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The Hugo Novella nominees

In years gone by I used to do a mega-meta-review of all the Hugo nominees in the written fiction categories for that year. well, I have decided that life is too short to repeat the exercise again, but I have now read all the shortlisted novels and novellas. (The novellas, except for one, are available in electronic form from the WorldCon.) If you want some wildly diverging views on the list, read Tinkoo here, Coderyder here and Ian Sales (as yet unfinished) here. However, I mostly agree with Richard Horton here. (See also Abigali Nussbaum.) My ranking, in reverse order, is:

5) The Erdmann Nexus, by Nancy Kress: magic in old people's home, which turns out to be related to Arthur C. Clarke's Childhood's End, only not quite as good.

4) True Names by Cory Doctorow and Ben Rosenbaum: post-singularity stuff which made it rather difficult for me to care about the characters. Also dubious measurements.

3) The Political Prisoner by Charles Coleman Finlay: nasty story about nasty people (with surprisingly few sfnal elements), but very solid and coherent world-building, both in terms of human and physical geography.

2) The Truth by Robert Reed: also a nasty story about nasty people, but very well worked out procedural of US agents interrogating a suspected time-traveller who has been involved with horrible terrorist atrocities.

1) The Tear by Ian McDonald: takes a premise which is quite similar to the Doctorow/Rosenbaum True Names but does it much better: believable characters (several of them inhabiting the same body) and wonderful descriptive language of a richly imagine future very different from ours. Solidly gets my vote.

Interesting that my two first choices so far (The Tear and Anathem are the only nominees in their respective categories which aren't in the WorldCon ebook package. No doubt we shall be chewing over the impact this has on the results come September...

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
ianmcdonald
May. 11th, 2009 02:18 pm (UTC)
Worldcon package
I've been informed that 'The Tear' is available in the Worldcon package as of now.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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