Reading for the 2018 Aurora Awards

In case you have yet to see it, the finalists have been announced for the 2018 Aurora Award

The top nominated works in each category made the final ballot, with voting opening on July 28th. In the meantime, the voter's packages were made available for download today, which means I have some red-and-white reading to do this summer.

Within the Best Novel category, I'm really excited to give All Those Explosions Were Someone Else’s Fault by James Alan Gardner a read, as it's been on my TBR list since it was first announced; I'm kind of intrigued by the concept behind Jade City by Fonda Lee; and I am really intrigued by the ideas behind RecipeArium by Costi Gurgu; and To Guard Against the Dark by Julie E. Czerneda I have already read, of course. The other two finalists - The Rebel by Gerald Brandt and Light of a Distant Sun by Brent Nichols - are sequels to books I haven't read, so I likely won't get around to reading them.

I'll likely pick and choose what to read from the Best Short Fiction category, with A Human Stain by Kelly Robson (a disturbing horror novelette) and The Calling by Elizabeth Grotkowski (demon dentists!) Gone Flying by Liz Westbrook-Trenholm I don't know much about, but Old Souls by Fonda Lee sounds interesting (reincarnation and dying young) and Rose’s Arm by Calvin D. Jim may be worth reading for the steampunk aspect alone.

As for this year's Best Graphic Novel category, SIGNAL Saga #0: PanGaea and the Key of Mirrari by Dominic Bercier looks gorgeous, and is the only 'traditional' graphic novel in the bunch, while Riftworld Legends, #1-4 by Jonathan Williams, Daniel Wong, and Paris Alleyne debuted as a digital comic before seeing print. The other finalists - Rock Paper Cynic by Peter ChiykowskiHoney Dill by Ryan HarbyCrash and Burn by Kate Larking and Finn Lucullan, and It Never Rains by Kari Maaren - are all webcomics, which really shows how the catergory has evolved.

The Best Related Work category is always a strange one, but 49th Parallels edited by Hayden Trenholm immediately caught my eye (Alternative Canadian Histories and Futures)Compostela (Tesseracts 20) is edited by Spider Robinson and James Alan Gardner, which makes it a must-read; and On Spec Magazine is always an interesting read. Enigma Front: The Monster Within (edited by Renée Bennett), The Sum of Us: Tales of the Bonded and Bound (edited by Susan Forest and Lucas K. Law), and Where the Stars Rise: Asian Science Fiction and Fantasy (edited by Lucas K. Law and Derwin Mak) all contributed stories to the Best Short Fiction category, which makes me likely to dig a little deeper.

Finally, the Best Artist category is one I always enjoy, getting a chance to explore artwork both familiar and new. This years's nominees include Samantha M. Beiko, Ann Crowe, Lynne Taylor Fahnestalk, Dan O’Driscoll, and Fiona Staples. Based on what I've seen of their work, Beiko and O’Driscoll are going to be hard to beat, but I'm looking forward to checking out all the artwork.

Good luck to everyone, and here's to some fantastic reading!