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Hugo Award 2017 Finalists Announced

Named after Hugo Gernsback, the founder of the first magazine dedicates solely to science fiction, Amazing Stories, The Hugo Awards recognise the best examples of science fiction and fantasy released in the course of a given year. 

The 2017 Hugo Award finalists have just been released, and while the full list sprawls across the competition's many categories, we've collated the nominated novels on the reading list below so that you can see them all at a glance.

Those of you with long memories will note that this year's awards see the sequel to last year's winner, N. K. Jemisin's The Fifth Season, face off against the conclusion to 2015's winner, Cixin Liu's The Three-Body Problem.

We'll find out who wins on August 11th, at the World Science Fiction Convention in Helsinki. 

All the Birds in the Sky

Patricia is a witch who can communicate with animals. Laurence is a mad scientist and inventor of the two-second time machine. As teenagers they gravitate towards one another, sharing in the horrors of growing up weird, but their lives take different paths...When they meet again as adults, Laurence is an engineering genius trying to save the world, and live up to his reputation-in near-future San Francisco. Meanwhile, Patricia is a graduate of Eltisley Maze, the hidden academy for the magically gifted, working hard to prove herself to her fellow magicians and secretly repair the earth's ever growing ailments. As they attempt to save our future, Laurence and Patricia's shared past pulls them back together. And though they come from different worlds, when they collide, the witch and the scientist will discover that maybe they understand each other better than anyone.

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A Closed and Common Orbit

Lovelace was once merely a ship's artificial intelligence. When she wakes up in an new body, following a total system shut-down and reboot, she has to start over in a synthetic body, in a world where her kind are illegal. She's never felt so alone. But she's not alone, not really. Pepper, one of the engineers who risked life and limb to reinstall Lovelace, is determined to help her adjust to her new world. Because Pepper knows a thing or two about starting over. Together, Pepper and Lovey will discover that, huge as the galaxy may be, it's anything but empty. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet introduced readers to the incredible imagination of Becky Chambers and has been nominated for any number of awards and accolades, including the Baileys Prize for Women's Fiction, the Tiptree Award, the Kitschies Golden Tentacle and the Arthur C. Clarke Award. A Closed and Common Orbit is the stand-alone sequel to The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet and is perfect for fans of Firefly, Joss Whedon, Mass Effect and Star Wars.

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Death's End

Half a century after the Doomsday Battle, the uneasy balance of Dark Forest Deterrence keeps the Trisolaran invaders at bay. Earth enjoys unprecedented prosperity due to the infusion of Trisolaran knowledge and, with human science advancing and the Trisolarans adopting Earth culture, it seems that the two civilizations can co-exist peacefully as equals without the terrible threat of mutually assured annihilation. But peace has made humanity complacent. Cheng Xin, an aerospace engineer from the 21st century, awakens from hibernation in this new age. She brings knowledge of a long-forgotten program dating from the start of the Trisolar Crisis, and her presence may upset the delicate balance between two worlds. Will humanity reach for the stars or die in its cradle?

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Ninefox Gambit

When Captain Kel Cheris of the hexarchate is disgraced for her unconventional tactics, Kel Command gives her a chance to redeem herself, by retaking the Fortress of Scattered Needles from the heretics. Cheris’s career isn’t the only thing at stake: if the fortress falls, the hexarchate itself might be next.

Cheris’s best hope is to ally with the undead tactician Shuos Jedao. The good news is that Jedao has never lost a battle, and he may be the only one who can figure out how to successfully besiege the fortress. The bad news is that Jedao went mad in his first life and massacred two armies, one of them his own.

As
the siege wears on, Cheris must decide how far she can trust Jedao–because she might be his next victim.

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The Obelisk Gate

The Obelisk Gate follows N. K. Jemsin's Hugo-nominated novel from last year, The Fifth Season

The season of endings grows darker, as civilization fades into the long cold night. Essun has found shelter, but not her missing daughter. Instead there is Alabaster Tenring, destroyer of the world, with a request only Essun can grant. 

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Too Like the Lightning

Mycroft Canner is a convict. For his crimes he is required, as is the custom of the 25th century, to wander the world being as useful as he can to all he meets. Carlyle Foster is a sensayer--a spiritual counselor in a world that has outlawed the public practice of religion, but which also knows that the inner lives of humans cannot be wished away.

The world into which Mycroft and Carlyle have been born is as strange to our 21st-century eyes as ours would be to a native of the 1500s. It is a hard-won utopia built on technologically-generated abundance, and also on complex and mandatory systems of labelling all public writing and speech. What seem to us normal gender distinctions are now distinctly taboo in most social situations. And most of the world's population is affiliated with globe-girdling clans of the like-minded, whose endless economic and cultural competion is carefully managed by central planners of inestimable subtlety. To us it seems like a mad combination of heaven and hell. To them, it seems like normal life.

And in this world, Mycroft and Carlyle have stumbled on the wild card that may destablize the system: the boy Bridger, who can effortlessly make his wishes come true. Who can, it would seem, bring inanimate objects to life...

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If you'd like to brush up on your science fiction, there are few better ways than to tear through the most recent list of Hugo nominees. We'd also recommend checking out some of the nominees in the "novelette" section, particularly Nina Allan's The Art of Space Travel, which you can read for free here.

Professor George Edward Challenger first made a name for himself as a travelling adventurer and investigator. Unfortunately, he has never succeeded in solving the greatest mystery of all... and ... Show More