Awards eligibility and recommendations


I’m completely underwater with various family matters (sadly of an urgent nature), but I wanted to make a quick awards eligibility post, and to have a placeholder for those 2023 things I loved and wanted to recommend (I will update with recommendations as I catch up).

-First things first, “The Universe of Xuya” is eligible again in Best Series Hugo: more than 240,000 words have been published in it since it last was nominated (Seven of Infinities at 40k, The Red Scholar’s Wake at 82k, A Fire Born of Exile at 117k, “Mulberry and Owl”” in Uncanny Magazine at 7,9k, and “Rescue Party” in Mission Critical at 9,5k). The 2023 work that makes it eligible for Best Series is A Fire Born of Exile.

-“The Mausoleum’s Children”, my Wild Hunt/evil architects/broken spaceship story, is also eligible for Best Short Story: you can read it here.

-Best Novelette: “Ivy, Angelica, Bay” (Tor dot com) by CL Polk, a heartrending and heartwarming story of bees, changing neighbourhoods and witching.
-Best Novelette: “Six Versions of My Brother Found Under the Bridge” by Eugenia Triantafyllou, Uncanny Magazine : a story of a lost brother and his resourceful sister, and a family’s deal with the devil…

-Best Short Story: “The Sound of Children Screaming” by Rachael K. Jones. I read this and basically can’t get it out of my head. The brilliance of the two universes, the mice, the crowns, the magic… Searing and amazing.

Vote here for the Hugos and at the Members’ bit of the SWFA website for the Nebulas.

Awards eligibility and recommendations


Finally, I got around to an awards eligibility and recommendations list which includes things by other people, so here it is:

My stuff:

The Red Scholar’s Wake (Gollancz in the UK, JABberwocky Literary Agency, Inc. in the US) is eligible for Best Novel.

Of Charms, Ghosts and Grievances from JABberwocky Literary Agency, Inc. aka “the murderbirds go babysitting” is eligible for Best Novella.

“Sword of Bone, Hall of Thorns” in The Sunday Morning Transport, is eligible for Best Short Story.

If you enjoyed my work, I would love if you nominated it for awards: these always help visibility, and it’s been a rough few years in terms of that (thank you not thank you divorce, pandemic and the apparent implosion of twitter, sigh).

Both The Red Scholar’s Wake and Of Charms, Ghosts and Grievances are on the BSFA longlist, and voting for that closes Feb 19th; meanwhile, Of Charms, Ghosts and Grievances is on the Nebula Recommended Reading list. Voting is this way for the BSFA, and this way for the Nebulas.

-The artwork by Alyssa Winans (UK cover of The Red Scholar’s Wake) is eligible for Best Artwork, and it’s notably on the BSFA longlist. Would love to see that one recognised because Alyssa has been doing stellar work. See above for the voting link.

Things I liked from last year:

“12 Things A Trini Should Know before Travelling to A Back In Times Fete ™”, RSA Garcia (Strange Horizons, short story): time travelling, slavery, and a sharp look at the dangers of the past.

-“can i offer you a nice egg in those trying times”, Iori Kusano (Uncanny Magazine, short story): portal stories, PTSD, and grief. Short and powerful.

“Lily the Immortal”, Kylie Lee Baker (Uncanny Magazine, short story): simulations after death, bittersweet and poignant.

-“Papa Legba has entered the chat”, DaVaun Sanders (Fireside, short story): police brutality, technology and old dark magic.

“Elsewhere, Elsewhere”, L. Chan (Giganotosaurus, short story): time magic, timeless love and timeless betrayals.

-The Sunday Morning Transport ed Julian Yap and Fran Wilde is eligible for Best Semiprozine. If you’d like to see what they publish: aside from my own “Sword of Bone, Hall of Thorns“, you can check this Yoon Ha Lee story they published last year which I absolutely loved.

Would also recommend checking out Sara A. Mueller’s The Bone Orchard for Best Novel which is court intrigue + Gothic decadence + whodunit!


Looking back at 2020


Well, it was a year.

I didn’t expect 2020 to go the places it did (it’s fair to say that no one did).

In no particular order:

-a painful but necessary divorce

-a lot of changes as a result of above

-a pandemic and two lockdowns

-publication of two books (Of Dragons, Feasts and MurdersSeven of Infinities)

-sale of a book (Fireheart Tiger))

-writing of a bunch of things (mostly the queer pirate story, and two short stories)

-publishing of a bunch of things (“The Long Tail” in Wired, “The Inaccessibility of Heaven” in Uncanny, and “The Scholar of the Bamboo Flute” in Silk and Steel, and “The Last Hunt” in The Book of Dragons).

I’m glad to still be here, and I’m even gladder that 2020 is over. Bring on 2021.

*exhausted fireworks*


Awards eligibility and recommendations for 2020


Awards eligibility

2020 was a bit of a year for me (as it was for quite a few people, I’d wager). I did manage to publish a few things, mainly due to having written them before the pandemic started.

Out of these all, the one thing I’m proudest of is the latest Xuya novella, Seven of Infinities , an f/f murder & heist & romance with two Vietnamese main characters.

It’s eligible in the best novella category for the Hugos, Nebulas and BSFA. If you enjoyed it, I would really appreciate if you nominated it.

There’s also a lengthy sample available, courtesy of Subterranean if you want to check out if it’s your thing: you can download it here.

More info here.

People have been asking, so I thought I’d also point out that the publication of Of Dragons, Feasts, and Murders makes Dominion of the Fallen eligible again in Best Series. If you have space in your ballot for an alternate Belle Epoque that deals with queerness, colonialism, oppressive power structures, survival and rebellion (not to mention dragons under the Seine and the best disaster bi dragon prince/fallen angel diplomacy/murder pairing!), I’d be overjoyed if you considered it.


And now the part where I recommend other people’s stuff I loved.

Graphic novel
The Magic Fish, Trung Le Nguyen: a story of immigration, fairytale retellings and a young boy struggling to come out to his family. This just hit me hard in the feels and never let go.

Short Story
“An Explorer’s Cartography of Already-Settled Lands” by Fran Wilde: a gorgeous, evocative story of maps and what they mean to different people.

When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain by Nghi Vo. Nghi had two releases this year in the novella category. Empress of Salt and Fortune is good, but When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain, which received less attention (due to its late release in December and being edged out by her upcoming novel), is really amazing. It’s about the scholar Chih, stuck in the mountains with three tigers, but also about the sapphic courtship of a tiger and a scholar. It’s about history, and stories, and who gets to tell what, and it absolutely nails down the oral form while managing to hit all my buttons. It sounds like the grown-up version of the tales my bà ngoại told me as a child, and that’s the highest praise.

The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water, by Zen Cho. When a bandit walks into a kopitiam (coffee shop), everything goes downhill for the waitress-not to mention the bandit. Hilarious, pointed and heartbreaking. I blurbed this and laughed so much when I was reading it.

Black Sun, by Rebecca Roanhorse. A dark and gritty epic fantasy inspired by Mesoamerican culture, this just swept along. It’s a tale of revenge and politics, and godhood, and the consequences of belief systems. It’s a tale of families and clashing views on the world, and I cannot wait for the next book in the series.

Unconquerable Sun, by Kate Elliott. A genderbent version of Alexander the Great, in space, where Alexander is an indomitable young woman named Sun who is the heir to a vast, sprawling galactic empire. But there are other powers, as well as political infighting within the court, and Sun’s companions are soon thrust into a fight for their survival. Amazing worldbuilding, deep characters, and a place that really feels lived in–such a great book. Special mention for Perse (Persephone) who is just the best.

The Midnight Bargain by C.L Polk. I read this at precisely the right time in my life, in a deep reading slump where I hadn’t touched a fiction book in a few months. I devoured it in a few days because it was so good. In a universe where women are magically prevented from practising magic once they get married, Beatrice dreams of becoming a magician. When her path intersects that of two siblings with their own interest in bucking the gender system, they are drawn together–but will this tenuous alliance hold as Beatrice is pressured to marry? Not Regency and not set in Great Britain, but this feels like Regency all the same–along with a smart discussion of power, gender, social expectations and how magic would be used in a gender-rigid system. Such a great read.

Coming soon: Fireheart Tiger!


Coming soon: Fireheart Tiger! has revealed the cover of my upcoming book Fireheart Tiger, an f/f postcolonial The Goblin Emperor meets Howl’s Moving Castle. Look at it, isn’t it amazing?

Cover art by Alyssa Winans

Some small details you might not have noticed:

  • the dragon on the pillar behind the woman (the flag of the country in the story is the dragon and pearl)
    the object catching fire in her hand is a teacup, referring to a story scene
    the guns in the lower right-hand corner, both propping up and threatening the palace
    the pavilion in the gardens, a crucial story location
    the markings on her skin near the flame evoke a tiger’s skin
    the large building in her sleeves is Cửa Ngọ Môn, the Noon Gate in the imperial citadel in Huế. The fact that she’s transporting things in her sleeves is a reference to Vietnamese (and Chinese) garments having sleeves large enough to be used as pockets

You’ll be wondering why the title: it refers to a Vietnamese folk tale about how the tiger got his stripes: they’re the marks of a rope when man burnt him with fire, and explains that the resentful tiger now seeks to eat men. I took the fire, the tiger and the idea of imprisonment, and ran with it.

And here’s the official summary

Award-winning author Aliette de Bodard returns with a powerful romantic fantasy that reads like The Goblin Emperor meets Howl’s Moving Castle in a pre-colonial Vietnamese-esque world.
Fire burns bright and has a long memory….
Quiet, thoughtful princess Thanh was sent away as a hostage to the powerful faraway country of Ephteria as a child. Now she’s returned to her mother’s imperial court, haunted not only by memories of her first romance, but by worrying magical echoes of a fire that devastated Ephteria’s royal palace.
Thanh’s new role as a diplomat places her once again in the path of her first love, the powerful and magnetic Eldris of Ephteria, who knows exactly what she wants: romance from Thanh and much more from Thanh’s home. Eldris won’t take no for an answer, on either front. But the fire that burned down one palace is tempting Thanh with the possibility of making her own dangerous decisions.
Can Thanh find the freedom to shape her country’s fate—and her own?

The book will be out Feb 9th 2021.

You can preorder now—a small reminder that preorders help books a lot, because they indicate enthusiasm, and that in turn influences visibility and thus the attention given to the book (and many many thanks to everyone who’s already preordered, you rock).

Buy Now

Of Dragons, Feasts and Murders out in the world!


Of Dragons, Feasts and Murders out in the world!

Out today!

Dragons, court drama and relationships…

An unlikely duo of a bookish dragon prince and his ruthless Fallen angel husband have to cooperate with each other to navigate political intrigue and solve a murder. A combination of Asian court drama (think Nirvana in Fire) and Gothic comedy of manners; a fun and fluffy (*) book involving a mismatched couple, dollops of embarrassing moments, and the occasional kiss.

(*)”fluffy” for Bodard values of fluffy. It still involves a murder investigation, and ideas of consent and rulership and change, because, well–
*helpless shrug*
*hashtag on-brand*

Buy now

(Art and cover design: Ravven)

Official blurb:

From the author of the critically acclaimed Dominion of the Fallen trilogy comes a tale of dragons, and Fallen angels — and also kissing, sarcasm and stabbing. 

Lunar New Year should be a time for familial reunions, ancestor worship, and consumption of an unhealthy amount of candied fruit.

But when dragon prince Thuan brings home his brooding and ruthless husband Asmodeus for the New Year, they find not interminable family gatherings, but a corpse outside their quarters. Asmodeus is thrilled by the murder investigation; Thuan, who gets dragged into the political plotting he’d sworn off when he left, is less enthusiastic.

It’ll take all of Asmodeus’s skill with knives, and all of Thuan’s diplomacy, to navigate this one — as well as the troubled waters of their own relationship….

A sparkling standalone book set in a world of dark intrigue.

A Note on Chronology

Spinning off from the Dominion of the Fallen series, which features political intrigue in Gothic devastated Paris, this book stands alone, but chronologically follows The House of Sundering Flames. It’s High Gothic meets C-drama in a Vietnamese inspired world– perfect for fans of The Untamed, KJ Charles,  and Roshani Chokshi’s The Gilded Wolves

Advance praise:

“A delightful and delicious story of court intrigue, tense family relations, and – of course – murder, OF DRAGONS, FEASTS, AND MURDER delivers on all three in a tightly plotted and tensely paced novella in which the fate of a country rests in the hands of a soft-hearted dragon prince and his murder husband. With luscious and lyrical prose, de Bodard effortlessly envelops the reader in a rich and expansive world. A fun read, I look forward to immersing myself in the rest of the Dominion of the Fallen series!”

K.A. Doore, author of the Chronicles of Ghadid trilogy

“Delightful… Beautiful writing, weird and magical world, fascinating culture and politics, and compelling characters: what more do you need?”

KJ Charles, author of Slippery Creatures

I absolutely loved this… Two charming protagonists (in very different ways), beautifully descriptive writing, a cunning plot, and a thoughtful discussion of the ways that rooted injustice in a system can be changed. Also, dragons. Lots of dragons.”

Genevieve Cogman, author of The Invisible Library series

“A delightful political mystery featuring de Bodard’s vibrant world-building, beautiful prose, and compelling characters”.

Juliet Kemp, author of Shadow and Storm

“Fantasy of Manners but with corpses and a stabby husband. The stabby husband may or may not have produced the aforementioned corpses.”

Sara/Sharade, The Fantasy Inn

Buy now

Sale: Fireheart Tiger to Tor Dot Com


I’ve had to sit on this one for a while, but I’m pleased to have sold my novella Fireheart Tiger to Jonathan Strahan at I’m absolutely thrilled, as I’ve loved a great deal many books published by the imprint (and I can’t wait to see the cover art).

The blurb is below. This is a f/f story of politics, magic and resilience in the face of trauma as well as overwhelming odds. It went some rather dark and unexpected places when I was writing it (story of my life lol). It’s set in a universe heavily inspired by Nguyễn Cochinchina in the 18th Century (prior to the actual dynasty, the unification of Vietnam and the French colonisation), but draws a bit from a bunch of other time periods in Vietnamese history. It will be out in 2021 (I know, so far away!).

(Photo by Nguyen Kiet on Unsplash)

Award-winning author Aliette de Bodard returns in this fantasy novella that reads like The Goblin Emperor meets Howl’s Moving Castle in a precolonial Vietnamese-esque world.

Thanh is royalty in a beleaguered nation of scattered provinces pressured on all sides. The daughter of ancestors armed with swords and courage, she was fostered in a foreign capital to seal an alliance, and returned—to her powerful mother’s disappointment—quiet and thoughtful instead of brash and confident.

Propped up by the guns and silver of Ephteria, a far more powerful empire, her country is losing the game of power. In Eldris, an Ephterian princess, Thanh finds both romance and intoxicating risk. Eldris may desire her, but she doesn’t respect what Thanh holds dear.

Giang, Thanh’s humble handmaiden, who appeared to her the night of a terrible fire and who has deep secrets of her own, might be the one who holds the key to love, freedom, and true power.

More info at!

And if you feel minded to preorder:

Amazon US  | Amazon UK | Kobo

Free fiction!


Free fiction!

At a time where a lot of you are in lockdown in circumstances that aren’t exactly great for productivity, I thought I’d point out a few things from me that are available free of charge:

-my story “In the Lands of the Spill” is now available in the Avatars Inc anthology, an anthology about telepresence that includes works by Tade Thompson, Pat Cadigan, Ken Liu, Nino Cipri…

-and I’ve made available a bundle of three of my Xuya stories that aren’t easy to find through my Patreon (this is a public post but do feel free to join my Patreon if you want the exciting paying stuff: this is much much appreciated). Go download them here.


2019 awards consideration post


It’s that time of year again! I’ve had a 2019 and a half to say the least, so I’m afraid this is going to be a brief list, but I did want to highlight a few really really nice things I read last year, so without further ado.

For your consideration

My novel The House of Sundering Flames came out last year from Gollancz/JABberwocky, and wrapped up the Dominion of the Fallen series, a tale of a Gothic devastated Paris, Fallen angels, dragons, politics, colonialism and how to rebuild in the wake of huge devastation (also the cutest dragon toddler, the best murderbirds husbands aka the combination of a totally amoral Fallen and his increasingly distraught dragon partner, and the best Vietnamese aunties that you DO NOT want to cross)

It was long listed for the BSFA Award and is on the Locus Recommended list for Best Fantasy Novel, and here’s what people have said about it:

“A dark saga of ruined cities, fallen angels, and awakening dragons… a must read… an intoxicating blend of gothic mystery, apocalyptic fantasy, and Vietnamese myth—meaty, singular, and satisfying.”

Joel Cunningham, Barnes and Noble

“Incredible… one of the most original, fantasy settings I’ve seen”

Adrian Tchaikovsky, Arthur C. Clarke Award-winning author of Children of Ruin

You can get a copy here:

Buy Now
And you can read here:

Read chapter one online!

I’ve had the question, so yes, the “birthday goes wrong” comedy of manners “Of Birthdays, and Fungus, and Kindness” in my short story collection Of Wars, and Memories and Starlight is eligible for Best Novella if you so enjoyed it. The short story collection as a whole is eligible for Best Collection in awards like the World Fantasy Award.

EDIT: Farah Mendlesohn kindly reminded me that Dominion of the Fallen, as a whole, is eligible for Best Series if you happen to have a spot in your Hugo Awards ballot.

And here’s my list of things I loved this year! (I will, as usual, amend as I catch up on 2019, though I do have to be fair and warn that I’m not committing to this as this continues to be a bit of a wild year).


Elizabeth Bear, “Deriving Life” 

A story about grief and alien symbiotes and a relationship torn apart by death. The characters in this are so strong, fair warning it’s a tear-jerker.

Short story

John Chu, “Probabilitea”

A sweet story about the daughter of a god-like figure who must learn to manipulate the future. Also, tea and maths!

Fran Wilde, “A Catalog of Storms”

Storms, winds’ names and a family–and what it means to be sister to a heroine.

Nghi Vo, “Boiled Bones and Black Eggs”

Hauntings at an inn, and how to banish a ghost. The food descriptions are mouth-watering, but beneath it is quite a sharp story about power and memory.

Eugenia Triantafyllou, “We are Here to Be Held”

A story of motherhood and monsters. I read this one at the beginning of the year and it’s kept sticking with me, it’s haunting and strange and just the right length.

Marie Brennan, “This is How”

Myths, ravens and dead children. Poetic and packs a punch.

Morgan Al-Moor, “The Beast Weeps with One Eye”

Dark bargains, survivals and the hunger of gods. I really loved the worldbuilding and the voice in this.


Tade Thompson, The Rosewater Redemption

Tade had two books out this year, but the finale of the Rosewater series (an alien invasion tale set in the eponymous city in Nigeria) is to me the most memorable, dealing with complex politics, colonialism as alien invasion, and how people from disparate walks of life can rise and fight to make something better.

Arkady Martine, A Memory Called Empire

Arkady’s book follows an ambassador from a space station in an alien and all-encroaching empire, and deals with her fascination and repulsion for her massive neighbour. The world building is amazing, and so is the storyline, which deals with the politics of encroachment and hegemony.

Kacen Callender, Queen of the Conquered

I wasn’t expecting this book to stab me in the chest and tear it apart, but that’s what it did. It’s a raw, unflinching look at slavery and its consequences in a re-imagined Carribean world where people have a  magic called kraft (which is forbidden to slaves), and one woman’s quest to get revenge at any cost and what it does to her.

Tasha Suri, Realm of Ash

Tasha’s strong followup to Empire of Sand follows a young widow who must learn to make her own life and find her own happiness–and, in the process, fight the darkness that has spread over the Ambhan empire. It’s strongly paced, imaginative, and has a delightful set of main characters with great chemistry.

Zen Cho, The True Queen

This was super sweet! The follow-up to the Sorcerer Royal follows a queer Muslim woman looking for her missing sister and dragged into the politics of Faerie. It’s a fun and fluffy English regency, with sharp digs at the reality of Regency for non-white colonial subjects. And also the sweetest dragon and his husband (Pogo is back!!). Can be read standalone from the book that precedes it (but you really should get both).


Fran Wilde, Riverland

This is an unflinching and much needed book about abuse and what it means for children. Sisters Mike and Eleanor hide under the bed at their home to find a safe place, and trade monster stories. But when the bed becomes the opening to a magical land, Eleanor must find a way to heal the land–and help Mike and herself finally find true safety.

Astounding Awards

I believe Tasha Suri is eligible for this one and it’s her last year of eligibility!