Obviously, the best way of approaching the six Hugo finalists is as seperate books with their own distinct plots and characters. However, imagine the book world was under attack by some giant monster and all the books had to team up to fight it, how would that work exactly?
A reader who has considered the matter carefully might say “What are you talking about? Did the fumes from cleaning the cat’s catnip vomit go to your head?” The answer to those rhetorical questions are “see above” and “yes” and “why does the room keep wobbling like that?”
Where to start?
Luckily both New York 2142 and Six Wakes have connections to New York in the nearish future. The Collapsing Empire, Provenance and Raven Stratagem all have space empires in different phases of development. The Stone Sky has to team up with the whole of the Broken Earth series first but its post-apocalyptic back story puts the story way into the future.
So for a sequential order of a giant history of humanity try this order:
1. New York 2142 – in the near future humanity struggles with the impact of climate change
2. Six Wakes – shortly after which humanity develops a unique ‘cloning technology’ and begins space exploration
3. The Collapsing Empire – humanity has continued to colonise space but it’s method of interstellar travel has restricted its capacity to grow
4. Provenance – (somehow) humanity has found a way past the technological limits of space travel and now is spread all over. A remnant of a galactic empire exists that makes use of the ‘cloning technology’ (see 2.) but that’s not important for this book.
5. Raven Stratagem – technology has advanced even further to a peak of reality bending. Unfortunately toxic empires have grown even stronger.
6. The Stone Sky – we return to Earth were hubris and human experimentation have left the planet as a tectonic mess