Autonomous: A Novel

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2018 Lambda Literary Awards Honor LGBTQ Literature


The 2018 Lambda Literary Awards were announced last night in New York City. The annual award, now in its 30th year, celebrates the “best lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender books of the year and affirm[s] that LGBTQ stories are part of the literature of the world.” In addition to the other awards, Lamdba’s Trustee and Visionary Awards were given to Roxane Gay and Edmund White.

The winners of the 2018 Lambda Literary Awards are as follows:

Lesbian Fiction

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado (Our review of Machado’s “body horrors” and interview with the author)

Gay Fiction

After the Blue Hour by John Rechy

Bisexual Fiction

The Gift by Barbara Browning

Bisexual Nonfiction

Hunger by Roxane Gay

LGBTQ Nonfiction

How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective by Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

Transgender Nonfiction

Black on Both Sides: A Racial History of Trans Identity by C. Riley Snorton

Lesbian Memoir/Biography

The Fact of a Body by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

Gay Memoir/Biography

Lives of Great Men: Living and Loving as an African Gay Man by Chike Frankie Edozien

Graphic Novel

My Favorite Thing Is Monsters by Emil Ferris

Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror

Autonomous by Annalee Newitz (the one book reco’d by Robin Sloan in his Year in Reading entry)


The full list of winners can be found here.

A Year in Reading: Robin Sloan


I read more than one book in 2017, but the one is all I’m going to tell you about, because come on: there are a lot of other Years in Reading to get through here.

I received an advance copy of Annalee Newitz’s Autonomous in the summer and it hasn’t left my mind since. It’s an important book that adds significantly to science fiction’s storehouse of futures, and I tend to think we need those very badly: not easy dystopias, and not naive world’s fairs, but REAL futures: textured, grounded, exciting, unsettling.

Among other things, Autonomous:
* imagines a disturbingly plausible scenario for the stealthy reintroduction of slavery;
* draws a new map for the future, where all the really interesting stuff is happening not in Palo Alto and Shanghai but Moose Jaw and Casablanca; and
* sets a new benchmark for the depiction of robot-human relationships in fiction.
I read so many books, and forget so much of what I’ve read, that I consider any indelible image a sign of great success. Much of Autonomous has already faded in my memory, but that romance, between robot Paladin and soldier Eliasz—the slow awakening, the uncertainty and distress, the caressing of gun ports—it’s with me now forever.

Thus ends the era that began with “Open the pod bay doors, HAL.” Starting in 2017, and thanks to Autonomous, there is a new standard.

More from A Year in Reading 2017

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Don’t miss: A Year in Reading 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005

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