Skip to main content

Vote now: the Verge Book Club reads Nebula-nominated science fiction in March

Vote now: the Verge Book Club reads Nebula-nominated science fiction in March

Share this story

For the past several years, I have tried and failed to catch up on Nebula-nominated fiction. This ends here. In March, we will read at least one of the novels that could win what's arguably the world's most prestigious science fiction and fantasy award. Here are four of them, all from 2013.

The Red: First Light by Linda Nagata

If I can just skip to the point for people who don't like to read longer reviews, you should go ahead and grab right now, especially if you're into intelligent, cynical military SF. ...The tone of the novel is set right from the very first paragraph:

"There needs to be a war going on somewhere, Sergeant Vasquez. It's a fact of life. Without a conflict of decent size, too many international defense contractors will find themselves out of business. So if no natural war is looming, you can count on the DCs to get together to invent one."


Hild by Nicola Griffith

Don't let the cover of Nicola Griffith's newest novel fool you. You won't find the typical medieval girl-in-a-dress novel. You'll read something completely different, otherworldly in its scope and beauty. ... In Hild, Roman roads crisscross the countryside. Fearsome sprites lurk in woods and water, and strange priests of the new god Christ, wearing long black skirts, roam the damp English countryside. Like salesmen, they promise regional kings victory in battle and many healthy sons if they simply renounce their pagan gods and accept baptism.

- Paste

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

What we readers come to suspect — and what we're finally told — is that Fern is a chimpanzee. Rosemary's father is a scientist studying animal behavior, and Rosemary and Fern were raised pretty much from birth to age 5 as twin sisters.

Fern believed she was human and, as Rosemary says, the mirroring went both ways. ... Fowler's smart and exquisitely sad novel provokes us to think about a lot of aspects of our relationship to animals that most of us would rather ignore. It also delves into other questions. Do animals think? Can they empathize? Do they have long-term memories?

- NPR Books

Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

Justice of Toren is a living ship far beyond AI, spending millennia carrying officers and troops for the Radchaai Empire's endless planetary annexations. Those troops are ancillaries — sometimes called corpse soldiers — reanimated bodies that now share a single consciousness and act as one. Breq was once the ancillary One Esk and the ship Justice of Toren.

But now, separated in a moment of trauma, she's autonomous. It's a condition so rare no one suspects what she is. ... Though framed like '70s grindhouse  —  there was a setup, and someone's out to clean the slate  — things unfold studiously, reminiscent of the deliberation underscoring Ursula Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness.

- NPR Books

Voting ends on Friday, March 7th at 3pm ET, and we'll start posthaste next week.


What should we read in March?

This poll is closed

  • 34%
    The Red: First Light
    (107 votes)
  • 14%
    (45 votes)
  • 9%
    We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
    (29 votes)
  • 42%
    Ancillary Justice
    (133 votes)
314 votes total

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed 47 minutes ago The tablet didn’t call that play by itself

Emma Roth47 minutes ago
Missing classic Mario?

One fan, who goes by the name Metroid Mike 64 on Twitter, just built a full-on 2D Mario game inside Super Mario Maker 2 complete with 40 levels and eight worlds.

Looking at the gameplay shared on Twitter is enough to make me want to break out my SNES, or at least buy Super Mario Maker 2 so I can play this epic retro revamp.

External Link
Russell Brandom50 minutes ago
The US might still force TikTok into a data security deal with Oracle.

The New York Times says the White House is still working on TikTok’s Trump-era data security deal, which has been in a weird limbo for nearly two years now. The terms are basically the same: Oracle plays babysitter but the app doesn’t get banned. Maybe it will happen now, though?

Richard LawlerAn hour ago
Don’t miss this dive into Guillermo del Toro’s stop-motion Pinocchio flick.

Andrew Webster and Charles Pulliam-Moore covered Netflix’s Tudum reveals (yes, it’s going to keep using that brand name) over the weekend as the streamer showed off things that haven’t been canceled yet.

Beyond The Way of the Househusband season two news and timing information about two The Witcher projects, you should make time for this incredible behind-the-scenes video showing the process of making Pinocchio.

External Link
Russell Brandom4:29 PM UTC
Edward Snowden has been granted Russian citizenship.

The NSA whistleblower has been living in Russia for the 9 years — first as a refugee, then on a series of temporary residency permits. He applied for Russian citizenship in November 2020, but has said he won’t renounce his status as a U.S. citizen.

External Link
Emma Roth4:13 PM UTC
Netflix’s gaming bet gets even bigger.

Even though fewer than one percent of Netflix subscribers have tried its mobile games, Netflix just opened up another studio in Finland after acquiring the Helsinki-based Next Games earlier this year.

The former vice president of Zynga Games, Marko Lastikka, will serve as the studio director. His track record includes working on SimCity BuildIt for EA and FarmVille 3.

External Link
Andrew J. Hawkins3:37 PM UTC
Vietnam’s EV aspirant is giving big Potemkin village vibes

Idle equipment, absent workers, deserted villages, an empty swimming pool. VinFast is Vietnam’s answer to Tesla, with the goal of making 1 million EVs in the next 5-6 years to sell to customers US, Canada and Europe. With these lofty goals, the company invited a bunch of social media influencers, as well as some auto journalists, on a “a four-day, multicity extravaganza” that seemed more weird than convincing, according to Bloomberg.

James Vincent3:17 PM UTC
Today, 39 years ago, the world didn’t end.

And it’s thanks to one man: Stanislav Petrov, a USSR military officer who, on September 26th, 1983, took the decision not to launch a retaliatory nuclear attack against the US. Petrov correctly guessed that satellite readings showing inbound nukes were faulty, and so likely saved the world from nuclear war. As journalist Tom Chivers put it on Twitter, “Happy Stanislav Petrov Day to those who celebrate!” Read more about Petrov’s life here.

Soviet Colonel who prevented 1983 nuclear response
Photo by Scott Peterson/Getty Images
The Verge
James Vincent3:03 PM UTC
Deepfakes were made for Disney.

You might have seen the news this weekend that the voice of James Earl Jones is being cloned using AI so his performance as Darth Vader in Star Wars can live on forever.

Reading the story, it struck me how perfect deepfakes are for Disney — a company that profits from original characters, fans' nostalgia, and an uncanny ability to twist copyright law to its liking. And now, with deepfakes, Disney’s most iconic performances will live on forever, ensuring the magic never dies.

External Link
Elizabeth Lopatto2:41 PM UTC
Hurricane Fiona ratcheted up tensions about crypto bros in Puerto Rico.

“An official emergency has been declared, which means in the tax program, your physical presence time is suspended,” a crypto investor posted on TikTok. “So I am headed out of the island.” Perhaps predictably, locals are furious.

The Verge
Richard Lawler2:09 PM UTC
Teen hacking suspect linked to GTA 6 leak and Uber security breach charged in London.

City of London police tweeted Saturday that the teenager arrested on suspicion of hacking has been charged with “two counts of breach of bail conditions and two counts of computer misuse.”

They haven’t confirmed any connection with the GTA 6 leak or Uber hack, but the details line up with those incidents, as well as a suspect arrested this spring for the Lapsus$ breaches.

David Pierce12:54 PM UTC
Thousands and thousands of reasons people love Android.

“Android fans, what are the primary reasons why you will never ever switch to an iPhone?” That question led to almost 30,000 comments so far, and was for a while the most popular thing on Reddit. It’s a totally fascinating peek into the platform wars, and I’ve spent way too much time reading through it. I also laughed hard at “I can turn my text bubbles to any color I like.”

Thomas Ricker10:44 AM UTC
The Simpsons pays tribute to Chrome’s dino game.

Season 34 of The Simpsons kicked off on Sunday night with an opening credits “couch gag” based on the offline dino game from Google’s Chrome browser. Cactus, cactus, couch, d’oh! Perfect.