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Imaginary Awards for Writing, Part 2

The Imaginary Awards for Best Writing, Part 2, and for Book Art

2017 Nominees for Best Novel or Novella Cover Art


What were the best covers on 2017's SFF novels and novellas? For this category, we tried to choose a range of designs, because it turns out that the two of us have very different aesthetics. Even so, we agreed fully about the very best covers this year!

The nominees are listed below, with the winner in bold.

The Power by Naomi Alderman, interior illustrations by Marsh Davies, cover art by Richard Bravery

Landscape with Invisible Hand by MT Anderson, art by Matt Roeser

Star's End by Cassandra Rose Clarke, cover illustration by Darren Hopes

Passing Strange by Ellen Klages, cover art by Gregory Manchess, cover design by Christine Foltzer

Luna: Wolf Moon by Ian McDonald, art by Victor Mosquera

Autonomous by Annalee Newitz, art by Will Staehle

 Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor, cover art by Greg Ruth

 Binti Home by Nnedi Okorafor, cover art by Dave Palumbo, cover design by Christine Foltzer

Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi, design by Eric Ford

Seven Surrenders by Ada Palmer, art by Victor Mosquera

La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman, jacket art by Chris Wormell

Borne by Jeff VanderMeer, designed by Abby Kagan, cover art by Rodrigo Corral

The Genius Plague by David Walton, cover illustration by Eric Nyquist, cover design by Nicole Sommer-Lecht

Artemis by Andy Weir, jacket design by Will Staehle

The Black Tides of Heaven and The Red Threads of Fortune by JY Yang, cover illustration by Yuko Shimizu, cover design by Christine Foltzer

2017 Nominees for Best Novel or Novella Entry in an Ongoing Series


For the Best Series Entry award, we wanted to specifically reward those books and authors who had established a world already. Every nominee for this award followed on from an earlier work that had explained to us the workings of a particular universe. The caveat here is that we didn't consider first entries in a series, even if they were intended to be the start of an ongoing series.

The nominees are listed below, with the winner in bold.

The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

Daughter of Eden by Chris Beckett

Taste of Marrow by Sarah Gailey

The Stone Sky by NK Jemisin

Luna: Wolf Moon by Ian McDonald

Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire

Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor

Binti Home by Nnedi Okorafor

After the Flare by Deji Bryce Olukotun

2017 Nominees for Best Debut Novel or Novella


How is a best debut different from the year's best novel or novella? Especially since two of our picks for best novel (American War) and novella (River of Teeth) are debut books, it might seem a little redundant to have another category for an author's first book. However, our thinking re: this category was that we wanted to recognize the work in 2017 that crashed most impressively onto the scene given everything that had come before and that made us most excited for the future offerings from that author. All of our nominees succeed given those criteria, but there's one work in 2017 that we wanted to recognize above the rest.

The nominees are listed below, with the winner in bold.

The Bear & the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

The City of Brass by SA Chakraborty

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C Dao

American War by Omar el Akkad

Winter Tide by Ruthanna Emrys

River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey

The Stars are Legion by Kameron Hurley**

Spaceman of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfar

An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon

Killing Gravity by Corey J White


** UPDATE: It has been pointed out to us by a listener (@bridgebury on Twitter) that "The Stars Are Legion is not Kameron Hurley's debut novel. She has published 6 novels so far, the first of which was God's War in 2011. (Sorry!)" but if anyone owes an apology, it's us. Sorry, folks! We got that one wrong! But we'll totally be reading Hurley's other books now.