It’s that time of year again, the time of year that the various big name genre awards start generating their list of nominees.  As a fairly prolific reader, I’m often left bewildered and genuinely annoyed at some of the titles that make – and, often, do NOT make – these lists.  So much so that, two years ago, I decided to start my very own genre awards (The Rogue Star Awards right here on this blog) to recognize the overlooked gems and standout novels, novelettes, short stories, and comic books that I, personally, enjoyed over the course of the previous year.  It’s just one guy’s opinion but, when all is said and done, the  opinion of a guy who reads significantly more than 95% of the people voting in those other awards.

Anyway, today I’d like to offer up a list of My Favorite Genre Novelettes of 2016.

Of the roughly 50 novelettes I read last year, these were, in my humble opinion, the Top 7.

I’ve included a short synopsis and links to an online reading copy.  You may also want to consider purchasing the issue outright (or, better yet, subscribing!).  And, if you’re interested in further reading, I would heartily recommend RockStackRank, a site that offers up monthly aggregate ratings for works in the categories of short stories, novelettes, and novellas.

2016’s Top 7 Novelettes

In the Midst of Life by Nick Wolven (Clarkesworld #113) – SF

“In a rude, career-ending memo to his boss, Doug recounts a disaster that occurred on a company property in Indonesia when they tried to evict a group of squatters and their charismatic leader.” – RocketStackRank

Chains by A. J. Hartley ( – Steampunk

“Anglet is an indentured laborer working on a suspension bridge. Sir William sees something in her, and wants to pay off her indenture and give her better work.” – RocketStackRank

Teenagers From Outerspace by Dale Bailey (Clarkesworld #119) – Historical SF

“In 1955, Nancy’s best friend Ellen dates a bad boy who introduces her to Bug Town, where aliens live. Nothing is the same after that.” – RocketStackRank

Once More into the Abyss by Dennis Danvers ( – Contemporary SF

“Stan is sure he’s an alien, or at least that his parents were, and he’s happy to accompany his wife to the abyss, an archaeological site out west associated with aliens.” RocketStackRank

The Art of Space Travel by Nina Allan ( – SF/Mainstream

“The crew of the new Mars mission are coming to the hotel where Emily works, and her mom is starting to say strange things about her involvement with the last Mars mission.” RocketStackRank

A Deeper Green by Samantha Murray (Beneath Ceaseless Skies #205) – Fantasy

“The colony can’t tolerate assault, and it depends on Juvianna’s gift of making people forget crime and motivation alike. But what if she used it preventively?” RocketStackRank

Extraction Request by Rich Larson (Clarkesworld #112)  – Military SF Horror

“Elliot’s squad of convict-soldiers crash-lands in the middle of a swamp far away from help. Extracting them doesn’t seem to be a priority, but something seems to be wrong with the swamp.” RocketStackRank

10 thoughts on “April 23, 2017: My Favorite Genre Novelettes of 2016!

  1. Some intriguing titles there. Going to read a few of them, at least.

    Re: yesterday’s entry. You’re a good man, Joe, for rescuing Jodelle. As if you would leave her stranded. 🙂

    So, once again, April continues it’s tradition of being a crappy month. I’ve had a humdinger of a head cold for the past two weeks. Today I got to work and found out my co-worker had called in sick. Managed to find a replacement, but that girl only worked from 6:45 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and said she’d be back after 1 p.m. Um? And what was I supposed to do in the meantime? It’s really a three person job, but we only have two on Sundays, and now it was just me? I called the boss who was going to drive half an hour in from the country to help me, until she managed to find the new girl — who hadn’t even trained yet! The girl came in, told me to boss her around (I did, but nicely) and was an excellent worker. She’s a good person and was easy to get along with. Co-worker the first returned after 1 and we managed to get everything done. The new girl trains for real next weekend. It was still fairly stressful, trying to do everything and show her how to do the job. I’m pretty wiped now.

    Plus my cousin called this morning from Arizona when I was at work, left a Happy Birthday message and said he’d call back later. So far he hasn’t. He’s the only person on the planet I’m related to who bothers to call me and only on my birthday and I missed it. I don’t get even an email from any of the other cousins, ever, and they don’t return mine to them. Feeling pretty disappointed that it could be another year before he even tries to contact me. I’ll email him on his birthday in August, we’ll exchange one email apiece, he’ll ask me a bunch of questions and tell me to stay in touch, not replying when I answer his questions. This birthday is pretty much a write-off like all the rest.

    Oh, and my eye exam a couple of weeks ago showed that I have damage to the optic nerve and I’ve lost a bit of peripheral vision in my right eye. Taking drops to get the pressure down. Yup. April sucks. I decided to counteract my lousy day by going out for Chinese food. Now that was an excellent idea! Good for me. lol

  2. First and foremost a big Happy Birthday to glowyzoey!! Hope you have a better week!!

    Joe, hope Suji & Lulu are well. I know Suji has been suffering with a lingering UTI. How’s Lulu’s back?

    How’s Akemi? How are you? We seem to focus on the pups so much…

    Question: a few weeks back you mentioned some reading that had me really intrigued. One was a story about a father and daughter “on the run”. Think it was the Thirteen Lives of someone or another. Can you kindly remind me which posting to look for?

    Went to go see “Get Out”. A psychological thriller. Can’t get this stupid lyric out of my head “Run Rabbit Run Rabbit Run Run Run…”

  3. Nothing going on here, other than I walked into the side mirror on the pickup, smacked my face and head, and have been taking it easy for a couple days. Persistent headache, and a bit dizzy, so hubby said off my feet. He did the gardening for me, it is getting to be spring in the backyard. The neighbor cats pooped in one of my big ceramic planters, one without perennials in it, so now it is sporting a garden of my little metal seed markers to direct them to more appropriate poopy places.

  4. I love it when you recommend books! Thanks for that!

    Happy Birthday glowyzoey! Sorry about the glaucoma. Dr found damage to one of my optic nerves but my pressure is normal. No drops yet, just watching the pressure/damage. Hope the eye drops do the trick for you! I’ve read some of the glaucoma drops can change your eye color. Interesting.

  5. Thanks for reading suggestions Joe.

    Happy birthday @glowyzoey.
    Hope May proves itself a much happier month.

  6. I’m looking at this WGA stuff. It sounds like it could potentially happen, which could delay peoples fall TV shows if it lasts a while. It could be devastating for shows like The Walking Dead that begin production in May.

  7. Happy birthday glowyzoey!! Mine was Saturday, still celebrating here.. Better luck with the eye stuff… Hope you have a better day.
    Joe, thank you for the reading ideas, always appreciate them.

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