obvious choices (although this year, that are some really great choices!). It should be fine later in the season, possibly in a shortened week.

Short Film Recommendations

Kung Fury

Every Michael Bay movie wants to be this when it grows up.  Every. Single. One.

(additional, but briefer, recs at Sad Puppies 4 and I heartily recommend this as well!)


The Shaman

The story is an amazing and seamless blend of ancient and futuristic with a shaman entering a netherworld to try and convert the soul of massive robotic engine of destruction.


Uncanny Valley

Short but very well-produced film about VR immersive gaming – with an unexpected twist.


World of Tomorrow

A woman brings her younger self into the future and gives her a tour.

Best Fanzine Recommendations

Broken Toys – Personal zine of noted fan artist Taral Wayne.

Chaos Horizon – Outstanding fanzine. This is possibly my only sure thing nomination that i know is hitting my ballot next year.

File 770 – An invaluable resource for anyone trying to find out more about “this thing you call fandom”.

The MT Void – Bills itself as the newsletter of the Mt. Holz Science Fiction Society; reviews and articles on a wide range of topics.

Opuntia – Canadian fanhistory and reviews zine edited by Dale Speirs

Planetary Stories– Edited by Shelby Vick: a spirited attempt to re-create an old-style pulp SF magazine, in the style of Campbell or Gernsback.

Rocket Stack Rank – RSR has devoted an incredible amount of thought and dedication into creating a useful, definitive resource for discovering great stories in the huge ocean of genre short fiction.
And they got everything right.

Up Next: Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form)!! 

FYI: The general cut off for Short Form vs. Long Form Dramatic Presentation, I believe, is 90 minutes. However, that is only a general guide. If something would be considered a “feature film” and appears in theaters but is only 85 minutes long, it is typically included in Long Form. Also, if a TV episode is either an extra-long special episode or a 2 episode arc, or whatever that winds up making it longer than 90 minutes, it is still lumped together with other TV episodes in Short Form.

So it’s really TV shows and movies. HOWEVER – although they are often overlooked by TV and movies, professional radio and audio productions are included here depending on their size. (*cough* Welcome to Night Vale *cough*cough*) 🙂  So keep professional podcasts, radio dramas (the BBC has been producing some great ones of these) in mind.

I believe audiobooks are included with the usual fiction size, but if the strength of the nomination is on the performance (especially full cast audiobooks, and even some like Graphic Audio where it falls between standard audiobook and radio drama) might be worthy considerations for Best Dramatic Presentation.

So send in those recommendations!