A whole lot happened in 2017. A whole bunch of change across the year. At the start of it, I came out as non-binary. Then I had two books out–my first, my babies– to a fantastic launch. I got a job, I lost a job, I made a decision to return to the civil service. I dropped a project that I loved but I realized I was not yet ready to write (and perhaps will never be). I developed a new project that I loved, which will be my main project for 2018.
2017. What a year.
ANYWAY, it has now rolled into that eldritch time of the year in the SFF calendar, AWARDS SEASON. Fun for the readers, nerve-wracking for the authors! I have been gently prodded into making an awards eligibility post (read: my agent DW yelled at me to DO THE THING, hi DW), because oh yeah do I have stuff that’s eligible. So! Here we are! Eligibility post! Three things mainly, this year.
Auspicium Melioris Aevi – Uncanny Magazine Issue Fifteen (March/April 2017) 5,500 words
In the not-too-distant future, the Academy grows clones of long-gone world leaders like heirloom tomatoes, training them and sending them out to dispense sage advice to the current set of world leaders. Close to graduation, the fiftieth clone of Harry Lee Kuan Yew has decided he wants to buck the system. But will the system let him?
Eligible as a short for: Nebulas, Hugos, World Fantasy, Locus, BFA
Waiting On A Bright Moon – Tor.com (July 2017) 9,800 words
Xin is an ansible, using her song magic to connect the originworld of the Imperial Authority and its far-flung colonies— a role that is forced upon magically-gifted women “of a certain closeness”. When a dead body comes through her portal at a time of growing rebellion, Xin is drawn deep into a station-wide conspiracy along with Ouyang Suqing, one of the station’s mysterious, high-ranking starmages.
Eligible as a novelette for: Nebulas, Hugos, Locus; eligible as a short for World Fantasy, BFA
“Joyously wild stuff… Highly recommended.” — The New York Times Book Review
“Yang introduces a captivating Buddhist-inflected steampunk setting in their delightful debut novella.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Yang’s prose carries the reader along, opening up a world full of giant flying beasts (naga), riding lizards, cool elemental magic, interesting politics, and compelling characters.” — Locus Magazine
“The narrative structure and the prose are both top-notch and fresh, the characters are uniquely individual, and the conflicts have a strong grounding in a complex world that we’re just beginning to see the shape of.” — Tor.com review
“Yang conjures up a world of magic and machines, wild monsters and sophisticated civilizations, that you’ll want to return to again and again.” — Ars Technica
The main course. This year I had two standalone novellas out, THE BLACK TIDES OF HEAVEN and THE RED THREADS OF FORTUNE. These books… I’ve sure talked enough about them, but they are truly the books of my heart. For real, I am more proud of these twin novellas than I am of anything I’ve done in my life. As you can see from the quotes above, people tended to think they were pretty great too.
I’m so grateful that people have responded well to my babies. Every time someone tags me on Twitter to talk about them, or tells me how much the books moved them, my heart expands a size. Whether they’re talking about the queer protagonists and romances, or the nonbinary representation, or the fact that they never expected to see Hokkien/Singlish/characters who looked & sounded like them in a SFF book,** it’s really nice to know that something I wrote made someone’s life just a little better while they were reading it.
Both volumes are eligible in the novella category at the Nebulas, Hugos, WFA, BFA and Locus awards. If you are nominating for any of these, I would be incredibly grateful if you gave these books your consideration.
“OK, J, but I don’t have space for both books on the ballot, come on.” Totally fair! I mean, it would be great if you could nominate both. I would be extremely grateful! But the novella slate was very strong this year and I can’t expect people to just do that. So:
If you enjoyed what I’ve done with the Tensorate series–the world, the characters, the magic–and only have space for one of the books on your ballot, I would prefer if you nominated THE BLACK TIDES OF HEAVEN.
Picking one of the books over the other wasn’t an easy task. When I discussed this with my agent (hi DW!), he said, “Why don’t you put a poll on Twitter to figure out which one to go with?” So I did. And it was great, I got over 250 responses, but people said such incredible things about why they liked one book over the other that it actually made the task of picking harder. The poll was at 50/50 for a while, and never strayed more than a few percentage points either way.
BLACK TIDES eventually eked out a small but consistent advantage, but so many people loved RED THREADS as well. Nevertheless, my inclination was always to go with BLACK TIDES, and there’s a reason for it. Writing THE BLACK TIDES OF HEAVEN in the closing months of 2016 was how I realized that I was non-binary, and that’s why I came out at the start of 2017. I love both books, but BLACK TIDES will always have a particular soft spot in my heart. This book literally changed my life. At the end of it, I wasn’t the same.
So that’s my awards-eligible fiction for the year. Thank you so much for being here, my friends. SOON I will put up a recommendation post because oh boy was there a lot of fantastic fiction published last year.
I just have to catch up with all the reading especially for short fiction oh god help
✨ 💖 ✨ 🐋
**or that they were writing smut about the characters. Smut is always great.