Rather than wait for the Hugo voters' pack this year, I have acquired the written fiction nominees as far as possible, and this has meant getting to the novellas first. Unusually, four of the five works shortlisted in this category were published as standalone volumes, which will boost my book count for this month.
( 5) San Diego 2014 by Mira Grant; 4) After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall by Nancy Kress; 3) The Stars Do Not Lie by Jay Lake; 2) On a Red Station, Drifting by Aliette de Bodard; 1) The Emperor’s Soul by Brandon SandersonCollapse )
I don't feel terribly strongly about this ranking, except that the zombie story is definitely in last place for me and I shall grumble if it wins.
( 'Palimpsest' by Charles StrossCollapse )
( 'Act One', by Nancy KressCollapse )
So my final ranking, rather to my surprise as it doesn't much reflect my rating of these authors' œuvres taken as a whole, is:
- The God Engines, by John Scalzi
- "Vishnu at the Cat Circus", by Ian McDonald
- Shambling Towards Hiroshima, by James Morrow
- The Women of Nell Gwynne's, by Kage Baker
- "Act One", by Nancy Kress
- "Palimpsest", by Charles Stross
Previous Hugo roundups: Best Novel, Best Graphic Story.
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...