We are now coming to the finalists in the SCKA. Following much judicial discussion here are the works that made it to the final round, along with quotes from the discussions:
Best Fantasy Novel
Metronome by Oliver Langmead
"...on the level of pure enjoyment and delight, Metronome was miles ahead for me"
"Metronome is so much fun and bizarre"
Under The Pendulum Sun by Jeanette Ng"I loved the writing and the atmosphere, and I enjoy books that make the Fae creepy af"
"...creating that most unique eerie feel in a world"
Best Science Fiction Novel
Places in the Darkness by Christopher Brookmyre"I really loved the characters and it was very old school but told in a modern fashion"
"I love a cynical, hard-boiled detective...and combines it perfectly with the SF elements for me. I enjoyed the tension between our female leads, and the growing trust."
An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon"...what jumped out was...the feelings. Giselle and Aster are both traumatised and have gone on very different directions to hide that pain the rawness for me worked"
"The idea here is that we bring the same problems from Earth to space and that the problem isn't in the science but in ourselves."
The Memoirs of Lady Trent by Marie Brennan
"something very fun, very entertaining"
"...the conceit of an aristocratic Victorian naturalist with fantasy was wonderful and inspired"
The Broken Earth by N. K. Jemisin"...near perfect. Just one of the most amazing things I have read."
"I am absolutely blown away by it - the prose / storytelling style, the characters, the world-building"
Split Worlds by Emma Newman
"I love a portal fantasy. Plus feminism, yay!"
"Absolutely fantastic characters, some you love, some you love hating, with an added folklore dimension"
Binti by Nnedi Okorafor"...manages to go such interesting places and explore a world so deeply with real brevity."
"What I really really enjoyed was the themes of the story, particularly the fact of growing up in a traditional society with a yearning to go beyond without reneging on your origins."
Passing Strange by Ellen Klages
"...really showing that fantasy can do a lot more with social history than people think"
"Klages managed to completely get a hook in my emotions and drag me along in a marvellous manner.
The Murders of Molly Southbourne by Tade Thompson
"creepy as hell yet also created a fascinating lead character"
"fascinating, and creepy, and I really liked just how hard Thompson had thought about the consequences / implications of his concept"
Best Blurred Boundaries
The Prey of Gods by Nicky Drayden
" whilst short, packs in so much and creates such a fascinating world."
"bots with personalities and goddesses in beauty salons. How to win me over"
Winter Tide by Ruthanna Emrys
"beautiful and poignant and clever in all the right ways.""As always her characters, both heroes and villains, are the heart of the book and in particular I enjoyed how nearly all major roles are women."
"a book well worth experiencing."
The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams
"Familiar, unnerving, inhuman, terrifying"