‘Tis the season to overindulge, and scream against the hurricane of social media about all the awesome stuff you did and read this year. Fun times.
Below, you’ll find some of my award eligible work, and also a long list of the coolest, most awesome, and tubular things I read and experienced this year.
My Eligible Work
Here is a sampling of my work from this year. I have two stories eligible for “Best Short Story,” and my non-fiction work across this site, my Twitter feed, Tor.com, and the Barnes & Noble SFF Blog makes me eligible for “Best Fan Writer.”
“The Dinosaur Graveyard” (Robot Dinosaurs!—Short Story, 1.4k words)
“The Dinosaur Graveyard” is a short, bittersweet story about an engineer, her daughter, and the decaying remains of robot dinosaurs that are fading from relevancy.
(Art by James Kurella)
“Youngblood” (Medium—Short Story, 5.4k words)
When Youngblood’s island is invaded by, she must gather her friends, courage, and wits to survive—and the dinosaurs are the least of her problems.”Youngblood” is LOST meets Jurassic Park fuelled by the Dead Kennedys.
(Art by Stefan Tosheff)
I produced several long-form essays and reviews across various publications this year. I also wrote some fun, long Twitter threads about JRPGs, self-publishing, building an author website, and more, which I hope you’ve enjoyed.
If you were to read one, I would encourage you to check out this interview I conducted with artist Charles Vess about his collaboration with Ursula K. Le Guin for Saga Press’ beautiful collection, The Books of Earthsea.
Here’s an excerpt:
Le Guin had a very strong idea of what her world and story were about, and Vess was eager to help her realize her vision. “One of the things we talked about a lot was that most epic fantasies are full of marble halls, great kings, queens, and lordly wizards wandering them. Ursula didn’t want that. She didn’t write the books that way. She wanted it to be about people living on the land, and tilling the soil.”
One of the book’s double-page illustrations shows Tenar, Ged, and Tehanu after they have just caught a goat that escaped its pen and fled into a garden. “It’s a very quiet drawing.” Le Guin loved it. “Every once in a while, she’d go, ‘More goats, Charles. Put more goats in there.’”
“So, I did!” he laughed.
Below are some more highlights from 2018:
- Spellbound?: The Familiar Faces Creating the Story for Magic: The Gathering (Tor.com—September, 2018)
- When to Start Querying Your Novel (aidanmoher.com—October, 2018)
- Thoughts on The Dragon Prince (aidanmoher.com—September, 2018)
- How to Support Your Favourite Authors Without Breaking the Bank (aidanmoher.com—October, 2018)
- Twitter Thread: “That Time I Appropriated 17 Languages”
- Street Freaks Is the Souped-Up Sci-Fi Adventure We Never Expected from Terry Brooks (Barnes & Noble SFF Blog—October, 2018)
- Art of SFF: A Portrait of Djamila Knopf (Tor.com—March, 2018)
- Twitter Thread: “On Self-Publishing Short Fiction”
- Political Upheaval in Shannara: The Skaar Invasion by Terry Brooks (Tor.com—June, 2018)
- One Giant Leap: The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal (Tor.com—July, 2018)
Here’s a bunch of stuff that I loved this year. (Non-exclusive, naturally, ’cause my memory’s not perfect, I had a baby midway through the year, so I can’t quite remember about six months between June and now, and I’m certain I’ve missed or forgotten some seriously great stuff. Not to mention the stuff I’ll discover over the next few months.)
The Calculated Stars & The Fated Sky by Mary Robinette Kowal—Ah. Where to start. These two books, which tell the story of humanity’s first manned mission to Mars, are gorgeous, funny, thoughtful, harrowing, and full of so many wonderfully memorable moments. (Full Review of The Calculated Stars & Full Review of The Fated Sky)
Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse—Taut and raw, like a punch to the gut, Trail of Lightning is also full of wonder, brightness, and heart. A jaw-dropping mixture of First Nations mythology, fantasy, and post-apocalyptic bad-assery.
Blackfish City by Sam J. Miller—I haven’t read a Sam J. Miller story I haven’t fallen head over heels for, and Blackfish City is no different. Vast in imagination, it’ll also rip your heart out, and leave you think about our world in a different way. (Full Review)
Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente—Oh. My. God. This book. I’ve adored what I’ve read from Valente previously, but this was in a whole other stratosphere. It’s funny, cutting, sweet, melancholic, and a whole bunch of other superlatives wrapped up in a book about an intergalactic singing competition. (Full Review)
The Skaar Invasion by Terry Brooks—Brooks has had a bit of a resurgence lately, and The Skaar Invasion is another fine addition to the Shannara series, with lots of promise for a rollicking conclusion to the series over the next two books. (Full Review)
Revenant Gun by Yoon Ha Lee—Speaking of rollicking conclusions, Revenant Gun takes everything that made the first two volumes in Lee’s trilogy so great and ratchets them up to 11. (Full Review)
Bonus: Favourite non-2017 Novels and non-fiction
Green Rider by Kristen Britain—I wanted a throwback ’90s epic fantasy, and that’s exactly what I got. Big set pieces, travelogues, lots of magic, and a hero you can root for. (Full Review)
The Books of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin and Charles Vess—Every single element of this book is beyond beautiful.
Damn Fine Story by Chuck Wendig—A terrific book that’s not so much about writing, rather it’s about storytelling. (Full Review)
On Writing by Stephen King—A classic writing book that doubles as a compulsive memoir.
The Silk Roads by Peter Frankopan—A thorough and eye-opening history of the Silk Roads.
Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari—Wide-ranging and thoughtful, Harari’s history of the human race is approachable, nuanced, and richly told.
Crash Override by Zoe Quinn—A harrowing account from Zoe Quinn, who was patient zero of Gamergate’s attack on women and videogame culture. (Full Review)
The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson—I’ve read a lot of political, court intrigue-heavy epic fantasy in my day, but nothing quite like The Traitor Baru Cormorant. It’s framed in a familiar manner (youngster rises up to bring down an empire), but executed in such a brilliant, labyrinthine, unique way that I’m still thinking about it weeks later.
Favourite Short Fiction
“The Only Harmless Great Thing” by Brooke Bolander (Tor.com)
“Now Watch My Rising” by A. Merc Rustad (Fireside Publishing)
The Armoured Saint by Myke Cole (Tor.com)
“Tank!” by John Wiswell (Diabolical Plots)
“STET” by Sarah Gailey (Fireside Publishing)