Jeff was kind enough to send me this. I think I hit five out of six. However, I shouldn’t call it anything before it’s published.
For me I want a novel I write to do the following:
Take you someplace you haven’t been before – in this case into an implausible but internally consistent mode of being alien.
Make you think. If an SF novel doesn’t make you think at least a moment about ‘what it is to be human’ or ‘the utter strangeness of how it is we are starstuff that does laundry’ then it’s missing an essential nucleobase from its DNA.
Make you worry. If you don’t worry about what is going to happen to the characters next or what traps lie in store, you’re not connected to them.
Make you laugh. Either to release pressure or to make a point which cannot be deftly made in exposition.
Leave enough to your imagination that the book can be your co-creation.
Play fair with the story. My biggest resentments with Dunnett have to do with how the breadcrumb she left regarding our hero’s paternity is nanometrically tiny in the second series and non-existent in the first. (Yes, she recreates the paternity issue as the warp drive of the plot in the second series, but I don’t give a shit about how plot is repetitive. If it wasn’t repetitive, it wouldn’t be plot, and it ain’t the premise it’s the people.)
Represent a notion of justice, equity, fairness and truth by the speech and actions of the protagonist and her associates. Novels are a very sophisticated way to broach these issues because even though you can be invested in the actors you can’t get killed. Further, you can represent extremes of morality or fine gradations, thus providing emotionally meaningful denouements or hair splitting distinctions, which is intellectually fun.
Be grounded in the physical reality of human life without being enslaved by it.
That’s all I can think of right now.