In 2014, a novel titled Ancillary Justice swept the field, bagging the Nebula, the Arthur C. Clarke, and the Hugo. I have seen little discussion of it among fantasy RPG players, however. I can think of two reasons for that:
- It’s science-fiction and thus has an shortage of drow elves, grumpy dwarves, and dragons. (By which I mean, it doesn’t have any of those things. At all.)
- A lot of the commentary on the novel, both praise and condemnation, has focused on the fact that the narrator comes from a culture with no male pronoun — it has men, but its language refers to all people as “she” and the narrator also has trouble telling gender because she isn’t human. Looking at those reviews, one can easily come away with the impression that the book won all of its attention for doing something weird with pronouns, that there must not be much else to see there, that this is a galactic emperor with no clothes.
Except … Ancillary Justice is superb.
Even if you set aside the pronoun innovation.