Lawrence M. Schoen’s Barsk: The Elephants’ Graveyard was released in late 2015. The lack of lead time did not stop it from snagging a Nebula nomination two months later. I enjoyed large portions of this book, but I cannot fathom why this was considered worthy of a Nebula.
Sixty-thousand years into the future, the Alliance includes four thousand worlds, each teeming with the descendants of terrestrials. Although not, as it happens, humans. Instead, eighty-seven different intelligent species share the galaxy, each of them evolved from a different non-human terrestrial species.
The elephantine Fants are scorned by the other species. Eight centuries ago, the two species of Fant — Lox and Eleph — were given exclusive occupation rights to the planet Barsk. At the time it seemed like a good deal: the Fants got a homeland away from the other species who so loathed them, and the Alliance got access to Barsk’s pharmaceutical riches (thanks to the Fants’ hard work).
That was eight centuries ago and circumstances change.