The nominees in Best Novella for the 2016 Hugo awards are:
- Binti by Nnedi Okorafor (Tor.com)
- The Builders by Daniel Polansky (Tor.com)
- Penric’s Demon by Lois McMaster Bujold (Spectrum)
- Perfect State by Brandon Sanderson (Dragonsteel Entertainment)
- Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds (Tachyon)
My personal pick is Binti, by Nnedi Okorafor.
Binti is the first of the Himba people to be offered admission into the most prestigious university in the galaxy, Oomza University. She defies the expectations of her people and sneaks her way to a port city, and boards a starship bound for Oomza. Just as she finally starts to feel that maybe she didn’t make a mistake leaving everything she knows behind, the ship is attacked by the Meduse, a jellyfish like race that are aggressive toward pretty much all other civilizations. They kill almost everyone on board except for Binti, whose ancient relic Edan keeps her safe and mysteriously allows her to communicate with the Meduse.
Binti negotiates peace between the Meduse and Oomza (Oomza scholars had stolen the stinger of the Meduse leader as a cultural relic, unknowingly kicking off the vendetta in the first place) and becomes an ambassador and a bridge between the two societies, both literally and figuratively, as the Meduse partially transform her to facilitate extended communication.
JL Jamieson is a strange book nerd who writes technical documents by day, and book news, reviews, and other assorted opinions for you by night. She is working on her own fiction, and spends time making jewelry to sell at local conventions, as well as stalking the social media accounts of all your favorite writers.