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2013 Hugos: Best Novella

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: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats, by "Mira Grant" (Seanan Maguire).
Sorry about this, but the zombie thing doesn't really work for me, and the notion of fandom as heroic (and in this case doomed) defenders of all that is good, healthy and not yet undead seems a bit exaggerated. I may even put this below "No Award"; not sure.

4) After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall, by Nancy Kress
A lot of this was actually quite good - tale of how ecodisaster hits the world in the very near future, and the interaction between the straggling band of imprisoned survivors who are timescooping their past for supplies (including involuntary recruits) and the present-day scientists tracking them. But I wasn't sure that the means and motivation of the non-humans quite worked.

3) “The Stars Do Not Lie”, by Jay Lake
The one magazine-published story (Asimov's, inevitably) on the list. Again, I liked ths a lot, but I was a bit baffled by both the references to Childhood's End and by the enigma of whether this was meant to be a parallel Earth or a future history of some kind, so was frustrated to feel that I might have missed the point.

2) On a Red Station, Drifting, by Aliette de Bodard
Good solid world-building, non-Western spacegoing culture, lots of interesting women characters; my one disappointment was that I expected a stronger plot payoff.

1) The Emperor’s Soul, by Brandon Sanderson
I did not expect to enjoy this so thoroughly. Totally a fantasy story, though it gets a slightly scientific feel because the heroine is an adept in magical technology, trapped into rendering assistance to a hostile regime. It is possibly not the most literary of the shortlisted works, but for me it was the most entertaining.

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.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
thinking_lotus
Apr. 28th, 2013 03:19 am (UTC)
I love you for not loving the Seanan Maguire/Mira Grant option.
(Anonymous)
May. 2nd, 2013 09:13 pm (UTC)
I NEVER wait for the Hugo packets. Here is how I'm planning to vote in the category:

1. The Emperor's Soul (Brandon Sanderson)
2. San Diego 2014: The Last Stand of the California Browncoats (Mira Grant)
3. After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall (Nancy Kress)
4. On a Red Station, Drifting (Aliette de Bodard)
5. The Stars Do Not Lie (Jay Lake)

I didn't care for FEED or DEADLINE (haven't read BLACKOUT yet). Last year I ranked COUNTDOWN 6th among the six Best Novella nominees. But I think SAN DIEGO 2014 is actually pretty good, far superior to anything else I've read in the "Newsflesh" universe.

Alan Heuer
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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