Friday, February 20, 2015

The Wet & Irritated Kittens Slate, Part I - Novels

I have been allied with the Sad Puppies since their first campaign -- and with that in mind, I definitely encourage you to check out - in other words, buy and read - what they have recommended for the 2015 Hugo shortlist.

At the same time, however, I'd also like to share some of my own recommendations over the next few weeks -- and since I'm a hair's breadth away from being a crazy cat lady in spirit, I shall dub my own personal list the "Wet & Irritated Kittens" slate.

He's read one too many crappy "award winners," and the claws are out.

First up: the novels.

  • The Chaplain's War, Brad Torgersen, Baen - I know Brad has recused himself from the Sad Puppies campaign, but gosh darn it, I think he deserves a nod, as his first novel takes the tropes of military science fiction in a relatively unique direction. Not only does his protagonist have an unusual point-of-view, but the story itself is also less about the particulars of combat and more about the securing of an honorable peace. (See my original review here.)
  • Trial by Fire, Charles E. Gannon, Baen - I'm overlapping with the Sad Puppies on this one for a damned good reason: this novel is awesome. It rivals such classics as A Fire Upon the Deep and The Mote in God's Eye in its alien world-building, and it depicts the divided nature of mankind in a striking and unforgettable way. (See my original review here.)
  • Monster Hunter Nemesis, Larry Correia, Baen - Because who says pulp doesn't deserve respect? In all seriousness, anyone who claims that Larry only writes "dumb action novels" about "muscle-bound white guys" hasn't actually read his work. The way he messes around with common fantasy elements is absolutely delightful, and his characters are both entertaining and well-crafted. (See my original review here.)
  • A Darkling Sea, James L. Cambias, Tor - Once again, I love me some aliens, and the deep-sea culture of the Ilmatarans is absolutely fascinating. Additionally, Cambias takes an old sci-fi philosophical stand-by - the Prime Directive - and intelligently challenges its assumptions vis-à-vis the likely results of intercultural contact. (See my original review here.)
  • The Wingfeather Saga, Andrew Peterson, Rabbit Room Press - I'm using the famous Wheel of Time loophole on this one, as this was a juvenile fantasy series I profoundly enjoyed. Peterson's sense of humor is a real treat, and his created world is both imaginative and superversive. If you're a fan of the Chronicles of Narnia, definitely give these books a try! (See my review of the final novel - which links to reviews of the previous three - here.) 

 Coming up soon: the short works. In the meantime --

Keep an eye on those kittens. They're pissed!


  1. I won't be voting for the Hugos this year but I will second most of Stephanie's recommendations listed above. I did personally vote for The Chaplain's War for Best SF Novel for the Goodreads Awards recently. Most of the rest I agree with, the exception being The Wingfeather Saga which I have not read.

    And I will assuredly keep an eye on the kittens. Never, and I mean EEEEver, turn your back on an angry cat.

  2. Shared - and be careful of those irritated kitties...