Honor roll: Prometheus Award for Best Novel

Each of these books has been nominated for a Prometheus Award for Best Novel. They are ranked by honors received.

Book:The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid's Tale: A Novel

Margaret Atwood

In the world of the near future, who will control women’s bodies?

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are only valued if their ovaries are viable.

Offred can remember the days before, when she lived and made love with her husband Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now.

Funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing, The Handmaid’s Tale is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and tour de force.

Book:A Deepness in the Sky

A Deepness in the Sky

Vernor Vinge

After thousands of years searching, humans stand on the verge of first contact with an alien race. Two human groups: the Qeng Ho, a culture of free traders, and the Emergents, a ruthless society based on the technological enslavement of minds.

The group that opens trade with the aliens will reap unimaginable riches. But first, both groups must wait at the aliens’ very doorstep for their strange star to relight and for their planet to reawaken, as it does every tow hundred and fifty years….

Then, following terrible treachery, the Qeng Ho must fight for their freedom and for the lives of the unsuspecting innocents on the planet below, while the aliens themselves play a role unsuspected by the Qeng Ho and Emergents alike.

More than just a great science fiction adventure, A Deepness in the Sky is a universal drama of courage, self-discovery, and the redemptive power of love.

Book:Little Brother

Little Brother

Cory Doctorow

Marcus, a.k.a “w1n5t0n,” is only seventeen years old, but he figures he already knows how the system works–and how to work the system. Smart, fast, and wise to the ways of the networked world, he has no trouble outwitting his high school’s intrusive but clumsy surveillance systems.

But his whole world changes when he and his friends find themselves caught in the aftermath of a major terrorist attack on San Francisco. In the wrong place at the wrong time, Marcus and his crew are apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security and whisked away to a secret prison where they’re mercilessly interrogated for days.

When the DHS finally releases them, Marcus discovers that his city has become a police state where every citizen is treated like a potential terrorist. He knows that no one will believe his story, which leaves him only one option: to take down the DHS himself.

Book:The Diamond Age

The Diamond Age

Neal Stephenson

Decades into our future, a stone’s throw from the ancient city of Shanghai, a brilliant nanotechnologist named John Percival Hackworth has just broken the rigorous moral code of his tribe, the powerful neoVictorians. He’s made an illicit copy of a state-of-the-art interactive device called A Young Ladys Illustrated Primer Commissioned by an eccentric duke for his grandchild, stolen for Hackworth’s own daughter, the Primer’s purpose is to educate and raise a girl capable of thinking for herself. It performs its function superbly. Unfortunately for Hackworth, his smuggled copy has fallen into the wrong hands.

Young Nell and her brother Harv are thetes—members of the poor, tribeless class. Neglected by their mother, Harv looks after Nell. When he and his gang waylay a certain neo-Victorian—John Percival Hackworth—in the seamy streets of their neighborhood, Harv brings Nell something special: the Primer. …[more]

Book:Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Book 5 of Harry Potter

J.K. Rowling

“I say to you all, once again—in the light of Lord Voldemort’s return, we are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided. Lord Voldemort’s gift for spreading discord and enmity is very great. We can fight it only by showing an equally strong bond of friendship and trust.”

So spoke Albus Dumbledore at the end of Harry Potter’s fourth year at Hogwarts. But as Harry enters his fifth year at wizard school, it seems those bonds have never been more sorely tested. Lord Voldemort’s rise has opened a rift in the wizarding world between those who believe the truth about his return, and those who prefer to believe it’s all madness and lies—just more trouble from Harry Potter.

Add to this a host of other worries for Harry…

Book:Beggars in Spain

Beggars in Spain: Book 1 of Beggars Trilogy

Nancy Kress

Born in 2008, Leisha Camden is beautiful, extraordinarily intelligent . . . and one of an ever-growing number of human beings who have been genetically modified to never require sleep.

Once she and “her kind” were considered interesting anomalies. Now they are outcasts—victims of blind hatred, political repression and shocking mob violence meant to drive the “Sleepless” from human society . . . and, ultimately, from the Earth itself.

But Leisha Camden has chosen to remain behind in a world that envies and fears her “gift”—a world marked for destruction in a devastating conspiracy of freedom . . . and revenge.

Book:The Many-Colored Land

The Many-Colored Land

Julian May

When a one-way time tunnel to Earth’s distant past, specifically six million B.C., was discovered by folks on the Galactic Milieu, every misfit for light-years around hurried to pass through it. Each sought his own brand of happiness. But none could have guessed what awaited them. Not even in a million years….

Book:Learning the World

Learning the World: A Scientific Romance

Ken MacLeod

Humanity has spread to every star within 500 light-years of its half-forgotten origin, coloring the sky with a haze of habitats. Societies rise and fall. Incautious experiments burn fast and fade. On the fringes, less modified humans get on with the job of settling a universe that has, so far, been empty of intelligent life.

The ancient starship But the Sky, My Lady! The Sky! is entering orbit around a promising new system after a four hundred year journey. For its long-lived inhabitants, the centuries have been busy. Now a younger generation is eager to settle the system. The ship is a seed-pod ready to burst.

Then they detect curious electromagnetic emissions from the system’s Earth-like world. As the nature of the signals becomes clear, the choices facing the humans become stark. …[more]

Book:Falling Free

Falling Free

Lois McMaster Bujold

Leo Graf was just your average highly efficient engineer: mind your own business, fix what’s wrong and move on to the next job. Everything neat and according to spec, just the way he liked it. But all that changed on his assignment to the Cay Habitat. Could you just stand there and allow the exploitation of hundreds of helpless children merely to enhance the bottom line of a heartless mega-corporation?

Leo Graf adopted 1000 quaddies—now all he had to do was teach them to be free.

Book:The Uplift War

The Uplift War: Book 3 of The Uplift Saga

David Brin

David Brin’s Uplift novels are among the most thrilling and extraordinary science fiction ever written.  Sundiver, Startide Rising, and The Uplift War—a New York Times bestseller—together make up one of the most beloved sagas of all time.  Brin’s tales are set in a future universe in which no species can reach sentience without being “uplifted” by a patron race.  But the greatest mystery of all remains unsolved: who uplifted humankind?

As galactic armadas clash in quest of the ancient fleet of the Progenitors, a brutal alien race seizes the dying planet of Garth.  The various uplifted inhabitants of Garth must battle their overlords or face ultimate extinction.  At stake is the existence of Terran society and Earth, and the fate of the entire Five Galaxies.  Sweeping, brilliantly crafted, inventive and dramatic, The Uplift War is an unforgettable story of adventure and wonder from one of today’s science fiction greats.

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