Reviews of speculative fiction, YA, middle grade, and graphic novels, along with stray thoughts, links, and pictures.
This is part of a series of posts reviewing categories in this year's Hugo ballot. I'll be discussing the entries, the voter packet, and my ballot. I've nominated and voted most years since 2011, when I figured out that all I had to do was join Worldcon to get to do so. Not only that, but if you participate in one year, you still get to nominate the next year. This year, thanks to a rule change, we nominated up to 5 entries, and the final ballot included the top 6.
Short story is a category I've rarely read any of the finalist prior to the ballot announcement. There is so much short fiction published every year that I don't know how anyone can keep up. Every year, I feel really good about my nominees, and most years none of them make it onto the final ballot. This year is like most years. Below are this year's finalists, listed in the order they appeared on the official announcement, with my notes on each.
“The City Born Great”, by N. K. Jemisin (Tor.com, September 2016) - This was interesting and well written, but felt too short for how large the concept is. Has Jemisin written more in this world?
“A Fist of Permutations in Lightning and Wildflowers”, by Alyssa Wong (Tor.com, March 2016) - This is the coolest title on the entire ballot, but the story wasn't one I loved. Interesting ideas, but the execution didn't work for me.
“Our Talons Can Crush Galaxies”, by Brooke Bolander (Uncanny Magazine, November 2016) - I skimmed the first few paragraphs when this came out in Uncanny, but didn't sit down to read it until I got the voter packet. I wish there were more of it as it seems somehow unfulfilling at this length.
“Seasons of Glass and Iron”, by Amal El-Mohtar (The Starlit Wood: New Fairy Tales, Saga Press) - I loved this story and the author note at the end. Unabashedly feminist and awesome. I really need to get around to reading the rest of this anthology.
“That Game We Played During the War”, by Carrie Vaughn (Tor.com, March 2016) - I am in general a fan of Vaughn's work, and this is one of the best things she's written.
“An Unimaginable Light”, by John C. Wright (God, Robot, Castalia House) - Instead, I read this review of the story. Because I'm not a fucking masochist.
In summary, Seasons of Glass and Iron and That Game We Played During War are probably going to swap back and forth at the top of my ballot until voting closes. The next 3 slots are less certain, but Wright will not be above No Award.