Wednesday, January 2, 2019

2019 Planetary Award Nominations

As 2019 opens, so does award season, including the Planetary Awards, the award given by science fiction book bloggers. The rules are as follows:
Happy New Year — it’s time to nominate your favorite science fiction and fantasy writing for the 2018 Planetary Awards. 
We’re again doing only two categories: 
Shorter story (under 40,000 words/160 paperback pages)Longer story (novels) 
If you’re a blogger, podcaster, or youtuber, the nomination process is easy 
State your nominations on your site/cast/channel, mentioning that they are for the Planetary Awards 
Leave a comment on this post, or on the Planetary Defense Command reblog, with a link to your nominations 
The nomination deadline is February 14th, 11:59PM US Pacific time.
Personally, this year's reading was filled up with a host of pulps and light novels, the latter of which might be good popcorn reading, but not necessarily good writing. I did not get to read many new releases, but two stand out.

Shorter Story: Mortu and Kyrus in the White City, by Schuyler Hernstrom

In Mortu and Kyrus in the White City, Schuyler Hernstrom returns to sword and sorcery, blending Dying Earth, Mad Max, and even a little Shaw Briothers kung fu into a future Earth recovering from the heavy hand of an alien overlord. The namesakes Mortu and Kyrus, a pagan motorcycle barbarian from the North and a Christian monk from Zantyum respectively, are on a quest to break the sorcerer’s spell that chains Kyrus into the form of a monkey. On the long road, they find a caravan attacked by nomads and a wayward Christian knight. Mortu and Kyrus intervene with a few sharp strokes of Mortu’s axe, and in gratitude, the caravan invites the duo to their White City. Within moments of their arrival, Mortu and Kyrus are swept up in the dark secrets beneath the foundations of the City

I could wax on for days about this novella, including the play on Omelas, but instead, I'll just say to read it yourself to enjoy Hernstrom's language and story. Fortunately, Mortu and Kyrus will return.

“Come then, try my steel and I will send you to hell where you belong. The gods of my people look down upon those that prey on the weak. There is no honor in it. There is no honor in you. I will enjoy killing you.”–Mortu

Longer Story: Pop Kult Warlord, by Nick Cole

It’s way more than just a game!

PerfectQuestion is back! Running and gunning his way across an incredible civilization-building game set on Mars. But this time he’s working as a hired online ringer for a corrupt dictatorship and trying to keep from getting “disappeared” in a reckless world of intrigue, epic parties, luxurious meals, fast sports cars, and women who are as dangerous as they are beautiful.

Five million in gold says he can do it and put the next Sultan on the throne by leading a rag-tag clan of gaming jihadis to victory, but revolution and revolt are afoot. The long knives are out in Calistan for the hero of Soda Pop Soldier and anyone else who gets in a murderous prince’s way.

Nick Cole brings the action he's known for in Galaxy's Edge to a strange digital mix of Civilization, Call of Duty, and palace intrigue. A cyberpunk litRPG tale with planetary colonization elements instead of dystopian, Pop Kult Warlord also mixes in that age-old science fiction tradition--a jaw-dropping twist at the end. While fans of Soda Pop Soldier will be pleased to see PerfectQuestion in action once more, Pop Kult Warlord works well as a stand-alone novel, a refreshing feat in these days of endless serials.

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