Year's best SF/F, January to June 2016 edition

I love science fiction and fantasy stories. I love nominating works for the Hugo and Nebula and World Fantasy Awards. But what I don't love is reading tons of works at the end of each year in a desperate bid to fill out my award nominations. After all, cram reading is rarely fun reading.

So this year I promised to get ahead of the curve. Below are my favorite stories and novels from the first half of 2016. I strongly recommend people seek out and read all these stories.

While I feel the list is fairly complete, it's still possible I'll read some works published between January and June 2016 and add them. For example, I'm behind on my reading from Asimov's and Interzone, and may be adding a few stories from those magazines. I'm also fairly certain I'll add a novella or two because I'm just now reading Monstrous Little Voices: New Tales Shakespeare's Fantasy World, which features novellas by five of my favorite fantasy authors (Adrian Tchaikovsky, Emma Newman, Jonathan Barnes, Foz Meadows and Kate Heartfield).

As an FYI, I'm tracking my picks for the year's best SF/F through the SFWA Recommended Reading list. You can access all of my recommended works, including works from the second half of 2016 which I'll add in the coming months, at that link.

January - June 2016 Novels

  • All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders (Tor)
  • City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett (Broadway Books)
  • Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones (William Morrow)
  • The Fireman by Joe Hill (William Morrow)
  • The Race by Nina Allan (Titan Books. Note: This novel was originally published in the U.K. in 2014 but was released in the U.S. this year in a revised edition, making it eligible for this year's awards.)
  • The Winged Histories by Sofia Samatar (Small Beer Press)

January to June 2016 Novellas

  • Forest of Memory by Mary Robinette Kowal (
  • The Coward's Option by Adam-Troy Castro (Analog)
  • The Liar by John P. Murphy (F&SF)
  • Under the Stone by Karoline Georges (Anvil Press. Note: See my review of this excellent novella.)

Janurary to June 2016 Novelettes

  • Empty Planets by Rahul Kanakia (Interzone)
  • Fifty Shades of Grays by Steven Barnes (Lightspeed)
  • Motherboard (A Tale from Somewhere) by Jeffrey Thomas (Interzone)
  • Sooner or Later Everything Falls Into the Sea by Sarah Pinsker (Lightspeed)
  • The Shores of Being by Dave Creek (Analog)
  • The Stone War by Ted Kosmatka (F&SF)
  • We Will Wake among the Gods, among the Stars by Caroline Yoachim & Tina Connolly (Analog)
  • You'll Surely Drown Here If You Stay by Alyssa Wong (Uncanny Magazine)

January to June 2016 Short Stories

  • Between Dragons and Their Wrath by An Owomoyela & Rachel Swirsky (Clarkesworld)
  • Laws of Night and Silk by Seth Dickinson (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)
  • Life in Stone, Glass, and Plastic by José Pablo Iriarte (Strange Horizons)
  • Lullaby for a Lost World by Aliette de Bodard (
  • Michael Doesn’t Hate His Mother by Marie Vibbert (Lightspeed)
  • No Matter Which Way We Turned by Brian Evenson (People Holding ...)
  • Sic Semper, Sic Semper, Sic Semper by Douglas F. Warrick (
  • Sweet Marrow by Vajra Chandrasekera (Strange Horizons)
  • The Red Thread by Sofia Samatar (Lightspeed)
  • The Right Sort of Monsters by Kelly Sandoval (Strange Horizons)
  • The Secret Mirror of Moriyama House by Yukimi Ogawa (F&SF)
  • The Silver Strands of Alpha Crucis-d by N. J. Schrock (F&SF)
  • The Unmistakable Smell of Wood Violets by Angélica Gorodischer, translated by Marian Womack (The Big Book of Science Fiction. Note: This story was first published in English this year, making it eligible for 2016 awards.)
  • Things With Beards by Sam J. Miller (Clarkesworld)
  • Three Points Masculine by An Owomoyela (Lightspeed Magazine)
  • Two Small Birds by Han Song, translated by John Chu (The Big Book of Science Fiction. Note: This story was first published in English this year, making it eligible for 2016 awards.)
  • Unreeled by Mercurio D. Rivera (Asimov's Science Fiction)
  • Welcome to the Medical Clinic at the Interplanetary Relay Station | Hours Since the Last Patient Death: 0 by Caroline M. Yoachim (Lightspeed)
  • White Dust by Nathan Hillstrom (Asimov's)